(Photos by Holly Haber)

We made Peppermint Mocha Stuffed Cupcakes & Spiked Eggnog Stuffed Cupcakes today. You can find the recipes in our new cookbook or you can get one of them free here.
We tried a new topper technique today, an idea we got from our friend Kristie Hauss!

White Christmas Tree Pretzel Pics
1. Heat white almond bark in the micro until completely melted.
2. Pour melted almond bark into a decorating bag.
3. Lay pretzel sticks on a piece of parchment.
4. Cut a small hole in the decorating bag and drizzle across pretzel stick, making it look like a Christmas tree.
5. While almond bark is still wet, sprinkle with gold sparkling sugar or colored sprinkles.
6. Let dry for 10 minutes.
Perfect as cupcake toppers or a sweet and salty treat.

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PicMonkey CollageOur friend got her copy of our cookbook yesterday; she said she's inspired to make our Chocolate Strawberry Stuffed Jellyroll (our Week 15 recipe), even though she's never made a jellyroll before ... you can do it, Wendy!


Here are a few extra tips:
1. When you remove the cake from the oven, wait no more than 5 minutes and flip it out onto your prepared tea towel. You have to roll it up -- with the tea towel inside -- while it's warm so that it holds it shape later.

2. Cool in towel for 1 hour.

3. Once cooled, unroll the cake. Spread on filling(s) 1-inch shy from the edges. Here we use chocolate frosting and a strawberry/cheesecake mixture.

4. Gently roll it back up, minus the towel. Now you can drizzle with melted chocolate and refrigerate until ready to slice and serve.

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 For detailed, illustrated technique instructions about needed toolsassembly, fillingpreparing a pastry bag and circle frosting, see our drop-down HOW-TO menu at the top of the page.

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IMG_0478_edited-2Friends, a crackling fire and a little coffee-peppermint for your sweet tooth? This is the perfect cocktail party cupcake, and easy as can be using a box mix and tasty add-ins. You get a lot of glamour for a little effort with our Peppermint Mocha Stuffed Cupcakes. Because there's alcohol in the center, this is an Adults Only cupcake or check out our mocktail version at the bottom.
♥ Julie & Holly

BASE
1 chocolate fudge cake box mix
6 tsp. instant coffee crystals
Eggs, oil & water(per box directions)

FILLING
1 can chocolate fudge frosting
2 Tbsp. peppermint coffee liqueur
     OR Omit alcohol and add 3 drops peppermint extract.

TOPPING
2 cans chocolate fudge frosting
1 candy cane, crushed
White sparkling sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Add coffee crystals to water and oil in chocolate fudge box mix, but only bake for 18 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness; when it comes out clean, remove from oven. Let cool fully.

2. While cupcakes bake, prepare filling:
Mix peppermint coffee liqueur with 1 can chocolate fudge frosting. Place mixture in filling bag containing no tip. Set aside.

For a non-alcoholic version, omit the peppermint coffee liqueur and replace with 3 drops of peppermint extract.  

3. Core cooled cupcakes. Cut a 1/2-inch hole from corner of filling bag and fill cupcakes.

4. Insert 1M tip into chosen pastry bag. Fill bag with chocolate frosting, cut opening and circle frost cupcakes.

5. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes and white sparkling sugar.

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We've posted lots of stuffed cupcakes and we have a How-To menu but we want to make sure everyone is familiar with how to stuff a cupcake.  Enjoy!

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This is the secret to making ordinary cupcakes extraordinary.  Don't worry, it's really very easy!

1.  Once cupcake is cool, insert an apple corer into the center of cupcake, about 1 inch deep.

2.  Remove cored cake from center of cupcake.  If the center doesn't remove with corer, use a spoon to get the cored cake out.

3.  Once cake center is removed, fill a pastry bag or plastic bag (with one lower corner removed) with filling.  This can be done with or without a decorating tip.

4.  Fill center of cupcake with filling until it is heaping out of the cupcake. Now the cupcake is ready to be frosted.

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20131227_112212We didn't feel up to baking on the Friday after Christmas, so we headed to Goodwill with Julie's sister Jill for some inspiration, and believe us, we found it! The key is to go in with no expectations and enjoy the ride.

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Holly and Jill hunting for treasure ... green tags are half off!

These first curiosities don't have anything to do with baking:

20131227_104930First of all, who knew Cirque Du Tofurky lunchboxes existed? According to the Internet, it's a collectible vegetarian lunchbox that retails for $22.95! Should we go back and get it?

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Bobblehead turkey! Definitely more interesting than the ceramic kitten teapot behind it.

20131227_111154We both need reading glasses ... score! 

 

And now for some inspiration that could actually be blog related:

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Holly, what where you thinking on this lunchbox  ... treasure chest for a birthday party? We sure do enjoy metal lunchboxes!

I do love me some metal lunch boxes!! I even gave one to my niece for Christmas but hers was far more girly!  I love anything treasure related; maybe that's why I love stuffed cupcakes --there is a surprise inside!

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I was so excited by this rolling pin. I did end up purchasing it. I've looked into what you make with these, Springerle cookies.  I've found several recipes online.  Maybe we'll have to modify them to be Stuffed Springerle cookies.  I'll keep you posted.

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No one really needs a Cakesicle Maker, but here it is.

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Holly finds some Wilton decorating disposable bags.  Oh, yeah. Those made it into the cart, too.

20131227_103416Julie is always scoping out silverware props with pretty handles.

I love the pearlescent pink!  Gorgeous!

We hope that you and your families are enjoying the holidays and have a fun and safe New Year's Eve. We'll be posting more tasty recipes in the days and weeks to come.  Happy New Year!   ♥ Holly & Julie

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For illustrated technique instructions about needed toolsassembly, fillingpreparing a pastry bag and circle frosting, see our drop-down HOW-TO menu at the top of the page.IMG_0473_edited-2
Holly, have you ever been to Graceland?  They'll be celebrating Elvis' birthday in Memphis with birthday cake. We're sharing our spin on his favorite sandwich with our Elvis Banana Bacon Stuffed Muffins. I was inspired with the banana-peanut butter combo from an episode of Cupcake Wars. We stuffed banana pudding into the center and topped it with an easy peanut butter drizzle. And everybody knows bacon makes it better!  We'll probably have to chase this recipe with something healthier for this month of resolutions.   ♥Julie
Nope ... never been to Graceland, but it would be super fun to go!  Maybe we'll get an invitation if this muffin is a hit?  It's really very tasty.  I think the bacon (candied or not) is a perfect addition to this muffin. Enjoy!    ♥Holly

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Elvis Banana Bacon Stuffed Muffins

Yield 12 muffins

BASE
1 package banana nut muffin mix (we used Betty Crocker™ banana nut muffin mix)
Glaze:
peanut butter
powdered sugar

FILLING
1 pkg. Jell-O banana instant pudding mix

GARNISH
1/2 pkg. freeze dried banana slices (we got ours a Trader Joe's)
Candied bacon crumbles (recipe below)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Bake banana nut muffins according to box directions. Check for doneness 5 minutes early with toothpick. Once toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and let cool fully.

2. While muffins bake, prepare filling & glaze:
Prepare pudding according to package instructions for pie filling (which makes a thicker pudding by eliminating 1/2 cup of milk).

3. Core muffins with apple corer and fill with banana cream pudding.

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For glaze:
Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter with 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar and 1/2 cup milk.  Mixture should be a the consistency of syrup.

4.  Hold muffin above the bowl containing peanut butter glaze.  Using a fork, drizzle peanut butter glaze back and forth over the top of the muffin.

5.  Prepare candied bacon garnish (directions below) or just use regular bacon that's well done.  Once candied bacon has cooled, crumble or cut with scissors into bite size pieces, and sprinkle on muffin.

 How to make candied bacon

IMG_0397_edited-2Line shallow pan with aluminum foil.  Cut bacon in half.  Dredge bacon through syrup and then through brown sugar.  Place on lined cookie sheet. Pat more sugar onto the bacon, just for good measure.  😉

IMG_0399_edited-2   IMG_0401_edited-2  IMG_0406_edited-2Bake in 400 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until crispy and brown.

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Drool!
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Today, we are re-issuing our only baked-in stuffed cupcake (Week 46 from our Stuffed In the Middle  cookbook). Grab spice cake box mix, can of pumpkin and some cream cheese at the grocery store and you've got another item checked off your Thanksgiving to-do list!
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A can of pumpkin puree is a healthier substitute for oil and water in this recipe, creating a dense, spice-filled stuffed cupcake just in time for the holidays.

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Demerara sugar is a large-grained, somewhat crunchy raw sugar with origins in Guyana.  It tastes a lot like brown sugar. The crystals give the cupcakes a nice crunchy texture. Look for it in the bulk food section of your local grocery store. 

Baked-In Stuff
Pumpkin Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

BASE
1 package spice cake box mix
14 oz. can of pumpkin
2 cans cream cheese frosting

FILLING
2 Tbsp. baking unsweetened cocoa
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt

GARNISH
Demerara raw sugar
chocolate jimmies

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Empty the dry Spice box mix into a bowl and add one can of pumpkin puree. Mix together completely.  Do not add any of the ingredients listed on the box.  The batter will be very thick.  Set aside.

Prepare filling: 
2. In a separate bowl, with a mixer, cream together cocoa, cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg and salt.  Mixture will be slightly lumpy.

3.  Scoop cupcake batter into cupcake liners using an ice cream scoop.  (Try to make nicely rounded scoops as this batter is so thick it will come out of the oven looking almost exactly as it does before it goes in.)  Make a deep well in the center of scooped batter with the back of a spoon sprayed with cooking spray.   Then fill centers with about a teaspoon of chocolate cream cheese filling mixture.

4.  Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes.  A toothpick test on this cupcake will not come out clean at 15 minutes but if you leave the cupcakes in for longer they will burn.  Remove them from the oven and leave them in the pan for about 5 minutes to let them finish cooking.  After that, you can remove them and let them cool on the counter or a cooling rack for about 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Once the cupcakes are cool, fill a pastry bag containing a 1M tip with cream cheese frosting from a can.  Circle frost the cupcakes.

6.  Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and/or chocolate jimmies.

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