Help From Betty Crocker and Jell-O = French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes

Every now and then I call upon Betty (Crocker) to lend me a hand in the kitchen.  While I typically bake from scratch, there are times when I just don’t feel like dragging out all of the ingredients to whip up a batch of cupcakes.  Can you say lazy?  Can you relate?

Now, just because I’m a little lazy and decide to use a cake mix doesn’t mean I can’t be creative.  Take these French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes for example,  I decided they would create a perfect ending to a delicious home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner we have planned for this evening.

And if you’re like me, there are also times when you’re looking for a flavored cake that is nearly impossible to find.  When this happens I find myself in the Jell-O isle at the grocery store.  Cake mix + Jell-O pudding or gelatin = endless possibilities. (This is not a sponsored post.  I just happen to like both of these products.)

To make these cupcakes you will need:

1 Super Moist Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake Mix

1 Box of Jell-O Coconut Cream Cook & Serve Pudding

A batch of your favorite homemade vanilla buttercream frosting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake tins with cupcake papers (makes 24)

In a large bowl, add cake mix, pudding mix, 1 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. olive oil, and 3 large eggs.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 full.  Bake for about 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.

I decorated these with some finely grated dark chocolate.

What would your favorite flavor combo be if I asked you to pick a cake mix and a box of Jell-O?

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.

Create and Share! Best of the Weekend Party at littlemisscelebration.com

Sweet Happenings For Valentine’s Day

Thanks to Temptation Candy out in California, The Joy of Caking is hosting an awesome Valentine’s Day CHOCOLATE giveaway!

Temptation Candy has assured me that one lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will enjoy a package filled with delicious chocolates similar to the ones pictured here.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – CONGRATULATIONS TO ZOE MONTELEONE! 

To enter, all you have to do is follow Temptation Candy on one (or all) of their social media sites and then leave a comment (in the comments section only) letting me know which site(s) you are following them on.

https://facebook.com/temptationcandy

https://twitter.com/temptationcandy

https://pinterest.com/temptationcandy

Rules of the giveaway:

Open to US residents only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii); (1) entry per person; winner will be selected on or about Friday, February 13, 2015; winner will be notified by email, if winner does not respond within 24 hours then an alternate winner will be selected; winner must provide a valid street address (for shipping reasons) which will be forwarded to Temptation Candy – sorry, NO P.O. Boxes.  The prize will ship directly from Temptation Candy

The chocolates featured in this post are courtesy of Temptation Candy.  Any opinions herein are my own and I have not been financially compensated to write this post. 

An Easy Chocolate Valentine’s Day Dessert– Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Today is Valentine’s Day.  In celebration of this romantic holiday, I made homemade chocolate pudding that we will have for dessert after a delicious home cooked meal.  It’s not fancy; it’s just good.

If you don’t like the sound of some of the ingredients that are listed on the packages of store-bought pudding, have no fear!  You will most certainly recognize each of the ingredients that go into this delicious, easy to make, creamy and chocolaty pudding.

I found this recipe at the Taste of Home

The only thing I changed? I omitted 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  And next time, I’d cut the sugar by 1/4 cup.  It is a tad bit to sweet in my opinion. 

I opted to serve the pudding individually so I used my mini glasses from Libbey Glass. I think these glasses make desserts look so much more fancy (even when they aren’t). 

This recipe makes a generous amount of pudding so I am planning on making homemade cream puffs and filling them with it.  Stay tuned…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m linking this post up at The Novice Garden’s Fiesta Friday #3.  If you get a minute, check out all of the other great posts that have been shared there this week.  And please join in!

Simple & Sweet Shortbread Cookies

Somehow, January has nearly slipped right by me.  It wasn’t until today that I realized we will soon be entering the ever so cold month of February, (as if it hasn’t been ever so cold already) and soon Cupid will arrive with his love potion filled arrows.

Last year, in honor of what is suppose to be one of the most romantic days of the year, I made several delicious treats leading up to the big day.  I kicked off the celebration with Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes.   Then came the Chocoholic Cupcake, the Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles, and let’s not forget the Valentine Cream Wafer (Heart) Cookies.  

I decided to start this years celebration off with one of my most favorite cookies ever.  The Simple & Sweet Shortbread Cookie.  These cookies are melt in your mouth perfect.  Butter, sugar, flour, a pinch of salt and a touch of vanilla.  That’s it – so simple, so sweet!

SIMPLE & SWEET SHORTBREAD COOKIES

2 sticks of butter, room temperature

1/2 c. granulated sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar for rolling

Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Cream ingredients together; add flour.  Continue to mix ingredients until everything is blended.  Form dough into a ball. 

Place a dough on a piece of parchment paper that is coated with a light coating of powdered sugar.  Roll dough out until it is about 1/4” thick. Use more powdered sugar if needed.  Cut out cookies using a cookie cutter.  Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet about 1 1/2” apart.  Bake for about 8 minutes.  Do not over bake.  They will firm up after removing them from the oven.  Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet before moving them.

If you want to spruce your cookies up, roll the edges in a thin butter cream icing and then coat the edges with some colored sugar.   

I couldn’t resist sneaking this cute little (like new) tea cup from Teavana into this picture.  I found it at a local thrift store for 30 cents.  That’s my kind of bargain!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romance.  It can simply be about kindness.  Make a batch of these delicious cookies, pair them with a pretty tea cup or coffee mug, and give them to someone that’s deserving this Valentine’s Day.

I’m planning on sharing my cookies at one of my favorite hangouts – BeBetsy.  Make sure you check out their great site because there is something there for everyone.

Heart Cookies for Valentine’s Day

This is my last post before cupid show’s himself tomorrow.  I have really had fun with Valentine’s Day recipes this year.  I hope you’ve enjoyed all the treats and recipes I’ve shared.

Now, for my final treat.  Yes, there is still time for you to whip up a batch of these delicious Valentine Cream Wafer Cookies.  The recipe is straight from Betty Crocker’s Kitchen.  When I saw these I immediately pinned them on one of my Pinterest boards and knew I NEEDED to make them. 

I tweaked the original  recipe ever so slightly by adding 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter.  Other than that, I followed the recipe and instructions to the letter.  *Note – the original recipe say’s it yields about 44 cookies.  I got about 1 1/2 dozen with a slightly bigger cookie cutter.

These cookies are tender, sweet, and delicious.  I’m adding this recipe to my tried and true recipe box. 

Wishing all you romantics out there a Happy Valentine’s Day!

weekend-potluck-buttong

Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles

Who say’s a girl can’t have her cake and eat it too?   That’s exactly what you’re going to get in these scrumptious truffles – cake!

These little babies have already worked their way to the top of my favorites list.   

If you have someone special on your Valentine’s Day list that loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate  like I do, these would make the perfect (homemade) gift.

Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles

1/2 c. peanut butter

2 tbsp. margarine

1 c. mini-marshmallows

3/4 c. powdered sugar

1 unfrosted chocolate cupcake, crumbled fine

3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tbsp. vegetable shortening

In a small saucepan, melt margarine, peanut butter, and marshmallows on low heat.   Stir in cake crumbs.  Add powdered sugar and remove from heat; stirring until mixture forms a ball.

Remove from saucepan and place into small bowl.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough has chilled, roll dough into 1” balls. 

Melt chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a double boiler.  Dip balls into chocolate and place onto prepared cookie sheet.  Return to refrigerator to harden.

Makes about 1 dozen.

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes, The Chocoholic Cupcake, and now, Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles for Valentine’s Day.  Could it get any better than this? Nah….

weekend-potluck-buttong

The Chocoholic Cupcake: Another Valentine’s Day Dessert

A couple weeks ago I announced that I was going to make a few  treats in an effort to pick the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.   The only requirement for the dessert; it must have chocolate in it.  And as you might imagine, this is becoming a harder chore than I originally thought.

The first recipe I presented was for Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes.  They definitely hit the spot, and after making them I had to wonder if I would be able to top them.

Well… now I present the Chocoholic Cupcake.  The cake is dark, moist, and less sweet than a lot of chocolate cupcake recipes.  I like to top them off with either  vanilla or chocolate buttercream frosting which is sweet and buttery and compliments the dark chocolate cake.

I have to say that it is nearly impossible to choose a favorite between the two desserts I’ve made so far.  I have at least one more dessert to make before picking a favorite, but now I’m wondering if we should celebrate Valentine’s Day with just desserts and wine!

Chocoholic Cupcakes

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 c. brown sugar, not packed

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 c. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. cocoa

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. skim milk

1 c. boiling water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes. 

Prepare cupcake tins by placing paper liners in each cup.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add sugars, eggs, skim milk, and oil.  With an electric mixer beat ingredients for 2 minutes.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa; mix again until completely blended.  Add boiling water and flour; beat until smooth and creamy.  Stir in vanilla extract. 

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

I couldn’t resist decorating these cupcakes with bright gumballs from SweetWorks candy, along with Hershey’s creamy milk chocolate hearts and kisses.  Both are so festive!

And drum roll please…. 

TheMaryJaneFam blog, Raising Jane Journal, featured photos of my one and only Pink Paradise today.  They also shared a link to my Tin Can Tourist post as well.   I feel so honored!  If you have a minute,  please hop on over there and check it out.

Also, an important reminder all you glampers  –  the International Glamping Weekend is scheduled for  June 1-2, 2013.  Follow the link above to find out more.

I shared this recipe at:

weekend-potluck-buttong

 

Country Candle Ring for Valentine’s Day

I love handmade primitive country crafts but I cringe at the price of them.  It’s understandable why they are a bit pricey though;  considering the time that goes into making them.  For me, I DIY it every chance I get. 

This fabric rag garland candle ring is simple and inexpensive to make.  The only thing you will need is some spare time since there is cutting, knotting, and threading to be done.

I used 3 different pieces of scrap material that I had on had for this project. 

1.) Start by cutting strips of material 12” long by 1” in wide.

2.) Cut the 12 “ strips of material into thirds.  I didn’t keep count of the number of strips I cut, I just kept cutting. The amount you will need will all depend on the size of garland you want.  

3.) Once you have cut all of your strips, tie a knot into the center of each one.  You may notice that some knots are tighter than others depending on the type of materials used.

4.) Once all of the knots have been tied, take a piece of embroidery string that is double in length of the size garland you want.  Knot one end, and thread an embroidery needle on the other end.  Run the needle through the center of each knotted piece of  material (in the order you decide on) onto the string. 

5.) Tie the end of the strings together for a candle ring, or if you are using this as garland to hang, just knot off the other end.

6.) Finish your project off by placing a glass candle holder (with candle) in the center of your ring.  Make sure you use a glass candle holder to house the candle and to avoid a fire.

This was probably one of the most inexpensive crafts I’ve ever made, and yet it’s so cute.  Remember, if I can do it, you can do it!

Click on the photo below to go to my 2012Valentine’s Day craft project (Paper Heart Garland).

 

 

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes

I’m already looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.  And this dessert only has to meet one criteria.  Please say this with me…  It must be contain chocolate!

With that in mind, I decided to do a test run on one of the desserts I’m considering.  These Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes are absolutely delicious and ADDICTING.  Yes, I am thinking I may need to enroll in Cheesecake Overeaters Anonymous after making these.

These desserts are so simple to make, yet people will ooh and ah over them.  I just love that don’t you?

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes

Makes 2 dozen mini cheesecakes.  Line regular sized muffin pans with paper liners.

Crust

1 1/4 c. graham crackers, crushed

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

3 tbsp. margarine, melted

Combine ingredients in medium sized bowl; mix thoroughly.  Put a heaping tablespoon of crust mix into each paper liner. Pack  down using the bottom of a small juice glass.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Filling

(2) 8 oz. packages of light cream cheese, softened

1 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses, unwrapped and ground (I used my food processor for this.)

24 Milk Chocolate Hershey Kisses, unwrapped and set aside

In a large sized bowl, add cream cheese, eggs, and sugar.  Using electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.  Add vanilla; mix  thoroughly.  Fill paper liners about 2/3 full with filling and sprinkle  ground dark chocolate  on top of the filling.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Remove from oven and insert the milk chocolate kisses into the center of each cake.  Cool completely before removing from pan.

Strawberry Topping

Thaw one package of frozen crushed strawberries, and add sugar to taste.

Don’t forget to enter  my Hershey Candy Giveaway, and check out Celebrate with Hershey for other great Valentine’s Day ideas.

What is your favorite cheesecake?

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Hershey’s and a Valentine’s Day Reminder

Yes, this is a reminder to all of you that next month is the beloved Valentine’s Day.  Or, as in some cases, the dreaded Valentine’s Day.

Whichever way you  look at Valentine’s Day I doubt you will deny the fact that you enjoy indulging in a little chocolate, or some type of candy on or around the 14th of February each year.

This year alone, The Hershey Company is predicting over 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolates will be sold.  That’s right, 36 million!  And yes, this post is all about Hershey.  Let me give you the low down…

The Hershey Company doesn’t fool around when it comes to celebrating the holidays.  They recently partnered with art students from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where they designed the heart shaped boxes for this years Hershey’s Pot of Gold Premium Collection, and Pot of Gold Truffles.  The designs are so beautiful;  I have decided my favorite is their new paisley printed heart shaped box.

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If you aren’t one of the 36 million people that is planning on buying a  heart shaped box of candy this year have no fear – Hershey has a huge selection of other candies for you to choose from.

Now, I’ve got a couple suggestions to  help put you in the Valentine’s Day mood this year.

First, be sure to check out Celebrate with Hershey’s.  There you can shop for their products,  find great holiday craft ideas and recipes, read about the history of Valentine’s Day, and send an eCard.  And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter which offers a bunch of perks as well.

And secondly, enter my HERSHEY CANDY GIVEAWAY!  

One lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will  have the chance to win an assortment of Hershey’s delicious candy; similar to the samples I recently received.  Details about the giveaway can be found at the end of this post.

 

To enter this giveaway; leave a comment telling me your  Valentine’s Day plans this year.  For additional entries; tweet about this post, or pin a photo from it on one of your Pinterest boards.   Make sure you leave a separate comment for each action that you complete.  There is a maximum of three entries per person.  This giveaway is only open to US residents – sorry to all my friends that don’t live in the US.  One winner will randomly be selected on February 4th, 2013.

PS.  Be sure you check back to see what other fun things I do with my stash of candy!

This contest is officially over.  Congratulation to Sandra of Sweet Sensations – the lucky winner!