Going to a ladies lunch at Chicken Salad Chicks tomorrow made me think we need to end our fun lunch with some cupcakes! Since Thanksgiving is next week, These Cupcakes seemed to just be what might “spice” up our gathering!
Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
4 eggs at room temperature
1 cup water
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
Mix Al ingredients together and with electric mixer beat for 2 minutes. Fill cupcake liners about half full and bake in preheated 350 degree oven until cupcakes are done. About 15-18 min depending on your oven. made 22 cupcakes
Frost with you favorite cream cheese or buttercream frosting
I used cream cheese and sprinkled crushed pralined pecans (purchased at Costco)over the top!
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature* 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature* 1/2 cup (156g) molasses 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine brown sugar, softened butter and mix for two minutes! Add egg and yolk, vanilla and molasses and mix well. Pour in milk and mix until combined! Add flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices ! Stir with a fork and then gradually add to wet mixture beating until well combined. Using a large cookie scoop, drop into about 12 cupcake liners and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 15-18 min, or until cupcakes test done! Cool cupcakes completely and frost with cream cheese frosting or your favorite buttercream frosting that you might add a little ground cinnamon to (about 1/2 teas to if using 1/2 cup butter, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar recipe) Cream cheese frosting is just 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter to 4 cups powdered sugar adding whipped cream as needed to get to spreading consistency.
Today was a baking day here at the Gingerbread House. So much fun baking with friends and sharing lunch while sampling all the wonderful pastries! Thanks Peggy for the recipe, the hauling of all the necessary items over here needed to make these and the love that you put into making memories with friends!
Fruit Kolaches (aka Kolacky)
From Peggy Stodola Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes
Ingredients for dough:
1 lb. cream cheese softened (2- 8 oz bars)
1 lb. butter softened (4 sticks)
1 lb. flour (4 cups)
Filing: Solo cake & pastry filling (comes in various flavors, ie. cherry, almond, apricot, poppy seed). These can be found in the grocery aisle with pie fillings.
Instructions for dough:
Mix all ingredients together. Divide into 5 or 6portions and form each into a flat disk. Wrap each in saran wrap and put in fridge at least 4-5 hours (overnight is good).
Let the dough rest on the counter for about 30 minutes. Take one disk of dough and roll it out on floured surface (or between two sheets of wax paper or saran wrap) to about 1/8” thickness. Cut dough into 3” squares (or use a square cookie cutter).
Put approx. 1 t. of filling in center of each square. Bring up 2 opposite corners to center and fold one corner over the other (put dab of egg wash on the corner to make them stick). Place on ungreased parchment lined cookie sheets.
Check at 10 minutes (you want them to barely be done; slightly golden on the bottoms. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Dust tops with sifted powdered sugar after kolaches are completely cooled. Store in airtight containers.
Some of you have probably already seen this recipe on FB but if not I wanted to post it for myself to keep and for sharing it with y’all! A great salad/side dish for the holidays. Just waiting for the fresh cranberries to appear in the stores‘. Can’t remember what site I stole it from but it sound so so good! Happy Fall Y’all!
▢ 2 cups sour cream (or plain greek yogurt)
▢ 2 cups pineapple tidbits well drained
▢ 2 cups mini marshmallows
▢ 1 cup pecans chopped
▢ 2 cups flaked coconut
▢ 3 cups Fresh Cranberries
▢ ¾ cup Sugar
▢ 1 cup water
▢ 1 Cinnamon Stick
Combine cranberries, sugar, water and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes. Cool completely (sauce will thicken upon cooling).
Add 1 ½ cups cooled cranberry mixture from step 1 with remaining ingredients and stir well.
These are simple, yet so yummy! Because I was wanting to make individual cheesecakes instead of a large 9” one, I began to wonder about the adjustments that would be needed in order to make them! As I began to think about that I didn’t have a clue who to call to ask. It was at that moment that Peter Pumpkin (aka Randy) walked thru the kitchen. Of course I told him my problem with not knowing who to call to ask such important baking questions when he responded “why dont you call Philadelphia Cream Cheese and ask them!” So I looked up the number and called. What a great idea he had given me! A very nice lady name Cynthia heard my concerns and gave me a link that would give many cheesecake recipes! I found one I liked and just made a couple of additions to it and used my own crust and they came out absolutely wonderful. The ladies yesterday loved them and ask if the recipe was already on the blog! So here it is! Also here is the number for Philadelphia Cream Cheese should you find yourself in the middle of the kitchen with mixer all ready to go and you realize you don’t know what to do! It is 1800-431-1001! Your welcome!
Mini Cheesecakes with gingerbread crust
2 cups of finely crushed gingerbread snaps
4 tables melted unsalted butter
3 tables light brown sugar
Combine these 3 ingredients and put about a tables of the mixture in the bottoms of 24 cupcake liners. Set aside.
3 (8 oz each) softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teas vanilla (I poured about another 1/2 teas)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tables heavy whipping cream
Mix all ingredients except eggs and beat until well blended
Mix in beaten eggs, one at a time, just until they are combined. The less you beat them the less air that is in the cheesecake which is what u want. So beat just until eggs are mixed in. Using a cookie scoop, fill cupcake liners almost to the top! Bake about 20-22 min in preheated 325 oven!
Top with your choice of fruit or leave plain ! I wanted apple topping so I used the apples I had and chopped them up and combined them with some butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Poured this into a skillet and cooked them until they were soft and syrup was thick! Cool and pour over cheesecakes right before serving!
Last week I went to a friends home for a tea. I have to admit that because my comfort zone is in the kitchen, I sometimes don’t enjoy things like this as well as some others might. Having to admit that I write better than I speak, it is always so much more comfortable for me to be the one giving the tea than attending so I can stay busy serving. But, this seems to be something that I so often say lately; and it is that I was again reminded of something last week. As soon as I arrived at the tea, of course you know what I did, I headed to the kitchen where several ladies had already gathered, around the food. But as more ladies arrived, it became obvious that they weren’t there for the food (as good as it truly was) but for the fellowship! In a few minutes I found myself meeting some new ladies I had never met and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in quite a while! Others I see but just never have the opportunity to really visit with them one on one! So as yummy as the food was, it was clear that the fellowship with each other was the main focus of the day. In fact I hardly touched the food I was having so much fun talking with the others! I didn’t want to leave when it was time. Why is it we get so caught up on things that truly are not the things we should be focused on. Last week I had several young moms over for dinner. After watching them interact with each other and enjoy their time away from the babies (and probably if we are being honest here even the hubbies) for an evening, I knew I could have served them TV dinners and they would not have cared. The next day, I received a text message from one of them that said “it was just so nice to be cared for instead of being the caregiver last night”. That made me stop to think of what I should be focused on when people are in our home. Yes, I do enjoy cooking for others, but….as Debbie Stuart always reminds us, “ keep the main thing the main thing”…and in this case, it should be the people, not the food! Lord help me when I seem to go back to being a Martha, worrying so much about the details, give me a love and insight to people and what they might be needing from me! May they feel cared for and loved the minute they walk thru our door. Help me to remember that they might not remember what I served them but they will remember how I treated them!
I’m so grateful for being reminded once again (seems like the Lord has to teach me this again ever so often)last week, to not focus so much on what the house looks like or if the menu is perfect! Make my focus be on others and may Gods light and love fill me to overflowing so that they see Him not me! That is my prayer!
Before I begin the story I want to just say “Happy Fall Y’all” and may your yards be filled with pumpkins and mums and may your days be filled with pumpkin lattes, apple cakes/pies and your nights with soups/stews or chicken and dumplings to your hearts content! Peter and Penelope have stashed Trudy and Randy in the closet until after Christmas when once again Frosty and Noel will allow them back out to enjoy the New Year! As pumpkins adorn our house and the baking of gingerbread biscotti permeates the air, we are enjoying the cooler (well by 8-10 degrees) and just the change of our attitudes of knowing that in just a few weeks the fireplace will be lit and the blankets will be once again thrown over the arm of the couch just waiting for us to snuggle in! Aw…yes the feel of fall is upon us! To begin our first weekend in Oct, we set out to run errands when all of a sudden Peter steps on the brake and makes a quick turn into the parking lot where Sprouts is located! Before I began to say “did you forget something at home and am doing a uturn?” he looks at me and says “we might as well go ahead and get your chocolate covered Gummi bears before we start our day and I have to listen to you gripe that you don’t have any for the weekend” and you wonder why I love this sweet man! So into Sprouts I ran (ok I didn’t run I waddled) and made the mistake of going to the same man at the checkout counter. He looked up from his mask at me and remembered checking me out a few days ago when I had gone thru his checkout stand only buying this same candy, and he said, and I quote,”my goodness you must really like these little guys”! And yes when he weighed them I actually had a lb and a half. But I just did the right thing and lied and said “oh I’m sharing them with a friend”!
So I paid for them and really did run out of the store to show this darling man that even if I did eat a lot of candy, I could in fact. still run! by the time Peter drove up to pick me up at the curb, I had already untied the bag and had a chocolate covered gummy bear in my mouth…and life began to make sense again! But as we were driving out headed to the exit of the parking lot, we noticed a lady who had parked in the furthest parking space out by the road, carrying her reusable grocery bags, wearing a mask, skinny as a rail , walking briskly in the direction of Sprouts! As we watched her we began to talk of the difference in people! We always drive around sometimes for 10 minutes trying to find the closest parking spaces to the stores! And reusable bags? , we do good to remember to bring our wallets and drinks for our snacks we eat driving around. Do you really thing we can remember to bring our own bags? And as we continued to talk about this we realized that people like her probably have never had a little piece of Heaven that we like to call “hamburgers and French fries from Shakeshack”. We have just discovered this magical place that is now our favorite hamburgers and shakes.
So now in addition to our regular Fall addictions of apple cakes, pumpkin cheesecakes, and gingerbread biscottis, we now have to add chocolate covered Gummi bears and Shakeshack hamburgers! Yes Fall is in the air, and Peter and Penelope are so ready to explore, gather with friends and family or sit with the fireplace on having a hamburger, shake and chocolate Gummi bears! Bless that skinny little ladies heart, I bet she is still walking back to her car with her reusable bags that is filled with nothing but fruits and veggies!
Since Fall is about to fall upon us, (see what I did there), I wanted something fallish in the oven. Randy had requested a pecan pie so I looked up the Pioneer woman’s recipe and it looked wonderful so I made that for him and then decided to whip up these wonderful little spice cupcakes to take to some sweet ladies who work ever so hard at trying to make even us oldies look pretty snazzy. So a shout out to Apple Blvd for the fun I have watching them model cute clothes while Randy watches football! And of course, I do hope that Apple Blvd will come to my rescue by letting me sleep in their parking lot in my car when Randy kicks me out from buying too many clothes !
1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix
1 small box french vanilla instant pudding mix
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup veggie oil and 1 cup water
Mix all ingredients together and beat for 2 min. Using large cookie scoop, divide batter into 24 cupcake liners. Bake in preheated 350 oven until a little shine is left in the lines on top of cupcakes. I always take them out before that shine is gone so they aren’t dry. Cool completely and frost with Praline frosting
In a medium size saucepan, melt 1 stick unsalted butter (8 oz) with 1 cup of light brown sugar and 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream or milk! Stir until brown sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
Boil for 1 min. Pour mixture over 3 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until smooth! You might have to add more milk or more powdered sugar depending on how thick or thin frosting is. Add 1 teas vanilla. When Cupcakes are cool, frost with frosting and top with sprinkles of your choice!
I’m not saying I’m a true blonde and I’m not saying I’m not! AND….I’m not saying that covid made me do it and I’m not saying it didn’t! We have all heard of some folks having a little “mind fog” after having Covid! And we have also heard our fair share of blonde jokes! All I can say is this; Randy and I are running out of cities and neighborhoods to move to after these most embarrassing moments! Bless Randys heart, he has had his fair share of these situations but they were mostly of his own doing! Mine, well, let’s just say that mine, for the most part, tend to come because I tend to look at life thru rose colored glasses! And when I hear certain words like party, celebration, fellowships, weddings, birthdays and grand openings, all I can think about is fun fun fun and food food food!!!!
Yesterday was one memory that will go down in my book of “need to move NOW” situations as much as when we moved after me doing a spread eagle with a grocery cart at Kroger! I know y’all probably thought we moved to California due to Randys job but we had to get away from TX quickly when that happened! My kids told me it was a shame that I hadnt had that move on video as it would have won us a lot of money on AFV! But moving forward to this past weekend….we have been hearing our Pastor preach lately about Jesus telling us that we are to be salt and
Light in this ole world and to be looking for opportunities to share Christ with people who might need some encouragement or hope! Well, I saw an opportunity yesterday when we were leaving the house and waved to our neighbor who lives behind us! He was outside across from our driveway putting something in his truck so I told Randy to back up and let me run back inside the house to get some gingerbread biscotti I had made to give to he and his wife! So Randy backs up the car and I proceed to walk over to hand him the bag of biscotti and tell him I hope he and his wife enjoy it. He then begins to thank me and tell me that they are headed out to a “Celebration of Life” for his wife’s mom! As I hand over the biscotti I, well the conversation went like this: Trudy—“oh how fun. Please tell Patti’s mom I said Happy birthday for me and after y’all get home from the party having all the neat celebration food, you can sit down and relax and have a piece of biscotti!” Dewayne—“thank you so much for the biscotti. I’ll tell JEN, you brought this over!” Well, I walked away to get in the car so proud of my good deed when Randy looks over at me and says, (yes he had had the car window down and heard what I had said)
“You just told him to wish his dead mother in law a happy birthday! Do you realize a celebration of life is for people who are dead? They aren’t having a birthday party for her!”
As we drove away I told Randy to now back up because I had to go back and apologize! So we did back up and Dewayne came over to the car! Randy once again rolls his window down and I lean over and begin to apologize and tell him how sorry I am for not realizing what a Celebration of Life was! Randy begins to tell our neighbor that I am blonde and these things happen al the time! Dwayne began to laugh and tell me that his MIL had indeed died in July but because of Covid the Celebration was just being held! I also realized that when he kept talking about his wife “Jen” I had called her by the wrong name before! So the moral to my story is this: when you are trying to be a good neighbor and be salt to people around you, maybe call Jake from State Farm to get some tips beforehand! And learn today’s lingo before opening your mouth! It will save you from having to move so often like we do!
Welcome to Chocolate Castles, a blog about food, family and stories that hopefully will bring a smile to your heart.
Thanks for reading chocolate castles and may the recipes and stories help bring your family and friends a little closer around the table!
Remember that Princess On The Porch is still available on Amazon! Makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen and needs a little laughter in their lives.
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