Monday, July 18, 2011

For The Love of Disney World...and Coffee Mugs

Anybody that knows me, knows that I love love love Walt Disney World.  Seriously, who doesn't???  It is the happiest place on earth!  I grew up in Orlando and took for granted I would always be able to go when ever I wanted.  Now I live 1400 miles away and haven't been in at least 4 years.  I can't wait to go back!!!!

OK, next thing about me.  I collect coffee mugs.  Isn't that silly???  I collect coffee mugs...and pens, but that's another story.  I try to get a coffee mug everywhere I go.  Let's face it.  It's the practical souvenir.  If you are a coffee drinker (I love coffee), this is at least something you will use.  Really, what are you going to do with a collection of tiny spoons?  Unless you know a colony of leprechauns, these are useless.

So, I've told you these things so I can tell you what I got today.

No, I did not get a person.  That's my friend Lara (on the left)  This picture is a couple of years old, but what a great memory!  We decided to have a wine tasting at her house.  We set out different kinds of wine and foods to pair with them.  If I recall correctly, we had A LOT of wine.  Not a lot of food. 

Sorry, I've wandered.  Anyway, my good friend Lara goes to Disney World every chance she gets, which these days seems to be every other weekend.  The last time she went I told her to send me a mug.  Here we are a month later, and today it appeared on my door step. 

I thought it was so great, it was worth pulling out my photo box to take pictures of it. 

I am well aware that some of you are laughing at me right now.  I'm OK with that! 

Aside from the 3 mugs I have with my son's art on them (it was a school fundraiser, and I think he drew the same picture for all 3), I think this is my new favorite.  It has 50, yes 50 Disney Characters.  I'm proud to say that I knew all but 1.  It's bigger than the average mug.  That means it holds more coffee...YAY!!!!

Best of all, when I use it I will think of my friend.  Thank you Lara for this small fantastic gift!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Baking Bug Hits Again!

Even with the heat of summer and no central air conditioning, the baking bug has hit again! 

Fresh berries are in season and available everywhere.  USE THEM!!!!  They are fabulous! 

Raspberry is one of my favorite flavors.  I use it year round including Christmas when I make White Chocolate Raspberry bars...check back in December for that one!

Today's creation couldn't be just about the berry though.  It's been too stressful of a week (the first week back from vacation always is).  Oh no...I wanted to recreate that one piece of candy I always look for in the Valentines Day box of chocolate.

Are you getting my vision  Wait for it...Raspberry filled Dark Chocolate Cupcakes!!!!!  Can you say yummy????

Not just regular raspberry filling either.  This is a cream cheese raspberry filling made with Grand Marnier.  Pure decadence!!!!!! 

Then it gets better...could it be?!?!?!

YES IT COULD!!!  Add fresh raspberry buttercream frosting!!!!!!  OMG!!!!!!  Seriously, I've died and gone to heaven. 

This is not a child's cupcakes.  This is for the serious chocolate lover.  This is for the person that understands that you should take your time to eat it.  It is an indulgence! 

Enjoy with a your favorite glass of wine.  I assure you that anything that went wrong in your day will disappear!!!!


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Raspberry Filling

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
10 cups powdered sugar
8oz fresh raspberries

Dark Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (32oz) package powdered sugar


Start with the filling ingredients.  Mix cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Add vanilla, salt, Grand Marnier, mix well.  Add powdered sugar 2 cups at a time until blended, then on high whip until fluffy.  Add in the fresh raspberries.  Mix until well combined.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While filling is in the refrigerator, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until smooth.  Add milk, cream, butter, and vanilla; mix until combined. Add in sour cream.  In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients and add to wet mixture.  Mix until batter is smooth.  Line cupcake pan with liners.  Fill each liner with 1/4 cup mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes until slightly cool. Using a filling injector (can be found at Michaels in the baking aisle), inject filling into cupcake...slowly as not to overfill.

For the frosting, in a mixing bowl, combine butter, raspberries, vanilla, and salt.  Beat on medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Mix on low until blended and smooth after each addition.  Once cupcakes are cooled completely, frost.

Powdered sugar is very sweet.  I always taste my frosting and fillings in between additions of sugar.  I rarely use all that is called for. 
Make sure you rinse and carefully dry your berries before use.

One last thing...I was wondering if anybody else's counter looks like this when baking????