The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

The tradition of enjoying the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmastime is another thing the pandemic took from us. I’m not sure when I’ll ever feel safe sitting close to people in a theater for ballets, plays or movies. In the meantime, I can enjoy the music at home and share some Nutcracker inspired treats with you.

The Nutcracker Land of Sweets is a magical theme that has me mesmerized. Gingerbread, candy canes, gumdrops and billowy clouds of pink frosting are what dreams are made of. And that’s exactly what these dreamy cupcakes are made of. The cupcake flavor is a subtle spice cake. The recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart cake recipe I made last summer. The original cake was paired with blackberry jam, but I knew plum jam would be perfect for these cupcakes. I topped them with a mildly sweet, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream.

Part of the fun of making these cupcakes began at the store as I collected the sweets to decorate the cupcakes. Another perk of the job is taste testing the candy. I discovered that purple spice drops are licorice flavored and red spice drops are cinnamon. Who knew?

Print Recipe
The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes
Spice cupcakes filled with plum jam, topped with fluffy pink frosting, gingerbread men and Christmas candy, and dusted with sugar snow
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Spice cupcakes
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Spice cupcakes
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Instructions
Spice Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 serving muffin pan with disposable baking cups. (I used silver foil liners.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla, one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  5. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with milk. Mix until combined.
  6. Divide batter evenly into wells of prepared muffin pan, filling about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake until light golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes.
  8. Let cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes. Gently transfer cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Core the center of each cupcake, removing a 3/4-inch deep circle. Fill with jam and replace the circle top.
  10. Frost cupcakes with pink Swiss meringue buttercream. Decorate with cookies and candies. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercreamgue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of gently simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixture with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing the butter to fully incorporate each time before adding more.
  5. Switch to paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla, salt and food color. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Spice Cake

Share this Recipe
 

Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Any respectable autumn baking recipe needs to have the three C’s. Cozy. Comforting. And of course, cinnamon! Would pumpkin-spice-anything even exist without the three C’s? I think not! These Apple Spice Cookies understood the assignment. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie.

The apples in this recipe are cooked briefly on the stovetop to bring out the flavor and create the perfect texture. Dropping raw apple chunks into cookie dough or cake batter is never a good idea. If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know that apples release liquid as they’re cooked and that liquid will end up in your baked cookies, creating soggy spots. So definitely don’t skip this step!

These gorgeous, golden brown cookies are perfectly delicious on their own, but extra credit goes to the Brown Butter Icing for taking them over the top!

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Make sure to head over to TikTok to watch the video of these Apple Spice Cookies being created.

Print Recipe
Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Instructions
Cooked Apples
  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon to skillet.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Drain any excess liquid from cooled apples.
Apple Spice Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract, one at a time, until well combined
  5. Stir in reserved flour mixture, just until combined.
  6. Fold cooled apples into cookie dough.
  7. Divide dough into 12 equal golf ball size portions and place three inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 12-13 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Brown Butter Icing
  1. In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Immediately transfer browned butter to a small bowl. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and 1 tablespoon milk. Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  3. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies.
Recipe Notes

NOTE:  If your cookies spread too much when baking, refrigerate dough for 15 minutes, then bake as directed.

Share this Recipe
 

Fairy Puffs

Fairy Puffs sugared mini muffins wtih edible flowers

My dad used to take me on walks in the woods to look for fairy rings when I was a child. I wanted to see a real fairy so badly! I got a book about fairies, hoping to learn more about them. Fairies love little cakes, milk, honey and butter so I’m sure these Fairy Puffs would be fairy approved.

My Fairy Puffs recipe is loosely based on an old favorite mini muffin recipe. I tweaked it quite a bit, including the addition of pink dragonfruit powder. Dragonfruit has a subtle flavor, so the bright fuchsia powder is mostly for color. But oh what a beautiful color it is! You can find dragonfruit powder in healthy food stores or online. To find the dragonfruit powder , also known as pink pitaya powder, I used, click here.

fairy puff muffins

Decorating these little cuties was so entertaining! After sampling multiple variations of sparkling sugar and cinnamon sugar, I decided that dipping the bottoms of the muffins in butter and cinnamon sugar, then dipping the tops in butter and sparkling sugar gave them the perfect balance of sugar and spice. I had purchased some edible flowers a couple of days prior, and they added a pretty, magical touch. The flowers I used are called bachelor’s buttons and I got them at a local gourmet flower seller.

sugared mini muffins with edible flowers

Print Recipe
Fairy Puffs
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword cake, muffins
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
Fairy Puffs
Topping
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword cake, muffins
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
Fairy Puffs
Topping
Instructions
Fairy Puffs
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 24 serving mini muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, dragonfruit powder, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and beat until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in two additions and mix just until combined.
  6. Fill wells of prepared muffin pan with batter.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Be careful not to over bake. Small muffins can dry out easily.)
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove puffs from pan and transfer to cooling rack. (Loosen puffs with a small offset spatula or butter knife if necessary.)
Topping
  1. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  2. Place colored sparkling sugar crystals in another shallow bowl.
  3. Dip the bottoms of each puff in melted butter, then into cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Dip the tops of each puff in melted butter, then into sparkling sugar.
  5. Decorate with edible flowers if desired.
Recipe Notes

*To purchase dragonfruit powder, click here.

 **To purchase pink sparkling sugar crystals, click here.

 

Share this Recipe
 

Happy Jam Tarts

Happy Jam Tarts

We’ve all needed a little cheering up at times, especially this past past year. These cute, happy tarts won’t take your problems away, but they can certainly make you smile, especially if you make them for someone else. They’re super easy to make and they taste better than the ones in the box we ate as kids. You can use store bought pie dough if you want to streamline the process. Any flavor of jam or preserves you have on hand works too!

Feel free to have fun decorating these little cuties. The possibilities are endless. You can use edible glitter, purchased candy eyes or even add mustaches. Happy baking!

Print Recipe
Happy Jam Tarts
Jam-filled tarts with icing
Servings
tarts
Ingredients
Jam Tarts
Icing
Servings
tarts
Ingredients
Jam Tarts
Icing
Instructions
Jam Tarts
  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll pie dough onto lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 6-inch by 4-inch rectangles, re-rolling dough as necessary.
  4. Make egg wash by beating egg together with milk in a small bowl.
  5. Spread 2 tablespoons of jam onto right half of each rectangle to within 1/2-inch of edges. Brush edges with egg wash.
  6. Fold dough in half, left side over right. Seal edges by pressing with a fork
  7. Poke several holes in the top of each tart with a toothpick.
  8. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract and salt together until smooth.
  2. Using a toothpick, add food color a little at a time until desired shade is achieved.
  3. Stir in meringue powder, if using.
  4. Spoon icing onto tarts.
  5. Add sprinkles while icing is wet. When icing has set, add eyes, mouths and bows if desired.
Decorations
  1. For the eyes, make 16 1/8-inch balls of black fondant. Flatten slightly. Adhere with a bit of water.
  2. For the mouths, make 8 1/2-inch long, very thin strips of black fondant. Adhere with a tiny bit of water, using tweezers if necessary.
  3. For the bows, roll out blue fondant to 1/16th-inch thickness. Cut out bows using ***bow cutter. Adhere with a bit of water.
Recipe Notes

*To find Wilton Rose gel food color, click here

**To find meringue powder, click here

***To find bow cutter, click here

Share this Recipe
 

Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Honey Cream Cheese Icing

Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Honey Cream Cheese Icing by Brownie Mischief

I was seriously happy when I started seeing donuts appearing at weddings, bridal showers and occasions other than work meetings. I’ve always felt those sweet, fluffy rings of dough had a higher calling. They had such potential! And honestly who doesn’t love donuts? They’re delicious, but they can also be beautiful. These Lemon Buttermilk Donuts could certainly win a beauty contest. They would make a gorgeous edition to any breakfast, brunch or dessert table. The fresh lemon zest and the earthy flavor of honey will bring springtime right into your kitchen.

Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting by Brownie Mischief

If you’re on the lookout for a Mother’s Day recipe, any mom will love these pretty, fragrant treats. This is a very easy recipe and the donuts bake up quickly, so you’ll have time to fix mom a cup of her favorite tea. If you don’t have a donut pan, and you’ve been reluctant to buy one, I can honestly say I love mine. It was very affordable and I’m pleased with the performance and ease of clean up with the pan I purchased. To find the donut pan click here.

In keeping with the springtime feel, I decorated my donuts with pesticide-free edible flowers. I used pansies, but if you’re unable to find them, you can substitute pesticide-free rose petals. I found these edible pansies at my local food market in the produce department, near the fresh herbs. You can also find edible flowers at farmers’ markets and online. For a list of edible flowers, click here.  Note:  The above pictured orange ranunculus flowers on the table are not edible.  

Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Honey Cream Cheese Icing by Brownie Mischief


Print Recipe


Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Honey Cream Cheese Icing

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes

Servings


Ingredients
Lemon Buttermilk Donuts

Honey Cream Cheese Icing

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes

Servings


Ingredients
Lemon Buttermilk Donuts

Honey Cream Cheese Icing


Instructions
Lemon Buttermilk Donuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray the wells of a ***donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and lemon zest together. Add to flour mixture and stir until combined.

  4. Transfer batter to a piping bag or plastic zip bag. Snip off the tip of the bag and pipe batter into prepared donut pan, filling the wells 2/3 full.

  5. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until toothpick inserted into donuts comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove donuts to a rack to cool completely.

  6. Prepare Honey Cream Cheese Icing while donuts are cooling.

  7. Dip tops of donuts into icing and decorate as desired. Serve immediately.

Honey Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.

  2. Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix until combined.

  3. Add powdered sugar and mix on low speed until moistened. Turn mixer up to medium speed and mix until combined.

  4. Add honey and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat until smooth.
    Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting by Brownie Mischief


Share this Recipe