Turtles Cupcakes

Why have a Turtle when you can have a Turtle’s cupcake? I was invited over to a friend’s for a wine night and she jokingly suggested that I bring cupcakes. Well, she told me she was joking, but that really got me thinking. I haven’t made cupcakes in a long time, and therefore decided to!
I scoured through my Pinterest board, and came across these beauties. I knew as soon as I saw them that yup, these cupcakes were the one to make. I found the original recipe here, and I didn’t modify it in any way… except to double it. I’m sorry, but I need more than just 12 cupcakes. A girl needs to share!

These cupcakes are totally reminiscent of Turtles. There’s a chocolate base, covered in a salted caramel buttercream, then sprinkled with chopped pecans and more salted caramel… Oh yeah, these things are good! I also decided to make a little surprise in the middle of the cupcake. With a paring knife, I cut out a small hole in the top of the cupcake, filled it with chopped pecans and caramel, then put the cupcake back over the hole to fill it and iced the cupcake. It was beautiful – the little surprising crunch of the pecans and the soft gooey caramel right in the middle. A great little bite.

If you want, you can also drizzle some chocolate sauce on top of these beauties. I chose not to, because I sprinkled a generous helping of pecans over the top, and I wanted that crunch factor.

I forgot the best part! You don’t even need your mixer! Just one big mixing bowl, and you’re set!🙂 Like you needed another reason to make these cupcakes! I also use the homemade salted caramel recipe that I first posted about in my Salted Caramel Apple Bars. It’s a great recipe – I’ll have to do a post just on that – it takes 10-15 minutes at most.

Ingredients:

Yield: 12 cupcakes (recipe can easily be doubled)

For the cupcake batter:

1 c. flour
¾ c. sugar
½ c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. milk
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. boiling water

For the salted caramel buttercream:

¾ c. butter, softened
3½ c. icing sugar
1/3 c. caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnishing:

Caramel sauce
Pecan
Chocolate sauce or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Mix in egg, vanilla, milk, and vegetable oil until combined. Whisk in boiling water until smooth and incorporated.

Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and tops spring back.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before cooling completely on wire rack prior to adding frosting.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a bowl using a stand mixer or your hand mixer, cream butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Beat in powdered sugar and slowly mix on low speed until mixture comes together. Add caramel sauce then vanilla and beat on medium-high speed. Add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until light and fluffy or desired consistency is reached.

Fill a pastry bag with frosting and pipe onto cupcakes. Top with chocolate chips, chopped pecans and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Coconut Cream Pie

Okay, I admit it. Up until now, I haven’t been the biggest coconut fan. I’ve always liked it, but I’ve never LOVED coconut. I think the Coconut Cookies I made a few weeks back, along with this pie, is truly opening me up to loving coconut. While I’m still not a fan of Pina Coladas (the pineapple-coconut combination just doesn’t do it for me… sorry team. It’s not BAD, it’s just…. mojitos are better!) I am really starting to appreciate coconut as its own flavour.

Paul has been bugging me, almost relentlessly, for pie lately. His excuse is that it’s Fall now, and Fall means pie. Today, I bit the bullet, and made him pie. I’m happy I did too, because this pie is phenomenal. Like, I can’t even explain how great it is. The coconut filling has just a touch of almond extract, and for me, that made the coconut flavour sing even more!!
I found the original recipe here, and followed it word for word. I haven’t made a ton of cream pies, so I’m still getting used to the custard idea. But, again, I am so, so happy I made this pie. Just trust me, and go make this pie for yourself!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch pie

|For the crust:

1 recipe Flaky Butter Pie Crust (or half, if you don’t want to freeze the leftovers)

For the custard cream:

3 c. milk
1/3 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
4 tbsp. (or ¼ c.) butter
2 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. almond extract

For the whipped cream:

1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. icing sugar

Prepare the pie crust according to the recipe. Blind bake at 350°F, with pie weights, for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a large saucepan, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and coconut and set aside.

In a small saucepan or microwave-safe liquid measuring cup, heat 1 c. of milk until scalding. (I used the microwave – I could quickly heat 1 cup at a time without burning the milk.)

With the burner on medium low heat, whisk the milk into the coconut mixture in the saucepan. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly. While the mixture is cooking/thickening, heat 1 c. of milk until scalding. Once the mixture has thickened, whisk the second cup of scalded milk into the saucepan and continue cooking.

Heat the last cup of milk until hot and scalded. Once the mixture has thickened again, whisk the 3rd cup of milk into the coconut mixture, and let it cook again, until thickened even more.

Once the mixture has thickened more, temper the egg yolks by spooning about half a cup of the coconut mixture into the eggs and whisking vigorously while doing so. Do not stop whisking until the mixture has come together – you don’t want the eggs to cook. Once the eggs have been incorporated, place the small amount of egg mixture back into the pan with the rest of the custard base, and whisk until cohesive.

Add in the butter, vanilla, and almond extract, and cook until almost boiling, or until a pudding-like consistency is reached.

Immediately take the custard off the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes. Pour the custard into the blind-baked shell, and let cool.

For the whipped cream, whip together the cream, vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form. Top the custard with the whipped cream, garnish with toasted coconut, and chill.

Wait until the pie is completely chilled until slicing and serving.

Root Beer Marshmallows

Who doesn’t love marshmallows?! And with Root Beer? Either I’m crazy, or a genius, or both.

Any time I eat a marshmallow nowadays, I think about all kinds of new flavours to try. Homemade marshmallows are just so much BETTER than store bought. They really are. And you can incorporate so many flavours – if it comes in an extract bottle, chances are you can make a marshmallow with it. I have a bottle of Root Beer Concentrate from Watkins and courtesy of my mom, and Paul loves it. We’ve put it in magic shell, cupcakes, and now I got the crazy idea to try it in marshmallows!

The best thing about homemade marshmallows is that they are so EASY. It never takes me longer than half an hour to make, and it takes more time for marshmallows to set up than it does to make them! Sure, you do need a candy thermometer, and a mixer is helpful here, but they are so worth the extra effort of making homemade marshmallows.

These homemade marshmallows will up your s’more game – guaranteed!

Ingredients:

Yield: About 2 dozen marshmallows

1 c. cold water, divided
2½ tbsp. unflavoured gelatin
1½ c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. Root Beer Concentrate
¼ c. icing sugar
¼ c. corn starch

Line an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch square pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix the icing sugar and corn starch. Sprinkle some of the icing sugar mixture into the pan, trying to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, place ½ c. of the cold water, and sprinkle the gelatin over to soften.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the rest of the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place a candy thermometer in/on the pan, and heat. Cook until mixture reaches 240°F. When it does, immediately remove it from the heat, turn on the mixture to it’s lowest setting, and drizzle the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl.

Once all of the sugar syrup is incorporated, turn the mixer to high and whip until mixture becomes thick and lukewarm. The colour should also change from transparent to white. Once the mixture is thick and has almost the consistency of melted marshmallow, add in the Root Beer Concentrate. Mix the extract in well, then pour the marshmallow mixture into the lined pan.

Sprinkle more of the icing sugar mixture over the marshmallows, then leave to set 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to cut, lift the set marshmallows out of the pan onto a cutting board. Use a pizza roller dipped in the icing sugar mixture, tossing the cut marshmallows in more of the icing sugar mixture so they don’t stick together. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies


There is nothing like a good oatmeal cookie. The classic, old-fashioned taste in a perfectly modern setting.

I am an oatmeal fan. Now, I don’t mean in the sense of eating oatmeal all the time for breakfast, but I love oatmeal in baking. It’s so versatile! Need a binder for a burger patty? Oatmeal! Need breakfast? Oatmeal! Need something else to add to your cookies? Oatmeal!

You get the jist. Oatmeal is such an excellent complement to many flavours, but it really can stand up on its own, and I love that. These cookies are celebrating all things classic oatmeal.

Oatmeal!

I found the original recipe here, and I love it! I mean, a good cookie is a good cookie, and sometimes, oats just need their time to shine as well as chocolate chips, am I right?

Ingredients

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1½ c. quick cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or Silpat if desired. (I didn’t, and my cookies didn’t stick.)

Cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla, and combine well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Add to butter mixture, and mix until flour is combined.

Fold in the oats until thoroughly incorporated.

Using a teaspoon or small scoop, form dough balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet about 1-2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until center looks just set. Cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Coconut Cookies


Holy moly it’s been a month! I both can and can’t believe it. Life has been running away with me this past month, and I’ve barely had any time for any baking!

In case you’ve forgotten, I was a bridesmaid in my friend Sandi’s wedding in Nelson in the middle of the month, and I’ve been working at the restaurant and planning for my new teaching job – yes, in case I forgot to tell all of you beautiful souls, I got a teaching job! All of that, combined with still trying to frantically finish our own wedding planning (and paying for all things wedding!) equals no time for me to make ANYTHING.

However, I found myself with a rare day of peace today, and I was resolved to spend my day in the kitchen making some fabulous goodies. While I made a bunch of things (that will also be posted soon… now I have back-up material for the next few posts!), these cookies seemed like the right choice to start us back off.

I found the original recipe here, and if I make these again, I am definitely not going to bake them as long. Mine came out more crunchy than chewy, and I am a big fan of a chewy, soft cookies. I have changed the baking time to reflect this.

Ingredients:

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

1 c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. shredded or shaved coconut
2 c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or Silpat, if desired. (I didn’t, and my cookies didn’t stick at all.)

Cream together sugar, brown sugar, and butter until colour lightens. Add in egg and vanilla, and combine again. Mix in the coconut until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the coconut mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition until the flour is incorporated.

Using a teaspoon or a scoop, drop rounds of cookie dough onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just starting to turn a golden brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.