that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

Posts Tagged ‘Super Bowl’

chocolate-covered strawberry footballs

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 29, 2013

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Footballs

Looking for an easy but impressive Super Bowl snack? For our game day feast last year, I made about 10 different things. (I got a little carried away because the Giants were playing in — and subsequently winning — the big game.) One of my favorites I cranked out were these chocolate-covered strawberry “footballs.” Simply dip in melted chocolate, set on parchment paper, wait until the chocolate has dried and line with melted white chocolate or decorative icing.


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cupcakes fit for the champs

Posted by culinaryneophyte on February 8, 2012


The Super Bowl is the Thanksgiving of the sports world: At the heart is a celebration of an American tradition, but most people are just there for the food.


As I mentioned in my last post, I was a little overzealous in the kitchen this weekend because I was not only cooking for a big group of people, but also super pumped for the game itself: a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl played since I’ve been alive, and maybe of all time. I get chills whenever I think about Super Bowl XLII — the Giants’ final drive, Eli’s Houdini-like escape, David Tyree’s epic helmet-catch, ruining the Patriots’ 19-0 dreams. Pure magic.

I was nervous for this year’s game all weekend, and the best way to take my mind off of it was to bake. I already showed you the Giants sugar cookies I made earlier in the week, and when I saw strawberries on sale, I decided to make festive chocolate-covered strawberry footballs. The stars of the show, though, were these chocolate chip cookie-bottom vanilla cupcakes, which I first saw on how sweet eat is. I wanted to take it a step further and add some Giants colors in there to support Big Blue. (That’s probably why they won.)

Note: The lighting in my house is awful, and my snarky friend Scott pointed out on Facebook that they look more like Broncos cupcakes than Giants. He said, “You should probably fix that before you put it on Pinterest” (mocking his girlfriend’s new obsession that I may or may not have introduced her to). The good news is that the New York Giants seemed to think the colors were suitable, because I received a notification on Twitter saying they had chosen my photo to publish on their website! In any event, they were clearly blue and red in person, so… yeah.

slightly adapted from how sweet eat is
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in bowl. In stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat
on medium. Slowly add dry ingredients, and mix on low until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spray each cupcake liner with a spritz of cooking spray and spoon in about 1 tablespoon of cookie mix. Press down evenly with spoon. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare cake mix.

1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. milk 

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. After a quick clean of the mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat. Add 1/3 dry ingredients and 1/2 the milk, and mix on low. Alternate dry and milk until all ingredients are just combined. Scoop cake mix into each liner until 2/3 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out cleanly. Makes 18 cupcakes.

For buttercream frosting, use this recipe (sans the chai spices). You might want to make a double batch, because I didn’t have enough and needed to use a little bit of Pilsbury vanilla frosting for my white component. To make the swirled effect, separate frosting in proportionate amounts into separate bowls, and add food coloring. (FYI: Wilton food coloring is much more effective than what I used for the sugar cookies because this blue color was perfectly royal.) Place in a piping bag in stripes, and push through even if it gets messy.

Total time? 35 minutes prep, 20 minutes bake. (You’re basically making two desserts.)
Cost? Nothing out of the norm here — just nominal baking supply costs.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out 10. I was a little concerned having cookie involved could dry out the cupcake portion, but these were surprisingly moist. (They don’t stay that way longer than a day or two, but you probably won’t have many leftover anyway.) The only complaint — if you could even call it that — is that the chocolate chip cookie portion was slightly overwhelming in a few of the treats and took it more in a cookie-cake direction. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but that’s why I decreased the cookie measurement. These are a little time consuming, but definitely worth it. Sooo good! (And of course: Congratulations to the New York Giants on their Super Bowl XLVI win! Déjà BLUE all over again!)

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Super Bowl XLVI cookies

Posted by culinaryneophyte on February 4, 2012

Because I don’t often cook for more than two people, I go a little overboard when I’m attending potlucks, which is the case for this Sunday’s Super Bowl gathering. Officially, I’m bringing chipotle guacamole and chocolate chip cookie-bottom vanilla cupcakes, but I went on a bookmarking binge, and now I’m unofficially bringing, like, seven dishes.

These Giants-themed sugar cookies might get some jeers because I’ll be the lone Big Blue fan at the party, but I’m hoping my friends will at least appreciate the effort because, honestly, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be! I actually had never made a sugar cookie until this week, and the last time I decorated a cookie was probably 20 years ago. I had no idea how much prep goes into making cute cutout cookies with moderate aesthetic value. Thankfully, I came across brown eyed baker’s fantastic, step-by-step guide to decorating with royal icing. Mine are nowhere near as pretty as hers, but I don’t think it was too bad for a first go.

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl, and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat on medium for 30 seconds. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. Shape dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for at least an hour. (NOTE: I refrigerated my dough for 24 hours, and it was so hard that I thought I did something wrong. Really, I was just impatient and it needed 10 minutes to slightly thaw, but I instead repeatedly hit it with a rolling pin. Hope my neighbors didn’t mind that racket…)

You can either flour the counter or roll dough between sheets of parchment paper to avoid sticking. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each press. Place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges turn slightly brown. Remember, these cookies look uncooked, but you can easily burn the bottoms if you don’t pay close attention. Place on rack and let cool completely before frosting. (I waited two hours.)

♦3 egg whites, room temperature

4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
food coloring/gel coloring

Attach wire whisk to stand mixer. Beat egg whites, powdered sugar and cream of tartar on low until combined. Stop and scrape down ingredients. Beat on medium for 7-10 minutes until royal icing is shiny and thick. If it needs to be thicker, add more powdered sugar.

Again, I would recommend using brown eyed baker’s tutorial on the best tools and techniques for decorating (plus step-by-step photographs). I used a little bit of makeshifting in a panic (plastic bags, tape, cupcake icing, sprinkles [I’ll explain later]), but you should probably take a more composed approach.

This frosting recipe yielded way more than I needed. I divided it into three bowls, proportionate to the colors needed, i.e. blue 80%, red and white 10% each. I then added all the coloring gel and liquid food coloring I had and the blue still wasn’t royal enough. (Good thing the Giants aren’t playing Carolina or some other baby blue team.)

I slopped some blue icing into my handy dandy piper and outlined each helmet and jersey with what turned out to be a bit-too-thick stroke. I then filled a squirt bottle — which you can find at any craft store — with some blue icing and added a few teaspoons of water. This mixture is used for “flooding,” a technique that makes the icing easier to spread and produces a smooth look atop your cookie. (And it’s really fun.) Squirt some of the runny mixture inside your lining and spread with a toothpick until completely coated.

NOTE: Everything I’ve read about royal icing recommends placing a dampened towel over what’s not in use because it dries very quickly. I didn’t want to take the chance of losing any icing, but I got it in my head that I needed to race through everything. Yes, you do need to cover the icing with damp towels, and that will earn you at least seven hours of usable icing, so take your time! (I tested it overnight, and it was still usable in the morning.)

Here’s the part where you should let everything dry completely before adding more details, but it was 11:30 p.m. by the time I got to this step, and I was getting cranky. This resulted in some questionable design work on my part, so next time, I’ll be a bit more careful. At one point, I was handpicking red sprinkles out of a tub of rainbow to make my more-pink-than-red icing the appropriate color, so I think you get where my frustration was coming from.

In the end, though, I was pretty proud of my work and I can’t wait to give this another try — maybe something that’s yellow and/or green, because that’s the only food coloring I have left.


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it’s like, classy ham

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 31, 2012

I’m super psyched for Super Bowl — Déjà BLUE all over again — and I’m trying to crank out some game-day snack posts for you to bring to the big party on Sunday (or eat alone in the other room while watching the Puppy Bowl).

I made this prosciutto bread for the Winter Classic last month. I was on a Food Network Magazine cooking kick (I adapted this recipe from their November issue) and happened to have some leftover prosciutto in the fridge.

This snack is incredibly easy to make; if you’re not hosting this weekend, you might even consider making this on the premises so it’s fresh out of the oven for the first quarter. This type of cured ham isn’t for everyone, though, so consider your party peers before you start stuffing. I’m not a traditional ham person because thick slabs of meat freak me out (joke away), but I’ll eat prosciutto because it’s thinly sliced and pairs well with Italian flavors. I like to call it “classy ham.” It makes me like it more.

prosciutto bread innards

♦1/4 lb. prosciutto 
1/2 c. fresh mozzarella cheese (shredded is fine)
11-oz. package of Pilsbury Crusty French Loaf refrigerated bread
Italian seasonings
Olive oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Completely roll out dough, then add layers of prosciutto, mozzarella and Italian seasonings. Roll dough into a log, pulling and twisting it into a ring by connecting ends. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with more Italian seasonings. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, add more olive oil and bake for five more minutes. (I also threw a bit of cheese on top for fun.) Slice and serve. Makes 10-12 slices.

Total time? 5 minutes prep, 25 minutes bake.
Cost? $3 for prosciutto (on sale for $9.99/lb), $3.19 for Pilsbury bread, $3 mozzarella.
Overall success relative to expectations? 7 out 10. I love stromboli-like stuffed breads, and I was really excited to try this. I added cheese to the FN Magazine recipe because I didn’t think the prosciutto could stand alone. Maybe it was the kind I used, but I found the prosciutto flavor a little more prevalent than I would have liked. Next time I try this, I’ll consider adding some arugula or basil to add another level of flavor.

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smokin’ them (USA! USA!)

Posted by culinaryneophyte on July 14, 2011

U.S. goalkeeper, Hope Solo

I was still reeling yesterday from the U.S. Women’s National Team’s amazing win Sunday in the World Cup quarterfinal match against Brazil, and then they pulled out another fantastic victory over France to move on to the finals. This team is amazing. If you haven’t watched a game yet, take some time this weekend to do so.

The women play again this Sunday, and with the impressive amount of support that fans of all kind have shown over the last two weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some Women’s World Cup viewing parties on tap. Whether you’re hosting or attending, serve these little bacon-wrapped Smokies and you’ll get almost as much praise as Abby Wambach’s clutch air game.

didn't have a chance to snap a good photo...

♦1 package Hilshire Farm Lit’l Smokies (or any cocktail links; could use all-beef)
1 package bacon (I used thin cut)
Brown sugar for sprinkling (about 1/2 c.)

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and cover with baking spray. Cut eat slice of uncooked bacon into fourths. Wrap each Smokie with a bacon fourth, secure with toothpick and place on sheet. Sprinkle each Smokie with brown sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, but check periodically for doneness. Serve with toothpicks in; it makes it much easier and less messy for your guests to stuff their faces.

Total time? 10 minutes prep, 20-25 minute bake.
Cost? $2.50 for Smokies (on sale), $3 for bacon.
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out of 10. I made these sweet and smokey treats for Super Bowl, and they were snatched up in seconds. Fortunately, they’re really easy to make and don’t require much attention. My only gripe with the finished product was the bacon could have been a bit crispier, but I didn’t want to burn the Smokies. The only other downside is that it can get a little expensive if you are serving a sizable bunch; each Smokie package has a little less than 40 links, so I’d recommend making at least two batches if you’re serving 10 or more people.

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are they made from real Girl Scouts?

Posted by culinaryneophyte on February 7, 2011

I’m going to guess you’ve had at least one box of Girl Scout Cookies in the last month, and if not, you’ve got some commendable self control. They’re everywhere — in the office, at the front door, accosting me in the supermarket. I can’t get away, and I can’t say no, so I ended up with three boxes of Samoas that I synchronously did and did not want to eat. The solution? Turn it into a treat for my friends: the Samoa cupcake.

Inside the cake is a layer of crushed Samoa cookies (the best of the Girl Scout variety, in my opinion). The icing is infused with coconut, and topped with half a Samoa and cookie crumbs, but you can nix the half-cookie if you’re looking to save a few for your own indulgence.

I took a shortcut on this one, and used Duncan Hines Super Moist vanilla cake mix, and it was well worth it. (And props to DH for delivering on that moist promise; the consistency was perfect and fluffy.)

While these are relatively easy to make, I ran into a little bit of trouble; condensing the coconut milk on the stove took 30 minutes and really threw a wrench in my party planning. While that was pretty vexing, the frosting was the biggest pain in the sash (– get it? Like Girl Scout sash? Ehh?). I attempted to add more coconut flavor by adding an extra tablespoon of the milk, but the frosting was too sweet to add any more powdered sugar and level out, so it ended up way too liquescent — almost like a glaze. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time (or supplies) to make another batch of frosting, so I loaded the liquid into my piping gun and went to town. I ended up with puddles, but they somehow managed to sit still on top of the cupcake, so I rolled with it.

a look inside...

♦1 box Duncan Hines Extra Moist vanilla cake mix

2 eggs
1/3 c. canola oil
2 boxes Samoa Girl Scout Cookies (Caramel Delites)

Pulse one box of Samoa cookies in blender, and set aside. Prepare vanilla cake mix as per instructions on box. Fill 1/3 of each baking cup with batter. Add a layer of Samoa crumbs (making sure to leave enough for second dozen). Add batter to 3/4 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 24 cupcakes.

♦1 can coconut milk
♦4 oz. cream cheese
♦4 tbl. butter
♦1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
♦1-1/2 c. powdered sugar

Reduce can of coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat, about 75 percent. After cooled, spoon four tablespoons (no more!) of the mixture into a  bowl with remaining ingredients. Beat until desired consistency.

Total time? 45 minutes prep (includes condensing), 15 minutes baking.
Cost? A little pricey — $7 for cookies ($3.50/each), $1.29 can of coconut milk, $1 cake mix, $1 cream cheese
Overall success relative to expectations? 7 out of 10. As far as taste goes, these were good, but I could have used more cookie crumbs inside the cake to add a little bit more Samoa-ness. I’d also like to try making a coconut-base cupcake next time to really ramp up the flavor. Oh, and that whole not having my frosting look like a sloppy puddle would be good, too.

sporty liners for my Super Bowl party


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