Monday, March 31, 2014

Biscoff & Nutella Cupcakes

I first tried Biscoff spread about a year ago and fell completely smitten with the stuff.
So when I found this recipe, I had to try it.
I decided I'd double the recipe and add one batch with Biscoff frosting, 
and the second batch with Nutella frosting. Best. Decision. Ever.

Below is the recipe for the Biscoff cupcakes, and the Nutella cream cheese frosting.

Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • a large pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 12 speculoos cookies broken in half
  • 3/4 cup cookie butter
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup cookie butter
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
  • splash of milk
  • Speculoos cookies for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F.
  1. Line cupcake pans with liners and place half a cookie into each one, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, mix in vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the bowl- don't over mix the batter.
  5. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pan. Let cupcakes cool completely.
  6. Use a paring knife to core a small little but out of each cupcake and fill with a small dollop of cookie butter.
  7. For Frosting:
  8. Cream together the butter and cookie butter. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until thick. Add a small splash of milk and mix on high until smooth and creamy.
  9. Spread or pipe onto the cooled and filled cupcakes and top with speculoos cookies if desired.
Nutella Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Nutella spread

1.  Combine cream cheese & butter. Beat on high till smooth and light, add powdered sugar, incorporating well.  Then add Nutella and mix on low till all ingredients are combined.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thailand {One Day in Bangkok}

Our last day in Thailand we spent it in Bangkok.
How I wish we would have had more time there, one or two more
days would have been great.

We spent that last day going to all of the historical sites such  as the Golden Buddha, 
The Royal Palace &, The Reclining Buddha. 
While walking around these beautiful historic sites I couldn't 
believe how intricate the details of these places were. There was so much gold, 
and so many elaborate details that it was hard at times to take it all in.
After walking around for hours and taking in the rich culture 
we went to a swanky restaurant {at our tour guide's suggestion} for a late lunch.

We rested our feet and ate up before going to our last stop, the MBK mall.
We'd saved our shopping until the last day so that we didn't need to carry all 
of our purchased items from hotel to hotel and could really do some damage
shopping for all the things we'd wanted to get.

 MBK is a huge mall that is filled with silks, leather goods, 
clothes, electronics, traditional Thai souvenirs and food.
The best part, it was a bartering mall.  We got there around 6 pm and didn't leave
until about 11 pm and we had only covered one of the vast eight floors.

The next morning we were on our flight home.
I will always have the fondest memories of Thailand, 
it truly exceeded my expectations on most everything.
The kindest people, the most picturesque and exotic scenery 
and a rich history that is evident in each place you visit.

To say I was smitten is an understatement.  If you haven't been, make
it a point to go one day. I know I've made myself a promise I'll be going
back again one day, and perhaps this time with more empty duffle bags 
so I can do a bit more damage in that MBK mall :)
^^ The Golden Buddha
^^Entrance to the Royal Palace.
^^With our guide Mana.
^^Look at all of that gold!
^^Typical tourist moment...we couldn't resist.
^^It down-poured as you can see.
^^All of us seeking shelter.
^^The Royal Guards.
^^The massive reclining Buddha.
Until next time Thailand :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

For the European traveler...

I ran across this great visual list on Pinterest and had to share.
For someone like myself who is never the under-packer and has to sit on my 
luggage to zip it up this is a great visual on how to maximize your clothing
to create different outfits for different occasions and weather.

One thing I've improved on when I pack is that accessories such as scarves
can be used for more than just a scarf, I use it as a sarong at the beach as well. 
Being able to get more than one use for an  item has helped minimize my packing.

What are some of your packing tips that have been helpful to you?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cousin's Night Out - Panini Style

 Every so often my cousins and I try to get together to catch up
on one another's lives. Since everything my family does revolves around
obscene amounts of food, this occasion is never an exception.

We got together a couple weekends ago and had a panini night at my 
cousin Giovanna's home. She is always the hostess with truly the mostest.
She always has a beautiful spread and a warm, inviting atmosphere.
We had a great time catching up, telling stories and of course eating.

CNO {cousin's night out} as we like to call it in my family will always be a hit!
 ^^Gabbing the night away.
 ^^Fluffy angel food cake.