“Rise and shine, campers, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.” (love that movie). Happy GROUNDHOG DAY folks!
Ya gotta feel for poor Punxsutawney Phil – he lives in a hole, and the one time that anyone cares what he has to say is one day a year, when 9 times out of 10, he let’s us know that there will in fact be another 6 weeks of Winter. And then everyone gets mad at him and he goes back in his hole all sad until next year.
I guess I have a weakness for furry animals with buck teeth.
Well today I’m giving Phil a shout out – these cute little Groundhog Cupcakes, adapted from an idea a co-worker sent me from Family Fun where they actually used chocolate pudding cups and Milano cookies, which is equally as fun and delicious! But I decided to up the anty a smidgen and make brownie cupcakes out of them. The groundhogs take a bit of time to assemble, but once they’ve come to life, well they’re almost too cute to eat. Almost I said. Sorry Phil 🙂
Adapted from Family Fun
*yields 12 cupcakes
1 box of your favorite brownie mix, prepared according to the instructions
12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 Nutter Butter cookies
sliced almonds (not slivered)
peanut butter chips
white chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
*green sprinkles or Oreo crumbles
1) Prepare your brownie mix according to instructions. Take a 12-muffin tin, spray with non-stick cooking spray, and fill each muffin slot 2/3 way full with brownie batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a fork or toothpick comes out clean.
To assemble your groundhogs:
1) Start by taking 1/2 of the 12oz bag of chocolate chips (6oz) and melting them over a double boiler or in the microwave. This chocolate will be used as the ‘glue’ to paste your eyes, cheeks, teeth, etc. to the groundhog.
2) When the chocolate is melted, you can start putting his ‘face’ on. Start with the teeth – find some broken almond pieces that kind of look like teeth and if you can’t find any, just take some of the slivers and break them. They don’t have to be perfect. Take a toothpick, dip it in the melted chocolate, and dab a little bit of it on back of the almond and stick it in the center of the Nutter Butter, about half way down.
3) Then add the nose by taking another dab of chocolate and making a small circle right at the top of the teeth/almond.
4) Then add your ‘cheeks’ by cutting the tips off of 2 peanut butter chips so that they lay flat on the cookie. Take another dab of chocolate to the side of the chip that you cut off, and then place a chip on either side of the almond teeth, underneath the nose, almost making a diamond shape.
5) Add your eyes by again, cutting the tips off of two white chocolate chips, dabbing chocolate on the cut side of the chip, and then gluing the eyes to the top part of the nutter butter. Take another small dab of chocolate to make the ‘pupils’ of the eyes in the center of the white chips.
6) Lastly, take 2 sliced almonds and stick them on either side of the top of the nutter butter to make the ears. They stick really nicely in the peanut butter so you won’t even need to use the chocolate to glue them in.
To assemble the cupcakes
1) Prepare your chocolate ganache topping by combining the remaining 6oz. of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup heavy cream in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Top each cupcake with the ganache so that it covers the entire cupcake top (it’s ok too if it spills over the sides).
2) While the ganache is still wet on the cupcake, sprinkle the green sprinkles (for grass – slightly unrealistic for Groundhog Day) or the Oreo crumbs (for dirt – I used sprinkles – trying to be optimistic about spring!).
3) Take each groundhog, cutting about 1/4 off the bottom (otherwise they’ll be a bit too tall for the cupcake) and sticking in the center of the cupcake, just so their heads are peeking out.
And the best part is that I made sure these guys did NOT see their shadow, so get your bikin’s out folks 🙂 Spring’s a comin’!
Sorry for the lull in Quinoa bite postage gang! But as with most things, I prefer saving the best for last – the DESSERT!
When I said that Quinoa is a power food, you probably assumed that all these bite recipes would be healthy and good for you. Well – all good things can go bad sometimes. And when I say bad, I mean the good kind of bad – the AMAZING kind of bad.
I needed a ‘dessert’ quinoa bite. So I thought of 2 of my favorite things on the planet – peanut butter and nutella – and then I went crazy – and crazy won – love when that happens!
Peanut Butter & Nutella Quinoa Bites
*yields about 2 dozen bites
1 cup cooked quinoa, warm
1 cup quick oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup your favorite brand of creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup Nutella
2 cups corn flakes, crushed into crumbs
(preferably in a food processor)
6 oz. Dark chocolate for drizzle
1) While your Quinoa is still warm, place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the quick oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter, nutella and corn flakes to the warm Quinoa (the heat from the Quinoa will help all the ingredients to combine together).
2) With a small spatula (or your hands!) mix all of the ingredients together until fully combined. I started doing this with a spatula but then just went right in for the kill with my hands, and it made it much easier to combine the ingredients (and I got to lick them after!)
3) Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and chill it for about 1/2 hour in the refrigerator. After the mixture has chilled, take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture, roll it between the palms of your hands to form a ball and place each ball on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
4) Once all your balls have been formed, melt your chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle over the quinoa balls. Can be served immediately or stored in the fridge for up to a week! (but trust me, they won’t last that long)
O.M.G. When I tell you that these are amazing, I’m not lying. The Corn Flake component may seem a little strange, but I felt the mixture needed a sort of ‘glue’ to hold it together, being that there were no eggs for this recipe. The Corn Flake crumbs acted almost as bread crumbs do with meatballs, giving them some holding power and a little somethin’ more to sink your teeth into.
So there you have it folks – what’d we learn from this series?
Quinoa is DA’ BOMB!
Happy Friday everyone! Here’s a Friday present for you:
1 of the most delicious tasting and easy desserts ever. EVER.
Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles
*yields about 20 truffles
6oz of cream cheese (3/4 of an 8oz block)
1 regular sized package of Oreo cookies
1/2 cup of your favorite creamy peanut butter
12 oz. Milk Chocolate
(You could use a bag of Milk Chocolate chips, or, as I do most times when I use melted chocolate, about 3/4 of a Trader Joe’s 1lb Belgian Chocolate Bars)
*Peanut Butter Drizzle
(an optional step that can be achieved with either Wilton’s Peanut Butter Flavored Candy Melts or by melting about 1/2 cup of peanut butter over low heat in a saucepan)
1) In a food processor, pulse your Oreo cookies until they become a fine crumb texture.
2) In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and peanut butter on low speed until fully combined and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Slowly add in the Oreo crumbs until a dough like mixture forms.
3) Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Take about 2-3 tablespoons of the dough and roll between the palms of your hands to form a ball and place on the waxed paper. Once all the dough has been shaped into balls, chill them in the freezer for 1/2 hr – 1 hr. Cream cheese based dough can soften very quickly so this step is important!
4) While the dough is chilling, melt your chocolate in a double boiler. After the balls have chilled, dip each one in the melted chocolate and place on the waxed paper to allow the chocolate to dry.
5)*Optional Step: If you’re feeling adventurous and want to add some peanut butter drizzle, you can either melt about 1/2 of a 12oz bag of Peanut Butter flavored candy melts or you can simply melt 1/2 cup of Peanut Butter over low heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly. Then just dip the fork in the melted peanut butter and drizzle it over the truffles (these chocolate squeeze bottles also create a really nice drizzle effect – you can find them at any Michaels or A.C. Moore in the Cake decorating/candy making section).
Happy 1st Friday of 2013 everyone!