Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Days

Snow days don't have quite the same appeal as a teacher as they did as a student, or at least as an ag teacher with 50 things to get done this week! Having an inservice Monday and twosnowdays has thrown a wrench in the schedule, but alas, I am enjoying being home and getting lots of projects done around the house. Look for a future blog on my adventures with the sewing machine. Today, though, I want to share with you some goodies I whipped up in the kitchen.

I love cooking and baking. I don't take nearly enough time to do, and I'm never quite as adventurous as I should be, but nonetheless, I like spending time in the kitchen. I can't say enough good things about Pampered Chef products and how easy they make my life. Today's recipe was a Pampered Chef creation, as a matter of fact, and I used tons of their products to make it. If you're not using P.C., check it out!

Mini Carrot Cake Cups
  • 1 pkg (9 oz) yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, divided
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen whipped topping
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray each well of a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
For cups, combine cake mix, allspice, egg, and oil. Stir until ingredients are moistened. (Mixture will be thick.) Grate carrots and stir 3/4 of a cup into the batter; set aside remaining carrots for garnish. Divide batter evenly among wells, filling about 2/3 full. Bake 11-13 minutes or until the cups feel firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, whisk together cream cheese and sugar until smooth; fold in whipped topping. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a resealable plastic bag; secure bag and set aside.

Remove pan from oven and set on cooling rack. Press tops of cups with a ligh
tly floured mini-tart shaper to make slight indentations. Cool in pan 3 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan; cool 5 minutes. Trim corner of cream cheese-filled bag; pipe filling evenly into cups. Garnish with chopped walnuts and reserved grated carrots, if desired.

My notes:
  • Most cake mix packages are 18.5 oz. I used the full package and doubled all of the other ingredients.
  • Pampered Chef has awesome Cinnamon Crunch Sprinkle. I substituted that for the allspice.
  • Usually when I make carrot cake, I use my food processor to grate the carrots. This time I cheated and bought pre-grated carrots for the first time. They were big. The next time, I'll go back to using the food processor.
Here's the process:
Ingredients mixed. Note that the mixture will be thick.

I may have over-filled the mini-muffin pan. Try to stick to the 2/3 full that the recipe suggests.

Using the mini-tart shaper to make indentations. If you don't have a tart shaper, a spoon would also work.

Finished product, garnished with walnuts.

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