Saturday, December 11

FAVORITE FLAVORS OF CHRISTMAS

Greetings, dear reader!

Christmas brings with it two of my favorite flavors: cranberry and peppermint and chocolate. Here are a few divine recipes for each of these faves from Better Homes and Gardens!

Chocolaty Peppermint Cupcakes

 Ingredients

  •     Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4  cup  shortening
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla
  • 2    egg yolks
  • 2/3  cup  cold water
  • 2    egg whites
  • 1/3  cup  sugar
  • 1/3  cup  miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
  •     Creamy Peppermint Frosting
  • 1/4  cup  crushed peppermint candies
  •     Crushed peppermint candies (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
2. In a very large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and water to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
3. Thoroughly wash beaters. In a large bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into chocolate batter to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining beaten egg whites. Gently fold in chocolate pieces. Divide among the prepared muffin cups.
4. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
5. Up to 4 hours before serving, prepare Creamy Peppermint Frosting. Cut cupcakes in half horizontally. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the frosting onto the bottom of each cupcake. Replace cupcake tops, pressing gently to spread frosting to edges.
6. Place the 1/4 cup crushed candies on a sheet of waxed paper. Roll sides of cupcakes in crushed candies to coat the exposed frosting. Pipe or spread the remaining frosting onto tops of cupcakes. If desired, sprinkle with additional crushed peppermint candies. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Creamy Peppermint Frosting: In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup softened butter, one 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme, and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in 2 tablespoons milk. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach spreading consistency. 

White Chocolate Layer Cake with Cranberry Filling

(I personally detest cinnamon, (especially the SMELL) so I would ditch that ingredient along with the ginger and cloves...but then, that's just ME) :-)

Ingredients

  • 1  12-ounce package  fresh cranberries
  • 1-1/4  cups  granulated sugar
  • 1/4  cup  cranberry juice
  • 2  teaspoons  finely shredded orange peel
  • 2  teaspoons  lemon juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 8  ounces  white baking chocolate, chopped
  • 2-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 10  tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 1-1/3  cups  granulated sugar
  • 4    eggs
  • 1-1/2  teaspoons  vanilla
  • 1-1/4  cups  milk
  • 12  ounces  white baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1  cup  butter, softened
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla
  • 2  cups  powdered sugar

Directions

1. For filling: In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, the cranberry juice, orange peel, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until thickened. Transfer filling to a medium bowl. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottoms of two 9x1 1/2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper; grease and lightly flour pans. Set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, cook and stir the 8 ounces white chocolate over low heat until melted. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the 10 tablespoons butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, beating until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in melted white chocolate just until combined. Spread batter in the prepared cake pans.
4. Bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans. Peel off waxed paper. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. For frosting: In a medium saucepan, cook and stir the 12 ounces white chocolate over low heat until melted. Cool for 20 minutes. In a large bowl, beat the 1 cup butter on medium to high speed until fluffy. Beat in melted white chocolate and the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar.
6. To assemble, use a long serrated knife to cut each cake layer in half horizontally. Place one layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with one-third of the filling. Top with the second layer; spread with one-third of the filling. Top with the third layer; spread with the remaining filling. Top with the fourth layer, cut side down.
7. Spread top and side of cake with frosting. If desired, cover loosely and chill for up to 24 hours. Let stand about 30 minutes at room temperature before serving, if chilled. Makes 16 servings.


And my new-this-year holiday indulgence:

Peppermint Mocha CoffeeMate Creamer!

 
A cup of coffee as good as Starbucks...at home! YAY! 
 
Off to brew a pot right now! 

More soon!
Paula Clare

3 comments:

A Vintage Chic said...

What wonderful Christmas recipes, Paula! Thanks for sharing these today, my friend!

Stay warm & cozy...

Julie

Little Messy Missy said...

I am drinking coffee with that same creamer in it right now! Hahaha! That cupcake looks divine!
xoxoxxo

Creative Breathing said...

Paula, Your blog is simply magical to me! It's as though it is your canvas, and I can't wait to see what you are "painting" next. It's just beautiful! Thank you so much for introducing me to your New Friend, I am headed over to say hello. PS I love movies, and you have posted about one of my favorites, The Holiday! Swoon! Have a wonderful weekend ahead Paula! E