Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner

I recently had my first experience with Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. I bought it with the intention of adding it to a care package I was creating for my hubby, but curiosity and my sweet tooth got the better of me and I had to break into it (sorry babe!). As I mentioned before, my hubby’s sweet tooth is unusually small, so I’m pretty certain he didn’t miss it. Many people have raved to me about cookie butter and I must say that while it is tasty, I think it was built up a bit too much and it didn’t have quite the effect on my taste buds that I was expecting. I didn’t think it was quite delicious enough to simply sit and eat it straight out of the jar (like I quite often do with peanut butter– definitely my weakness!), BUT it does have a great flavor ( sort of gingerbread-like) and I knew right away that it would be an excellent ingredient for cookies! I threw together some basic chocolate chip cookie ingredients, with the addition of cookie butter, to take to a super fun craw-fish boil hosted by one of my NC pals. They were a huge hit and there wasn’t one single cookie left! So here is the recipe I whipped together for yummy, crunchy cookie butter chocolate chip cookies. *Oh.. and just a full disclaimer, unlike some of my other recipes, there is absolutely nothing healthy about these babies— but I promise the calories are worth it :)*

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of  butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar on low-medium speed until blended

Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner

3. Mix in the cookie butter, egg, and vanilla

Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner

4. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda to mixture ( A wooden spoon may work best at this point)

Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner

5. Add the Chocolate chips and mix until well blended.

6. Spoon onto a non-greased pan or baking sheet.

Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner

7. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cookies are thin and will cook quickly! Remove to a cooling rack for ultimate crispiness 🙂

Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner

 

8. Enjoy the crunchy, chocolatey, cookie buttery, goodness!!

Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner    Cookie Butter Cookies- Kitty's Corner

 

 

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Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread

Healthy and Delicious Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread- Kitty's Corner

 

Sundays are usually the days I miss my hubby most. When he’s home we spend them going to mass together, relaxing, and just enjoying each other’s company all day long. Now I try to fill my Sundays with things that I love to do, so I don’t feel his absence so much. Usually that means I spend the better part of the day in my kitchen testing out new recipes! This Sunday I baked this delicious, moist, and not-so-bad for you blueberry lemon sweetbread! I wanted to make something yummy that I could take into the office and share with my new co-workers. I figure its better to get on everybody’s good side from the start- and what better way than a delicious sweet treat on a Monday morning! It was a HUGE hit! After leaving it in the kitchen for less than an hour- I came back to see this:

Healthy and Delicious Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread- Kitty's Corner

 

=) So, here’s the recipe for this scrumptious sweetbread…

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ C white whole wheat flour (can use all-purpose if you don’t have whole wheat)
  • ¾ C all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • ½ C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 C plain greek yogurt (I used chobani 0%)
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 C fresh blueberries

 Glaze:

  • 3/4 C confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9×5″ loaf pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and applesauce.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.

5. In a Ziploc bag, gently smash the blueberries. Once smashed, dump 2 tbsp of flour into the bag and shake to lightly coat the blueberries, and then gently fold them into the mixed batter. **This process helps keep them from clumping together in the batter!**

Healthy and Delicious Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread- Kitty's Corner6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 50-55 minutes, or until slightly browned on top and toothpick comes  out clean.

Healthy and Delicious Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread- Kitty's Corner

7. Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Healthy and Delicious Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread- Kitty's Corner

8. To make the lemon glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice and pour over the top of the loaf once it has cooled. Let the lemon glaze harden before serving.

Healthy and Delicious Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread- Kitty's Corner Healthy and Delicious Blueberry Lemon Sweetbread- Kitty's Corner

ENJOY!! 😀

Homemade Spicy Salsa- Care Package Approved!

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

Hi all! I have been meaning to get this post up for some time now but have just been so busy with my new job! I will update you all on the job and yoga teacher training soon, but for now just want to share my recipe for homemade spicy salsa- care package approved! This recipe is especially great for fellow military spouses who are looking for something different to send to their hubbies overseas!

It is common military spouse knowledge that the guys love getting “sweets-in-a-jar” (cake, brownies, bread, etc.) sent to them overseas. The jar/canning method is an awesome way to keep things fresh while they make the long journey to wherever your deployed loved one is. My hubby definitely enjoyed the cake-in-a-jar (recipe coming soon!) I sent him for his birthday, but overall my husband is more of a salty/spicy guy than a sweet guy (when it comes to food! not life– he is the sweetest man alive :)) This is one area we are definitely different– I love dessert and sweets, the sweeter the better; my husband on the other hand would rather have sushi for dessert, or….salsa! Salsa is his absolute favorite food and the spicier it is, the more he likes it! So… I decided to make some spicy homemade salsa-in-a-jar and send it all the way to Afghanistan so my man could enjoy his favorite food, made with love 🙂

*Disclaimer: This recipe is for a very spicy chunky salsa! (Well according to me, anyways– my husband said it could have been spicier, but he likes his tortilla chips topped with sweat and pain..) You can adjust to your liking by varying what kind and/or the amount of peppers you use.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 to 10 small-medium sized tomatoes ( I got my tomatoes fresh from the local farmers market so they were varying sizes/shapes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 1 serrano pepper, sliced
  • 1 habanero pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4-5 160z wide-mouth mason jars

DIRECTIONS:

1. Remove seeds from the habanero, serrano, and jalapeno peppers and set aside in separate containers (use gloves or a utensil– do NOT use bare hands!!! I made this mistake, and thought my face was going to melt off after I scratched it!). You will add some of the seeds back into the salsa later, but this allows you to adjust the spiciness to your taste.

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

2. Turn oven broiler on high.

3. Arrange sliced peppers, chopped onion, and chopped garlic onto a foil-covered baking sheet and place under broiler for 5 minutes or until the tops are browned and slightly charred. Turn oven off and set charred veggies aside for now. **I forgot the foil, and my pan retained the heat from the peppers for days! (I had some spicyyyy asparagus that week!) I highly recommend covering your pan– plus it will help char your veggies even more!**

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsaitty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

4. Slice your tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add give them a good chop in your food processor. I left the skins on, but you can remove them if you prefer.

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

5. Transfer tomatoes to a large mixing bowl.

6. Add charred veggies to food processor and give them a good chop.

7. Add processed veggies to the tomatoes and give the mixture a good stir.

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

8. Add the chopped cilantro and cumin to the tomato/pepper mixture.

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

9. Squeeze in half of a lime.

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

10. Now is when you can adjust the salsa to your spicy preference. It will already be quite spicy at this point, even without the seeds, so this might be enough spice for you (it was for me)! I canned two jars of the salsa without any seeds added. Like I said though, for my husband the spicier the better, so I added just a small bit of seeds from each of the peppers to the rest of the mixture and canned two more jars of spicier salsa (marked with an X). Add a teeny bit of seeds at a time and taste test– it won’t take much to get super spicy! **Again– use gloves or a utensil when handling seeds!!**

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa


CANNING:

Now your salsa is done and you are ready to jar it up! Leave a little bit of space between the lid and the salsa (i.e. don’t fill the jar to overflowing.) *I recommend boiling the flat parts of the metal lids (not the screw-on part) for 5 minutes and then sealing them straight from the boiling water- I think it makes for a tighter seal, but I may just be nuts. Use tongs to transfer the flat piece onto the jar (as it will be hot!) and then screw the lids on tightly. You will hear a small pop after a few minutes which will tell you your lids are sealed and ready for shipping!

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

PACKAGING FOR SHIPMENT OVERSEAS:

Once your jars are filled and sealed, place each into a large ziploc bag and then bubble wrap tightly! You will want lots of padding for each jar and you will want to pack them tightly together. This way they don’t bounce around and are less likely to break on their trip overseas. I used a medium flat rate box and packed in 5 jars of salsa. None of the jars broke (hooray!) but despite all my best efforts at sealing the jars, my husband did tell me that some of them were leaking a bit due to the pressure changes throughout travel. This is why I added putting each jar into a ziploc bag before individually bubble wrapping them, just to help with any potential leaks! It won’t be the prettiest package upon arrival, but I’m certain your loved one won’t mind once they realize what it is 🙂

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

I sent tortilla chips along in a separate box. I was able to fit two bags into another medium flat rate box. However, as I’m sure my fellow milspouses know, the mail to AFG is rather finicky, so my husband got the salsa about a week before the chips arrived. That didn’t stop him and the other marines from digging right in though! They improvised 🙂

My hubby was so excited about this special treat and I was so happy he was able to enjoy his favorite food!  He has already asked me to make a weekly salsa shipment to him– so I plan to experiment with some other salsa variations, and will be sure to share them with all of you!

Whether you are eating this salsa yourself, or sending to a lucky loved one, I hope you ENJOY!! 🙂

itty's Corner- Homemade Salsa

 

 

 

 

Simple Strawberry Feta Flatbread

Hello to all my trusty blog readers! Long time, no…see? Before I get into this blog post, I wanted to quickly apologize for my recent absence from the blogosphere! I just returned from a great trip home to see my wonderful family– all 9 of my younger siblings were present and accounted for 🙂 On top of that– a lot of exciting things have been going on in my typically boring life! I recently accepted an exciting new job at the University of North Carolina- Wilmington! Hooray for no more tedious job applications and overall frustration! I will also be starting  yoga teacher training this weekend- working towards becoming RYT 200 certified! Expect to hear all about my journey deep into the yogi world on here 🙂 I can’t wait to see what it is all about, and make sense of the crazy but awesome sounding words in the yoga language (lol)! And on top of all of that, I have also begun training for a half marathon that I will be running in September with some wonderful girlfriends! Did I bite off more than I can chew? Maybe. But what’s a lonely military wife to do but keep as busy as possible (and get a hot bod for her hubby’s return;)!) Never fear though, I still plan to keep this blog updated (likely with an increase in healthy recipes as I work on becoming a fitter me!) and fill you all in on my new adventures! 🙂

Now without further ado…here is the recipe for simple, healthy, quick, DELICIOUS Strawberry Feta Flatbread! I threw this together one day a few weeks ago when it was a particularly warm and sunny day. I was craving a summer strawberry salad to compliment the beautiful weather, but realized I only had about 8 pieces of spinach left (bummer)! So I decided to improvise, and came up with what is basically summer salad on a flatbread– so easy, so delicious, and a little more substantial for those healthy appetites 🙂 This recipe is for one flatbread, but can obviously be multiplied to your liking- measures are approximate!   Simple Strawberry Feta Flatbread INGREDIENTS:

  • Flatbread (I used Flat Out brand. Pita would also work)
  • 4-5 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • Approx. 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
  • Handful of spinach leaves
  • 1 tbsp thin-sliced almonds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place flatbread on ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone and bake for 4-5 minutes or until just slightly crispy.
  3. Remove flatbread from oven. Use a basting brush to spread a thin layer (1 tbsp) of balsamic vinaigrette over flatbread.
  4. Arrange sliced strawberries, almonds, feta cheese, and spinach on flatbread. Drizzle the top with another 1/2 tbsp of  the balsamic vinaigrette.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until spinach is slightly crispy. *Note: feta cheese will not melt, so do not wait for that to happen, or your flatbread will burn!

Simple Strawberry Feta Flatbread

ENJOY!

 

Baked Falafel with Cucumber Dipping Sauce

Baked Falafel with Cucumber Dipping Sauce

 

 

With it now being the Fifth Sunday of Lent, I decided to get creative with my meatless meals and try out some healthy baked falafel (another piece of baked fish just wasn’t cuttin’ it tonight). Mack and I were gifted a food processor for our wedding and I’ve been waiting for a good reason to break it out. All those little pieces appeared so daunting the first few times I peered into the box- but this meal seemed worthy enough to christen the new kitchen gem. I’m so glad I did because it is definitely a life-changing appliance for this here cook (although cleaning all those pieces without a dishwasher is another story!) This falafel turned out super yummy, and was much healthier than the fried restaurant variety. I also made my own version of a tzatziki (cucumber) sauce for dipping. I would gladly put cucumber sauce on everything if the option was there, it’s so delicious! I hope you enjoy these simple, tasty little falafel cakes as much as I did 🙂

 

Ingredients

Falafel:

  • One 15-oz. can chickpeas, well drained
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Cucumber Sauce:

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Falafel Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place all falafel ingredients except for baking powder into the food processor and give them a hearty chop.

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3. Once chopped, remove from food processor into a separate bowl and stir in baking powder.

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4. Thoroughly spray baking sheet with non-stick olive oil spray. Form falafel into approx. 14-16 balls and place evenly on baking sheet. Spray tops of the formed falafel patties with non-stick olive oil spray. Bake for approx. 25-30 minutes, flipping falafel halfway through cooking time.

Baked Falafel with Cucumber Dipping Sauce- Kitty's Corner

5. Finished falafel patties should be lightly browned on the outside and just slightly soft on the inside!

Baked Falafel with Cucumber Dipping Sauce- Kitty's Corner

 

 

Cucumber Sauce Directions:

Baked Falafel with Cucumber Dipping Sauce- Kitty's Corner

1. Peel and chop cucumber and pat/press thoroughly with a paper towel to get out excess moisture.
Baked Falafel with Cucumber Dipping Sauce- Kitty's Corner

2. Combine cucumber, mint, dill, garlic, and lemon juice in food processor and blend lightly.

Baked Falafel with Cucumber Dipping Sauce- Kitty's Corner

3. Transfer blended ingredients from food processor to a small bowl and stir in the greek yogurt. Best to refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before serving, Garnish with fresh dill if desired.

 

Treat your taste buds with  this quick, healthy, meatless meal!! 🙂

 

 

Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

I’ve been craving Mexican all week and it’s also been awhile since I used my crock-pot (aka one of my favorite inventions ever!) so I decided to try my hand at some slow-cooked pork carnitas. I also didn’t want you all to think this was going to be a strictly baking blog! I love cooking savory meals just as much as whipping up sweet treats, maybe even more!

One of my favorite things about carnitas when ordered in a restaurant is how crispy they are. Obviously that is tough to achieve by slow-cooking only, so I decided to add a secret crisping technique at the end! Ok, ok- all I did was simply pop the meat under the broiler after the crock-pot cooking was done, but the results were soooo delicious (and so simple)!! I also made an avocado cilantro cream, because who doesn’t love avocados right? The creamy avocado was the perfect addition to the crispy, spicy pork. I am so excited about how wonderful these came out, and I can’t wait to make them again when my hubby comes home! Mexican food is his favorite and I know these will become a new Marcenelle dinner staple 🙂 ¡Buen provecho!

 

Ingredients

Pork:

  • 3-4 Ib boneless pork roast
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6-8 oz beer
    * Note: Any beer can be used. I actually used a Natty Light that’s been in my fridge since last summer when my brother bought it while visiting. Haven’t drank the stuff on its own since college (hence it being in the fridge forgotten for 6 months) but for cooking purposes it works just fine. I’ll be sure to try something fancier  after lent, when my fridge is stocked again!
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce ( I used La Costena brand)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Avocado cream:

  • I large avocado
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • Squeeze of fresh lime

 

Directions

1. Trim pork of excess fat and cut into large 3-4 inch sections.

2. Add vegetable oil to large saute pan and sear the pork on all sides.

3. Add pork and all other ingredients to slow cooker (aside from avocado cream ingredients), and give them a good stir.

Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

4. Cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 4 hours–depending on how much time you have. Enjoy the mouth-watering aroma that will fill your home for the day!
Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

5. Once meat is done slow-cooking, use a fork to shred into small pieces.

Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

6. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat from crock-pot to baking sheet and spread evenly. Turn broiler on high.

Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

7. Broil meat on high for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, toss, and ladle broth from slow cooker over meat. Return to oven and broil an additional 5 minutes, or to desired crispness.

Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

8. Spoon meat onto tortillas (I used corn) and add avocado cream (directions below) and any other desired toppings. ¡Buen provecho!

Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot CarnitasKitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

 

Avocado Cream Directions:

1. Combine avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and lime in blender. Blend until consistency of guacamole.

Kitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot CarnitasKitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot CarnitasKitty's Corner- Crispy Crock-Pot Carnitas

Dark Chocolate Jameson Cupcakes

 

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In honor of St. Paddy’s day, I whipped up a special treat- rich, chocolatey, whiskey-filled cupcakes!

I come from a huge Irish family where get-togethers are just not complete without a bottle of Jameson–weddings, funerals, graduations– our man Jameson has been there for them all. (Realistically- I don’t know that many of us actually enjoy drinking it, but none would dare say it when the shots are being passed around!) A big problem for an Irish catholic family though, is that St. Patrick’s Day falls right in the middle of lent! This year, I, like many others, gave up drinking alcohol. This is especially tough on such a fun, rowdy, Irish holiday—but then, I never said I gave up EATING alcohol 😉 Thus I came up with the idea for whiskey cupcakes-(made with Jameson, of course!) to celebrate my Irish heritage on this special holiday. This batch is extra special because the bottle of Jameson came straight from Ireland- a wedding gift from my brother who just got back from a semester abroad in Dublin!

I made these cupcakes in a small batch of 6 because, let’s be real here, my husband is gone which means I alone eat everything I make- and no one needs to eat 12 chocolatey, whiskey-filled cupcakes (even if I am Irish and it’s St. Paddy’s day.) Feel free to double the recipe if you are having a more exciting St. Paddy’s day than I am, and will be entertaining more than just your cat 🙂

I was very pleasantly surprised by how great these turned out- super gooey and chocolatey, with just a hint of whiskey kick. Hope you enjoy! Slainte!

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 3 tbsp Jameson Irish Whiskey *If you want a stronger kick- add one more;)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips

Icing:

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp Jameson Irish Whiskey

Directions

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 6 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, in a medium-sized bowl.

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3. In a separate bowl stir together vegetable oil, coffee, whiskey, milk, vanilla, and egg.
4. Slowly beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Piper is trying to learn the tricks of the trade!

Piper is trying to learn the tricks of the trade!

5. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. Divide batter evenly between 6 muffin cups and bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in                the middle comes out clean.

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7. Once done baking, remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely before icing.

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Icing:

  1. Beat together powdered sugar, melted butter, melted chocolate chips, vanilla, milk, and whiskey. Add powdered sugar slowly until you get the consistency you want. (If you like your icing thicker, you may need to slowly add more powdered sugar.)
    *Hint- if you are using a microwave to melt the butter and choc chips—combine them in a small bowl and microwave together. This helps to prevent the chocolate chips from burning. Stir and add to the other icing ingredients.

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2. Allow cupcakes to cool completely, then ice as heavily as desired. 🙂

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy these cupcakes- but they might taste just a little bit better if you are 😉

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