02 February


Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita Cupcakes 
February 22: National Margarita Day 

When we go out to eat with our Tex-Mex neighbors, Glenn and Ana Maria B., who like to take advantage of happy hour prices at their favorite authentic Mexican restaurants in San Antonio, Texas, Highlander would order a cerveza (beer) while Islander tries a margarita. She personally finds the alcohol too strong for her tastes. But she likes margarita cupcakes over the cocktail and often bakes this boozy dessert for fiestas and get-togethers. Make margarita cupcakes for National Margarita Day. Son muy deliciosos.

Recipe

(Adapted from Diana’s Desserts)

For the margarita cupcakes

  • 1 box white cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 (10 ounces) can of non-alcoholic lime margarita mix, thawed (we used Bacardi brand), divided use (3/4 cup for the cupcakes, remainder for the frosting)
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur (we used Triple Sec)
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 4-5 drops of green food coloring

Directions

Zest the lime and set aside. Separate the eggs, reserving the yolks for another recipe.

Margarita Cupcakes

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and egg whites. Add the lime margarita mix, orange liqueur, tequila and vegetable oil. Mix in the lime zest.

Margarita Cupcakes

Tint the batter with green food coloring. Blend until smooth. Scoop batter into cupcakes papers lining a muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until done. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Yield: 2 dozen. 

Margarita Cupcakes

For the frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Wilton brand clear vanilla)
  • 2-3 tablespoons non-alcoholic lime margarita mix, thawed (from the cupcake ingredients above)
  • lime wedges/half slices or curly peel (optional garnish)
  • green sugar sprinkles (optional decorations)

Directions

Cream the butter. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla. Thin with 2-3 tablespoons of lime margarita mix until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

Margarita Cupcakes

Frost the cupcakes (or fill a pastry bag with frosting and decorate with a swirl on top; we used Wilton tip 1M). Garnish with a lime wedge/slice. Sprinkle green sugar on top. Refrigerate to set. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Margarita Cupcakes 

Notes

  • Also try our Texas Margarita Pie recipe for National Margarita Day. 
  • Search our blog for other Mexican-inspired recipes.

Gumdrop Cookies

Gumdrop Cookies

February 15: National Gumdrop Day

We used to play the board game, Candy Land, when we were kids. In the vintage version, our game pieces traveled through Gumdrop Mountains. In newer layouts of the game, the journey through Candy Land took players through Gumdrop Pass. We are not sure if gumdrop locations still exist in the newer and online editions. But gumdrops, in all its colorful, sugar-coated gummy goodness, are a classic candy! Whenever we bake them in cookies, kids and kids-at-heart enjoy the crisp confection with chewy-gooey gumdrops. These sweet snacks are a treat to eat while playing Candy Land and celebrating National Gumdrop Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar, divided use
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup gumdrop candies (spiced or fruit-flavored), chopped
  • 2 egg whites

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening with ¾ cup sugar. Stir in the almond extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the baking soda and salt. Gradually mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones (the dough will be dry).

Gumdrop Cookies

Mix in the chopped gumdrops. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the dough until moistened.

Gumdrop Cookies

On foil-lined ungreased cookie sheets, drop by teaspoonsful about two inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool to a crisp. Yield: Approximately 2 ½ – 3 dozen gumdrop cookies.

Gumdrop Cookies

Notes

  • For bigger mounds of gumdrop cookies, scoop tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheet and bake for another 5 minutes. For flatter cookies, press down on the dough before baking.
  • For holiday baking, change the colors of the gumdrops to black and orange for Halloween and red and green for Christmas.

Meringue Kisses

Meringue Kisses

February 14: Valentine’s Day

If chocolate-covered strawberries are getting too cliché for Valentine’s Day, try strawberry-flavored meringue kisses instead. The latter are light-as-air, cute crispy-puffy, melt-in-your-mouth sweet treats. They are easy to make and yield several dozen cookies, which look perfect on party trays or in heart-shaped gift boxes. Show your love (of baking) and make meringue kisses for someone special. These bite-sized babies are sure to earn a kiss for the cook. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from McCormick)

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon flavoring/extract (vanilla, strawberry, cherry or raspberry)
  • red food coloring
  • Valentine-colored non-pareils (optional)

Directions

Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Set aside. In a grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat on high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form. Stir in the flavoring (we used strawberry extract).

Meringue Kisses

Fold the red food coloring into the meringue until the desired shade of pink is reached. Fill a pastry bag outfitted with a star tip or round nozzle and pipe two-inch rounds with peaks about two inches apart. Sprinkle with Valentine-colored non-pareils (optional).

Meringue Kisses

Bake in a preheated oven at 225 degrees F for one hour. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues there to cool without opening the door for another hour. Remove from the oven and carefully peel them from the parchment paper.

Meringue Kisses

Notes

  • Make more meringues for other holidays. For fiesta and Cinco de Mayo, make cactus meringue cookies. For Halloween, make meringue skeleton bones.
  • Avoid opening the oven door while the meringue cookies are baking land cooling so moisture does not interfere with the drying process.
  • Humidity affects making meringues. When the weather gets this way, the meringues become sticky and chewy.
  • This “kiss” name is probably descriptive of the slight touch of the pastry tip on the baking sheet. When piping out the meringue from the bag, squeeze then lift off gently to form the distinctive peak on top of the meringue cookie. The peak looks like the top on the tiny chocolate kiss candy as well. Both are delicious desserts for Valentine’s Day.

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 127 other followers