Tag Archives: Chocolate

Conversation Heart Cupcakes

My husband’s 30th birthday is coming up this weekend. I was reminiscing about past birthdays in anticipation of this one and I thought I would share what I did for him a few years ago.  There was a short period when I had to fill in and be the pastry department at work.  I was leaving the house at hours previously unknown to me and I was not going to see Patrick at all on his birthday.  I decided to make conversation heart cupcakes so that they could cheerfully greet him that morning in my absence.  These would, of course, be the perfect addition to any Valentine’s Day party or even as a treat in a loved one’s lunch box. It’s a creative and yummy way to say “I love You.”

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 box of Cake Mix, your favorite flavor (look, these cupcakes are somewhat labor intensive in the decorating department, there is no need to go overboard and make a cake from scratch unless you have several hours to kill).

Eggs, as specified on box of Cake Mix

Oil, as specified on box of Cake Mix

Water, as specified on box of Cake Mix

Frosting:

1/2 cup Butter, softened

4 cups Powdered Sugar

2 teaspoon Vanilla

4 tablespoons Milk

4 pack of Food Coloring

Writing:

4 ounces White Chocolate Chips

Special Equipment:

Silicone Heart Shaped Cupcake “Pan” (such as one sold by Wilton at craft stores)

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Peppermint Bark Brownies

Peppermint Bark Brownies

Okay, just as a warning, if you are on a diet and do not want to break it please stop reading now as I cannot be held liable for any actions beyond this point.  I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint which shows up this time of year in many forms including peppermint bark.  I wanted to see if I could imitate the flavors of peppermint bark in a brownie, the result is irresistible.  Invite some family to come and stay because being left alone with a pan of these brownies is a recipe for diet disaster. These brownies are decadent.

Ingredients:

Brownies:

1 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Butter

2 Eggs

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Flour

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract

White Chocolate Butter Cream:

1/2 cup Butter

1 cup Powdered Sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons Half and Half or Milk

3 ounces White Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup Candy Cane pieces (approximately 15 mini candy canes)

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

For the brownies, melt the butter and add in all the other ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  Place the batter into a 8 x 8 inch buttered pan.  Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.  Place the brownie pan on a cooling rack when they are done and allow to cool for an hour.

To make the frosting, cream together butter and powdered sugar.  Place the white chocolate chips in a glass bowl and place over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler.  Stir constantly until the chips melt.  Allow the chocolate to cool for a minute before slowly adding to the butter and sugar mixture.  Add in the half and half or milk a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is creamy.  Fold in half of the candy cane pieces.  Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies and sprinkle the top with the rest of the candy cane pieces.  Cut the brownies into 16 pieces and enjoy.

Tips and Tricks:

These brownies are the gooey type, if you would like to remove them from the pan more easily then line the bottom with parchment paper and take them out of the pan whole before frosting.

To crush the candy canes I merely hit the individual packets with the bottom side of a measuring cup a couple of times, you could also remove them from their packages whole and place them in a zip top bag to break them up using a rolling pin or other heavy item.

If your white chocolate chips are not melting properly (white chocolate can be temperamental) try adding vegetable oil in small amounts (about 1/2 teaspoon at a time).