Turtle Cupcakes

One of my absolute favorite chocolate and caramel treats is a Turtle.  The ooey gooey caramel with the saltiness of the cashews smothered in a rich indulgent milk chocolate makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Mmmm put a box of those in front of me and I’m yours forever! Oh, and expect an empty box in about 5 minutes.

With Cupcake Wars and DC Cupcakes all the rage on the television I thought I’d come up with my own unique creation.  Now, I’m not sayin’ there hasn’t been a Turtle cupcake made somewhere out in this big universe before…there’s just never been one that’s been made this delicious.. I can say that cuz I’m biased.  Also, to make sure it was unique I didn’t look up any recipes.  Save for my usual chocolate cupcake from scratch, I completely came up with the Caramel Butter Cream Icing and ooey gooey caramel cashew surprise on the inside all on my own!

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa (Hershey’s :) )
1 cup canola oil
2 cups hot water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Directions:
Mix the ingredients in the stand mixer on low for a minute or two. Don’t over mix. Typically you want the liner to be filled two-thirds of the way full. Bake at 350 on middle rack for 6 to 12 minutes.  Toothpick check. When toothpick comes out clean. They’re ready.
Take out of pan and let cool on racks or counter.
While cupcakes are cooling whip up your caramel butter cream frosting:
10 tablespoons soft salted butter
4 cups powered sugar
6-8 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream (start with 6 add more if needed)
12 oz. jar of Smucker’s Caramel ice cream topping
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Directions: Mix all ingredients in stand mixer with flat beater until smooth and creamy.  No worries a hand mixer will do if you don’t have a stand mixer.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to keep cool while coring cupcakes and making center filling.
Caramel Center Filling Ingredients:
One bag of Caramel squares (for 2 dozen cupcakes I used about 30 squares)
2 tablespoons of milk
1 can or jar of Planter’s Cashew pieces
Directions: Put 2 tablespoons of milk on low heat in small sauce pan. Unwrap and add caramel squares. Melt slowly over low heat. If you have a heat disc once caramel is melted leave on low heat so it doesn’t harden. If you don’t have one, just to make sure you stir often and make sure it doesn’t burn.
Core out cupcakes with a small parring knife going in at about a 30 degree angle.  This was a  simple trick I just discovered after buying a piece-o-crap cupcake corer that I purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond. Works much better and gives you a clean cut and is already a staple in every one’s kitchen.
Now, fill center with 3 to 4 cashew pieces and pour in 1 teaspoon of the ooey gooey caramel over cashews and replace cupcake core.
Time to frost. Remove frosting from fridge and pipe onto top of cupcake.  I found some great Wilton disposable piping bags at Bed Bath and Beyond. I used the large star tip. Fill bag about 1/3 full with a spatula. Work icing down with hands and twist tight. Begin at outer edge of cupcake going all the way around and when it almost meets where you began, start a new circle and end up in center. Add just a bit of pressure before completely raising up the tip, it gives it that nice star shape on the tippy top.
Store in airtight containers and place in refrigerator for up to 3 days. But honestly,  these won’t last You and your family won’t be able to resist.  Word to the wise, pour yourself a nice cold tall glass of milk. Enjoy!

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack

This past weekend was opening weekend for MLB baseball fans all across the country.  What’s the best part about a baseball game?  The gram slams? The pop fly and foul balls that unexpectedly fly into the crowd as the fans battle to catch them? How about the singing of the traditional “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” tune during the 7th inning stretch? Nope, none of that compares to that first bite of a hot dog loaded with relish, ketchup, and mustard hot off the grill all nestled in a toasty bun. Wash it down with a side of chips and a sweet soda or ice cold beer and you’ve got yourself one happy fan.

That’s exactly what I did this past weekend.  It was a beautiful 80 something sunny day Sunday and perfect for tailgating before the Marlins vs. Mets game. My boyfriend and I feel we can cook better for less and actually enjoy it more.  It’s not that we’re against paying the prices for food or drink at the concessions but the quality of the food is horrible. It tastes worse when the cost is 3x as much.

I’m a big germaphobe too. I recently read an ESPN story how dirty and germ infested professional stadiums are. All across the country they were inspected by Health Departments which found high bacteria levels and cockroach infested kitchens in some areas. That’s pretty gross! We did however buy some beer and peanuts.  A ballgame isn’t a ballgame without an ice cold beer and some salty nuts while watching the game.

I’m more of a baseball than football fan.  I like going to most professional sporting events, but mostly to people watch.  I understand baseball better than other sports. Maybe because my dad was a Pirates fan and spent summers watching baseball and back in the day most homes had only one television, so you were watching what the parents put on.

The game ended up going into an extra inning and the Marlins lost to the Mets 6 to 3 And after the game Miami’s own Mr. 305 (Pitbull) played a short concert on the field.  I had a great time and look forward to going to more games and tailgating of course.  Truth be told, that’s my favorite part.

Do you tailgate or buy food at the concession stands?

Do you people watch the fans more than the game?

Did you attend an opening MLB game this past weekend?

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