Grandma's Five Cup Salad

Saturday, March 29, 2014

When I was walking the aisles of Target this past weekend I came across these adorable Kraft Jeff Puffed Bunny Mallows. I picked up a couple of bags and thought about what I could make for my families annual Easter brunch.

After a couple of days, all I could come up with was making white hot chocolate topped with bunny marshmallows and then thinking…who would want to drink that when its 80 degrees and humid outside??? I was at a loss.

Later that day, I started thinking about some of my families traditional dishes and then it came to me. My Grandma’s five cup salad would be the perfect thing to make using these bunny mallows. This retro-refreshing fruit salad has been on our table for Easter brunch for as long as I can remember. Due to its popularity, it has even become a dish that we now serve during all of our holiday meals!

Grandma’s Five Cup Salad

{yield: 8 servings}

1 cup sour cream
1 cup drained pineapple chunks
1 cup drained mandarin orange slices 
1 cup shredded coconut 
1 cup Kraft Jet Puffed Bunny Mallows

In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, drained pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges and shredded coconut. 

Then gently fold in the bunny mallows.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Serve in a large dish or portion the five cup salad into small  individual mason jars for your family to enjoy. I topped each off with a little bunny mallow for a festive touch.

It’s as simple as that folks and tastes amazing, especially when the flavors from the pineapple and oranges have melded together with the coconut after a couple of hours in the refrigerator. 


Friday Favorites | No. 10

Friday, March 28, 2014

This week has not been the greatest, but I am glad that it is Friday none the less! I got a pretty bad sunburn practically all over my body on Tuesday, woke up sick on Wednesday and have been "radiating" and sniffling since then. Besides those two not so fun things, here are my top five moments of the week:

1. On Sunday afternoon when I was shopping at Target, I found these adorable Jet Puff Bunny Mallows. Be sure to check the blog tomorrow as these little guys will be making an appearance in a family favorite recipe!

2. I picked up this little four leaf clover necklace over the weekend and I am really loving simple and delicate jewelry right now over large statement pieces.

3. Tuesday was the sand volleyball home opener tournament and the team did great defeating the competition! I am so thankful I have a job where I am not always suck behind my computer and can go outside to enjoy some great weather and great volleyball. That great weather also gave me a great sunburn (this photo was taken before I  officially became a lobster).

4. I completed this cookie order for a bowling birthday party and I think the balls and pins turned out absolutely adorable...if I do say so myself!

5. I got sucked into the evil vortex of Netflix/Hulu again last night and am now addicted to the show Revenge (I watched 6 episodes in a row). I am late again on this bandwagon I know, but I guess its better late than never!

Hope everyone had a great week and hopefully, an even better weekend!

Friday Favorites | No. 9

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Friday everyone!

I am really excited because I have no athletic events to work this weekend (yay!) and it is so nice to have that "Friday feeling" at work, knowing that the next two days I can do whatever I want on my own schedule. It's the little things in life that make me happy! And now, here are my top five moments from this past week:

1. The weather was absolutely beautiful on Sunday (no humidity!) and gave me the perfect opportunity to make some macarons. St. Patty's Day was on Monday, so I decided to pipe them into little shamrocks and made the most delicious buttercream filling for them with Baileys Hint of Mint Chocolate Irish Cream.

2. I love coming home and finding packages by my front door. I love it even more when the package is from King Arthur Flour!

3. I am now watching Season 2 of Nashville. It's still amazing and I'm still obsessed.

4. These cupcakes were a major hit when I brought them into work for a co-workers birthday!

5. I am totally in love with these polka dot skimmer pants I got from the J. Crew outlet when I was in Hilton Head, SC. They have so many different patterns/colors and I have a feeling a few more will be added to my closet!

Hope you all have a nice relaxing weekend!

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Funfetti cupcakes are probably one of my favorites. Who doesn't love a vanilla cupcake speckled with rainbow sprinkles?! 

Creating a homemade version of this classic cupcake is easy and tastes ten times better than anything pre-made that you could buy at your local grocery store.

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

{yield: 24 cupcakes}

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
½ cup of rainbow sprinkles or jimmies

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
white food coloring (if needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (around 2 to 3 minutes). Add the eggs and egg whites one at a time and make sure to mix well on a low speed after each addition. Then add the vanilla and fully incorporate.

Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, at a low speed until no traces of flour remain. Be sure to not over beat as it can create a dense cupcake. Lastly, mix in by hand the ½ cup of sprinkles. 

Divide batter evenly in lined muffin cups, filling each one about ¾ full. 

Place in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. The cupcakes should be lightly golden in color and if you insert a cake tester or toothpick into the center, it should come out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to let cool completely.

After about an hour, you can frost the cupcakes. To make the fluffy vanilla frosting, add 3 sticks of butter into a standard mixing bowl and beat on high for 2 to 3 minutes (butter should look light and creamy). Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. After two additions, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 30 seconds. Then scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue with the same process for the last of the powdered sugar. The frosting should look pale and very fluffy. Add the vanilla and some white food coloring (if you want to have very white frosting) and beat until smooth.

After frosting the cupcakes, add sprinkles or jimmies for added decoration. You can serve the cupcakes the same day or store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

St. Patty's Day Macarons with Baileys Mint Chocolate Buttercream

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone! The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday (no humidity=one happy girl) and it gave me the perfect excuse to make some St. Patty’s Day inspired macarons!

These popular little French beauties are simple to make and the flavor options are endless. Trust me, after making them at home, you will never want to pay $$$ for these delicate confections again!

St. Patty's Day Macarons

{yield: about 40 shells for 20 or so cookies)

3/4 cup ground almond flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
3½ tablespoons granulated sugar

Mint Chocolate Irish Cream Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream with Hint of Mint Chocolate 

To start, combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor and process for about a minute. Sift the mixture into a bowl and set aside.  

Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium-low until they are frothy. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and when soft peaks have formed, add the granulated sugar to the egg whites (you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the sugar)

To give the macarons their green color, add a couple of drops of green food color gel and whisk the egg whites on medium-high until they come to a stiff peak, but are still glossy in color.

Add half of the sifted mixture to the meringue and using a spatula, start to fold the mixture together. It will take around 8-10 strokes. Then add the remaining mixture to the bowl and continue to fold.

You know the mixture is the right consistency with it falls off the spatula back into the bowl and reincorporates withing 20-30 seconds. Be sure to not over mix (about 50 strokes or so). Add half of the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used a Wilton size 10).

To make the shamrock, pipe 3 heart or "v" shapes at right angles of each other. Then pipe a straight line from the middle of the shamrock down to create the stem. Continue piping the shamrock design until you have roughly 40 shells. 

Once you have filled the cookie sheet, tap it on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles that might be in the mixture. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and let the shamrocks sit for 15 to 30 minutes.  This process allows the "feet" of the macarons develop

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and rotate the cookie sheet half way though.  The tops of the macarons should be firm, but glossy and the bottoms should have officially formed their "feet."  Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheet. 

While the macarons shells are cooling, start the buttercream filling by adding the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and the magical ingredient...Baileys Original Irish Cream with a Hint of Mint Chocolate (you can never go wrong with mint and chocolate in my book) in a mixing bowl!

Mix on low until the powered sugar is incorporated, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft and fluffy.

Remove the shells from the parchment paper, fill with the mint chocolate buttercream and lightly press shells together.

Macarons taste best after 24 hours, so place the shamrocks in air tight container between sheets of parchment paper and place in the refrigerator.  Remove and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 

Who ever you decide to share these magical macrons with will definitely think they had the luck of the Irish on their side!

Friday Favorites | No. 8

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Pi Day and Friday to you all! I know today is about celebrating mathematics, but to be honest, I never really liked math in today I will celebrate by eating pi(e) and sharing my top five moments of the week, instead of calculating it.

1. On Sunday night I could not find a thing to watch on TV, so I went to Hulu and found the series Nashville. O.M.G. y'all! I am officially addicted to this show and don't know why I didn't start watching it sooner. I have been staying up wayyyyy too late watching it this past week, but its totally worth drinking an extra cup of coffee in the mornings!

2. I found the most beautiful tulips at Trader Joe’s and instantly put me in a great mood! P.S. The first day of spring is next Thursday J

3. Target and Starbucks made for a perfect end to a Monday!

4. I'm really not a fan of day light savings when we have to "spring forward," but Jasper loves being able to go on longer walks around the lake after I get home from work now that the sun is setting later.

5. With softball and baseball seasons in full swing, I have been on such a huge country music kick lately! Just something about being outside with beautiful weather and country music makes spending my weekends working games really enjoyable!

Hope you all have a great weekend, I will be spending mine doing #5!

Leprechaun Hat Pops

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My mom is a figure skating coach and always enjoys giving her students a little something when holidays come around. With St. Patrick’s Day on Monday, she asked if I could make her some little treats. I thought to myself, "I've done the cake pop, cupcake, and cookie route numerous times. I would really like to try something different."

So as I walked the aisles of Target one night after work (filling my cart with numerous things I didn’t know I needed until that exact moment…anyone else have this issue!?!?), an idea finally came to me. Leprechaun hats on a stick! Quickly I grabbed a bag of marshmallows, fudge striped cookies, and chocolate candy melts and headed home to try out my idea.

Well, it worked! These leprechaun hats are so cute they put a smile on my face, plus are so simple and easy to make. These would also be great to make with kids of all ages as well...if you don’t mind getting a little messy!

Leprechaun Hat Pops

{yield: 24}

1 package Keebler® Fudge Stripes™ Cookies
1 16oz. bag large marshmallows
Chocolate candy melts
24 paper straws
Gold disco dust (or gold sanding sugar)
Assorted St. Patrick’s Day royal icing decorations

Start by melting the chocolate candy melts in a glass measuring cup or bowl for 30 seconds at a time, string after each heating until fully melted. I prefer using a measuring cup because it is deeper and easier to coat the marshmallows. 

Dip one end of the straw into the melted chocolate and insert into the marshmallow halfway. Allow chocolate to set for a few minutes, then dip the marshmallow in the melted chocolate and coat completely. 

Tap off excess chocolate and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Immediately take a striped cookie and slide down the straw onto the marshmallow with the stripes facing up.

Continue with this process until all 24 hats have been created. 

After the chocolate has set, remove hats from parchment paper and place the straws in a block of styrofoam or cake pop stand so the hats are facing upright. 

In a small bowl, combine disco dust and a couple of drops of water and mix until combined. Take a small brush and paint a stripe around the base of where the hat and brim meet. If you do not have disco dust, you can paint on melted chocolate and cover with gold sanding sugar to get a similar look.

Using an assortment of royal icing decorations (I found these at my local cake supply shop), add a drop of melted chocolate to the back and place the decoration onto the hat.

Give the finished leprechaun hats a few minutes for the decorations to set up before packaging up in individual treat bags. You can also store these little guys in a tupperware container for up to a week, but I bet they will be long gone before that!

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