Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love is in the Air!

Valentine's Day has to be one of my favorite holidays, not only does this holiday celebrate my favorite color (pink) but it also "allows" me to eat all the chocolaty goodies I want! I know, I know, Valentine's Day should be centered around love and being with the people you love, which for em it is, I have an amazing boyfriend, whom I am madly in love with (not to mention we're moving into our apartment today!). But you'd have to be a dummy to not think about chocolate on Valentine's Day!

I mean how can you resist chocoalte covered strawberries, little chocolates with gooey filling inside, chocoalte cupcakes, chocoalte fondue, hot chocoalte with melty marshmallows, chocolate dipped cookies (I could go on forever, but I think you get the point).

Another thing I love aboout Valentine's Day is think back to my elementary school days. We had to make our Valentine card holder out of red and pink construction paper, decorating it with sparkly glue and colored markers. There were stick figures of boys and girls holding hands, and crocked hearts floating around their heads. Then there was the excitment of going to the store and picking out your cards to give all your classmates...Carebares or Beauty and the Beast? Carebares or Beauty and the Beast? Uum...Beauty and the Beast! The worst part was actually having to write all your classmates names on the cards, but with a few hours of some good Nickelodeon that task seemed to whiz by. On Valentine's Day I'd wak to school in anticipation, praying that nobody else had bought the same cards as me, but that wish almost never came true :( It was finally time to pass out the cards and hurry back o my seat to tear them open and read all the notes. And of course there were those cute elementary school scribbled remarks on a Transformers card that always made me blush...Sadly those days are long gone and here I am all grown up planning a "real" Valentine's Day night!

So to celebrate Valentine's Day I made a few little goodies, mostly chocolate, one not :)

First we have Black Forrest Cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with cherry pie filling, topped with vanilla buttercream) Second is the ever popular Red Velvet Cupcake. Then Raspberry White Chocolate Shortbread Hearts!

But the best one of all..the Valentine Goody that I'm entering in "A Heart For Your Valentine" Blogging Event" is one of Donna Hay's recipes. It's calles Raspberry-Spiked Chocolate Brownies and they are to die for!! I used a cookie cutter to cut these moist, gooey brownies into cute little hearts! Happy Valentine's Day everybody!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wasting Away in Margarita-ville

I was hoping to use the cupcakes as some libations for my Super Bowl party, but I ended up drowing my sorrows in them as the fourth quarter ended and I was faced with the reality that my undefeated Patriots had just lost the biggest game of the season! Damn it...but thank goodness for my Margarita Cupcakes...otherwise I wouldn't have survived :)

These cupcakes were the absolute moistest cupcakes I have ever had in my life! I had heard about Margarita cupcakes before, but had never tried or had one. And now I'm kicking myself for wasting so many years of my life without these cupcakes! I'll admit that I was a little shocked they came out so good, because when I tasted the batter I was a little skepitcal...they were VERY strong thanks to the 1/2 cup of tequila and the few splashes of Grand Marnier that I added.

But when my fluffy, bright yellow cupcakes came outta the oven, I grabbed on, peeling off the wrapper immediately and took a bit (hey if they weren't good, I wasn't gonna serve them to all my friends who think I'm a baking God :0) ) One big bite of my cupcake and a sign of relief came from my overstuffed mouth that was gorging on an outrageously good cupcake!

I think the package of pudding also helped to moisten these babies up, and I am now excited to try a variety of cupcake mixes with puddings...something I had never thought of before.

So if you'll please pull out your ID so that I can verify you're over 21...

...All right now, raise your cupcake high and make a toast!!

1 package lemon cake mix
1 (4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen margarita concentrate

1/4 cup water
4 large eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup gold tequila
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

For the frosting I used a store bought white buttercream frosting, added a squirt of lime juice and some lime zest.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, vegetable oil, limeade, water, eggs, tequila and Grand Marnierin a large mixing bowl.
Beat for 5 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer.
Pour batter in prepared cupcake pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool completely.