cupcakes & shortbread | yummy treats

I was so bummed out this year that I never got around to making my Oreo Truffles. They’re a Christmas staple! Unfortunately, being sick in the days leading up to (and surrounding) Christmas doesn’t encourage anyone to want to be in the kitchen for hours, mixing, rolling and standing over an oven. It took me nearly a week to get back into the kitchen and make some cookie / cupcake trays for a few family members. I was so happy to finally get my baking mojo back! I made some yummy chocolate cookie dough that I laced with Starbucks VIA (it was mocha VIA which was perfect! Espresso gives just the right kick to chocolate flavors). They were rolled into small circles and topped with a homemade chocolate glaze and crushed candy canes. I made peanut butter cookies. My girls and I used my Mom’s very, very vintage cookie gun (from 1977!) to make a few dozen butter cookies, which remind me of Christmas as a kid in my own mother’s kitchen. And then I made some scrumptious raspberry bars as well as hot chocolate cupcakes for New Years Eve, which were soooo good! The marshmallow topping was the best! I definitely have plans to make some S’mores cupcakes in the near future.

We used this recipe right here, minus the mint kisses.

Don’t they look yummy? There’s actually hot chocolate right in the batter. There’s also chocolate pudding mix and sour cream, which makes for very moist cupcakes!

Recently I realized that I have quite the collection of my three kids at the table, each with their wooden spoon in the mixing bowl. It’s always Andrew on the left, Emily on the right and Gracie sandwiched in between.

I found the best cupcake liners at the grocery store. I mostly order my baking cups from Global Sugar Art because I love the brown greaseproof liners, but sometimes I run out and need liners at the last minute. I hate the paper ones that get all greasy and lose their color, and that seems to be all you can find in the baking aisle of the grocery store. No more. I spotted some new cups by Reynolds called StayBrite. They are paper cups lined with foil. Totally awesome!

After the cupcakes bake, on go the marshmallows! (Or as Grace calls them, “marmellows!”) I did need to wet a pastry brush and lightly brush the cupcake tops with some water to get the marshmallows to stick.

The best part of the whole baking process? Licking the spoon!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Marshmallow Topping
recipe from Picky Palate

1 Devil’s Food cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 package of instant chocolate pudding
1 cup of sour cream
3/4 cup of warm milk mixed with a hot cocoa packet
mini marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper / foil liners.

2. Mix all ingredients (except for the marshmallows) until well incorporated. Spoon into each muffin cup. When I make cupcakes, I always end up with 21 or 22 because I like them filled pretty high. With this recipe, you will have plenty to make 24 cupcakes, with even a few tablespoons of batter left over.

3. Bake cupcakes for 18 minutes. Remove and top with a small handful of marshmallows (lightly wetting the top of each cupcake if necessary).

4. Return pans to oven and bake for another 5 or so minutes (until tops of marshmallows turn golden).

Later in the day, my girls and I made some butter cookies. I borrowed my Mom’s cookie gun… which is older than me!

Do you see the date stamped on the box? It’s a Fun Gun from SEARS.

This gun is so easy to use and the cookies come together so quickly. We had nearly 4 dozen done in not even a half hour. The girls loved it. They each took a turn trying to use the gun (and eating extreme amounts of dough whenever I turned my back).

We made flowers and hearts. I can remember my Mom sticking half a cherry slice on each heart when I was little. We used sprinkles and some preserves on half of the flowers.

The entire batch was gone by the end of the night.

Butter Cookie Dough

2 sticks of salted butter, room-temp
1 egg
2/3 cup of sugar
vanilla (about a teaspoon – you can also use almond for variation)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups of flour

1. Cream butter and sugar together. Add in egg, vanilla and salt.

2. Sprinkle baking powder in with flour. Gradually mix into the butter mixture until combined (use your hands!)

3. Form dough into a ball and wrap in waxed paper. Chill in fridge until ready to use.

I am not sure if the recipe was originally written by my Grandmother, but I know it’s been in & used by my family for a very long time! You can use it in a cookie gun or to make round, thumbprint cookies filled with jam.

Lastly, a recipe for some truly delicious cookie bars!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Bars
(recipe also posted in an easy-to-find note on my bakery’s FB page)


1 cup of flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1) Line an 8×8 pan with foil. Make sure it comes up over the edges so you can easily remove it later. Lightly spray with nonstick spray.

2) Mix all shortbread ingredients by hand. After dough forms, spread into foil-lined pan and roll to the edges. This is your crust.

3) Prick a few holes in the crust using a fork. Bake in a 350 oven for approximately 20 minutes (edges will start to brown). Remove from oven and cool slightly.


1) Spread approximately 8 ounces of raspberry preserves over the shortbread crust. I use one with seeds because I like it better.


3 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut

1) In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy (very high speed!) Gradually add in sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat until soft peaks form.

2) Spread meringue mixture over raspberry layer in pan. Sprinkle flaked coconut on top. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until meringue is set and coconut is lightly browned.

3) Cool, lift foil from pan and cut into bars. Best if stored in the fridge.

Sorry if this post didn’t help with anyone’s brand new New Year’s goals. ; ) But at any rate, happy baking!






3 responses to “cupcakes & shortbread | yummy treats”

  1. Melissa Ives Avatar
    Melissa Ives

    I LOVE those cupcake papers! They are on my list. Thanks for making me hungry. ;)

  2. Stephanie Avatar

    Wow, it all looks fabulous! Who cares about the calories anyway?!? ;) So glad to hear about new cupcake papers. I get so annoyed when I buy cute ones and then bake something and you can’t see the design!

  3. […] cannot remember the last time I made cupcakes.  Gina Rae Miller Photography shared a recipe on facebook this week.. I just had to try it.  Hot Chocolate cupcakes, Yummy.  I […]

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