Tuesday, December 18, 2012

French Toast Cupcakes


French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate-Dipped Bacon to be exact.  These are the cupcakes that I made for Fabienne's second birthday party.  {The chocolate-dipped bacon didn't make an appearance at the party though...not enough time}.
I was having a hard time narrowing down my choices of which cupcake flavor I wanted to make for the party and was on the phone with baby sister and her husband going over options with them.  They told me I should go with the french toast cupcakes.  Then, Andy suggested that I add bacon to the top.  Lyndsay, who was relaying his suggestion to me, somehow ended up throwing chocolate into the suggestion.  And so we ended up with french toast cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting topped with chocolate-dipped bacon.
These cupcakes are soo good. They've been quoted as being, "make you wanna slap your momma" good!  Personally, I can do without the bacon...I'm a bacon purist though, just a plain old slice of super crispy bacon is my fav.  But those that prefer bacon on & in everything will love the added bacon.  These cupcakes are the perfect breakfast dessert - if you're the type that has dessert for breakfast.


French Toast Cupcakes
Makes about 30 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For the cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To make the streusel:
In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix the cold butter into the mixture by hand, squeezing the pieces in to mix it.
Cover and freeze while you prepare the cupcakes.  If you’re not using the streusel right away, refrigerate it until ready to use.

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
Place three tablespoons of batter in each prepared baking cup. Divide the streusel evenly among the cupcakes, and sprinkle it on each one {about a tablespoon or so}. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Maple Buttercream

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Drop or two of maple extract

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 4 cups of the sugar until combined. Mix in the vanilla and syrup. Add the milk and heavy cream and mix until light and fluffy.  If necessary, add remaining sugar to reach desired consistency.  Add a drop or two of maple extract to your liking.  {Yup, taste-testing is a must!}

Frost cooled cupcakes.  I also sprinkled some cinnamon-sugar on the top of mine.

Chocolate-dipped Bacon

Ingredients

Bacon
Good quality chocolate {milk or semi-sweet}

Cook bacon until crispy {in a pan on the stove or in the oven}.  Cool on paper towels.  Melt chocolate until smooth.  Break bacon into desired size.  Dip bacon pieces in chocolate, lay on wax paper until chocolate is hardened.  Add bacon to top of cupcakes.

Source: adapted from Bakingdom and Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

O Christmas Tree

December 1st showed up with a dusting of snow this year, so we decided to hurry to the Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree.  Seems as though our new normal around these parts is no snow Decembers - so very different than what it was growing up.
I love the little tree farm that we've been going to the last few years.  It's very basic and simple.  Just some trees and some saws.  This year, we had the farm cat join us on our adventure.  {The cat walked around with us the entire time we were there - how cute is that?!} I'm not sure what the boys were more excited about, getting a tree or getting to walk around with the cat!  














I realized I haven't taken any photos of the tree up & decorated in the house - eeps, need to get on that!  I love this tradition that we have of going to cut down our tree together.  It's a bit of a challenge with the boys still being on the younger side, we get complaints about it being too cold, or someone's too tired after about 5 minutes of walking around.  I always want the perfect tree, but there's only so much whining I can handle, so after walking around and thinking no tree is good enough, I finally just give up and make Mike pick any tree so we can make a fast exit!  All part of the fun & games of parenting.

We're enjoying our advent season and all the activities that come along with it.  Maybe I'll find time to blog about our advent calendar and activities.  But don't hold your breath on that!  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Little Fashion ::Thanksgiving Style

Finalllly getting around to posting these fantastic pictures from Thanksgiving.  Oh these boys. Such little goofs.  So blessed to be the mama of these three silly boys.  I love them so.



















On the boys: all thrifted goods {'cept for Lincoln's belt which was a gift from Lyndsay}.  Bolo tie borrowed from Cait.  Pictures by Cait - thanks Caitie!  


Linking up with Small Style....it's been awhile!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Horse Party

My sweet niece, Fabienne Joy, turned two last month!  My sister thought a horse theme party would be perfect since Fabienne loves horses.  Their family moved into a beautiful farm house in the country, and right across the street - horses!  Ever since the move and daily walks past their new 'neigh'bors {couldn't resist!} - Fabs has been smitten.  Marla & Justin also have a great old barn that was perfect for hosting the party in.  My sister graciously let Cait & me take over help plan the party with her.

All photos: Caitlin McGrath Photography.  As always, so amazing - you're the best Cait!!













































































// Invites designed by Justin - so perfect, as always! // Cait made the amazing lace doily & burlap bunting - we re-used the happy birthday bunting from previous parties.  //  The sweet birthday girl and her mama. //  Cait just happened to find some amazing spurs right before the party - she's the best at that!  Cutest itty-bitty cowgirl boots I ever did see! //  Food & drinks - and some official horse gear borrowed from a friend.  // My mama & Marla made caramel apples - perfect looking!  Yummy homemade caramel popcorn that I need to blog the recipe for sometime.  //  Pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting - I still daydream about this cake, it was soo good.  // French toast cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting.  Recipe for these coming soon! // Homemade chex mix made by Marla.  I needed a scoop for the popcorn and couldn't find one at a store, so my Michael just whipped one up for me.  No big deal.  This guy is amazing!! // Cait wrapped jars with lace and put candles in them. // She also made this amazing, amazing scrap fabric bunting that I just love.  I need to make my own!  Or just steal hers. // Oh those boots! //  What, your mama doesn't braid your hair in the barn?!  My mama is a master braid-er {official term} - I can't braid worth my life.  #guessthatswhyihadthreeboys // Paper straws from Target - on clearance! // Some sexy cowboy drinking cider. // Fabienne seemed pretty excited about the cake.  //  However, I think our singing troubled her a bit - ha! // The boys were more excited about the gifts and did more unwrapping than Fabs did.  Also, note that perfect wrapping paper Cait had on hand! // Uncle Jojo mows nature trails for the kids to run through.  //  My grandma is also a lover of horses, this is a picture she gave me a while back, dated 1967. // Cait & I {mostly Cait} thrifted some horses in the weeks before the party.  Every horse party needs some carrots! // Our version of a hay ride - Levi pulling Fabs {and it was soo windy that day!} // My sweet baby sis made this horse banner for the party and then mailed it all the way from Cali.  So thoughtful & helpful, even though she's living across the country! // Be still my heart - my cowboy and our baby.  Love this photo.  //  Music. Candles. // Ropes.  Bridles.  // My sister recently thrifted this amazing wooden seesaw.  Aunt Jan and Malacai had fun on it.  // Cowboy hats. Horse on a stick.  // Cait had the brillant idea of using the diy tutorial on A Beautiful Mess to make our own pony dresses/skirts.  We had a fun crafternoon together and made these.  Mike of course whipped up three pony stamps for us.  Of course.  I love the pony in the pocket on Cait's skirt!

Such a fun party in a perfect setting!!  Thanks big seester, for letting me help out on our daughter's party.  ;)  Happiest second birthday to Fabienne Joy - Auntie Manda loves you!

See more on Marla's and Cait's blogs!

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