As a Midwesterner, I’m no stranger to rough winters. In Ohio especially, we’ve gotten freak blizzards in April on more than one occasion and a couple years where we had so many snow days the school district almost made us take extra days in the summer. But something about this winter seems like it’s been especially rough. Maybe it’s because I live in New York now and have to actually trudge through the snow and cold instead of driving around in a heated car everywhere. Or maybe it was Hurricane Sandy and the random snowstorm we had after it that threw everything off kilter. Either way, it feels like it’s been winter forever. Like, what do skirts even feel like? What are open-toed shoes?! But I digress.
To make up for the fact that it’s supposed to be spring but it’s still freezing outside (or maybe it’s just my apartment and its temperamental heating system), I made these festive birds’ nest cupcakes to celebrate a coworker’s birthday. And how cute are they, I mean, seriously.
It’s the last week of Marshmallow Madness, and we’ve got a pretty great match-up: margarita and cookies ‘n cream.
For round three, we’ve got a fruity mashup – strawberries against pineapple-rosemary. In retrospect, I wish I had added some basil to the strawberry mallows for a more exotic flavor, but oh well, shoulda coulda woulda.
With spring just around the corner (finally, am I right? I feel like this winter has been particularly Narnia-esque, before Aslan saved the day), I decided to roll these in pastel sanding sugar to give them a nice crunch. Like Peeps, except way, way better.
Let’s try to classy up St. Patrick’s Day, shall we? Instead of going crazy with food dye, I used pistachios to get a natural green color and added some Guinness to the batter to really capture the spirit of the holiday.
The result is a rich, chocolate donut that’s moist and cakey, with some crunch and a bit of saltiness from the chopped pistachios. Make these mini so they’re easier to eat when you shove a handful in your mouth in a drunken stupor. And if you want to get drunk off the donuts, increase the amount of Guinness to 1/2 cup in the batter and splash some in the ganache too. And then drink the rest of the six-pack while you wait for these to bake.
For round two, we’ve got a favorite childhood flavor – that bright, almost neon red of the Tropical Punch really takes me back – against a more sophisticated adult flavor – salted caramel.
Get your bracket ready, it’s March Madness! Or more appropriately, Marshmallow Madness. Instead of muffins every Monday, I’ll be doing pairs of marshmallows every week. To pick the lucky recipes, I wrote down all the ones from the book on slips of paper and drew names out of a hat.
Here’s what the fates decided. All in all, it’s a pretty great variety.
Key lime pie vs. buttered rum
Kool-Aid vs. caramel swirl
Pineapple rosemary vs. strawberry
Cookies & cream vs. margarita
So without further ado, round 1!
You know those chocolate covered ice cream cones? Not straight out of the freezer, but after they’ve been out at room temperature for a while, so the chocolate is still hard but the inside ice cream is getting melty? These cupcakes are exactly like that, which is to say – delicious.
There are breads that are simple and no-frills, good for sandwiches and toast. And then there are breads that are stuffed, topped, and loaded with all the fixings, a solid meal in and of itself. This loaf falls squarely into the latter category.
Filled with dried cranberries (homemade!), chocolate chips, walnuts, and pecans, this bread makes for a great breakfast. It’s so hearty and substantial it doesn’t need any butter or jam (though some Nutella would really put this over the top). Just pop a couple of slices in the toaster and enjoy.