Dessert Archives - Page 2 of 4 - My Sweet Sanity

A Superhero Party with Chocolate Cupcakes!

by Jennifer Wieland

Have you ever had one of those weeks where by the end of the week you just don’t know if you are going to make it? You know what I’m talking about. One of those weeks where you planned so many events, meetings and appointments that you have no idea what you were thinking at the time or when you thought you had become two people or if you were just so clueless and disorganized that you just didn’t realize the mess you had scheduled for yourself.

This past week I had two I.E.P. meetings for my two special guys and an awards luncheon for one and two doctors appointments for me. There was also a field trip to the beach and driving out to move the oldest home from college. (That was a whole day event.) Friday was my wedding anniversary and Saturday was Jackson’s 6th birthday, complete with Superhero birthday party with his friends. The week was non-stop crazy and to say that by Saturday I was a wreck pretty much sums it up only to have our central air go out and complete the whole wreck.

I was smart enough though to book our park district’s superhero birthday party for Jackson’s birthday. This meant I only had to make cupcakes, cupcake toppers, goodie bags and capes. There were going to be masks too but even I know my breaking point and there was just not enough time or energy for those. The goodie bags were just your standard, run-of-the-mill candy trinket filled bags. The capes were made out of felt, velcro and more felt. The cupcakes were chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and some super cute toppers.

The Super Birthday Boy

For the capes I had bought six different colors of felt. It was inexpensive with coupons for the craft store and gave the kids a nice dress-up thing to take home. The idea for them and the pattern I used came from the Jolly Mom blog. For the backs of the capes I just cut out stars and attached. The pattern and instructions can be found here.


My son Jackson’s favorite cake in the world is from a food chain in the Chicagoland area called Portillo’s. The cake is extremely popular and my mother used to buy whole cakes from there for family events. The cake is so popular in fact they actually make a chocolate cake shake there too. (Yes, a chocolate milkshake with cake mixed in it!) A year or so ago I embarked on a search to find out how to make this cake from scratch. I was able to locate the recipe. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it is just Betty Crocker box mix and frosting. Of course the recipe does not follow the box to a tee but it is a great cake and several moms at the party asked how to make it because they love Portillo’s cake.

Portillo's Cake Cupcakes

For the cupcake toppers I found these free printables that I customized on the Let’s Panic blog here. I just had them printed out on card stock at the office supply store and then attached them to colored, plastic toothpicks.

Portillo’s Chocolate Cake

1 Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food cake mix
3 lrg. eggs
1 c. water
1 c. mayonannaise (use regular, not light)
2 cans Betty Crocker Chocolate Frosting (original, not whipped or anything else)

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare pan(s).

Place cake mix, eggs, water & mayonnaise in a bowl and mix on medium speed for four minutes. Pour evenly into pans or fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake according to package instructions.

Cool completely and then frost with thoroughly stirred frosting.

Dulce De Leche Cupcakes

by Jennifer Wieland
Dulce De Leche Cupcakes

I have been trying for days to work on this recipe and get photos for it done and get a post typed up for it. Alas though, it was one of those weeks where you already had a lot planned/scheduled and then fate threw you some curve balls because, hey life is just dull if not chaotic at times. We had planned for the beginning of t-ball season, I.E.P. meeting for my 5 year old, planning and booking two birthday parties, getting invites out, my sister’s birthday and oh yeah, I had to have a biopsy done on my ankle on Wednesday. Curve balls were my soon to be twin niece(s)/nephew(s) decided to get contractions going for my sister yesterday at only 33 weeks so we had a fun, little, impromptu sleepover last night with my other niece and nephew. Good news though is the babies are behaving with medicine and still incubating in momma. Then my meds I am on for whatever is wrong with me (they are testing still to figure it out) make it so I can barely focus or stay awake. One day this week when talking to my mom she asked me if I was drunk because of the slow, slurred speech. So as you can imagine trying to work on the very sciencey part of recipe creation with fuzzy brain function is a very slow process but with perseverance I was able to get one done to share with all of you.  🙂

With Cinco De Mayo being this weekend, I like of every other food blogger out there just had to do something Mexican inspired. So without further ado I give you dulce de leche cupcakes with dulce de leche cream cheese frosting.

Dulce De Leche Cupcakes

Dulce De Leche Cupcakes
makes 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes

2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
4 lrg. eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 350° and line cupcake pans with liners.

In a bowl sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter, sugar and dulce de leche.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom in between each addition. Mix for 30 seconds after everything has been combined.

Fill each liner 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan for 3-5 minutes and then finish cooling on wire rack.

Dulce De Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
8 oz. container of Philadelphia Indulgence Dulce De Leche Cream Cheese
3 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and cream cheese. Scrape down the sides and then add in the confectioner’s sugar on low-speed. Once combined slowly add in the heavy whipping cream on low-speed. Once incorporated increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.

Spiced Chai Latte Cupcakes

by Jennifer Wieland

This weekend was my hubby’s birthday and we were going out-of-town so I decided to bake him cupcakes to bring into work Friday since I was not going to be making him a cake this year. I wanted a good cupcake but with a manly flavor. Nothing foo-foo or frilly for him would do. So after debating for some time about flavor options I decided on spiced chai latte.

If you have never had a spiced chai latte you are missing out. It is a tea drink with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and other spices. It is a warm, lovely flavor combination and it translated well into a cupcake. You will need 1 1/2 cups of prepared spiced chai latte. Some will go into the cake and some will go into the frosting. I used two packets of instant to make mine. Just follow the instructions on the brand you choose.

Spiced Chai Latte Cupcakes

Spiced Chai Latte Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

1 box of white cake mix
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 1/4 c. prepared spiced chai latte
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350° and line cupcake pans with liners.

Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds until combined. Increase speed to medium and continue mixing for 2 minutes. Scoop batter into liners and fill 2/3 of the way full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Spiced Chai Latte Buttercream

1 c. butter, softened
4 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 c. prepared spiced chai latte
1-2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Turn off and add in the confectioner’s sugar and turn on low. While that is starting to mix slowly pour in the spiced chai latte. Once it is all combined add 1 tbsp. of heavy whipping cream and mix on medium-high speed for two minutes. Check consistency and add another tbsp. of cream if needed. Beat on medium-high speed for another minute or two.

Biscoff Cannolis

by Jennifer Wieland

Every so often there is food that comes out that attains a cult following. Biscoff Cookies was definitely one of these items. They are these amazing little cinnamon cookies that Delta Airlines served. People could not find them here in stores though for a long time. They are now available all over the U.S. and they also have Biscoff Spread which is peanut butter like in its consistency but tastes just like the cinnamon cookies it is named for. If you have not tried the cookies and spread I would urge you to do so. They are both AMAZING! I have been buying the spread now for over a year and have done some baking with it before.

As I have stated before, my mother is half Sicilian. In addition to being Sicilian she is quite the cannoli aficionado. She would routinely by them from the Italian market by our house growing up, or any of the bakeries we went to. In fact, I remember on more than one occasion her watching a large vat of cannoli filling being made and asking if we thought they’d let her swim in it? Needless to say there is a long-standing love of cannoli in my family. I decided to change up the standard cannoli recipe though and make a Biscoff filling for the cannolis. They were such a good change! Everyone at my parents house was eating them and my mother told everyone to stop eating them when there were only a few left so she could put them in the freezer to have later.

If you decide to make cannolis the hardest part is the shells. If you have an Italian market in your area or don’t mind ordering online you can get pre-made shells. I used Ferrara Mini Cannoli Shells that I bought from the Italian market I shop at a couple of towns over. There are other brands though.

Biscoff Cannolis

Biscoff Cannolis
makes 24 mini cannolis

1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. Biscoff Creamy Spread
2/3 c. sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 Biscoff Cookies, crushed and divided in half
1/2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar
24 mini cannoli shells

Place the ricotta cheese in some cheesecloth and squeeze over a bowl to drain. You will need to do this at least 4-5 times to get as much water out as possible.

Put the ricotta cheese and Biscoff Spread in a bowl and mix until combined. This can all be done by hand. Add in the confectioners sugar and stir until combined. Now add in the vanilla extract and cinnamon stirring until very well mixed. Add in half of the cookie crumbs and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the remaining cookie crumbs and cinnamon sugar.

Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a tip. Pipe filling into each end of the cannoli shells and then dip in the cookie, cinnamon-sugar mixture. Wrap them in parchment paper and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days or freeze for longer storage.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Monster Cookies

by Jennifer Wieland

In our house there is definitely a love of peanut butter and chocolate together. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces are regularly candy snacks that my husband and I have to hide in the refrigerator, way at the top shelf so little hands do not grab it and make off with it. I mean when you need a sugar fix at the end of a rough day and find that the sugar is all gone, it’s just not good for anyone involved.

Even better though is that a few months ago I discovered the goodness that is Peanut Butter & Co. and all their super yummy flavors. Peanut butter with dark chocolate who can resist that? Throw it on a bagel or a croissant and oh yeah, now that’s a breakfast!

Now mix all of this crazy, peanut buttery, chocolatey goodness together and you get some out of this world cookies! These cookies are really big and having one is like eating a meal or all of your Halloween candy in one bite.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Monster Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Monster Cookies
makes 4 dozen cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 c. Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams
2 c. sugar
2 lrg. eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. good quality cocoa
1/4 c. chocolate pudding mix
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. milk
2/3 c. mini chocolate chips
2/3 c. Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
2/3 c. Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups, halved
2/3 c. Reese’s Mini Reese’s Pieces

Preheat oven to 350° and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar until well combined on medium-high speed. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until it’s completely incorporated. Add the flour, cocoa, pudding mix, baking soda and salt and mix until combined on low and then scrape down the bowl. Add in the milk and mix in on medium speed until combined. Stir in all of the mix-ins.

Using a cookie scoop drop the dough and place 2 inches apart. Using the palm of your hand slightly flatten the dough. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Cookies and Creme Cookies

by Jennifer Wieland

Last week Jenny Flake over at The Picky Palate had a recipe up for making the perfect M & M cookies. From her pictures you can see that they do indeed look to be absolutely perfect! When I saw them and read her post I knew I had to try them immediately. So of course, I made a bee line to the store just to get some mini M & M’s and start a cookie recipe craze here.

Now what makes this story amusing is that I went to two different stores looking for the bags of mini M & M’s and was unable to find them while dragging three kids with horrible, runny noses and hacking coughs throughout each location just for that one item. Don’t worry. I totally know what you are thinking… Mom of the Year, right? No? Okay, well they did want me to make them to cheer them up so that is what I am going with to make myself feel like a passable mom.

The secret ingredient on these cookies though is pudding. Let me tell you, I have been throwing pudding into a bunch of cookie recipes I worked on this past week and it does make for some awesome cookies! This is how I came up with my Cookies ‘n Creme Cookies. These are all kinds of crazy yummy!
Cookies 'n Creme Cookies
Cookies ‘n Creme Cookies
makes 2 dozen large cookies

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 lrg. egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. good quality cocoa powder
3 tbsp. Jello Oreo Cookies ‘n Creme Instant Pudding mix
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
4 Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Creme Bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 350° and line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until well combined on medium-high speed. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until it’s completely incorporated. Add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt and mix until combined on low. Add in the milk and mix in on medium speed. Stir in the chopped Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Creme Bars.

Using a medium cookie scoop (mine was 1 oz.) scoop the dough and place 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Thank You, Thank You Very Much!

by Jennifer Wieland

Six months ago today was the day that I made my first blog post here. At the time I didn’t realize that the half-year mark of the blog would fall on April Fool’s Day and that I would have been shopping for a new laptop the week leading up to it. (R.I.P. old laptop) Unfortunately though, that is what happened.
Thank you to everyone who takes time out of their busy lives to stop by and read my little blog. I truly do appreciate each and every one of you.
I have wanted to post this recipe since last week. I was so amazed at how good this recipe came out. I have made it a few times now and have had lots of taste testers try it and everyone has loved it! The recipe is for a cookie I call the Elvis Triple Chip Cookie. They are chewy cookies that have a great blend of peanut butter, banana and chocolate. The recipe makes a ton of dough so it is great for a party or bake sale and will definitely be different from the norm.

The Elvis Triple Chip Cookie

The Elvis Triple Chip Cookie

1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. salted butter, softened
3/4 c. mashed banana
2 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 c. milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
11 oz. pkg. Nestle peanut butter and milk chocolate chip morsels
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels

Preheat oven to 375° and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the peanut butter, butter, banana, brown sugar, milk and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs and beat until just combined.

Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl and whisk together. Add to creamed mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the peanut butter, milk and semi-sweet chips.

Drop dough onto lined baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Cool for a few minutes on pan and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

St. Patrick’s Day

by Jennifer Wieland

St. Patrick’s Day is a major holiday in Chicago. People here gear up for it and there are weeks of festivities leading up to it. There are numerous parades and pub crawls heading into March 17th. Heck, we even dye the Chicago River green to celebrate it! Now that just screams commitment to a holiday.

Most people celebrate the holiday with Guinness, Jameson Whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream and corned beef and cabbage. Since i have a house full of little ones though my pub crawl days are long since gone. So instead I have done some quick and easy St. Patrick’s Day recipes using a classic Chicago favorite as the base.

If you are from Chicago, have lived here or maybe even visited then you are familiar with Green River Soda. It is a green, lime soda that came into existence at the start of prohibition. During the days of soda fountains in the Midwest it was second only to Coca-Cola. Today, I have made a slush drink and cupcakes with it.

Green River Soda

Green River Soda

I made a Green River slush for the kids. Complete of course, with mustache straws. This can also be made into an adult drink my adding a shot of alcohol.

Green River Slush

Green River Slush

Green River Slush

1 c. ice
2 scoops lime sherbert
1 scoop pineapple sherbert
3/4 c. – 1 c. Green River Soda

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until slushy.  Serve in a glass/cup with a straw.

Now onto the cupcakes. Although it is hard to tell the frosting does have a light green color to it. You can always add food coloring if you would like a stronger color.

Green River Cupcakes

Green River Cupcakes

Green River Cupcakes

1 box of yellow cake mix
3 large eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 c. Green River Soda
Green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350° and line two cupcake pans with liners.

Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix on low until combined. Increase speed to medium and mix for two minutes. This will be a very fluffy batter.

Fill liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18-22 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Green River Lime Buttercream

1/2 c. Green River Soda reduced down to 1/4 c.
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. half & half
zest from 1 lime, may use half to reduce flavor

In a small saucepan pour the 1/2 c. Green River Soda and bring to a low boil. Continue the low boil until it has been reduced to 1/4 c. of liquid and the carbonation is gone. This will take about 15 minutes. Pour into a heat safe bowl and place in freezer to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Stir in half of the powdered sugar until combined. Add in the rest of the powdered sugar and stir until combined clic. With the mixer on low pour in the reduced Green River Soda. Beat for 30 seconds on medium speed. Add in the half & half and beat on medium-high for a minutes. At this point the frosting will have a very mild citrus flavor to it. You can leave it as is or add the lime zest in pinches and mix until you reach the desired lime strength.

Use to frost cupcakes.

Vanilla Bean & Chocolate Ganache Macarons

by Jennifer Wieland

My sister’s favorite treat at her baby shower was the vanilla bean and chocolate ganache macarons. I tinted the macarons red to go with the Thing 1 and Thing 2 theme.

If you have never had a macaron let me tell you that you are missing out. They can be made or purchased in so many colors and flavors that it can be mind-boggling.  They are a small light treat that is made up of two meringue cookies and a filling. They can be intimidating to make but once you try it and have them turn out you will want to try making more flavor combinations.

Vanilla Bean & Chocolate Ganache MacaronsVanilla Bean Macarons

1 c. almond flour (or 1 cup blanched almonds, finely ground in food processor)
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 egg whites, left in an open container overnight in the refrigerator, or for 2-3 hours at room temperature, I use packaged egg whites
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from inside
2 tsp. vanilla extract
food coloring (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor add the almond flour and the confectioner’s sugar and pulse until well combined and finely ground. Sift the almond mixture 2-3 times and finally discard any of the small bits left in the sieve.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. (Soft peaks means that when you lift the paddle out the mixture that a peak forms but then falls over.) Beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until all of it is combined and dissolved . Continue to beat the mixture a few more minutes until it is thick and glossy. Stir in the vanilla beans and extract and any food coloring now.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add in half of the almond mixture. Stir this mixture in by hand (do not fold it in). Add in the second half of the mixture, again stirring it in by hand until you have a thick, grainy mixture.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip ( I used a #12) and pipe in circles on parchment paper on a baking sheet. If you want to make sure that they are all the same size a great trick is to take a permanent marker and trace a quarter all over the parchment paper and the place the marker side down on the baking sheet. This way you can still see the circles and use it as a guide. This batter will cover about 3 baking sheets. Once they are all piped. Rap the pans on a hard surface a few times and then let them set for 2-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 250° and bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow them to cool on the baking sheets. Then fill with your favorite ganache, frosting, jam, jelly or preserves.

Chocolate Ganache

3.5 oz. dark chocolate
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a microwave safe, heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in the microwave until hot, about 45-60 seconds. Poor the cream over the chocolate and let sit for a minute. Stir until the chocolate is smooth. If there are still some lumps microwave for 30 seconds and stir.

Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 Themed Twin Baby Shower

by Jennifer Wieland

I have not had much of a chance to post anything new because I had been working on my sister, Kim and brother-in-law, Sean’s bay shower for the twins they are expecting in a couple of months. Since it is twins and since they did not want to find out the gender of the babies I picked out a neutral theme that just screams twins to me. We went with a Thing 1 and Thing 2 theme. It turned out really cute and my sister and brother-in-law loved it which was the most important part.

My brother-in-law Sean and sister Kim. I know what you are thinking. She is tiny for having twins, but there are two in there.

My brother-in-law Sean and sister Kim. I know what you are thinking. She is tiny for having twins, but there are two in there.

For the games I tried to keep with the theme and make everything rhyme in Seuss style. One of the games was guessing how many gummy goldfish were in the fish bowl. Another game was guessing the cost of filling a diaper bag for twins. The final game is one that has not been one yet. The guests were asked to guess the arrival date, weight and genders of the babies. Whoever is closest will win a restaurant gift card.

Here is how the invitations and game cards I made came out.

Here is how the invitations and game cards I made came out.

For one of the decorations I did a clothesline that had Thing 1 and Thing 2 onesies with matching beanies hanging from it. For the centerpieces and some of the dessert table decorations I did Truffula tree inspired topiaries.

I did do a sweet table as well. It had desserts, candy, books, toys and topiaries. For the desserts there was a vanilla bean cake, vanilla bean and ganache macaroons, Mayer lemon ricotta pound cake with strawberries, iced vanilla cookies and red velvet cheesecake cookie bars. Over the course of the week I will be posting recipes that are new ones. Today I will be linking up to the topiary instructions and the lemon ricotta pound cake recipe.

Thing 1 & Thing 2 Dessert Table

Truffula Topiary instructions can be found here.

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pound CakeThe recipe for the Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake can be found here. The only changes I made was to use Meyer lemons to cut some of the lemony flavor with the mandarin in the Meyer lemons. I also baked mine in a bundt pan rather than the called for loaf pan.

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