Snickers Cupcakes

If there’s anything that can make chocolate cupcakes even better … it’s definitely a Snickers Bar. I made these Snickers cupcakes for my cousin’s baby shower last month and I’ve been meaning to post this recipe.

This being her first baby, to say that we were all super excited would be an understatement. So planning for this shower started early. We knew there had to be cupcakes involved, they were just simply mandatory, but we weren’t sure what kind. We looked at several different recipes but finally landed on testing out a recipe we found for Snickers Cupcakes. Unfortunately, we were less than thrilled with the results. But it sort of became my mission to get these right … therefore I admittedly went a little nuts and tried out two more recipes lol. I mean this girl is not just my cousin she’s like my sister, it was important to me to get these right. But the good news is after combining a few different recipes, I got it!😀

I was so happy with how they turned out! My cousin said she loved them and everyone at the shower seemed to really enjoy them as well, which made all the recipe testing totally worth it! It was actually one of many delish treats at the shower, which was so lovely by the way!

And just a couple weeks later, her beautiful baby boy was born almost a month early. It was so special to see and hold him. It seems like just yesterday that my cousin and I were playing dolls and now she has a baby! Crazy! We’ve been through so much together and have so many good memories with each other. From Barbie’s, Saved By The Bell, *Nsync, road trips, and lots & lots of concerts to weddings, and now babies! Okay, now I’m getting too emotional lol. So I’ll spare you the water works and just give you the cupcakes!😉

Snickers Cupcakes –

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(Recipe adapted from http://www.annies-eats.com/)

Moist chocolaty cupcakes, fluffy caramel frosting, and Snickers…needless to say these are a little rich but very delish!

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I used Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe, which is my old stand by, you just can’t go wrong with it. I also added in a little coffee & melted Ghirardelli chocolate. The filling is chopped up Snickers coated in caramel topping. They’re topped off with Salted Caramel frosting, more chopped Snickers, and caramel topping.

These cupcakes are so easy to make. And let me just say this is the best Salted Caramel frosting I’ve tried so far. It complements the chocolate cupcakes perfectly!

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With bits of Snickers inside as well as on top, this will make any Snickers fan a happy camper! Hope you give ‘em a shot!🙂

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Cupcakes –

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar 

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 

3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa 

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoon salt 

2 eggs 

1 cup milk 

1/2 cup vegetable oil 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1 cup boiling water

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into lined cupcake pan.

Bake 16-18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cool completely.

Filling –

Ingredients:

24 fun-size Snicker bars, chopped

1/3 – 1/2 cup store bought caramel topping

Directions:

Combine chopped Snickers bars in a bowl with the caramel topping and mix to coat.

Salted Caramel Frosting –

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups powdered sugar

15-20 caramels

2 tbsp. heavy cream

Kosher salt

Directions:

In a small bowl, melt caramels with the heavy cream. You an pop it in the microwave for 30 second increments till smooth. Allow a few minuets in the fridge to cool.

In a large bowl, whip the butter for 20 seconds of medium high speed until fluffy. Add in one cup powdered sugar and mix until combined. Once the caramel is completely cool to touch, drizzle into frosting and beat on medium speed until well incorporated.

Then add in the second cup of powdered sugar and the salt (1/4 tsp. – 1/2 tsp.). Beat 3-4 minutes or until fluffy.

Garnish:

8 fin-size Snickers bars, chopped

Caramel topping

Assembly – 

After cupcakes are completely cool, use a knife (I use my cupcake corer) to hollow out out the center of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with a spoonful of the filling mixture. Spread or pipe on caramel frosting. Garnish with chopped Snickers and drizzle with caramel topping. Then devour!🙂

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Is This the End of The Civil Wars?

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” – Plato

It’s no secret that November 6th 2012 was a very upsetting day for a lot of people. There were tears. There was anger. There was confusion. And quite frankly, I am still in mourning. No, I’m not talking about the election… I’m talking about the day one of my very favorite bands, The Civil Wars, broke up. Or, aka, the day the music died.

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Yes, I was perfectly fine stressing about the election that night until I saw a tweet, a tweet that broke my music loving heart to shreds. Someone I follow on Twitter said that it looked like The Civil Wars had … broken up. Insert gasp and me loudly yelling “Noooo!!!” at the computer screen here.

So, after I regained composure and started breathing again, I immediately raced to their Facebook only to have my fears confirmed by their official statement:

“We sincerely apologize for the canceling of all of our tour dates. It is something we deeply regret. However, due to internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition we are unable to continue as a touring entity at this time. We thank each and every one of you for your amazing love & support. Our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013.”

I think I can speak for all fans when I say we were somewhat shocked and confused. Was this a canceling of just a tour or the break up of a band? And really, that still remains to be seen. They did after all say they hope to have new music out this year. But “internal discord” and “irreconcilable differences of ambition” certainly doesn’t sound good.

Not gonna lie, my reaction was something akin to this lol. I mean c’mon, it had to be a joke… a totally not funny, super late April Fools joke, right?… Right?! I knew they had canceled some of their shows but to cancel the slew of sold out European tour dates that were already underway … I never saw that one coming. So at that point, as you can imagine, I was like “who cares about the election?! Don’t you understand The Civil Wars just broke up?!” lol. Okay, slightly over dramatic, maybe. I guess it just goes to show you where my priorities lie, ha!

The Civil Wars formed when two burned out musicians, Joy Williams and John Paul White, had a chance meeting in 2008 at what’s called a “songwriting camp” in Nashville, TN. Straws were drawn to decide who would get paired up to write together first that day and John Paul was the straw chosen for Joy before she even arrived. The two say that as soon as they started singing together they could tell that this was something different, something special. And the rest as they say is history. Oddly enough, later on they found out that they both tried to get out of even going that day. Meant to be? I think so.

I think the news came as even more of shock to those of us who’ve been around since the two began and have watched their incredible rise to success.

I’ve actually been following Joy’s career ever since her very first CCM album (still have it, by the way, ha!) in 2001. And it’s been amazing to watch her musical progression and see how she’s grown as an artist over the years. I remember being really excited when in 2009 she announced on her MySpace a new duo she was a part of called The Civil Wars along with musician (& Johnny Depp doppelganger), John Paul White. And later that year seeing the music video for their first single, “Poison and Wine” and being totally blown away. You couldn’t help but be moved and fall in love with their music, their voices, and their striking chemistry. There was no denying, this combination was pure magic.

While The Civil Wars were still gaining steam, in the spring of  2010 Joy released a solo EP entitled, “We Mapped The World”.  My sister & I fell in love with those songs and decided to try and get an interview with Joy.  She was so sweet to answer all of our questions about the EP, songwriting, and of course, The Civil Wars. This was very exciting for us and something that still makes me smile to look back on.

Not long after they released the next single from their yet to be released album of the same name, “Barton Hollow“, things really took off for the band. They were quickly selling out shows, making their rounds on the late night talk show circuit, and stealing people’s hearts. The album released in February of 2011 to much anticipation and just a year later won two Grammys and earned the band a small spot performing on the live telecast. “Barton Hollow” went Gold in September of last year selling 500,000 copies.

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So what could cause a band who in the matter of just a year won 2 Grammys, an Americana Music Award, was nominated for a Golden Globe, & had a Gold record,  to either break up or go on hiatus? I don’t know. What could’ve caused irreconcilable differences of ambition and internal discord in a duo that seemed to have a really strong bond and such  insane chemistry on stage that they were often mistaken for a married couple (they’re both married to other people)? At this point fans can only speculate.

And speculate they are … almost daily it seems on the band’s Facebook. In fact, the mood is turning rather hostile as some fans are angered by the bands confusing explanation. While I understand the confusion, I also think it’s pretty sad considering these same fans claim that The Civil Wars are their favorite band. We need to remember that while Joy & John Paul are musicians, and amazing ones at that, they are also people. Whatever happened that caused them to make this decision, I feel pretty safe in saying, it probably wasn’t made lightly.

Though I am still lamenting the fact that I didn’t get to see them live! Ugh! I can’t even stand to think about it! The band that Adele called quote, “the best live band I’ve ever seen“… and I missed my chance to see them. This has actually made me pretty paranoid about seeing my favorite bands live a.s.a.p lest they soon share the same fate.

If “Barton Hollow” is The Civil Wars’ first and last album I see it becoming a classic. It’s something we listeners will pull out even years later and still be completely enchanted by because it’s simply timeless. I see it as an album that our children will discover as they’re rummaging through our cd or vinyl collection. They will fall in love with it and treasure it too. They will also be totally heartbroken to learn it was the bands one and only album.

The irony is not lost that a band with a name like The Civil Wars is now going through a war of their own. Their name inspired in part by the Plato quote at the top of this post. Hopefully this war will have a happy ending.

So Joy and John Paul, on the very off chance you ever find yourself reading this blog we fans truly hope you guys can work things out. But just know that we are thankful for the magic you’ve given us through your music, even if it was for just a short time. It will be terribly missed. But if you two ever come back, whether together or (dare I say it) apart, know that you have a slew of fans just waiting to welcome you back with open arms and ready to sing along to new songs. Grace & peace to the whole Civil Wars crew.

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Creamy Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Garlic Croutons

Hey lovelies! I thought I‘d share a recipe with you guys that makes for the perfect way to warm up on a cold day. We here in TX have been experiencing some wintery weather in the 30’s & 40’s these past couple of days. And while most people may not consider that very cold, we Texans tend to panic when the temps fall below 50. So I’d say some comfort food is in order! And what says comfort food more than the classic Tomato Soup?
I made this Creamy Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Garlic Croutons last week and it went so fast there were hardly any left overs the next day. Even my dad, who is especially picky, ate two bowls of this stuff. We were such fans of this soup that we actually just had it for dinner again tonight.
While winter has never been my favorite season, curling up in a warm blanket with a hot bowl of yummy soup makes these cold gray days feel cozy. This is comfort food at its finest! 

Creamy Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Garlic Croutons –

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(Recipe adapted from howsweeteats.com)

This soup is really flavorful and super creamy thanks to two kinds of cheeses, Mascarpone and Havarti. I had to leave out the Havarti though because my super market is just not cool enough to carry it apparently. But leaving it out didn’t really seem to make any difference.

While I liked the Brown Butter Garlic Croutons, I found they got a little bit too soggy in the soup. So I actually just prefer eating it with garlic toast instead. But the croutons do have a really lovely flavor though thanks to the brown butter and garlic. Everything is better with brown butter, in my opinion, as it gives things a warm, nutty, caramel taste. And browning butter is actually pretty simple so don’t be afraid to give it a try!

Spoon on a dollop of left over mascarpone and devour! Hope this soup keep you warm today!🙂

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 sweet onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled tomatoes

4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup freshly grated Havarti cheese

Croutons –

2 cups cubed whole grain bread

3 tablespoons brown butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:
Heat a large soup pot oven medium-low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onions, salt, pepper, seasonings and smoked paprika, then stir well to coat. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste, using the back of the spoon well to mash the tomato paste and evenly distribute it throughout the onions. Cook for another 5-6 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, allowing the tomato paste to become golden in spots.

Add in both cans of the tomatoes (with juice) and the stock, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let bubble for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. While the mixture is simmering, I occasionally mashed the tomatoes down just to make them easier to blend.

While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brown the butter and let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then toss in the minced garlic cloves and stir for 30 seconds. Add bread cubes to a large bowl and pour the garlic/butter mixture over top, tossing well to coat. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking. If you desire them more golden, bake a little longer – just keep an eye on them.

After the hour is up, very carefully add the mixture to a blender (you will probably have to do this in two parts) and puree until totally smooth. Add back to the pot over low heat. Stir in the mascarpone and Havarti, stirring until it’s completely melted. Taste and season additionally with salt and pepper if needed. Serve in big bowls with an extra dollop of mascarpone and bunch of croutons on top.

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My Favorite Albums & Music Discoveries of 2012

Can’t believe we only have hours of 2012 left. Crazy! Hope you are all having a fun and happy New Years Eve! This year just seemed to fly by. There’s a lot to reflect on when thinking about this year but right now I want to talk about one of my favorite things of 2012: the music.

It has definitely been a great year for music. Some of my favorite bands released some killer albums and I felt like I was just discovering new favorite bands left and right. Here is a list of some of my favorite albums and music discoveries of 2012.

Also, I would love to know what albums and artists made your list this year so please feel free to share! Happy New Years, friends!🙂

Favorite Albums of 2012 –

Milo Greene – Self titled debut

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Okay, so you might say that I have a slight obsession with this album… I’ve been listening to it almost everyday since it’s release. But I can’t help it, I simply need my daily Milo fix. This 5 piece CA band released their self titled debut album in July to much anticipation. Especially for those like me who discovered their music in 2011. But it was totally worth the wait as they created an album that is absolutely stunning from start to finish. You will fall in love with the beautiful harmonies and haunting melodies.

My favorite tracks are … well, every track, but if I had to choose a few: “What’s The Matter”, “1957”, “Take A Step”, “Autumn Tree,” and “Wooden Antlers”. If you haven’t checked out Milo Greene yet what are you waiting for?!

To purchase album click here

The Lumineers – Self titled debut

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“Keep your head up. Keep your love.”

That’s a lyric from what is possibly my favorite song of 2012, “Stubborn Love” by Denver based band, The Lumineers. Their self titled debut album, which released in April, stole my heart. This album is pure joy, let me tell you! Everything about it makes me feel incredible. You can’t help but dance around to their foot stomping folk sound, beautiful harmonies, and heartfelt lyrics.

Even though without a doubt “Stubborn Love” is my favorite, with the lyrics making a permanent place in my heart; some of my other favorites include: “Ho Hey”, “Big Parade”, “Flowers In Your Hair”, and “Dead Sea”. 

To purchase album click here

Kimbra – Vows

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Pop music made by someone with real talent is sadly an oxymoron. But Kimbra proves that it’s actually possible. For someone so young she truly has talent well beyond her years. When this album is on I simply cannot help but sing and dance along to every track. Her music is just too fun! The fusion of pop, dance, and jazz is infectious.

My favorite tracks are, “Good Intent”, “Something In The Way You Are”, “Two Way Street”, and “Posse”. “Vows” is on constant rotation in my cd player, it’s an album that I don’t even think it’s possible for me to get tired of.

To purchase album click here

Anberlin – Vital

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Anberlin just released their 6th studio album, Vital, in October. When I heard a few songs from the album on YouTube last month my first thought was, “Yes! Finally! This is what I’ve been waiting for from them!”.  I seriously haven’t loved an album from them this much since “Cities”, which is my favorite Anberlin album. “Cities” set the bar pretty high for me not only because every song is amazing but also because it walked with me through a very tough time in my life. So it means a lot to me. And in my opinion their last two albums just weren’t quite up to par, but this one… is. so. awesome.

Though I just received this cd as a Christmas gift from my sister it hasn’t left my cd player since. I can’t get enough. My favorite tracks are “Self Starter”, “Someone Anyone’”, “Modern Age”, & “God, Drugs, & Sex”. Be sure to give Vital a listen, it’s truly Anberlin at their very best.

To purchase album click here

Sucre – A Minor Bird

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Three incredible musicians whom I’ve loved individually for a longtime came together and recorded an album and it’s, in a word, breathtaking! Stacy Dupree King (Eisley), Darren King (MUTEMATH), and Jeremy Larson make up the stunning combination that is Sucre. With Stacy’s angelic vocals, Darren’s crazy beats, and Jeremy’s beautiful string arrangements they have created one of the most dreamy, ethereal, and magical albums I’ve ever heard,

My favorite tracks are “When We Were Young”, “Chemical Reaction”, “Stampede” and “Say Something”. Be sure to pick up “A Minor Bird” if you haven’t already.

To purchase album click here

Favorite Music Discoveries of 2012:

The Lumineers

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Though there were a lot of good music discoveries made in 2012, I think these guys may be my favorite. Here’s the song that made me a fan: “Stubborn Love”.

St. Vincent

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Even though St. Vincent has been around for a while I just discovered her music this year and was blown away. The first time I watched the incomparable Annie Clark play guitar my jaw was on the floor. Seriously, this girl can shred! Watching her play, her fingers flying across the fretboard, is thrilling but also fills me with a deep sense of regret… like why didn’t I lock myself in my room for ten hours a day practicing guitar just so I could play half as good as Annie? And yet even after taking lessons off & on during my teens years and early 20’s, here I sit only remembering like 4 chords. Ugh! But I digress.

She has become my favorite female artist not only because of her mad guitar skills but also because of the diversity of her music. It ranges from pretty and ethereal pop, to gritty rock, to almost ambient & electronic in sound. If you’ve never heard St. Vincent check out this video of her performing her song “Surgeon”. The guitar riff in this song is insane… I can’t even.

The Paper Kites

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Oh what to say about The Paper Kites…you just have to experience them for yourself. And it is an experience. Just put on their music, close your eyes, and prepare to be taken to a far away land. They make some of the most magical music you will ever hear. Check out my favorite Paper Kites song: “Bloom”.

The Vespers

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Two sisters and two brothers meet at a camp fire jam session and the rest as they say is history. They make bluegrass/folk music with faith tinged lyrics that you can feel in your soul. Plus, these girls can sing! Check out their their rendition of Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face”.

The Head & The Heart

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These guys are seriously so good! I fell in love with their music after hearing the song “Rivers & Roads” on YouTube one night. This song is not only beautiful but I just felt like it summed up everything I’d been thinking and feeling throughout the year.

Kimbra –

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I keep forgetting that I just discovered her music this year after seeing her in, what else, Gotye’s video for ‘Somebody That I Used To Know” last January. Feels like I’ve been listening to her forever. I actually ended up becoming more of a fan of hers than Gotye’s. Can’t remember when pop music sounded this good. Here’s one of my Kimbra favorites: “Good Intent”.

Family of the Year –

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Just discovered this band from Los Angeles in the summer and have been loving their music ever since. Their song “St Croix” was the song I pretty much wore out all summer long… my summer jam, if you will. 

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Saltine Cracker English Toffee

Yes, English Toffee with saltine crackers! I know it may sound a bit strange but it’s seriously so delish! Every Christmas I attempt to make toffee and every Christmas it turns out chip your tooth hard. So I was excited when I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. It’s the easiest toffee I’ve ever made! And the best part, it’s so good and you won’t break a tooth while eating it (which is success in my book). It has the perfect chewy yet slightly crunchy texture.

Hope you give this a try before the season is over. It would make a lovely Christmas gift!🙂

Saltine Cracker English Toffee –

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(Recipe found @ http://www.sixsistersstuff.com)

Ingredients:

40 salted saltine crackers

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts (I used peanuts, you can use whatever kind you like)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large jelly roll pan (mine was 15×10″) with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the saltine crackers evenly on the pan (I put mine really close together so that they were touching).

In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and let it boil for three minutes without stirring. After three minutes, pour the hot brown sugar mixture evenly over the saltine crackers.

Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips across the toffee. Let them melt for a couple of minutes and then use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly across the toffee (like frosting).

Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of the melted chocolate. Let the toffee and chocolate cool completely (I put mine in the fridge to help it set up quickly). Break the toffee into bite-size pieces.

To store, keep in an air-tight container for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for a couple of months.

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The Waking’s 2012 Christmas Playlists

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I don’t think there’s anything about this time of year that I don’t love. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. There are just so many special things to enjoy about the season; the decorations, the food, movies, hot chocolate, time with friends & family, celebrating our Saviors birth… and of course, the music. I admittedly am one of those people that start listening to Christmas music in October. I just can’t help it… and by that point, I think I’ve waited long enough. There are so many favorites; from old staples to originals that have become yearly traditions. These songs hold special Christmas memories and always make the season brighter.

Below my sister and I have put together playlists of some of our very favorite Christmas songs to share with you guys! Hope you enjoy listening and that you have a very merry Christmas!🙂

Krystal’s Christmas Playlist –

Listen to the full list here!

Why Can’t it be Christmas all Year – Rosie Thomas

All I Want for Christmas is You – House of Heroes

Baby It’s Cold Outside – She & Him

My Favorite Things – Pomplamoose

Christmas Time Is Here – A Fine Frenzy

All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue – Over The Rhine

Snow – Sleeping At Last

Wishing For This – Leigh Nash

2000 Decembers Ago – Joy Williams

What Child Is This – Plumb

So This Is Christmas – Acceptance

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Relient K

It’s Christmas – *Nsync

Christmas In The Room – Sufjan Stevens

To Be With You – Sara Groves

Christmas Eve Sarajevo – Trans Siberian Orchestra

Winter Wonderland – Ella Fitzgerald

Frosty The Snowman – Fiona Apple

Thanks For Christmas – XTC

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love

White Christmas Nightmare – Sherri Dupree Bemis & Max Bemis

Mr. Frosty Man – Sufjan Stevens

Cecily’s Christmas Playlist –

Listen to the full list here!

Wonderful Christmas Time – The Shins

The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – She & Him

Let it Snow – Frank Sinatra

Baby Please Come Home – Anberlin

Another Year to Wait – Good Lovelies

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – Casting Crowns

2000 Decembers Ago – Joy Williams

Love Came Down at Christmas Time – Jars of Clay

The Little Drummer Boy – Jessica Simpson

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Bright Eyes

I Celebrate the Day – Relient K

Carol of the Bells – August Burns Red

Santa Baby – Madonna

Winter White – A Fine Frenzy

Once Upon a December – Liz Callaway

All i Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

O’ Come All Ye Faithful – Amy Grant

Little Saint Nick – She & Him

Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child – Mariah Carey

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Tiramisu

My first foray into Tiramisu making was a few years ago on Christmas Eve when my sister and I decided to take on this lovely dessert. It had become a favorite of ours and was the only dessert we would order anytime we ate at Olive Garden. And well, we were audacious baker’s and thought if Olive Garden could make delish Tiramisu so could we… yeah, not so much. Oh how naive we were! Let’s just say it didn’t quite turn out like theirs. Though they have access to all the right ingredients… we did not (yep, that’s my story & I’m sticking to it. ;))

I would say that the espresso is one of the most important ingredients in Tiramisu, wouldn’t you agree? Well we did not have any espresso nor any way of making espresso. So we did the only thing we could think to do at 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve … we went to Sonic &, much to the utter confusion of the car hop, ordered like 7 or more shots of espresso. Yes, we used Sonic espresso in our Tiramisu. There’s a dirty little secret for ya!

We also accidentally bought chocolate mascarpone cheese and used the spongy type ladyfingers that got soggy & fell apart the second they touched the espresso. Thus the espresso leaked out into the pan and made the whole thing a soggy mess. Needless to say, after that we decided to leave the Tiramisu making up to the experts.

I did however make a Tiramisu Trifle last year and while it was good you just can’t beat the real thing. So a few months ago while out grocery shopping I serendipitously stumbled upon the right kind of lady fingers I needed for Tiramisu and decided on a whim that it was time. I actually ended up using the recipe on the back of the lady fingers (Alessi Savoiardi Cookies) and it turned out so beyond amazing!! Just as good if not better than Olive Garden’s, in my opinion. Yes, it was a Tiramisu to be proud of!

Tiramisu –

tiramisu

This dessert may take a little more time and effort than others but it’s totally worth it! And yes, it may seem just a bit intimidating but as long as you follow the directions and have the right ingredients you should be just fine.

The Zabaglione Cream (I always feel so Italian when I say that, so Giada De Laurentiis, if you will) is the base for our filling and starts by cooking egg yolks in a double broiler. Combining this with the mascarpone cheese and egg whites whipped until stiff peaks is what makes for the amazingly rich and creamy filling.

We then make our espresso and line the lady fingers in a pan. And instead of dunking each lady finger into the espresso mixture, which could cause them to fall apart (a major problem for me last time), you just pour a tbsp. full on each lady finger. Then it’s the easy part, as you just layer and then dust with cocoa powder or shave on chocolate curls (or both). Refrigerate and voila, a luscious and fancy dessert!

Lady fingers soaked with espresso, creamy mascarpone cheese filling with a light dusting of cocoa powder on top? Yes, please! It’s an elegant dessert that would be perfect for this time of year… or any time of the year for that matter.🙂

Ingredients:

Zabaglione Cream – 

5 large egg yolks, from large grade eggs 

1/4 cup sugar  1/2 cup marsala 

1 cup whipping cream, chilled 

4 tablespoons sugar 

1 lb. mascarpone cheese 

2 cups freshly brewed espresso or 2 cups strong coffee 

1/2 cup brandy or 1/2 cup marsala 

1 tablespoon vanilla 

2 (14 ounce) packages Alessi Savoiardi cookies 

2 tablespoons cocoa powder 

chocolate curls or fresh edible flower (to garnish) (optional)

Directions:

Zabaglione Cream: In the top part of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar together until the mixture is pale yellow in color.

In the bottom part of the double boiler, bring water to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Place egg yolk mixture over water and gradually add Marsala, beating continuously. Scrape bottom and sides of pan occasionally and cook 6 to 10 minutes or until soft mounds can be formed. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Whip cream with 2 Tbsp. sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in Mascarpone and Zabaglione and mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

In a separate bowl, mix espresso, 2 Tbsp. sugar, Marsala and vanilla. Arrange cookies on the bottom of a 9″ by 13″ pan. Carefully spoon about 1 Tbsp. of the coffee mixture over each cookie so they are well saturated but not falling apart. Spoon 1/2 cheese mixture over cookies and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. cocoa. Repeat one more time ending with cocoa.

Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight so that cookies can soften as they absorb moisture. Garnish and serve. (Serves 12)

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