Chocolate Witch’s Brew Cupcakes #Chocotoberfest

Note: I received complimentary product for this post. All opinions are my own.

Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…

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What shall we add to the witch’s brew today? Essence of mummy? A pumpkin picked at midnight?

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These adorable cupcakes are reminiscent of a witch’s cauldron, so of course, there’s a magic potion inside – courtesy of Sprinkle Pop! I used two of their sprinkle mixes in these cupcakes and they were so, so perfect for getting the desired effect.

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I used the Lime Green Sprinkle Mix on top of the cupcakes to give the image of a bubbling cauldron. The cupcakes are stuffed with their Monster Mashup Sprinkle Mix. The kids had so much fun biting into the cupcakes to see what the witch had cooked up in her cauldron – ghosts, eyeballs, mummies, and pumpkins!

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These were a quick from-scratch batch of cupcakes and buttercream, but you could always use a boxed mix and icing if you’re more comfortable – the sprinkles are the real stars here!

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This is also the first recipe I’m sharing for this year’s #Choctoberfest – you can check out a TON of other chocolaty goodness from my fellow bloggers right here: An InLinkz Link-up

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Chocolate Witch’s Brew Cupcakes
(adapted from Sugar Spun Run and Wine and Glue)
Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot coffee

For the icing:
1/2
 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Green food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk in the oil and milk until combined. Add the egg and stir to combine. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Add the coffee and stir until evenly combined – it will be quite thin.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pan, filling each well 2/3 of the way.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, until a knife inserted  comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time and beat. Add in the vanilla, milk, and food coloring. Beat until fully incorporated.

After the cupcakes are cooled, use an apple corer or small knife to cut holes into the cupcakes. Fill the holes with sprinkles. Ice with the butter cream then dip each cupcake into the green sprinkles. Top with additional sprinkles if desired.

These are best served the same day.

Fresh Corn Salsa (4)

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Cracker Toffee

What’s everyone up to today? Any crazy holiday prep going on?

Things here are actually pretty mellow. The cookies are all baked. The gifts are all bought and wrapped. It’s almost lunchtime and we’re all still our pajamas. All we have planned really is a liquor store run and a nap. Not bad for the day before Christmas Eve!

If you’re looking for one more treat to make or need a last-minute dessert, this cracker toffee is the way to go. It takes about 20 minutes to make, then you cool it and break it up. It, by design, doesn’t have to look perfect so you don’t need to stress details today and there’s a good chance you already have the ingredients on hand!

I hope you’re all settling in for a lovely holiday with people you love. Merry Christmas from me and the crw!

Cracker Toffee

Cracker Toffee
(from Little Dairy on the Prairie)
Makes 1 sheet pan full

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
Saltine crackers or Matzo
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sprinkles, for decorating

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Line the pan with saltines or matzo so they cover the whole bottom without overlapping. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until it reaches a boil, then remove the spoon and let boil for 3 minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the saltines as evenly as possible and transfer the pan to the oven to bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit for a few minutes then spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers. Top with sprinkles, if desired, and put the pan in a cool place to set.

Once completely cooled and the chocolate has set, break into pieces and serve.

Cracker toffee

 

Sprinkle Cookies

I, along with most of my friends from school, are turning 30 this year. It’s weird to think we’re exiting our 20s – mostly because that makes it painfully obvious we’re no longer “just out of college” or “just starting adulthood”. Hello, we’re here.

Adult doesn’t necessarily mean mature, though. We’ve had two 30th birthday parties so far this year: one involved playing dodgeball at a trampoline park and the other was a pizza party. Because, you know, my friends are awesome.

I made up these cookies as a 30th birthday gift for our friend, Douglas. I’d actually made them back in November when Jacob was baptized with blue and white sprinkles and Douglas was crazy for them. His wife held a Christmas cookie exchange in December and he was sorely disappointed I didn’t bring these so I knew they’d be a hit his birthday.

They remind me of the soft vanilla cookies my Mom used to get from the bakery. Just the right amount of chewy center with a slightly crisp edge. And switching up the sprinkle colors makes them perfect for just about any occasion. Or, any 30th birthday party you may be attending!

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Sprinkle Cookies
(from Grace and Good Eats)
Makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sprinkles

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and pudding mix. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well combined. Beat in vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until well combined. Mold dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Roll the dough into 1″ balls, roll the balls in sprinkles and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges and just set in the center. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Italian Easter Bread

I married into a big, Italian family with lots of food traditions. My favorite? Easter bread. It’s a sweet loaf covered in sprinkles. They serve it as a side dish at the big family Easter party and then we eat leftovers for breakfast until it runs out. I look forward to it every year.

Mark’s Grandmother used to make it every year for everyone in the family. Then, when she wasn’t able to, his Uncle took over the tradition. When she passed away, I got a copy of her recipe so I could continue making it.

It was easier said than done, though. Her recipe is finicky and gives hit-or-miss results. When it turns out, you get this beautiful loaf of sweet bread; When it doesn’t, you get a nice mess. After one-too-many failed attempts to duplicate her bread, I started browsing the internet for another recipe.

This recipe is close to hers, though there are a few key differences. The results taste the same, though, and I’ve yet to have a failed batch. Most importantly, it has gotten Mark’s seal of approval.

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Italian Easter Bread
(from The Italian Dish)
Makes 2 braided loaves

2 1/4 t. instant yeast
1 1/4 c. scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c.sugar
3 1/2 c. flour (approximate)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
Sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, warm milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add in about half the flour and beat until smooth using a dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour until a stiff dough forms. Don’t worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore.  Knead until smooth with a dough hook or turn the dough out on floured board and knead. Place the ball of dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down, divide into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope. Using three dough ropes, braid together and pinch ends to seal. Repeat with the remaining three dough ropes.

Transfer the braids to a greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until double, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees

Brush each loaf with the beaten egg wash.  Decorate with sprinkles.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.