I’m kind of at a loss for words with these. Can you imagine how good they were by looking at the pictures? Because let me assure you… they were BETTER than whatever you’re thinking.
Kiddo and I wanted to do something lovely for our local police force because they are awesome. They always take the time to say hi to Kiddo and all the other kids when they’re cruising our neighborhood, they do all they can to help with the issue of our neighbor’s dog that will. not. quit. barking. ever. and they solved both lame crimes of which we’ve been a victim in the last year. They’re awesome. So what better for the boys in blue than blue velvet cupcakes?
I found this recipe at the incredible Sprinkle Bakes. Aren’t those great? She was SO helpful in helping me adapt the recipe to the food coloring I had to that perfect Cookie Monster shade of blue she showcases. It’s exactly what I wanted them to look like! She adapted her cupcake recipe from Paula Deen’s recipe; I adapted it with Sprinkle Bake’s help only to use all gel food coloring. The frosting is all Sprinkle Bakes.
A note on gel food coloring: this Wilton gel is what I used; I got mine at Joann, and I believe I’ve seen it at Michael’s as well. The ready to use gel icing for cookie and cake decorating (like this) is not the same thing, and will not get you the color you’re looking for.
Blue velvet cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp Wilton royal blue gel food coloring
- 1 small dab of violet gel food coloring (I dipped in a toothpick and used that much)
- 2 ½ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
For the frosting
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (I hate sifting; I whir it up in the food processor instead to aerate and get lumps out)
Make the cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and line cupcake pans with liners
- Cream sugar and butter in mixing bowl till light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg
- Mix cocoa and food coloring together to make a paste — this took a while to mix thoroughly with all gel, but it came together nicely; add this paste to sugar mixture and mix well again
- Sift (or buzz in food processor) flour and salt, and add to creamed mixture a bit at a time, alternating with buttermilk, then mix in vanilla
- Combine baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and add to cake batter; mix just to combine
- Scoop thick batter into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for probably 25-30 minutes, but start checking at 20 — mine were done at about the 22/23 minute mark; watch for toothpick inserted in center to come out clean
- Remove cupcakes from oven and allow cool completely on a wire rack
Now make frosting!
- Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer until nice and smooth
- Add sugar gradually and beat on low till combined, then beat on high speed until very light and very fluffy
Frosting time! I use a giant star tip from Bake it Pretty, or The Place I Could Spend All My Monies (and the stardust). I dusted on a little edible blue glitter on top because hey, why not.
You know what I hate? When a recipe tastes SO GOOD but photographs SO POORLY. Le sigh.
Shall I just spare you the picture? Because really, it doesn’t do it justice. Just try this (it’s so crazy easy — you just have to try) and then come back and tell me what you thought.
Creamy crockpot chicken
- What you need:
- A slow cooker
- 1 can of corn
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 jar of salsa
- 1 block of cream cheese
- frozen chicken breasts — I used 2 but you could do up to 4 or 5 without adjusting ingredients and be fine
- Put chicken breasts, corn (drained), beans (drained and rinsed) and salsa into the slow cooker and stir it up a bit
- Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked through
- Add in block of cream cheese and cook another 30 minutes
- Stir up mix to make the whole thing creamy, then serve chicken and sauce together
Do you see how easy that is? And that you must try it? Please do. Make it, eat it, love it, and agree with me that a picture of it is no indication of its actual greatness.
Lissa and I have decided we’re going to be professional guacamole and margarita tasters. Anyone in the market for that? Anyone? Well let us know. We’re available.
Given our fondness for that combination, I thought it was time to share Lissa’s margarita recipe with you. I declare it Lissa week here at One Particular Kitchen! We’ll celebrate! (With margaritas!)
Lissa’s frozen margaritas
- 4 oz tequila
- 2 oz Triple Sec
- Splash of liquid margarita mix
- Splash of Grand Marnier
- Splash of orange juice
- 1/3 large can frozen limeade concentrate
- Pour all ingredients into a blender with plenty of ice, blend until smooth
(One of these doesn’t hurt for these; I’m just sayin’. Mine even works after a user error fail!)
I am a saltaholic so I go for the lime-and-salt rimmed glasses. The Yankee not so much — no salt for him. The Kiddo? All Cheerios all the time. That’s how we roll.
Oh I wish I could make this look as good as it tasted!
My fabulous friend Lissa makes this so often that she doesn’t even look at the recipe anymore. That’s the sign of a good supper! She told me how to make it while The Kiddo and I were visiting last fall, and I can’t believe it took me this long to make it. It is absolutely phenomenal, really. You must make this as soon as possible.
Lissa’s baked jambalaya
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 can Rotel
- 1 can french onion soup
- 1 can beef consomme
- 2 lbs. uncooked chicken, turkey or peeled shrimp
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 cups uncooked rice
- 2 bay leaves
- 14 ounces (or 1 can) chicken broth
- I also added some chopped dehydrated red peppers out of the freezer from last summer’s garden
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix all ingredients and bake in buttered casserole, covered tightly (I did a tight cover of foil then a lid on top of that) for one hour; stir and cover, then bake 30 minutes more or until rice is done
It’s only one step. Don’t you love that? This expands a lot as the rice cooks and soaks up the chicken broth so allow yourself plenty of room in the casserole dish (I totally pushed my luck there; overflow crisis narrowly averted).
I served this with shredded cheese, hot sauce and cornbread. It went fast. :)