Happy Monday, everyone!
My sincerest apologies for being MIA for the last week and a half. I knew the week leading in my my trip to Chicago would be busy, but it was more of a bear than I thought. On top of that, with the weather fluctuating so much, I caught a cold that only worsened during my trip.
Upon arriving home, I spent as much time as I could resting up and finally went to the doctor on Friday morning after about 10 (!!!) days of coughing and feeling crappy. I knew I wasn’t to the point where it could be pneumonia yet, but I was scared it would head that direction as I started noticing that I was out of breath. The doctor said it was viral, but gave me a steroid shot (never had one…they are AMAZING!), antibiotics, a course of steroids and an inhaler. I’m finally feeling better and have a voice back (mostly). It just started out as the typical reaction to the temperatues drastically changing so much, but I’m glad they gave me something to keep it from progressing.
I’ll do a separate post later, but the trip to Chicago was AMAZING! It wasn’t the sites or the activities, but the quality time with some of my favorite friends over a five-day period were absolutely perfect. It makes me so happy to see them so happy!
So, now that you’re caught up, we’re FOUR days from Christmas. EEK! Definitely not prepared, but we’re getting there…minus the fact that we don’t have a tree. At this point, I’m just saying screw it, but it definitely doesn’t feel like Christmas without it — and usually, we are such Christmas people. All that matters is my mom will be here, the puppies will be spoiled and we’ll hopefully have a great group for dinner on Christmas day!
On to the cupcakes!
A few years ago, for my work gift, I made everyone little boxes with four cupcakes. It was a TON of work, but one of my favorite gifts I’ve done. With the numbers now, it would sadly be too difficult to do, but I have hung on to this recipe and use it almost every year. Such a great holiday cupcake!
Candy Cane Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
From Baking Bites, makes 12 cupcakes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red food coloring
1-Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2-In a large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sugar has mostly been dissolved.
3-Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
4-Pour into wet ingredients and whisk just until batter is smooth.
5- Measure out one cup of batter and place it back in the medium bowl. Add red food coloring to this bowl and whisk to incorporate.
6-Put a spoonful (approx 2-3 tsp) of the white batter into the center each cupcake paper and let it spread slightly on its own.
7-Put a spoonful of red batter in the center of the white. It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself.
8-Alternating spoonfuls of the two batters and trying to keep the amounts as even as possible (after the first layer, I used smaller amounts of red and white with each spoonful), repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up.
9-Bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
10-Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
4-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
green food coloring (optional, but recommended for the holidays)
1-In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.
2-Beat until smooth, then mix in vanilla extract, milk and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar.
3-Beat until very smooth, then gradually blend in additional sugar until frosting is fluffy, thick and easy to spread.
4-Beat in up to 1/2 tsp green food coloring to dye the frosting, if you wish.
Note: Frosting can be spread onto the cupcakes or piped on using a piping bag.
Sorry, again, for the absense! Looking forward to a week of holiday-related posts!
Have a great day!