Free Printable: Welcome Home Cake Bunting

Free Printable: Welcome Home Cake Bunting by JavaCupcake.com

My first free printable for you is a  Welcome Home Cake Bunting! YAY! Yesterday, my neighbor returned home from a 9 month deployment to Afghanistan.  There is nothing I love more than to see one of my friends be reunited with their family.   So when Violeta asked me to make a welcome home cake for Chris, I jumped on the chance!  I’ll be writing about the cake in another post… so stay tuned for that soon!

Violeta had asked me to write “Welcome Home” on the cake… but I thought I needed to do better than that.  (Wait, who am I kidding?  I can’t write on cakes.  I suck at it.  HAHA)  So, I decided I would make a banner for the cake.  At first, I wanted a ribbon banner, but couldn’t find a design I liked.  In the end, I decided on a simple, triangle shaped red, white and blue bunting. I used two paper straws with red and blue stars on them and string to assemble it all together.  Super easy!

Supplies:

  • 1 piece of white paper
  • string (I used white, but you can use any color you want)
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • 2 paper straws
  • 2 bamboo skewers

Directions:

  • Print the .pdf file linked below
  • Cut out each triangle flag and fold in half.  Trim off any edges that don’t line up.
  • Cut two 15 inch pieces of string.
  • String the “welcome” flags onto the first piece of string.  Glue each flag closed – do not glue the string down, you want to be able to adjust the position of each flag once the bunting is hung.  Repeat with the “home!” flags on the second piece of string.
  • Tie the “welcome” string to the top of the paper straw. Tie the “home!” string about 1in below.  Adjust the flags until you get them into a position you like.  Trim any extra string that is hanging.
  • Position the paper straws in the cake so that they are slightly at and angle.  You want the tops of the straws to be closer to the edge of the cake and the bottoms a little further in.  This will help the flags hang better since welcome is longer than home.  (See picture)  Don’t press them in further than about 1/2-1in into the cake.
  • Place a bamboo skewer into each straw and press it down to the bottom of the cake.  This will help hold the straw in position.

Click to Download the free printable – WELCOME HOME CAKE BUNTING!

 Welcome Home SSG Reese!

Photo Credit: Winter's Splendor Photography

Photo Credit: Winter’s Splendor Photography

 

 

The Perfect Peanut Butter Buttercream

The Perfect Peanut Butter Buttercream by JavaCupcake.com

I am a lover of all things peanut butter… and if you haven’t gathered by the dozens of peanut butter recipes I have on my blog… I’m kinda obsessed with my recipe for peanut butter buttercream.  I’ve been in search of the perfect recipe for some time now… I’ve tried lots from baker friends recipes and recipes from blogs but finally, with some fine tuning of several recipes put together, I’ve found the perfect recipe! It’s what I consider to be the Perfect Peanut Butter Buttercream.

It’s creamy, light, fluffy, smooth, not too sweet and FULL of peanut butter flavor.  I can’t ask for anything more in a peanut butter frosting.   This recipe is really so delicious, you could use it as a dip for fruit, top chucks of chocolate with it, frost cakes or cupcakes with it, or even make cookie sandwiches and fill them with this buttercream.  Or… you can do like I do and eat it by the spoonful!

Go make some.  Just cause.

PS… If you want to see some recent recipes using this buttercream, check out these PB&J Chocolate Cupcakes or these Peanut Butter Buttercream Tagalong Cookie Sandwiches or these Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes!

Enjoy!

The Perfect Peanut Butter Buttercream
 
Serves: Enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 2-layer 8-in round cake
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter (I use JIF)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter for 2-3 minutes. You want the color to lighten by a few shades.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until combined.
  3. Pour in the heavy cream and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl again.
  4. Mix in the salt.
  5. Beat on high for 3-4 minutes or until the buttercream has become light and fluffy.
  6. Use immediately.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

A mint lovers dream, this mint chocolate chip cake is layers of dark chocolate cake filled and covered with creamy mint chocolate chip buttercream!  It looks like ice cream… but it’s really cake!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake by JavaCupcake.com

I’m heading out of town this weekend to Garmish, Germany for a marriage retreat courtesy of the US Army.  Three days and two nights at the Edelweiss Resort all on the Army’s dime.  When they offer these kinds of weekends – you don’t tell the Army no.  You say, THANK YOU and enjoy yourself!

Unfortunately, by going on this retreat I’ll be missing my dear friend Chasity’s birthday on Sunday.  Sad, yes.  BUT – being the awesome friend I am… I’m making her birthday cake before I head out of town!  Her husband asked me last week if I’d make the cake for her and of course I jumped at the chance.  Chasity’s favorite flavors are mint & chocolate chip.  No lie about this too.  We went to Poland together last weekend and stopped in Dresden and she ate two giant scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream.  She LOVES this stuff!  (PS Sorry, Chasity for calling you out on the ice cream haha!)

I started with a basic two layer 8-in chocolate cake.  You can use any recipe you like…  for a quick cake, I like chocolate fudge box mix or you can use my favorite recipe for chocolate cake. Since most of the awesomeness of this cake comes from the frosting and the decorations… the cake part wasn’t my primary focus. I frosted the cake with buttercream – but kicked it up a million notches by adding mint and chocolate chunks to create the mint chocolate chip aspect of the cake. For garnish I made a mint chocolate bark that was super simple yet so darn yummy.  Overall – this cake ruled!

Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake by JavaCupcake.com

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
 
Serves: 1 2-layer 8-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Mint Chocolate Chip Buttercream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mint extract
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Wilton Food Coloring Gel - Green
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Chocolate Ganache
  • 4oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
Mint Chocolate Chip Bark
Instructions
Chocolate Cake
  1. Make ½ the recipe for the chocolate cake using the recipe in the link above.
  2. Cover and freeze layers for several hours or overnight.
Mint Chocolate Chip Buttercream
  1. Cream butter and shortening together until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Mix in the mint, salt, and heavy cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. If the mixture is too thick, add more heavy cream.
  4. Add the food coloring and mix until the color is uniform.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Place chocolate chunks in a medium glass bowl.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat the milk, butter and vanilla until it boils.
  3. Pour immediately over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes.
  4. Using a metal spoon, stir slowly and gently until all the chocolate has melted making sure not to incorporate any air into the ganache.
Mint Chocolate Chip Bark
  1. Follow the recipe found in the link above.
Assembly
  1. Trim off the rounded edges of the top of both layers of cake.
  2. Using an offset spatula, spread a ½ inch layer of buttercream over the first layer of cake. Make sure to spread it flat and evenly all the way across the edge of the cake.
  3. Spread a thin crumb coat of buttercream around the outside of the cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Generously spread more buttercream around the outside of the cake until you have about a ½ inch layer of frosting. Smooth out the buttercream.
  5. Prepare the ganache on the top of the cake in the center. Using an offset spatula, gently bring the ganache to the edge of the cake and let it pour over. Start by pouring a small amount of ganache, you can always add more if necessary.
  6. Garnish with a stack of mint chocolate chip bark.

Mint Chocolate Chip Bark

 Mint Chocolate Chip Bark by JavaCupcake.com

I made a cake recently and garnished it with homemade mint chocolate chip bark.  It was so super simple and so super easy yet so super yummy that I thought it deserved it’s on post.

There are really only three things you need to make this bark – chocolate, mint extract and green food coloring gel.   It takes about 10 minutes plus a little more for the chocolate to set up and BAM – you’ve got chocolate bark.

Not only could you use this to top a cake or cupcakes – but this would make a great teacher gift, topping for ice cream or in your coffee.  Really the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Chip Bark
 
Serves: 2-3 cups bark
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Hershey's mint chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • Wilton Food Coloring Gel - Green
  • 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • parchment paper
Instructions
  1. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate using a double boiler.
  2. Spread the chocolate in an 8x8 square on a piece of parchment paper. Place in freezer to set up - about 5 minutes.
  3. While that is setting up, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Mix in a small amount of green gel.
  4. Spread the white chocolate over the semi-sweet chocolate.
  5. Sprinkle chocolate chip chunks over the white chocolate.
  6. Put back in the freezer to harden - about 1 hour.
  7. Chop into chunks.

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cookies

We don’t get many specialty items at the PX here in Germany.  We’ve got the standard bags of candy and seasonal stuff, but when it comes to unique flavors and new items, we don’t tend to see it much.  SO, when I spotted a bag Raspberry Dark Chocolate M&Ms I snatched them up immediately to bake into cookies!  I mean, seriously… how could I not?

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cookies by JavaCupcake.com

After opening the bag to sample one – I ended up sampling half the bag and was forced to go back to the store and buy another one.  I think everyone else in Grafenwoehr had the same idea I did, cause there was only one bag left!  ACK!  Luckily though, I have plenty to make these cookies.

The base for these cookies is a dark chocolate cookie… which, by itself is pretty darn delicious.  It’s fudgey, soft and almost like a brownie. But, you know me… I have to kick things up a notch!  So along with the Raspberry M&Ms, I added some espresso powder and extra dark chocolate chunks to the batter to intensify the chocolate flavor.  I think it worked.

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cookies by JavaCupcake 2

If you come across these Raspberry Dark Chocolate M&Ms… snatch up a couple bags and make these cookies.  They won’t disappoint you!

PS… You’ll need a big glass of milk with these! YUM!

Enjoy!

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cookies by JavaCupcake.com

 

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chewy, fudgey, brownie like cookies with chunks of dark chocolate and Raspberry Dark Chocolate M&Ms.
Author:
Serves: 3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 8oz bag Raspberry Dark Chocolate M&Ms (plus more for garnish - optional)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (plus more for garnish - optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt and baking soda.
  5. On low, incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients until it comes together. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until no more flour is visible.
  6. Fold in the 8oz bag of M&Ms and the dark chocolate chunks.
  7. Drop golf ball size rounds of dough onto your prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Press 5-6 m&m's and chocolate chunks onto the top of each ball. This step is optional, but it makes for a really pretty cookie.
  9. Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cool on pan for 1-2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.

Roast Beef Sliders

Roast Beef Sliders by JavaCupcake.com

I’m always looking for a new way to serve up a roast.  A couple weeks ago, I showed you how we make Salsa Roast to use for burritos.  Today, I’ll be giving you  my Roast Beef Sliders recipe.

This is another super simple crock pot recipe that takes little time to prep, but it’s big on flavor! Plus – if you don’t have exactly the ingredients I used, you can improvise with whatever you have in your kitchen and it’ll be just as delish!

Typically, the rolls you would use for a slider are the soft dinner rolls.  But, since we’re in Germany, we used a traditional brotchen.  It’s a roll that’s hard and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.  Perfect to hold up against and sauce you may want to dip your slider in.  But, you can use any roll you’d like.

Let’s talk cheese.  I don’t really enjoy cheese on sliders or sandwiches.  And truth be told- I really only like cheddar cheese once in a while.  So – I’m not having cheese on my slider.  My husband though – he loves cheese and he put muenster on his slider.   You could use any cheese you wanted… heck, my daughter put American on hers.  (Gross, btw.)

I didn’t use any kind of sauce or dressing on the sliders either, but a horseradish spread would be tasty.  It’s really up to you!

Enjoy!

UPDATE:
The next night, we sliced the roast beef and put it on toasted onion rolls. The beef & left over onions had been stored overnight in an airtight container covered in the pan juices so it had a super delicious coating of flavor on it. The sliders super yummy the first night… but cold, sliced roast beef sandwiches for night two were equally, if not even more delicious!

Roast Beef Sliders
 
Serves: Serves 6-8 people
Ingredients
Roast Beef
  • 3-4lb chuck roast
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cans beef broth
  • 1 packet of Onion Gravy Mix
  • 1 packet of Au Jus Mix
  • Pepper
Sauteed onions
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Toppings
  • Cheese - like swiss, muenster, provolone or whatever you like!
  • Horseradish spread/sauce (optional)
Bread
  • Brotchen - round dinner rolls - crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside
Instructions
  1. In your crock pot, combine the beef broth and gravy, au jus packets. Whisk until all the clumps are gone.
  2. Season the roast generously with pepper. Rub the pepper into the roast.
  3. Place the roast in the crock pot, cover with sliced onions, attach lid and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
  4. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Cover with foil and allow to rest.
  5. While the roast is resting, prepare the onions. Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in a hot pan. Add the sliced onions and cook on medium-high until they are caramelized, using a wooden spoon to move the onions around. They will be a golden brown with some dark edges when they're done. Salt/pepper to taste. Keep onions warm until ready to build sliders.
  6. Slice the rolls in half and toast both sides on a baking sheet in your oven using the broiler.
  7. Using a fork, pull apart the meat into small, stringy chunks. Put the meat chunks in a bowl and spoon the au jus from the crock pot over the meat to keep it moist.
Assembly
  1. Open your toasted rolls and layer chunks of meat on the bottom piece. Drizzle a little extra au jus over the meat.
  2. Top with sauteed onions and a slice with cheese.
  3. Using the broiler in the oven, place the rolls on the top shelf for a few seconds to melt the cheese.
  4. Add and sauce you have to the top bun and place on top of the melted cheese.
  5. Serve with a small bowl of au jus for dipping.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1-2 sliders

 

Let’s have a Pancake Party!

Let's Have a Pancake Party! by JavaCupcake.com

Happy National Pancake Day and to celebrate I had a Pancake Party!  Three of my awesome friends and I got up bright and early and made some of the yummiest pancakes ever!  It was so much fun and such a simple way to bring friends together.

We started the morning with giant cups of coffee and a big bowl of pancake batter.  I had blueberries, strawberries, lemons, raspberry puree, cinnamon, sugar, cream cheese, pumpkin, powdered sugar and maple syrup to create our pancakes with.  We decided on three different variations… Lemon Blueberry, Strawberry Overload, and Cinnamon Roll.

Lemon Blueberry – This is one of my all time favorite flavor combinations.  It’s light, fresh and so good.  Sweet, tart together is just sublime.  The flavor of lemon in these pancakes is just the right amount and paired with the blueberry… it’s perfect!

Strawberry Overload – Strawberries in the pancake and on the pancake.  It’s a strawberry lovers DREAM.  The only thing that might make these better… strawberry whipped cream!  hehe Maybe next time!

Cinnamon Roll – Let’s keep it real for a minute and get really honest.  These pancakes… I felt guilty with every bite.  It’s so good… yet sooo bad.  Full of sugar, butter, cinnamon, cream cheese…. yeah, I felt like I was eating a Cinnabon.  These pancakes were so incredible good… I can’t see how you’d not want to make them.  Seriously.

Yum.  Yum and Yum!

The greatest thing about these pancakes were that they were all made with the same buttermilk pancake batter and spiced up with different ingredients! You could do so many variations of pancakes with this batter… the possibilities are limitless!

So… go make some pancakes and enjoy National Pancake Day!

Buttermilk Pancakes
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: Enough for 4-6 people
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the melted butter, vanilla and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.
  2. In another bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth, about 25 strokes.
  4. Heat your skillet or griddle to medium heat. Pour 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil on the skillet and spread with a paper towel to coat the surface.
  5. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles form and pop uniformly across the top of the pancake. Flip over and cook until golden brown. NOTE: Don't be tempted to turn up the heat on your griddle. Cooking these pancakes low & slow will allow them rise and get fluffy! Slow and low makes these pancakes perfect!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2-3 pancakes

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes by JavaCupcake 2

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes
 
Ingredients
  • Buttermilk Pancake Recipe (above)
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 cups fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Prepare the buttermilk pancake batter.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, press the lemon zest into the sugar using the back of your spatula.
  3. Gently fold the zest and lemon juice into the batter.
  4. Prepare the skillet the same as you would for the buttermilk pancakes.
  5. Scoop ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto the skillet.
  6. After about 30 seconds of cooking, press 6-8 blueberries into the pancake. Use a toothpick to cover the blueberries with a little bit of batter from the pancake... being careful not to disrupt the bottom of the pancake.
  7. Once the bubbles have formed and popped on the top of the pancake, flip it over and continue cooking until golden brown.
  8. Serve with more blueberries on top and fresh grated lemon zest.

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes by JavaCupcake.com

Strawberry Overload Pancakes by JavaCupcake

Strawberry Overload Pancakes
 
Serves: Enough for 4-6 people
Ingredients
  • Buttermilk Pancake Batter (above)
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1-2 Tbsp sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Prepare the buttermilk pancake batter.
  2. Slice half the strawberries into ⅛in slices and set aside
  3. Dice the remaining strawberries into small chunks and place in a bowl. Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1-2 Tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you want them). Using a potato masher, smash the berries until they have broken down by half.
  4. Prepare the skillet the same as you would for the buttermilk pancakes.
  5. Scoop ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto the skillet.
  6. After about 30 seconds of cooking, press 4-6 strawberry slices into the pancake. Use a toothpick to cover the strawberries with a little bit of batter from the pancake... being careful not to disrupt the bottom of the pancake.
  7. Once the bubbles have formed and popped on the top of the pancake, flip it over and continue cooking until golden brown.
  8. Serve covered with mashed strawberries, fresh grated lemon zest and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2-3 pancakes

Strawberry Overload Pancakes by JavaCupcake.com

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes by JavaCupcake.com

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
 
Serves: Enough for 4-6 people
Ingredients
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
  • Buttermilk Pancake Batter (recipe above)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Drizzle
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon for garnish
Instructions
  1. Prepare the buttermilk pancake batter.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whip together the cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and heavy cream and whip for 2 minutes until light, fluffy and smooth. Spoon into a squeeze bottle or piping bag with a small round tip. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and mix until smooth. Spoon into a squeeze bottle or piping bag with a small round tip. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the skillet the same as you would for the buttermilk pancakes.
  5. Scoop ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto the skillet.
  6. After about 30 seconds of cooking, squeeze a swirl of sugar into the top of the pancake creating the look of a cinnamon roll.
  7. Once the bubbles have formed and popped on the top of the pancake, flip it over and continue cooking until golden brown.
  8. Serve pancakes swirl side up. Drizzle the cream cheese over the top and dust with cinnamon.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2-3 pancakes

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes by JavaCupcake.com

PB&J Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

PB&J Chocolate Cupcakes by JavaCupcake.com

Today is my 35th 29th birthday and to celebrate I made cupcakes!  Peanut Butter & Jelly Chocolate cupcakes to be exact!

But… before I get to the cupcakes, I have to tell you a story… a sad, sad story.  You see, yesterday I had big lofty plans to make myself a super fancy birthday cake.  It was going to be three layers of Valhrona chocolate cake filled with fresh raspberries and topped with a Disaronno buttercream.   It was a fail.

PB&J Chocolate Cupcakes by JavaCupcake.com

I mean, the cake tasted really good.  The raspberry filling was AMAZING.  But when it came time to assemble the cake, it was just so moist that it fell apart as soon as I filled and stacked it.  I was rushing.  I didn’t want to chill the cake layers first.  It was a disaster.  Everyone who was following my struggle on my Facebook page suggested that I turn the cake into a trifle… but, by the time I had calmed down from being so mad… it was too late.  The cake was in the trash.  Bummer.

You know – it’s probably a good thing though that I had to start over, because if we’re being honest here… that cake isn’t what I really wanted.  Huh?  You might be saying to yourself?  What?  Yah… I know.  I’m a little nutty.  I wanted the same ole chocolate cake I’ve made a hundred times before.  That dark chocolate cake that is so efffffffing delicious, I dream about it when I haven’t had it in a while.  And yeah- that’s what I should have made yesterday.

PB&J Chocolate Cupcakes by JavaCupcake 4

So this morning… I did.  I got up early and whipped up a dozen dark chocolate cupcakes using my most favorite cupcake recipe.  I then filled those cupcakes with the raspberry filling I made for yesterdays cake and then topped it all off with my favorite peanut butter buttercream.

Since I’ve made all of these ingredients on my blog before… I’m not going to rewrite everything here… instead, I’ll just give you links and explain to you how I assembled them all.

FYI- those liners I’m using came from Sweets & Treats Boutique!  They sent me a sampler pack and I can’t stop using them! I LOVE how they look with chocolate cupcakes and I love the variety in designs!

Oh – and that fork? Isn’t it TO DIE FOR?  Goozeberry Hill custom made it for me!!  I absolutely LOVE it!  You can have your own custom made… just go HERE!

Enjoy!

PB&J Chocolate Cupcakes by JavaCupcake 7

PB&J Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes
 
Three of my favorite things in one great cupcake - Chocolate, Raspberry & Peanut Butter!
Serves: 1 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Raspberry Filling
Peanut Butter Buttercream
  • Recipe & Instructions **You'll only need half of this recipe
  • Fresh raspberries & birthday sprinkles for garnish
Instructions
  1. Make cupcakes as directed in recipe above.
  2. Prepare the raspberry filling while the cupcakes are baking and allow to cool complete.
  3. Core each cupcake using an apple corer.
  4. Fill cupcakes with cooled raspberry filling.
  5. Make buttercream as directed in recipe above.
  6. Using a large star tip, pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
  7. Garnish with birthday sprinkles and a fresh raspberry on top.

And cause he’s so darn cute… I had to share a picture of Matthew! He’s 11 months old and practicing for his 1st birthday by licking the peanut butter buttercream off the beater!  I love this baby boy!

Baby JavaCupcake licking the peanut butter buttercream from the beater - too cute for words!

Red Velvet Valentine Brownie Bites

Red Velvet Valentine Brownie Bites by JavaCupcake.com

Next week is one of the most popular holidays of the year… Valentine’s Day!  And I wanted to create something super special to celebrate the day!  Red Velvet Valentine Brownie Bites is what I made for you!

Two years ago for Valentine’s Day, I made chocolate cupcakes filled with cream and topped with a chocolate ganache and buttercream.  Last year I made (I was about to have a baby and was nesting!) Dark Chocolate Raspberry Hug Cookies, Sweetheart Sugar Cookie Bars,  Baked Sour Cream Donuts,  and Frosted Sugar Cookies!  This year needed to be different.

Red Velvet.  Yes… but I’ve done Red Velvet cupcakes and brownies before, so I knew I had to mix things up a bit with this recipe.  For the brownie, I adapted a recipe from How Sweet It Is  and baked them in a larger pan so they’d be a bit thinner.  I cut them into heart shapes, and piped white chocolate cream cheese frosting between two hearts to create a sandwich.

These are DEFINITELY a winner!  The chocolate is subtle in the brownie but the white chocolate is explosive in the frosting… put the two together and you’ve got YUM!

Enjoy!

Red Velvet Valentine Brownie Bites by JavaCupcake.com

 

Red Velvet Valentine Brownie Bites
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 24 brownie bites
Ingredients
Red Velvet Brownies
  • 3 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Wilton Christmas Red food coloring Gel
  • 2 tsp vanilla, divided
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup white chocoalte chips, melted
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Instructions
Red Velvet Brownies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line a 9x13 cake pan with parchment paper that hangs over the edges and grease with butter or shortening. Flour lightly.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla to create a paste.
  3. Using your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. One at a time, add the eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add the cocoa paste and mix until combined thoroughly. At this point, you can add more coloring if the batter is not red enough for your taste.
  6. Add flour and salt and mixuntil just combined.
  7. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Ensure batter is level and flat, especially on the sides. Since there is no leavening in this recipe, the brownies won't rise very much.
  8. Bake 23-25 minutes.
  9. Let brownies cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Use the parchment paper to lift the brownies from the pan.
  10. Using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies into heart shapes.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Using your stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth - about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the melted white chocolate and mix until incorporated.
  3. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk and salt and mix on medium-low until smooth.
  4. Beat 2-3 minutes on high until light and fluffy.
Assembly
  1. Using a small star tip (like Wilton 1M), pipe frosting onto the top of one heart. Make sure to pipe to the edges of the heart.
  2. Place another heart, face up, on top of the frosting and gently press down.
  3. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to garnish.

Broccoli and Chicken Mac & Cheese

Broccoli & Chicken Mac n' Cheese by JavaCupcake.com

I’m always up for trying new dinner recipes.  So when I’m browsing pins on Pinterest, I’m keeping an eye open for dinner ideas that are simple yet look super delicious.  When I saw this recipe from Damn Delicious pinned, I KNEW in an instant that our family needed to try it for dinner.

Broccoli and Chicken Mac & Cheese.  How could you go wrong with that?  OH – and it’s a 30 minute meal? DONE! It’s on the menu!

The night I ended up making this, my husband ended up working late… so he didn’t get to eat it while it was still hot and fresh.  BUT, my teenager and baby ate it and they both had seconds!  The hubby did end up eating it for lunch the next two days and has been begging me to make it again so he can enjoy it hot!

I think next time, I’ll try and use sun dried tomatoes that aren’t in oil.  I didn’t like the texture and flavor that the oil added to the cheese sauce… but my hubby liked it.  I’m sure if I hadn’t seen the jar or oil the tomatoes had been sitting in I wouldn’t have even noticed.  :)

If you wanted to make this healthier, I’d suggest using skim or non-fat milk and low fat cheese.  And add more veggies too… this would be a very healthy meal!

ENJOY!

Broccoli & Chicken Mac n' Cheese by JavaCupcake.com

Broccoli & Chicken Mac & Cheese
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Chunks of chicken and broccoi with pasta shells covered in rich and creamy cheese sauce... in only 30 minutes!
Serves: 5-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion
  • 1.25lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • salt/pepper
  • 8oz large pasta shells
  • 12oz bag frozen broccoli florettes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup julienned sun dried tomatoes (from a jar, in oil)
  • 8oz Colby & Monterrey jack shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta shells for 8-9 minutes. Add the broccoli and bring back to a boil. Cook an additional 3 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, dice the onion then cut chicken into bite size pieces.
  3. Pour 1-2 Tbsp of the oil from the jar of the sun dried tomatoes into a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Check on the noodles & broccoli.
  4. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they start to lose their color. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Move the chicken to a bowl and cover with foil.
  6. By this time, the noodles & broccoli should be cooked. Pour the noodles & broccoli into a strainer to drain the water off. Return them to the large pot.
  7. Using the same pan that you cooked the chicken in, whisk the heavy cream and tomatoes together over medium. ¼ cup at a time, add the cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. alt and Pepper to taste.
  8. In the large pot with the noodles, add the chicken and onions and pour the cheese mixture over the top. Toss together until everything is evenly coated with cheese.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
Store in an air tight container for up to a week in the fridge!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup of mac & cheese

M&M Love Cookies

M&M Love Cookies by JavaCupcake.com

I haven’t perfected the chocolate chip cookie yet.  Every time I made them I just can’t seem to get the perfect consistency of crunchy edges and chewy centers.  I’ve tried the recipe on the back of the Nestle package, I’ve tried Betty Crocker’s recipes, and I’ve tried countless recipes from dozens of bloggers!  NONE were perfect.

M&M Love Cookies by JavaCupcake.com

Until now.  Sally’s Baking Addiction.  Seriously.  THE BEST recipe for the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie base.    You could use this recipe and add almost anything to it… and it’d be AMAZING.

Today, I added Valentine M&Ms.  Chewy in the center, crunchy on the edges.  FULL of chocolate.  I’m certain that I will eat at least a dozen of these by the time the weekend is over.

Oh… and my baby boy who is almost 11 months old, well he had his VERY FIRST homemade chocolate chip cookie today!  And guess what?  He hate EVERY CRUMB!  I think he liked it!
I hope you do too!

Enjoy!

M&M Love Cookies by JavaCupcake.com

5 from 1 reviews
M&M Love Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The perfect cookie - crunchy on the edges and chewy in the center!
Serves: 3½ dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour, measure after sifting
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 bag Valentine M&M chocolate candies
Instructions
  1. Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. This takes about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything has been incorporated.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  4. Add the M&M candies and fold in with a spatula.
  5. Chill for several hours in the refrigerator or for 1-2 hours in the freezer.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Roll 1in balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 8-9 minutes.
  9. While baking, keep dough in the freezer to stay cold.
  10. Allow cookies to cool on pan for 3-5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Store in an airtight container for up to a week... if they last that long.
Notes
Allow cookie sheets to cool completely before adding more dough balls to bake.