But Sugar is Sweeter

Archive for February, 2013

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

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I promised you the recipe for these cupcakes, and I didn’t want to disappoint!   I had a few ideas in mind for my friend’s birthday, which perfectly coincided with the academy awards, but I’m so glad she chose these!    I made them once before for another birthday, but for some reason decided I didn’t like the pictures I took, and so never posted the recipe.  Of course with the business of the party, I didn’t get around to taking any better pictures this time, but in retrospect the ones I took way back in June aren’t bad!  In fact, they look so delicious, they kind of make me want to make these cupcakes again!

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I really made my day when one of the guests at the party said, “Seriously…These look so good, I thought they were from Cake in a Cup! ” – which is the local cupcake place that happened to have won Cupcake Wars.   The truth is, it’s pretty easy to make these look professional, and as long as you follow the recipe, you can’t go wrong with taste.  In fact, I think these cupcakes are even better then any you could buy, because I don’t think too many places put a half an oreo on the bottom of the cupcake, and then another 20 in the batter.  Let’s just say this isn’t exactly a “light cupcake”…like seriously when you pick it up you will be like, OMG this is heavy!  But it is SO good!
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In order to get half an oreo with the frosting on the bottom of the cupcake, I ended up using a sharp knife to get the frosting all on one side.  I tried the old “twist” method, but ended up breaking (and then eating) a few too many oreos.  Overall you will need 56 oreos for these, so be sure to buy 2 packs.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

– Makes 24 Cupcakes

  • 24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 24 Oreo cookie halves

1) Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
3) Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4) To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5) Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired, I used a large round tip with a pastry bag.   Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.
Source: Annie’s Eats, Adapted from Beantown Baker
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And the award goes to…

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I know this is another non-traditional post, but what can I say, my life has been a little non-traditional lately! Since our schedules have been laid back, with no major exams looming over our heads, John and I made a goal to see all of the Oscar nominees for best picture before the big event.   (We love movies, and $5 movie night on Tuesdays is hard to pass up!) We got to 89% of our goal – seeing all but Amour before the awards began.  Amour was a hard movie to track down, especially in a small place like Toledo, OH.  I was kind of bummed about not batting a thousand; but after seeing how depressing it looked, I’m kind of glad that’s the one we missed.   To honor our movie loving nature, and to have some extra fun on a Sunday night, we decided to have an Oscar’s Party – which I’m hoping is something we can make an annual event!   I had a ton of fun planning the food, decorations, and  watching the winners announced with my own ballot made it quite a nail biting experience!  I would like to take credit for the decorations, but truthfully, when my mom heard about the party she sent me home with a box of ideas, and then a few days later I got a “red carpet” in the mail ;-).

My personal favorite was this centerpiece that included miniature movie posters for all 9 of the best picture nominees.  I simply went onto ABC’s website and printed the pictures of each nominee on photo paper, as well as the Oscars logo.
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Then of course there was the star of the show – The Oscars themselves.  John can take complete credit for turning these mermaids from the dollar store into masterpieces.  I’m quite sure you could buy some imitation Academy awards, but this was much more fun, and I’m sure less expensive.  These also served as first, second and third place prizes for the winners.   The mermaids were $1 each, and then we also bought some mini frisbees to serve as the bases.  John pulled the hair off of them, tied their hands together (creepy, but necessary), and then hot glued the whole thing in place.  He put 3 coats of a Rust-Oleum Metallic Brass Spray paint over the whole thing.  In retrospect, you could see the glue much more than anticipated, but they still looked really awesome, and a lot funnier then store bought awards.
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Here’s the process:
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It’s amazing what a can of spray paint can do!

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Then there was the red carpet, which was actually made of 3 red bath mats (found at Marc’s), taped together with some duct tape.  We made sure to wash these before placing them on top of our carpet, since cheap bright red towels can bleed. Next time I really want to take pictures of people coming in on the carpet, but there is just so much going on at the start of a party.

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I wanted to keep the menu classy (this is a red carpet affair after all), but also reasonable in price and manual labor.  Appetizers for a big group can be very time intensive, so I tried to limit the number of things that had to be individually assembled.  If you have questions about any specifics, feel free to ask.

  • Tortellini with a creamy lemon and roasted garlic dipping sauce
  • Crostini with goat cheese and roasted red peppers
  • Spinach and artichoke dip with pumpernickel and crostini
  • Mini phyllo cups filled with seafood salad
  • Bacon wrapped pineapple and water chestnuts
  • Assorted Cheeses
  • Salami with crudites
  • Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

The cheese and dessert table.  Rope lights are a really fun and easy way to make the whole event “sparkle”.
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A few of the appetizers sitting out, and some serious ballot decisions in the background :-).
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With last minute prep,  welcoming people, and trying to have fun, I didn’t get to take any close up pictures of the appetizers in order to post recipes.  I figured I’d just post about the party in general, because it would gives me something to improve upon for next time, and it’s a good way to remember where to start.    Since I made the cupcakes especially for a friend’s birthday,  I do have some pictures of those, which I will be posting, along with the recipe about shortly! Stay Tuned!
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Overall, it was quite a hollywood affair :-)!
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