Wicked Wednesday: Eyeball Cupcakes

Ok, ok; I’ll admit it. My new favorite thing to have with a nice cup of joe are…cupcakes! What else would a sane person trying to lose weight eat first thing in the morning? There is just something about eating something sweet with coffee, really jump starts your day (temporary sugar rush talking, endorphins kicking in). Or in my vampiress case, night (I work graveyard – everything is backwards!).

With Halloween right around the corner, I knew I had to do something fun and spooky. Well, I suppose these didn’t really come out as spooky as I would have liked. They’re actually pretty darn cute. If you can’t guess by my amazing pictorials (no pun intended), they are supposed to look like eye balls. So what if the frosting turned out yellow…and I ran out of red food coloring…it’s all about imagination right?

These cupcakes are moist, chocolaty, and buttery. There’s no better way to describe them. Oh and definitely wicked too!


Enjoy ♥ G

INGREDIENTS

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a kettle then measure out 1-1/4 cup.
  2. Combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium sized bowl, add boiling water, whisk until smooth, set aside.
  3. Sift flours, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Add the ground pepper, set aside.
  4. In a standing mixer, beat butter until creamy.
  5. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  6. At medium speed, add eggs one at a time, beat well between each.
  7. Add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined.
  8. Add about a third of the flour mixture, beat briefly until combined.
  9. Add about half of the chocolate mixture, beat briefly until combined.
  10. Repeat, adding flour, chocolate, then flour. Beat until just combined. Scrape down bowl if needed.
  11. Fill cupcake papers about 3/4s full. Bake at 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  12. After cakes have cooled and been frosted, place one gummy in the center of the cake. Then slice a very small portion of another gummy and place into the center. You can also use a jelly bean!
FROSTING

Directions:

  1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla, and spices and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
  3. Frost cupcakes keeping a small portion and tint with food coloring of your choice. Spread on with a toothpick or pipe with a piping bag to make veins.
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Review: Panda All Natural Licorice

These babies are from Finland. Who knew Finland had gourmet licorice….with a panda on the box! How awesome is that. My favorite animal was a panda bear when I was little – for no reason in particular mind you. I just liked them. So when I saw these in my grocer, I knew I had to pick them up…but only if they met the kitchen test. We came pretty close….Here’s the breakdown:

  • molasses (processed)
  • wheat flour
  • raspberry puree
  • citric acid (natural preservative most notably found in fruits like lemons, limes…)
  • natural raspberry flavor (suspicious)
  • black carrot juice (more like light maroon)
  • licorice extract

Panda real licorice features all natural ingredients, no added colors, salt, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Panda real licorice is fat free, Kosher certified, and suitable for vegan and vegetarian consumption. However, they are not gluten free – contains wheat flour.

And I know you are wondering – do they have other flavors other than raspberry? Why yes, yes they do! The flavors range from raspberry, cherry, regular black, and blueberry coming soon. Panda also makes other candies, but that may have to hold for another post. You can find this product in your organic/health section of most of your grocer’s ($3.50+).


Let’s see these are, um…what’s the word…NATURAL looking. No waxy, shiny coating here. There’s nothing but beautiful dark goodness inside these little nibbies. I must admit at first, I didn’t think they were that appetizing. I was expecting that same sugary, sweetness that often accompanies licorice. But the sugary sweetness is replaced by something a little more fresh. Like raspberry puree and carrot juice. I know, CARROT JUICE! This isn’t your regular orange carrot juice. They use juice from black carrots (black carrots appear more light maroon in color. This undoubtedly assisted these nibbies in creating their gorgeous deep color). In licorice….hrm. I wasn’t too sure about this combo either, but I thought what the heck. The sacrifices you make for the unprocessed journey right? I have been eating a few here and there everyday, and I am starting to like them more and more. Their flavor is sweet, slightly tart from the citric acid, and fresh because of raspberry puree. You do hint a small addition of the carrot juice but nothing overwhelming. This element is what really makes this item unique.

What is your favorite worldly, UNPROCESSED treat?

***G’s rating: B

*Disclaimer: I’m not popular enough for sponsored posts…just yet. You know what that means?! Me = $$$

Sweet Talk: Agave Nectar

I wanted to nip this in the butt as I will be using a lot of Agave Nectar in my recipes. In particular, C&H as it is readily available for me at my grocery store. Agave Nectar is often used as a substitute for sugar or honey and is typically sweeter than it’s counter parts.

“You can find Agave Nectar in light, amber, dark, and raw varieties which vary by how they are processed. Light agave nectar has a mild, almost neutral flavor, and is therefore sometimes used in delicate-tasting dishes and beverages. Amber agave nectar has a medium-intensity caramel flavor, and is therefore used in dishes and drinks with stronger flavors. Dark agave nectar has stronger caramel notes, and imparts a distinct flavor to dishes, such as some desserts, poultry, meat, and seafood dishes. Both amber and dark agave nectar are sometimes used “straight out of the bottle” as a topping for pancakes, waffles and French toast. The dark version is unfiltered and therefore contains a higher concentration of the agave plant’s minerals. Raw agave nectar also has a mild, neutral taste.” [excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave_nectar%5D

“C&H Organic Agave Nectar is a delicious liquid sweetner, with a low glycemic index, that is made from the succulent leaves of the agave plant. Low glycemic index foods help keep energy levels balanced and are a good part of a healthy diet. Our agave nectar is also substitute for a vegan diet and has no additivies and preservatives. C&H Organic Agave Nectar can be used in baked goods and to sweeten all of your favorite foods. Try C&H Organic Agave Nectar to sweeten: cereals, pancakes, fruits, sauces, cakes, cookies.”

Recipe Conversion:

2/3 cup Light Agave Nectar is the same as 1 cup Granulated Sugar; reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup.

*description from back of the bottle

**This post was not sponsored by the brand mentioned.