Sunday, January 8, 2012


   This comes from www.bhg.com.  These are fantanstic looking.  Can't wait to make a batch for some very special people.  These would also be nice because, who doesn't have some candy canes or peppermint just lying around after Christmas.  Don't just throw it away, put it to good use.  Enjoy!

Chocolatey Peppermint Cupcakes

Makes: 12 servings
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep: 50 mins Bake: 350°F 20 mins Cool: 5 mins


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/4
    cupsall-purpose flour
  • 1/4
    cupunsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1
    teaspoonbaking powder
  • 1/2
  • 1/4
    teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1/4
  • 1/2
  • 1
  • 2
    egg yolks
  • 2/3
    cupcold water
  • 2
    egg whites
  • 1/3
  • 1/3
    cupminiature semisweet chocolate pieces
  • Creamy Peppermint Frosting
  • 1/4
    cupcrushed peppermint candies
  • Crushed peppermint candies (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
2. In a very large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and water to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

3. Thoroughly wash beaters. In a large bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into chocolate batter to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining beaten egg whites. Gently fold in chocolate pieces. Divide among the prepared muffin cups.

4. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

5. Up to 4 hours before serving, prepare Creamy Peppermint Frosting. Cut cupcakes in half horizontally. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the frosting onto the bottom of each cupcake. Replace cupcake tops, pressing gently to spread frosting to edges.

6. Place the 1/4 cup crushed candies on a sheet of waxed paper. Roll sides of cupcakes in crushed candies to coat the exposed frosting. Pipe or spread the remaining frosting onto tops of cupcakes. If desired, sprinkle with additional crushed peppermint candies. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Creamy Peppermint Frosting
  • 1/2
    cupbutter, softened
  • 1
    7 ouncejarmarshmallow creme
  • 1
    teaspoonpeppermint extract
  • 4
    cupspowdered sugar
  • 2

In a large bowl, combine butter, marshmallow creme, and peppermint extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach spreading consistency.


   This comes form www.bowerpowerblog.com .  A terrific idea for your holiday mantle or just hanging in a particular some to brighten up the Christmas season.  Even though Christmas has past it's never too early to start on next season.  Enjoy!

Hands down my favorite christmas project. That is what this post is all about.
But let me start at the beginning.
Our mantle got a simple sprucing. We went for classic decor this year…nothing cluttered…and we wanted any potential buyers who came to see the house to be impressed with the house…and not distracted by the massive amounts of christmas decor. So when it came to our mantle we simply hung our stockings and threw a bit of faux greenery on the mantle top. Then we stuck silver ornaments in and around the branches. Two candlesticks looked classic and simple enough…but then we were stuck. What to put in the middle?

At first, I wanted to create a knock off of the Pottery Barn NOEL sign. But then I saw 1.2 million people online make the same one…and probably better than what I could make….and cheaper than I could make it. So it made me question my decision.

Right between my thoughts of “Is there any other christmas word that I could substitute for Noel that would be cool?” and “Dang them wicked awesome crafty bloggers”, I found a picture a la Pottery Barn Christmas catalog of yore that boasted a lovely canvas of Dear ole St. Nick himself.

It really got my wheels turning. I loved the simple portrait…and I adored the fact that I could use this as a future playroom decor item come Christmas time in future years. I also liked the simple white and silver finish. But the Pottery Barn was glittered…and I wasn’t thrilled about thinking of glittering an entire canvas. And that was another thing…I didn’t have a canvas. I just had a big piece of plywood.

Then I started brainstorming…how the heck am I gonna turn a bitty picture I could find online of Mr. Claus into a big piece of art? I remembered my middle school art teacher’s enlarging method. It is as easy as drawing a grid over the photo like this:

Then you draw the same grid (just bigger) on your canvas (or in this case my plywood painted with a coat of white semi-gloss paint). Sure, it took a little math but I figured out that I could convert each little 1 inch box to 3.75 inches on our 2 foot square of wood. After I did the lines, it was as simple as copying each box exactly the same.

I sketched it in pencil and did each box till my santa was complete.

Then I used some silver paint pens to fill in the Kris Kringle. After it was all dried, I just took the pencil eraser and removed the grid lines.

Now for the finished product…

Doesn’t he look so jolly on our mantle?

And still simple and classic, right?

I love how it finishes off the mantle…plus, it is a handpainted piece of art that adds some charm and I know will be a beloved christmas decor item for many many years. And it cost me NOTHING. Not bad for free, huh?

So that’s my favorite project of Christmas 2010. What do you think? Do you love the Santa or do you think I was wrong to veer away from Noel? Anyone else remember the grid-method? Or are you one of those lucky people that have a projector? Or maybe you are just thrilled at the fact that you could do a handpainted piece without actually owning a paintbrush?
Stay tuned…there are three more days of ABP holiday crafts and home decor! It’ll get you in the ho-ho-holiday mood :)