Tag Archives: Vanilla

Vanilla Spice Coffee

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I’m not a heavy coffee drinker but there’s something comforting about a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning. And we’ve had very cold mornings this week, so I’ve been drinking more coffee than usual! Most of the time, I just drink my coffee with cream, but it’s a nice change to have this Vanilla Spice Coffee every now and then. It’s not a super-sweet coffee drink, so if you prefer it sweeter you can add more sugar. The vanilla-cinnamon-nutmeg flavors are great together and if you add some whipped cream on top, you just may feel like you’re at your favorite coffeehouse! šŸ™‚

VANILLA SPICE COFFEE by NancyC, adapted from Gooseberry Patch

Makes 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream (Half & Half)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar (or a little more, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) of hot, strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream and ground cinnamon for garnish

Combine milk, light cream, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan and stir well. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until sugar dissolves (or you can heat in the microwave, in a medium size microwave-safe bowl with a lip, for 45 to 60 seconds). Remove from heat and stir in hot coffee and vanilla (you can taste it at this point and if you’d like it sweeter, add more sugar). Pour into coffee mugs; garnish with whipped cream and a light sprinkling of ground cinnamon, and serve.

You may notice that the cinnamon and nutmeg won’t totally dissolve in the coffee as you’re making this, but that’s okayā€“just blend it as well as you can. I think the whipped cream topping with the additional sprinkle of cinnamon really makes this specialā€“and you can use light whipped cream if you’re watching calories.

What’s your favorite flavored coffee drink? Do you make it yourself or get it from a coffee shop?

Eat Your Peas and Carrots!

My foodie friend Jane made some really cute cupcakes a few weeks ago.Ā She made Peas and Carrots Cupcakes and Popcorn Cupcakesā€“I’ll show you the Popcorn Cupcakes in a little bit.

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The “peas” are green SkittlesĀ®Ā and the “carrots” are orangeĀ StarburstĀ® candiesā€“just cut an orange square candy piece into fourths to get four cubes that look a lot like carrot chunks! Frost your cupcakes with white or green tinted icing, then add the candies on top, pressing them into the frosting.

Jane also showed me a photo of some other fun cupcakes decorated like food…I’ve seen photos of cupcakes like these on the web, and they’re called TV Dinner Cupcakes. This photo is from a lifestyle and design blog called BlackEiffel.

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Here are instructions for the TV dinner cupcakes from MarthaStewart.com…the instructions are also in the cookbook Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack.

TV DINNER CUPCAKES Ā (makes a total of 6 cupcakes)

You’ll need 6 vanilla cupcakes, baked in silver foil liners.

FOR DRUMSTICKS (makes 3):

  • 1/4 cup white chocolate melting wafers, melted
  • 1 cup Vanilla FrostingĀ (homemade or canned)
  • 3 plain store-bought doughnut holes
  • 1 cup cornflake crumbs
Place the bone template (from the book Hello, Cupcake) on a baking sheet (or draw your own shape of half a boneā€“you’ll have to estimate the size). Cover with parchment paper; set aside. Place melted chocolate into a resealable plastic bag and snip a 1/8-inch corner from the bag. Following the bone template, pipe an outline onto the parchment paper. Fill the bone in with chocolate and lightly tap pan to smooth top of chocolate. Repeat process 3 times. Refrigerate until firm, about 5 minutes.
Spread vanilla frosting on top of 3 cupcakes, mounding it slightly. Place 1 doughnut hole on top of each cupcake. Spread frosting over the doughnut hole until it is smooth and covered.Ā Place cornflake crumbs in a medium bowl. Gently press frosted cupcakes in crumbs to cover completely. Place cupcakes in a 6-cup disposable aluminum cupcake baking tray.Ā Using a sharp knife, make a small slit in the top of each crumbed doughnut hole. Carefully peel 1 chocolate bone from the parchment paper and insert the pointed end into one of the slits. Repeat with remaining 2 bones and cupcakes.
FOR MASHED POTATOES (makes 1):
  • 1 yellow fruit chew, such as Laffy TaffysĀ® or StarburstsĀ®, cut into a 1-inch square
  • 3 tablespoons Vanilla Frosting (homemade or canned)
  • 1/2 tablespoon store-bought caramel sauce, heated
Spread vanilla frosting on 1 cupcake, mounding it slightly. Use a small spoon to create a well in the center of the frosting. Place cupcake in aluminum baking tray. Place yellow fruit chew in the well at an angle. Drizzle caramel sauce on top of cupcake so that it fills the well and spills over like gravy.
FOR PEAS AND CARROTS (makes 1):
  • 3 orange fruit chews, such as StarburstsĀ®, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla Frosting (homemade or canned)
  • Green gel food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons green candies, like SkittlesĀ® or M&M’sĀ®
Color vanilla frosting with green food coloring and spread on top of 1 cupcake. Arrange orange fruit chews and green candies on top of cupcake, pressing them into the frosting. Place cupcake in aluminum baking tray.
FOR CHOCOLATE PUDDING (makes 1):
  • Ā 3 tablespoons Chocolate FrostingĀ (homemade or canned)
  • 1 teaspoon colored sprinkles

Place chocolate frosting in a resealable plastic bag; press out all the excess air and seal to enclose. Snip a 1/4-inch corner from the bag. Pipe chocolate frosting into a spiral swirl onto the remaining cupcake. Top with sprinkles and place in aluminum baking tray. Serve.

Now here are the Popcorn Cupcakes Jane madeā€“aren’t they cute? She followed instructions on how to make them at eHow.
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Here are the steps…Jane said they were easy to make! All you need are cupcakes, frosting, and miniature marshmallows.

POPCORN CUPCAKES

  1. Bake a regular batch of cupcakes, using a cupcake pan lined with paper or aluminum cupcake liners. Although white or light-colored cupcakes are easier to cover with icing, the cupcakes can be any flavor you like. Allow the cupcakes to cool (Jane used a cake mix to make her cupcakes).
  2. Frost the cupcakes with white frosting. Use homemade frosting, or simplify the process with boxed or canned frosting (Jane used canned frosting on her cupcakes).
  3. Cut an ‘X’ shape into the top of each miniature marshmallow, using a clean pair of scissors. Leave the bottom of the marshmallow intact. Cut enough miniature marshmallows to cover the top of each cupcake (about 30 to 40 miniature marshmallows).
  4. Press the miniature marshmallows into the frosting on the top of the cupcakes. Pile the marshmallows so the cupcake looks like a bag filled with popcorn.
  5. Place a small amount of water in a cup. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring to create a buttery color. Use a pastry brush or a clean paintbrush to coat the miniature marshmallows with the butter-colored water.
  6. Create bands from red construction paper, or use red and white striped gift wrapping paper. The bands should be large enough to wrap around the base of the cupcake — about 8 inches by 1 and 1/4 inches. Alternatively, create a band on your computer, then duplicate it several times. Note: Jane used a pre-made band she found at Scribd.com.Ā 
  7. Wrap a paper band around the base of each cupcake, securing each band with a piece of clear tape.

Hope you have fun trying these out!

Linked to Foodie Friday, I’m Lovin’ It Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Make it Yours Day, Show and Tell, Strut Your Stuff.