Friday, May 14, 2010

Mortar board brownie bites

After two years of graduate school, a lot of my good friends are getting their Master's degrees tomorrow, and after two years of graduate school, the parties being thrown are all on a budget. That can only mean one thing: Potlucks! Not wanting to let a perfectly good opportunity for a mess pass me by I made brownie bites into graduation caps.
The brownie bites were made from a simple brownie recipe I found in an old family cookbook, with a little added somethin'-somethin' because it was sitting on the counter and I thought it might make the bites a little more exciting.

Brownie Bites 

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup whiskey
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.˚ Cream shortening, sugar, eggs, whiskey and vanilla well. Blend dry ingredients in a medium bowl before mixing into the wet ingredients. Spoon mixture into well greased mini muffin tins and bake about 20 minutes.

Once my bites were cooled on a wire rack I flipped them over and put a pearl sized dab of frosting (I got lazy and just used the Betty Crocker squeeze tubes, but you could use melted chocolate here if you were ambitious) on the flat bottom of each one. Using the "wrong side" of store bought (dollar store bought, might I add) chocolate covered graham crackers as the top of each hat, I affixed the crackers to the brownies, then added a little line of frosting (again, out of the tube) to make the tassles.

They were a hit at the potluck, but I think next time I would use a moister brownie recipe!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Better late than never: Monogrammed wine glasses

On May Day one of my closest cousins got married in San Antonio, Texas. Because I am one of those people who refuses to buy off the registry when I could make something I think is more impressive, I decided to test out my design and handy-skills and etch some wine glasses with her new monogram. I spent hours in my Monday afternoon class designing the monogram in Adobe Indesign, then printed it out and taped it inside these Libby stemless wine glasses.

With a diamond etching tip on my Dremel tool (what would I do without my Dremel?) I traced and filled the monogram. I quickly learned that outlining, then removing the paper “stencil” to fill in the shape was the easiest way to go about it.

I’ve been itching to post, but had to wait until after I knew that wedding gifts were open before I could put pictures up on the internet. So, all the best to my beautiful cousin and her new husband!

May's Mojito Cupcakes

I know, I know, I have been a failure at the mess blog this month. It’s not that I haven’t been making messes, it’s that I have been making messes that I haven’t been documenting due to my pathetic lack of a digital camera (thanks whoever was at the CGU holiday party and decided to take it home with them despite the fact that it was full of photos of my roommates and I).

But, as promised, it is May, and I had to make my cupcakes! I can’t remember who it was who insisted that May would be the perfect time to test out the mojito cupcake, but that’s the direction that I took this month. It wasn’t my idea though, so I can’t take the credit! I had planned to make them for Cinco de Mayo, but I was a little too busy getting home from my cousins beautiful San Antonio wedding (see the next post for her gift!) and getting ready for my mom’s 60th birthday (the post about her gift is coming too, I promise). But, finals week seemed just as appropriate a time for booze filled cupcakes as Cinco de Mayo did. So with no further ado, my semi-homemade recipe for a mojito cupcake:


1 box white cake
1/2 cup rum
1/4  cup lime juice
3 egg whites (or 1/2 cup liquid eggs whites)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp fresh chopped mint


2 tbsp rum
2 tbsp water
¼ cup white sugar
2 tbsp chopped mint


1 16 oz container white frosting
¼ cup lime juice

Preheat oven to 350˚. Combine all cake ingredients in electric mixer at slow speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill cupcake liners ¾ of the way and bake 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

While cupcakes bake prepare syrup. In a small saucepan combine sugar, rum, and water over medium heat. When sugar dissolves, add mint and boil about 30 seconds, removing immediately from the heat when sugar barely begins to brown. Drizzle about half a teaspoon of syrup over each warm cupcake so that it can soak in while the cupcakes cool.

When cupcakes are cool whisk an entire tub of vanilla frosting together with lime juice. Use a piping bag or spatula to frost each cupcake and garnish with a sprig of mint. This should make 18 big cupcakes.