In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. ~ Gibran

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bunnies and Chicks! Make and Take Gals Prepare for Easter!

Easter Garland
Make and Take this week bursts with color as we make these darling bunny and chick garlands for the mantel or window! Jean hosts our gathering and starts our morning with home made scones and tea. After catching up on all the news we hop right into these darling creations. Each egg holds yummy chocolate treats!

As the birds hatch and the bunnies grow fuzzy tails I work on replenishing our stock of note cards. Jean has darling stickers and papers to create with, which all inspir a hive of Bee cards...

It didn't take long for the garland strings to emerge. Jean provided darling Easter baskets to nest the new family of fuzzy friends into.

As we package up our creations, yummy smells float into to call us to the lunch table. Jean has prepared a beautiful and delicious meal complete with Jelly Belly favors for our Easter egg treats!

Thank you Jean for a wonderful Make and Take! The colors and flavors of Spring have lifted all these Winter Blues!


Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting
Source: -  
 Adapted from Southern Living, as posted by From Calculus to Cupcakes

A new all time favorite of the Make and Take Gals!

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1 T. canola oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
4 T. milk, divided
15 caramel candies, unwrapped (I used Kraft caramels)

Additional sliced caramels (for garnish)
Sea salt

For the Cupcakes:
1.  Line 24 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.

2.  Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, and oil until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix until well combined.

3.  Beginning and ending with flour, add flour alternately with buttermilk, mixing between each addition.

4.  Distribute batter evenly between the muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  Frost with Salted Caramel Buttercream, garnish with a slice of caramel candy, and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
6.  Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add confectioners' sugar and 3 tablespoons of the milk; beat until well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate.

7.  Meanwhile, melt the caramel candies along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of milk in the microwave at 30 second intervals until caramels are completely melted.  Set aside to cool until the caramel is cooled but still soft and pliable.*

8.  Once the caramel is cooled, mix into the frosting until well combined.

*Setting the caramel aside to cool is important!  I discovered the hard way that mixing hot melted caramel into butter-based frosting does NOT turn out well.  Also, I had to use the electric mixer to thoroughly mix in the caramel - simply folding or stirring didn't work.  You may want to refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes or so prior to frosting the cupcakes to let it set up a bit after mixing in the caramel.

  1. 1/4 cup raw pistachios
  2. 1/4 cup raw cashews
  3. 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  4. 1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts
  5. 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  6. 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  7. 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  8. 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  9. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  10. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden. Coarsely chop the nuts.
  2. In a skillet, toast the coriander seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until chopped. In the skillet, toast the unsweetened shredded coconut and cumin seeds, stirring, until the coconut is golden, 2 minutes; add to the food processor along with the chopped nuts and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer the dukka to a bowl. In the skillet, toast the sesame seeds until golden, 4 minutes. Stir the sesame seeds into the dukka, season with the salt and pepper and serve.

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