recipes

Meal Ideas 17 August 2018

Simplify and Savor Dinner with Bold Flavors

(Family Features) A busy day doesn’t have to come between you and your favorite people at mealtime. With a little creativity and a simple ingredient like olive oil, you can set the table with flavorful meals and surround yourself with the company of friends and family, enjoying the experience together.

There’s no need to get complicated when you have quality ingredients like olive oil to add some extra zest. You can have flavor at the ready with Olive Oil Ice Cubes, for example. Add fresh herbs from your garden to an ice cube tray then fill with smooth, light and flavorful olive oil and freeze. Whenever you need to get the flavor sizzling, simply toss a cube into the pan.

Create a nearly effortless dressing with olive oil for a recipe like Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Berries and Pecans. White fish fillets like cod also pair well with an olive oil-based pesto, which can help ensure you’re prepared for any stressful day that dares to challenge your time around the table, allowing you to enjoy life’s pure moments. Olive oil even adds flavor to sweet and succulent desserts, such as Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake.

When the minutes start to slip away, capture them back with recipes that use olive oil to create meals you can feel good about while savoring the company of those around you.

Make every moment count and find more simple, enjoyable recipes at Bertolli.com.
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Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Berries and Pecans

Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1-2

  • 7 cups arugula
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup mixed berries (such as blackberries or strawberries)

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. In bowl, toss arugula, goat cheese, pecans and mixed berries.
  2. To make dressing: In bowl, mix lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt and olive oil.
  3. Add dressing to salad for serving.

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White Fish Fillets with Pesto

Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

Fish:

  • 2 cod fillets (about 7 ounces each)
  • salt, to taste
  • Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste

Red Pesto:

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 ounce cashews
  • 3/4 ounce Parmesan cheese
  • Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • water
  1. To prepare fish: Rub both sides of fillets with salt and olive oil while heating saucepan.
  2. Sear fillets meat-side first followed by skin-side.
  3. Heat oven to 350° F.
  4. To make Red Pesto: Puree basil, cashews, Parmesan cheese and olive oil while adding small amount of water.
  5. Add additional olive oil as necessary, ensuring sauce is thick enough to cover fish.
  6. Place fish in oven tray, cover with Red Pesto and bake 5 minutes.

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Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake

Total time: 20 minutes

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 ounces sugar
  • 4 1/2 ounces Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 1/2 ounces flour
  • 1/3 ounce cocoa powder
  • 1/8 ounce salt
  • 5 1/4 ounces pumpkin
  • 1/10 ounce baking powder
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix eggs with sugar thoroughly and beat until bubbles form. Slowly add in olive oil while continuing to stir mixture.
  3. Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, pumpkin and baking powder; using whisk, mix well.
  4. Pour into cake mold lined with baking paper and bake 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool and remove cake from mold.

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Olive Oil Cubes

  • Assorted herbs
  • ice cube trays
  • Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Break up herbs by hand. Add herbs to trays. Fill trays with olive oil and gently set in freezer; allow to solidify.
  2. When cooking, use cubes for added flavor.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Berries and Pecans, Olive Oil Cubes)

Source:  Bertolli

Dessert 26 January 2018

Better, Healthier Baking

(Family Features) Olive oil is a flavorful and versatile cooking oil that is often trusted in popular cooking methods such as sauteing, stir-frying, dressing, marinating and grilling. It can also earn your trust when it comes to baking.

With seven olive oil varieties to fit almost any need, each Filippo Berio olive oil has its own distinct color, aroma and flavor characteristics. Among those seven, the Extra Light Olive Oil offers a delicate aroma and subtle flavor that can complement your favorite baked goods. Its high smoke point helps keep those goodies moist, and with strong flavors like chocolate, it also lets the sweetness come through.

Additionally, it provides high levels of mono-unsaturated fat (“good” fat) and low levels of saturated fat (“bad” fat), making it a more nutritional choice when compared to butter or margarine. Because you need less olive oil than butter in baking, you’ll save calories as well.

One easy way to incorporate olive oil in your baked goods is during the prep work: where recipes call for buttering or flouring pans, instead brush the pan with olive oil and dust with flour for the same effect as butter.

Avoid Olive Oil Enemies

Maintain olive oil’s flavor and quality by avoiding exposure to heat, light and air. Be sure to store olive oil in a cool, dark place and not over or near the oven.

Explore more tips and recipes using olive oil at filippoberio.com.
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Dark Chocolate Souffle

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 18 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 1/2       tablespoon Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil, plus additional for coating pan
  • 1/4       cup granulated sugar, plus additional for coating pan
  • 4          ounces 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate
  • 1          ounce 30 percent heavy cream
  • 3          egg whites
  • 2          egg yolks
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Grease two 6-ounce ramekins with olive oil and dust with sugar.
  2. In double boiler, melt chocolate, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and cream; let cool. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  3. Whisk egg yolks into cooled chocolate mixture; fold in egg whites, 1/4 cup sugar and cream of tartar. Pour into prepared ramekins; bake 15 minutes.

Tips: This recipe can be easily doubled. Garnish with fresh berries, if desired.
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Double-Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Salted Chocolate Caramel Icing

Recipe courtesy of Chef Sharon Sanders
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8-10

  • 1/2       cup, plus 2 tablespoons, Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil, divided, plus additional for coating pan
  • 1          cup all-purpose flour
  • 1          cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4       cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4       teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2       cup half-and-half
  • 1          teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1          large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4       cup, plus 1/3 cup, mini dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 1          cup canned dulce de leche
  • flaky sea salt (optional)
  1. Position rack in center of oven and heat to 350° F. Lightly coat 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil and line bottom with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment with olive oil.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in half-and-half, 1/2 cup olive oil and vanilla. With electric mixer, beat in egg until well blended. Scrape batter into prepared cake pan and sprinkle top with 1/4 cup mini chips.
  3. Bake cake 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Place cake on cooling rack 10 minutes then turn cake out onto rack and let cool completely.
  4. In medium saucepan, heat dulce de leche over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add remaining olive oil and chocolate chips and stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Remove pan from heat.
  5. Transfer cake to serving plate. Pour icing over cooled cake, sprinkle with flaky salt, if desired, and serve.

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Double-Chocolate Biscotti

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 40

  • 3          cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2       cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil, plus 1 tablespoon for coating pans
  • 1          cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2          eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3       cup milk
  • 1          tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1          cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate morsels
  1. On sheet of waxed paper, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat olive oil with sugar until smooth and light. Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating until smooth. Add milk and vinegar; beat until smooth. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Stir in chocolate morsels with large spoon; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 325° F. Grease two large baking sheets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil each. On lightly floured surface, divide dough into quarters. Roll each piece of dough into log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place logs on baking sheets, leaving space in between. Bake about 30 minutes, or until golden and set. Transfer to rack; let cool 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 300° F. On cutting board using serrated knife, cut each log into 3/4-inch-wide slices diagonally. Place slices, cut-side down, on baking sheets. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until toasted. Transfer to racks; let cool.

Source: Filippo Berio

Meal Ideas 19 January 2018

Big Flavor for the Big Game

(Family Features) When hosting a game-day party, you’d think the focus would be on the score or the award-winning commercials, but it’s actually a great reason to indulge in flavor-filled bites. When the big day rolls around, let your guests obsess over the game while you serve up ooey-gooey dips, saucy wings and football-themed desserts that can keep them happily glued to their seats.

Dip into delicious. No watch-party menu is complete without a cheesy dip. This over the top dip brings big flavor and is perfect for kicking the party up a notch as your team works to post that next big win.

Slow cook your cornbread. Not only does this recipe for cornbread amp up the flavor with paprika, garlic powder and cheese, you can set it, forget it then enjoy it with your favorite chili or ribs.

Go ahead and wing it. Wings and football go together like quarterbacks and touchdowns. This year, try a south-of-the-border version and rub wings in cheesy taco seasoning. For extra flair, serve them on a platter with taco fixings.

Fan-favorite desserts. Win or lose, there’s always room for dessert. It can be surprisingly simple to create fun and tasty football-themed treats. These bite-size truffles require just five ingredients and are the perfect finishing touch(down) for your game-day spread.

Find more flavorful game-day recipes and ideas for your party at McCormick.com.
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Chocolate Raspberry Football Cookie Truffles

  • 4         cups crumbled chewy chocolate cookies
  • 1 1/2   cups marshmallow creme
  • 2         teaspoons McCormick Raspberry Extract
  • 12       ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1         ounce white chocolate, melted
  1. In large bowl, mix crumbled cookies, marshmallow creme and raspberry flavor until well blended. Shape mixture into 1-inch ovals. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate as directed on package. Using fork, dip one cookie truffle at a time into chocolate. Tap back of fork 2-3 times against edge of dish to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until chocolate is set.
  3. Spoon melted white chocolate into small, re-sealable plastic bag. Cut small piece from one bottom corner of bag. Close bag tightly then pipe lines on truffles to resemble football stitching. Let stand until chocolate is set.

Note: Cookies can be stored in covered container at room temperature up to 5 days.
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Texas Trash Dip

  • 1          package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 2          cans (16 ounces each) refried beans
  • 1          can (4 1/2 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1          package McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 4          cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • chopped cilantro (optional)
  • tomatoes (optional)
  • sliced olives (optional)
  • avocado (optional)
  • tortilla chips
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large, microwavable bowl, heat cream cheese and sour cream on high 1 minute, or until cheese is softened. Remove from microwave. Mix with wire whisk until smooth. Add refried beans, green chilies, seasoning mix and 2 cups cheese; mix well.
  3. Spread bean mixture into 13-by-9-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with cilantro, tomatoes, sliced olives and avocado, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Cheesy Taco Wings

  • 2 1/2    pounds chicken wing pieces
  • 1          package McCormick Cheesy Taco Mix
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3          cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped tomato
  • 2          tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 1       tablespoons crumbled queso fresco
  1. Heat oven to 450° F.
  2. In large bowl, toss chicken wings with seasoning mix. On large, shallow foil-lined baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, arrange wings in single layer.
  3. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and skin is crisp.
  4. On large serving platter, arrange lettuce. Top with wings, tomato, green onion and queso fresco.

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Slow Cooker Cheesy Cornbread

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          cup milk
  • 3          eggs, beaten
  • 2          packages (8 1/2 ounces each) corn muffin mix
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Paprika
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1          cup frozen corn
  • 2          cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Spray inside of 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix milk, eggs, corn muffin mix, paprika, garlic powder and salt until well blended.
  2. Stir in corn and 1 cup cheese. Place clean kitchen towel over slow cooker and cover with lid.
  3. Cook 2 hours on high, or until toothpick in center of cornbread comes out clean. Uncover.
  4. Sprinkle cornbread with remaining cheese. Let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Source: McCormick

Healthy 24 July 2017

Focus on Nutrition

5 ways to add more nutrients to your lifestyle

(Family Features) A nutritious diet is crucial for overall health and well-being. While it’s OK to indulge from time to time, it’s important to make sure you’re providing your body with appropriate nourishment.

There are many ways to help you add more of the essential nutrients you need into everyday meals, including these nutritious ideas from CocoaVia.

Sneak in More Fruits and Vegetables.
You can bulk up the nutritional value of nearly any meal by incorporating fruits or vegetables directly into your recipes. Pureeing veggies is a good way to disguise textures or flavors you might typically avoid. For example, celery is a natural flavor enhancer for many types of broth soup. Adding finely pureed celery to the stock will add the flavor without the crunchy bits. You can also slip vegetables like spinach or carrots into smoothies, and depending on the base and fruit, you may never even taste them. Fresh, canned or frozen, fruit can give a boost of nutrition to dishes like oatmeal or pudding. You can also use purees (think applesauce) as a low-fat substitute for eggs and oil in baked goods like cake.

Go Frozen.
Fresh fruits and vegetables provide a wealth of essential vitamins and nutrients, but you may be surprised that their frozen counterparts do the same. Frozen foods are often perceived as less nutritious, but they can contain just as many nutrients as fresh produce. In fact, since freezing often involves picking the food at its peak and then quickly freezing it, freezing can actually help retain vitamins more efficiently than refrigeration or canning; frozen vegetables can actually hold on to nutrients longer than fresh produce and are a great alternative when seasonal fruits and vegetables are unavailable. In many cases, frozen veggies also make it easy to experiment with better-for-you meals because the cleaning and prep work is already done. You can try adding them to soups, stir-fries, casseroles and even pasta dishes.

Cook Quickly.
If you’ve historically shied away from cooked vegetables, you may find that proper preparation is the secret ingredient. Not only does overcooking veggies deplete their flavor, in most cases it also diminishes their nutritional value. Cook veggies lightly and quickly using methods like stir-frying or steaming to help retain water-soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C.

Get Saucy.
You may think of dishes covered in rich gravy or sauce as unhealthy, and in some cases, you would be right. However, it’s actually quite possible to create saucy dishes that taste terrific. Both tomato sauce and pesto add nutrients and can top pretty much anything, from pastas to grilled chicken. Tomato sauce contains lycopene, a bright plant pigment known as a carotenoid that has been linked to a range of health benefits. Pesto is traditionally made with healthy pine nuts and basil, but you can also get creative and prepare this light sauce alternative with options such as arugula, spinach and heart-healthy walnuts or pecans.

Consider Cocoa Flavanols.
Another option to consider adding to your diet is cocoa flavanols. These plant-based phytonutrients are found naturally in cocoa, and research supports that these flavanols work within your body to help maintain healthy blood flow. While chocolate, including dark chocolate and natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder, can be sources of cocoa flavanols, they are often not a reliable source of cocoa flavanols. The way cocoa is handled matters in the retention of these phytonutrients. However, one easy way to add cocoa flavanols to your routine is by incorporating a daily cocoa extract supplement, such as CocoaVia, which contains the highest concentration available in a cocoa extract supplement today. The supplement can be added to the food or beverage of your choice, like a Chocolate-Chai Smoothie or coffee. Visit CocoaVia.com for more information about cocoa flavanols and ideas for adding them to your diet.

The Truth About Chocolate

While there are many misconceptions about chocolate, especially when it comes to its health benefits, these facts from the experts at CocoaVia set the record straight on some of the most common chocolate myths.

  1. Chocolate contains powerful antioxidants.
    Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, does contain cocoa flavanols, phytonutrients which numerous scientific studies have demonstrated have a positive impact on health. However, cocoa flavanols are not antioxidants. While not antioxidants, cocoa flavanols have been shown to have positive effects on health that are linked to their ability to support the health and function of your blood vessels.
  2. Chocolate is good for your heart.
    Chocolate can be part of a healthy diet, but it is not a health food. Even if chocolate is high in cocoa flavanols, the calories, fat and sugar leave it best-suited as an occasional indulgence.
  3. Chocolate containing 70 percent cacao or greater is good for you.
    The percentage of cacao is not a reliable indicator of a product's cocoa flavanol content. Unfortunately, there is also no way of knowing exactly how many cocoa flavanols are in a conventional chocolate product because traditional cocoa processing, which includes fermenting, drying and roasting of beans, destroys many of the flavanols naturally present in the cocoa bean.
  4. Chocolate is high in caffeine.
    Chocolate does contain caffeine, but an average 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate contains less than half the amount of caffeine found in an average cup of black tea. The amount of caffeine in chocolate is in proportion to the percentage of cacao in the product, meaning milk chocolate contains less caffeine than semi-sweet or dark chocolate.

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Chocolate-Chai Smoothie

Makes: 1 smoothie

  • 1/2       cup boiling water
  • 1          chai-flavored tea bag
  • 1/2       cup fat-free milk
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • ice cubes
  • 1          packet CocoaVia Unsweetened Dark Chocolate (or Sweetened Dark Chocolate) supplement
  1. In measuring cup with pour spout, pour boiling water over tea bag. Let steep 5 minutes; remove tea bag.
  2. Pour milk and tea into blender; add honey, a handful of ice and cocoa extract supplement. Cover and blend until smooth.

Nutritional information per serving: 130 calories; 1 g total fat; 50 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 24 g sugar; 5 g protein; 375 mg cocoa flavanols.

Content courtesy of CocoaVia

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man and woman in kitchen)

Source: Cocoa Via

Snacks 19 June 2017

Pop-ular Summer Snacks

(Family Features) From casual gatherings with friends to outdoor athletic activities and leisurely time at home, all of the best summer pastimes have one thing in common: tasty snacks make them more enjoyable.

Light, airy and fresh popcorn is a perfect summer snack. It’s naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free – all the makings of an ideal guilt-free treat. Whether you enjoy it one delicious handful at a time, sprinkled with seasonings or as an ingredient in fun summertime recipes, popcorn offers plenty of versatility for every occasion.

You can kick up the heat with a zesty popcorn mix or take a sweeter route with a blend of toasted coconut and bananas. No summer sporting event is complete without some good old toffee-style popcorn and nuts, and even a favorite like ice cream sandwiches can only get better with the addition of sweet, crunchy popcorn and candy.

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Spice Up Summer Snacks
Freshly popped popcorn is a light snack perfect for summer, and you can add just about any flavor to satisfy whatever you may be craving. Start by sampling these topping favorites then taste your way to other creative combinations.

  • Garlic salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Dry taco seasoning mix
  • Dry ranch-style seasoning mix
  • Lemon pepper
  • Italian herbs: oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and crushed rosemary
  • French herbs: marjoram, thyme, summer savory, basil, rosemary, sage and fennel
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Nutmeg

Find more popcorn recipes perfect for summer at popcorn.org.

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Coconut Monkey Mix

Yield: 7 cups

  • 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened or sweetened)
  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup dried banana chips
  1. Heat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spread coconut in 13-by-9-inch baking pan, breaking up any clumps as needed. Bake 10 minutes, or until edges of coconut begin to brown.
  3. Spread popcorn over coconut and sprinkle with butter; toss. Sprinkle popcorn mixture with sugar, salt and nutmeg; toss.
  4. Bake 5 minutes longer, remove from heat and toss with banana chips. Serve immediately or cool and store in airtight container.

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Popcorn Chipwiches

Yield: 12

  • 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (6 ounces) chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 pints brick-style vanilla ice cream
  1. Keep popcorn warm.
  2. In 3-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vinegar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until hard ball stage (250 F on candy thermometer).
  3. Pour syrup over popcorn; stir to coat. Add chocolate pieces and nuts; stir just until mixed.
  4. Pour into two 13-by-9-by-2-inch pans, spreading and packing firmly. Cool.
  5. In each pan, cut 12 rectangles. Cut each pint of ice cream into six slices. Sandwich each ice cream slice between two popcorn rectangles.

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Ballpark Popcorn Crunch

Yield: 3 quarts

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. In separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
  4. Spread on large baking sheet in single layer.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, or until crisp.

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Beach Party Popcorn

Yield: 2 1/2 quarts

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1-2 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 2 cups assorted seasoned snacks (crackers, pretzels, etc.)
  • 1/2 package (0.56 ounces) bacon-onion dip mix
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Add soy sauce and hot pepper sauce to melted butter.
  3. Put popcorn and seasoned snacks in large bowl. Pour butter mixture over popcorn and snacks; toss. Sprinkle with bacon-onion dip mix; toss again.
  4. Spread mixture in 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan and bake 8-10 minutes, stirring once.

Source: The Popcorn Board

Holiday 23 November 2015

Gather for Gifts From the Heart

(Family Features) If the kitchen is the heart of the home, a gift from your kitchen is truly a gift from the heart. For the holidays, treat everyone on your list to a heartfelt food gift.

Gather for a casual holiday open house and give one of your hand-made or hand-picked creations as party favors. Offer hot cider, cocoa or flavored coffee and serve a spectacular cupcake cake — the latest in show-stopping desserts. Order a holiday-themed cupcake creation from your neighborhood Wal-Mart for easy pickup that morning.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark and Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie are just two easy-to-make treats, perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth. They’re a few favorite recipes from best-selling author of “Semi-Homemade Cooking,” Sandra Lee for holiday gifting. Not only is her complete collection of 200 recipes in the new Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade recipe card collection a great resource for holiday gift treats but it’s also the perfect gift. Packaged in a holiday red tin, the collection is available exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations this holiday season.

There’s something for everyone on your list — friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, postal carrier, hairdresser, even the kids’ teachers. These gifts from your heart are sure to be appreciated.

Create Personalized Goodie Gifts

Gather the contents by collecting goods from the grocery aisles and housewares department of your favorite superstore:

  • Holiday sweets: Pre-wrapped and packaged cookies and candies in fun Snowman and Santa Towers are great to have on hand; simply hang a decorative homemade card or gift tag around the neck.
  • Help with happy hour: Line a pretty basket with a festive towel and fill with a bottle of sparkling juice or wine, two elegant wine glasses, a fragrant candle, a tin of fancy nuts and some stylish cocktail napkins.
  • Love you a latte: Give a bag of gourmet coffee and include a beautiful coffee mug — or pick up an already-packaged gift set.
  • Bring brunch for a bunch: Load up a festive gift box or basket with brunch favorites — try fresh oranges and pears, pancake mix, maple syrup, a loaf of cinnamon or banana nut bread, plus an assortment of jams and spreader knives with holiday handles.
  • Time for some reel fun: For the film buff, include microwave movie popcorn, king-sized candy bars, a few cans of soda and the latest DVD releases, in a large plastic snack bowl.
  • Fuel-up power pack: Fill a draw-string knapsack with energy bars, bottled sports drinks, banana chips, a box of whole wheat pasta and wrist weights for the avid athlete.

Make a list for one-stop shopping for gift ideas by visiting www.walmart.com. Additional recipes are also available by clicking on In Stores Now/Ideas Center.

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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

These pretty-as-a-picture cookies are amazingly easy to make. Let the kids help make these by rolling cookie balls and unwrapping the chocolate morsels.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  • 1 16-ounce container dark chocolate frosting
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup very finely ground almonds
  • 48 large chocolate morsels, unwrapped
  1. Beat chocolate frosting and butter in large bowl until well blended.
  2. Mix in graham cracker crumbs and almond extract. Place almonds in pie plate or other shallow bowl.
  3. Shape chocolate mixture into 1-inch balls (about 48). Roll each ball in almonds to coat.
  4. Place balls on cookie sheet. Using finger, make deep indentation in center of each ball.
  5. Fill each indentation with chocolate morsel. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until cold.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark

Easy and irresistible — be sure to make a batch for yourself as well. Package in a pretty cellophane bag or in a holiday candy dish tied with a festive ribbon.

Makes 1 1/2 pounds

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 cups white vanilla milk chips
  • 2/3 cup macadamia nuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  1. Line 13- by 9-inch cookie sheet with waxed paper, allowing 2 inches of paper to hang over sides.
  2. Melt 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate morsels in microwave on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  3. Pour melted semisweet chocolate onto prepared sheet and spread to cover entire surface and form one even layer.
  4. Melt 1 3/4 cups white chips in microwave on medium power 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth.
  5. Drizzle melted white chips over semisweet chocolate layer. Using toothpick or skewer, swirl melted chocolates together, creating marbled effect.
  6. Sprinkle with nuts and remaining 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and 1/4 cup white chips. Gently press toppings into melted chocolates.
  7. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm.
  8. Remove waxed paper from chocolate. Cut or break chocolate into bite-size pieces.

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Morning Coffee Cake

What better way to wake up the holidays than with a delicious cinnamon swirl coffee cake? Give this breakfast treat on a red or green platter with a ribbon-wrapped serving knife.

Makes 12 to 16 slices

  • 7 sweet dinner rolls
  • 1 box (1 pound, 14 ounces) cinnamon swirl coffee cake mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 10-cup Bundt pan. Slice 1 inch off tops of rolls and tear tops into 1-inch pieces; set aside. Place bottoms of rolls, cut sides up, in prepared pan.
  2. In large bowl, combine coffee cake batter mix, water, oil and 2 eggs. Beat until well blended.
  3. Pour half of batter over rolls. Sprinkle with cinnamon swirl packet from coffee cake mix. Pour remaining batter over rolls.
  4. Whisk remaining egg, milk and sugar in another bowl to blend. Add reserved roll tops to milk mixture; set aside until milk mixture is absorbed.
  5. Pour roll top mixture over cake batter in pan. Swirl batters together with a skewer.
  6. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 25 minutes. Invert cake onto cooling rack; remove pan.
  7. Place cake, right side up, on platter. Slice cake and serve.

 

Candy Cane Cocktail

Perfect for an evening of holiday entertaining. Or for gift-giving, bundle the ingredients in a candy cane themed basket complete with martini glasses and a cocktail shaker.

Makes: 1 drink

  • 1 shot vanilla rum
  • 1 shot white chocolate liqueur
  • 1 shot peppermint schnapps
  • Candy cane, garnish
  1. Add all liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with candy cane.

Source: Wal-Mart

Holiday 01 July 2016

New Stars of the Barbecue

(Family Features) Nothing says summer quite like a barbecue. While the grill might be the main attraction, it’s deliciously simple to put a personal spin on classic summer dishes and desserts.

From Same-Old Salads to Inspired Surprises

There are a number of quick and easy ways to add your signature touch to the standard summer barbecue fare. First, trade in the predictable potato salad for a refreshing pasta sensation. Build a delicious, personalized creation your family will enjoy with easy mixes such as Suddenly Salad mixes by Betty Crocker. “Each pasta salad mix comes with pasta, special seasoning and vegetables — only oil or mayonnaise needs to be added,” said Karen Schiemo of the Betty Crocker Kitchens. “Throw in a little culinary creativity and your favorite ingredients, such as additional fresh vegetables or diced meat, and you can even create your own recipe that’s sure to be in high-demand for seconds.”

Sweet Summer Barbecue Endings

Deliver a sweet ending to the perfect barbecue. With a few ingredients, such as sprinkles, marshmallows and nuts, you can add your own twist to brownies and transform them into a customized confection. Not only are they easy to make ahead of time, but a pan of brownies is easy to carry to the festive affair, requiring only one dish from baking to the barbecue. With no utensils necessary, they score huge “brownie points” with adults and kids alike.

Between the perfect main course and delectable side dishes, barbecues will surely be a family favorite. For more ideas to make your barbecue sizzle, go to BettyCrocker.com.

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S’more Brownies

Makes 24 brownies
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour 25 minutes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 4 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
  • 2 bars (1.55 ounces each) milk chocolate candy, broken into 1-inch squares
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray or shortening. Make and bake brownies as directed on box for 13 x 9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs.
  2. Set oven to broil. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows and graham crackers over warm brownies. Broil about 4 to 5 inches from heat 30 to 60 seconds or until marshmallows are golden brown. (Watch carefully — marshmallows and graham crackers will brown quickly.) Sprinkle with chocolate candy. To serve warm, cool about 30 minutes. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

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Stars and Stripes Brownies

Makes 24 brownies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish: 2 hours

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
  • 1 container (12 ounces) whipped fluffy white frosting
  • 1 tube (0.68 ounce) red decorating gel
  • 1 tube (0.68 ounce) blue decorating gel
  • 1 tube (0.68 ounce) white decorator icing
  • Decorating Decors stars
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9-inch pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Make and bake brownies as directed on box for 13 x 9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  2. Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies. Continue as desired with options below.
  3. Flag Brownies: Frost brownies. Using red decorating gel, pipe stripes onto frosted brownie. Add decors in upper left corner of brownie.
  4. Fire Cracker Brownies: Using 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out brownie rounds. Stack 2 brownie rounds together, spreading frosting between rounds and on top. Garnish with decors.
  5. Star Brownies: Using 2 1/2-inch, star-shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies. Place frosting in resealable food-storage bag; cut off one bottom corner of bag. Pipe frosting on star-shaped brownies. Sprinkle with decors.

 

Fresh Vegetable Pasta Salad

15 servings (1/2 cup each)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour 25 minutes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion cut into thin wedges
  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, oil and vinegar.
  2. Stir drained pasta and remaining ingredients into seasoning mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

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Greek Tossed Pasta Salad

Makes 12 servings (1 cup each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad Caesar pasta salad mix
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small cucumber, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, slices cut in half
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (1 cup)
  • 1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water and oil.
  2. Add drained pasta and remaining ingredients to seasoning mixture. Toss with croutons and Parmesan topping (from salad mix). Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Source: Betty Crocker

Holiday 13 December 2016

Wrap Up the Season With Buttery, Homemade Candy

(Family Features) Homemade candy is a year-round treat, but it’s especially delicious during the holidays. Stir up sweet family traditions in the kitchen this season with a few simple tools and the perfect candy ingredients. Gather a heavy saucepan and wooden spoon, along with plenty of real butter, pure sugar and high-quality chocolate.
These recipes are easy to make, from melt-in-your-mouth caramels to crunchy, nutty toffee. If your candy-making technique could use a refresher course, visit butterisbest.com for a short video demonstration of the Pistachio Toffee recipe, along with helpful hints for using a candy thermometer and testing candy temperatures.

Sweet Tips for Candy Success

  • No substitutions — real butter, not margarine or spreads, gives candy the best flavor and texture.
  • Don’t double up — make only a single batch of candy at a time. Extra ingredients may prevent the mixture from cooking properly.
  • Temps on target — the bulb of the candy thermometer should be completely covered by liquid, but don’t rest the thermometer on the bottom of the pan.
  • Be patient — candy takes a long time to cook — don’t rush it by turning up the heat.
  • Measure up — measure all ingredients before beginning a recipe.
  • Keep it fresh — store finished confections in an airtight container in a dry location. Use wax paper to separate layers of candy.

For more holiday recipes and tips for cooking and baking with butter visit butterisbest.com.

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Chocolate Cherry Fudge

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
  2. Remove from heat; add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until smooth.
  3. Add, almonds, cherries and almond extract; mix until well blended.
  4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Refrigerate until cool; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

 

Eggnog Fudge

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans,
  • 1 teaspoon rum or rum extract
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, eggnog and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
  3. Remove from heat; add chocolate and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme, pecans and rum; mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool completely; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Sea-Salted Caramels

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Butter sides and bottom of heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add butter and melt over low heat. Add sugars, corn syrups and cream; mix well. Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until mixture reaches 248°F (firm ball stage).
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool at room temperature until caramel begins to set, sprinkle with sea salt; cool completely.
  3. Use foil to lift caramel out of pan. Butter a large chef’s knife and cut caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap caramels individually in plastic wrap or store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Pistachio Toffee

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1 1/4 cups shelled pistachios, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place pistachios in single layer in pan; toast 3 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and coarsely chop; set aside.
  2. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugars, water and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil until mixture reaches 300°F (hard crack stage), stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup pistachios; mix well and pour into jellyroll pan lined with buttered foil. Spread mixture into large rectangle. Cool completely.
  4. In microwave-safe container, microwave chocolate 30 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving in 10-second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth, but not hot. Using spatula, spread over toffee, covering it completely. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pistachios and gently pat into chocolate.
  5. Place pan in refrigerator for 5 minutes, or until chocolate has set. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Source: America's Dairy Farmers

Beverages 30 March 2017

Refresh Your Routine with Protein-Packed Smoothies

(Family Features) Spring brings warmer weather and a fresh start, making it the perfect time to reinvigorate your workout routine and healthy habits by starting with fresh ingredients. Whether you’re training for an upcoming event or simply looking for new and easy nutritious meal options, these protein-packed recipes prepared by U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s chef and registered dietician Megan Chacosky are perfect for casual fitness enthusiasts and elite athletes alike.

Few people understand the nutritional needs of athletes during their spring training period better than Chacosky. She stresses the importance of protein to all athletes. Boosting a simple smoothie recipe with a tasty solution like Rockin’ Refuel is an easy way to add a high-quality source of protein.

Made from pure, fresh milk, Rockin’ Refuel is a healthy option to start your day or recover after a workout. Chacosky typically uses one full bottle, which contains up to 30 grams of protein, as the base ingredient in smoothie recipes and adds fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.

For example, Chacosky’s Spicy Chocolate Avocado Smoothie can be your solution following intense workouts to help repair and replenish muscles, or you can prepare for a big race with a Berry Cherry Blend Smoothie with its full serving of antioxidants. For athletes looking to maintain or lose weight while still taking in a daily dose of protein, her Lean Chai Latte Smoothie makes for a nutritious mid-day snack.

Find tips to optimize your nutrition at rockinrefuel.com.

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Lean Chai Latte Smoothie

Recipe courtesy of Megan Chacosky on behalf of Rockin’ Refuel

  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Rockin’ Refuel Vanilla Lean Builder
  • 1 tablespoon loose chai tea or contents of 1 tea bag
  • 1/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 cups ice
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend to desired consistency.

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Berry Cherry Blend

Recipe courtesy of Megan Chacosky on behalf of Rockin’ Refuel

  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Rockin’ Refuel Strawberry Muscle Builder
  • 1/4 cup plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen tart cherries
  • 1 cup spinach
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend to desired consistency.

Tip: Use as morning meal replacement by adding 1-2 teaspoons chia seeds or 1-2 tablespoons oats for added fiber.

 

Spicy Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

Recipe courtesy of Megan Chacosky on behalf of Rockin’ Refuel

  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Rockin’ Refuel Chocolate Muscle Recovery
  • 1/4 cup plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 cup ice
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend to desired consistency.

Tip: Add 1-2 teaspoons chia seeds or 1-2 tablespoons oats to add fiber.

Source: Rockin' Refuel

Dessert 24 March 2017

Impress Spring Party Guests with Surprise Sweets

(Family Features) Transform an ordinary cupcake into something extraordinary with a peek-a-boo filling. These simple cupcakes are an easy addition to any spring celebration. You’ll want to serve every variety of these turned up treats for Easter and beyond.

The best part about this party trick? It’s easy. You’ll be digging this one out of your recipe repertoire for every spring soiree.

Hop to Easter
Who said Easter baskets are just for the kids? Treat your holiday guests to take-home cupcakes served in individual cupcake boxes. They’ll be delighted to find a surprise inside these icing-filled cupcakes.

The Garden Party
Spring into the season and host an outdoor party on the patio or in the garden. Your guests will enjoy the fresh air and the sweetly decorated desserts.

Add Fresh Flavor
Shake things up with a refreshing new twist. Try filling your cupcakes with refreshing lemon meringue, raspberry mousse or peanut butter and jelly cupcake fillings.

No matter how you slice it, fill it or serve it, these cupcakes are a party pleaser that’s guaranteed to impress. Find tasty filling recipes, fresh ideas and easy decorating projects at www.wilton.com.

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Carrot Garden Easter Cupcakes

Servings: 1 dozen cupcakes

  • Favorite chocolate cake mix or recipe
  • Creamy Decorator Icing
  • Chocolate Decorator Icing
  • Leaf Green Icing Color
  • Orange Icing Color
  • Crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place Color Wheel baking cups in standard muffin pan.
  2. Prepare cake mix following package instructions. Bake in prepared muffin pan 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on cooling grid.
  3. To decorate, tint small amount of creamy decorator icing green; tint remaining orange. Use spatula and chocolate icing to ice tops of cupcakes smooth. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
  4. Use knife to cut out center of cupcakes almost to bottom of cupcake. Use tip 2A and orange icing to fill in center of cupcake and pipe about 1/4 inch above cupcake; pat smooth. Use tip 352 and green icing to pipe pull-out leaf carrot tops.

Source: Wilton

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