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Wednesday
Apr132011

Easter Chick Cupcakes

Easter Chick Cupcakes

Do you remember those chocolate nests I made last Sunday? Well, they hatched.

Okay, maybe they didn't hatch per se, but if they actually did wouldn't that be just about the greatest thing ever? You slave over the world's simplest (and easiest) cookie recipe to make a batch of chocolate nests full of candy eggs and head off to sleep, only to wake up the next morning to find that your eggs have hatched into a bunch of cute baby cupcake chicks.

If only, if only.

Easter Chick Cupcakes

Mama Chick is protecting her precious eggs from the dangers of nature (and sneaking fingers). Be careful; she might peck you if you get too close.

Easter Chick Cupcakes

Once the little peepers hatch, they get hungry. Feed them gummy worms to stop the chirps. Now that I think of it, that might look too adorable (is there such a thing?). In any case, I'll caution you on this one. Do it at your own risk. Cute overload is a real threat.

I love the little chick on the left; he looks like he's puckering up for a big kiss.

Easter Chick Cupcakes

These chicks remind me of the song Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep. It's probably best that you don't ask me why I know all the lyrics.

Easter Chick Cupcakes

If your little chicks are growing up too fast for your liking (they were tiny peeps just a moment ago!) and start to fly the nest, you can always lock them up. Keep them safe from the dangers of the world (and hungry stomachs) for just a little longer.

This is also effective in keep wandering hands from touching your afternoon snack.

Easter Chick Cupcakes

In my biased opinion, I think these chicks are just too cute. I literally squeal in delight whenever I see them and then proceed to coo and peep at them for several minutes until I come back to my senses. Then, I eat them. They are cupcakes after all.

I played around with the size of the cupcakes when making the mamas, papas, and little peeps, which I think made all the difference. These Easter chicks are surprisingly easy to make. Young children could tackle the baby peeps with relative ease (they might need a little help on the beaks) while the older ones could try their hand at the big chicks. The bigger chicks are formed by molding marshmallows and attaching them to the cupcake with frosting.

I've always been hesitant to try out elaborately decorated cupcakes because the steps were long and complex or I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand (like colored candy melts or certain fruit chews). With that said, I can assure you that you most likely have all the ingredients for these chicks in your pantry already. You could decorate a flock of these chicks in a half hour's time (instead of an entire afternoon) without breaking a sweat. These Easter chicks are cute and practical; what more could you ask for?

Easter Chick Cupcakes

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Sunday
Apr102011

Chocolate Nests

Chocolate Nests

It's no secret that I'm clumsy. My parents like to joke that they should have named me Grace. Oh, the irony. If only they had the foresight to actually do so—now that would have been truly ironic.

Unfortunately, my clumsiness (and uncanny ability to trip while standing still) extends to the kitchen. I'm a hazard to myself. I've burned myself more often than I can count. Currently, my arms and hands are host to a grand total of six burns. I honestly couldn't tell you where half of them came from. It's reached the point where I don't even notice when I've done it. Sometimes I tell people I won a battle between a renegade cupcake pan and myself. But really, who am I trying to kid? That cupcake pan kicked my butt.

I'm just glad baking doesn't require much knife work.

Chocolate Nests

After all that fuss, I decided that it might be smart to make something no-bake this week. No knives, no ovens, no chance to injure myself unless I seriously forget the function of a spatula.

In honor of spring and the upcoming Easter holiday, I thought these chocolate nests would be perfect. I remember seeing these in cookbooks as a child, but I had never made or eaten them before. I figured it was time to put my childhood curiosity to rest. Since Easter candy is rampant this time of year, it's the best time of year to make these treats.

Chocolate Nests

These Chocolate Nests are made from chow mein noodles coated in peanut butter and chocolate. I was initially hesitant to use chow mein noodles for these treats (chow mein noodles are associated more with stir fry and less with dessert in my head), but these noodles were destined for this dessert. I couldn't have been more wrong about them. They provide the perfect crunch and look with minimal taste so the chocolate and peanut butter really shine through. You can use any candy of your choosing for the eggs—mini candy eggs, jelly beans, foil wrapped chocolate eggs. The sky is really the limit here.

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Friday
Apr082011

Strawberry Pancakes

Strawberry Pancakes

This is a public service announcement brought to you by the National Highway Traffic Safety Council. Well, kinda.

It was a typical Wednesday afternoon. I went to the grocery store like I do every Wednesday afternoon, picking up the usual fare with one exception—a watermelon. Spring was in the air, it was 50 degrees outside, and it seemed like a good decision. Especially since it was on sale.

After making my purchases, I packed the groceries in the backseat of the car and headed home. I like to drive slow with a car full of groceries because I don't want them to roll around and make a big mess of the backseat—it's a very big pet peeve of mine. As I was driving down a steep hill, the car in front of me stopped suddenly which meant that I stopped suddenly. It's a real shame my groceries didn't get the memo. They flew about the backseat like birds just released from a cage. And that precious watermelon of mine, the one that seemed like such a good idea only moments before, bounced out of the bag, off the seat, and managed to hit me straight in the side.

I was hit by a watermelon. In a car.

Explain the physics of that one to me.

Strawberry Pancakes

After the initial shock of did-I-really-just-get-walloped-by-a-watermelon? wore off, I realized I had managed to puncture it with my elbow and it was now releasing watermelon juice at an alarming rate. As in getting-sticky-watermelon-juice-all-over-the-front-seat-of-my-car alarming. The orderly nature of my groceries had been shot to hell and my front seat was beginning to look like a gory crime scene.

I was peeved.

By the time I made it home, my only goal was to get that watermelon to the kitchen sink as fast as possible. It was a perfect plan except for one caveat—I'm clumsy. Yes, I managed to drop the wounded watermelon in the garage. Yes, it cracked open and shot watermelon juice everywhere. Yes, I had a second crime scene on my hands.

By the time I finally got it to the sink, it was in shambles—a shell of its former delicious self. So I did what any self-respecting person would do, I dug into the remains with a fork and cried over spilled watermelon. You would have too.

The moral of the story is to wear your seatbelt. You never know when you'll be hit by a flying watermelon. It's probably a good idea to buckle your watermelon in too.

Better yet, next time save yourself the trauma and buy strawberries instead.

Strawberry Pancakes

These strawberry pancakes are light, fluffy, and thick. Packed with strawberries, you'll have a burst of berry flavor in every bite (which is a welcome sight when you're desperate for spring). The pancakes are not overly sweet, so you have the power to control how sweet you'd like your breakfast. I enjoyed these drizzled with a little honey and maple syrup. These pancakes make for a lovely spring brunch.

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