Friday, March 25, 2011

Girl Friday

I've been reading the totally rad blog of San Smith lately and what can I say -- she's inspiring!  Not only is she an extremely talented illustrator and crafter, she has the happiest fashion sense of anyone I've ever known. Reading her blog makes me want to draw something cute, refashion my dull wardrobe, and learn how to make my hair into a bow all at once!  I'll start with the cute doodle. ;) 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Going Green for St. Patrick's Day

click image to enlarge

Top o' the mornin' to ye and all that! I'm enjoying a traditional Irish breakfast of steel-cut oats and a glass of Guinness to start my 2011 St. Patty's Day, how about you? (Just kidding!)  In all seriousness, though, here are seven lovely green things to start your St. Patty's Day, originally created and shared by seven very talented people. So if you need a little last-minute St. Patty's inspiration, or if you're just as ready to kick dull winter colors in the tush, get to clicking and enjoy some GREEN! Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

1. Pot of Gold Cupcakes (and photo) by Beantown Baker; 2. Spring Flower Straw Bouquet by Create-Celebrate-Explore; 3. Green Candied Popcorn by Find Your Happiness; 4. Irish Potatoes by Baked Bree; 5. Luck of the Irish Necklace by Petite Hermine; 6. Springtime Yarn Wreath by A Pretty Life in the Surburbs; 7. Tiny Amigurumi Peas by Meiphemera. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

courtesy ThinkGeek
It's 3.14...which means it's Pi Day!  There are a bevy of scrumptious looking pies popping up in celebration all over the foodie world today, but as someone who's usually less-than-enthusiastic about pies (gasp! I know!), I have no delicious pie recipe to contribute.  So how about a pie-related utensil?  Pizza pie, that is!  Check out this cool pi-shaped cutter from ThinkGeek! Totally would give the geeky cook in your life the giggles, but it looks pretty handy too, to be honest -- two blades, even cutting pressure thanks to the wide handle at the top, 3 colors to choose from...what more could a hungry pizza lover need?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lime Cheesecake Cupcakes

Back again as promised with the recipe for absolutely delicioussss Lime Cheesecake Cupcakes, which I dolled up as per my previous post for St. Patrick's Day!  Not only are they all decked out in their paper finest, I also added two completely edible "gold coins" on top just for a little extra leprechaun nod. These cupcakes take several steps to complete, but are really quite simple to throw together -- especially if you take a few shortcuts with your components like I did!  Read on for the recipe and tips! 

Lime Cheesecake Cupcakes (with Gold Coins for St. Patty's Day)
12 white or yellow cupcakes (your favorite recipe or box mix is fine here)
sugar cookie dough (refrigerated tube dough works great)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
2 8oz bars cream cheese, softened
6-8 cups powdered sugar
6-8 tbsp lime curd
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
green food coloring
edible gold glitter/dust

For gold coins: 
If using a recipe or dry mix for sugar cookies, follow your instructions to make the dough and roll it out to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into 1" x 1" squares for ease, or whatever shape you desire. If using a refrigerated tube of dough, simply slice off rounds of cookie dough at about 1/4 inch thickness.  Place cut dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake according to your recipe/package directions, until very lightly browned.  You will need at least 24 small cookies to make two "coins" for each cupcake, but if you want more feel free to make as many as you like. 

When cookies are done, remove promptly from the oven and let cool 30 seconds to one minute, but do not let them cool completely!  While the cookies are still pretty warm, use a small circle cookie cutter (about 1/2 inch in diameter) to cut circles out of your warm cookies. I didn't have a cutter small enough so I used the back (round) end of one of my piping tips (large star tip, which I also used to frost the cupcakes, after a good washing). Set your tiny cookies aside to cool completely. What you do with the cookie scraps is up to you. ;) 

When cookies are completely cool, brush each lightly with clean water, then dust on a light coating of edible gold glitter. Tap each cookie gently to remove excess glitter, and viola -- edible gold coins!

For the filling and frosting: 
Beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and well combined.  Add in two cups of powdered sugar and the vanilla extract and beat until well mixed.  Remove 1 cup of cream cheese mixture and reserve for filling. Add 6 tbsp lime curd to the remaining cream cheese mixture and mix well. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar until desired flavor and consistency is reached. Add food coloring and mix until you find the perfect shade of St. Patty's Day green. 

For the cupcakes: 
Bake your cupcakes according to your favorite recipe or package directions, and allow to cool completely. (Psst -- did you know that most cupcakes freeze beautifully for quick use later?) When cool, use a sharp knife to cut a cone of cake out of the center of each cupcake. Reserve cake cones.

Plop 1-2 teaspoons of reserved filling mixture into the well in the center of each cupcake.  Replace cake cones, mashing down a bit to secure them. Don't worry if the cone pops up a bit from the top of your cupcake, you'll cover that up with frosting later. :)  If you have extra filling left, add it back to your bowl of frosting along with the extra 2 tbsp lime curd and more powdered sugar if needed.  

Frost generously and top with your glittering gold coins, and you're done!

Pssst -- Annie over at Annie's Eats just posted the most timely cupcake tutorial ever if you need extra visuals on how to fill your Lime Cheesecake Cupcakes!  How to Make Filled Cupcakes. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Freebie: St. Patty's Day Cupcake Wrappers!

The blogosphere is rife with St. Patty's Day goodies, so I come along today to add a little extra green to the web and maybe your St. Patty's Day table!  I've been wanting to develop my own cupcake wrappers for a while, so this was the perfect excuse to sit down with Photoshop and make something cute for you all. Nothing too extravagant, but maybe just a little more fun for your cupcakes than a plain green cupcake paper!

Click preview image above to download!  

Most of the printable cupcake wrappers I've found have only one or two wrappers on each sheet, but I managed to squeeze three on mine -- wastes less paper!  If you've used printable cupcake wrappers in the past, you know they're a super simple way to dress up a cupcake for any occasion.  Just cut each one out, wrap it around a cupcake you've already frosted (muuuuuuuuuch less messy this way), and tape or glue the ends.

PS. I made these shamrock green Lime Cheesecake Cupcakes with edible gold "coins" especially to match my St. Patrick's Day wrappers, so come back later this week for the recipe! It is SOO good, the perfect light flavor for an early spring party!