Cranberry Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Warm, cozy cranberry eggnog flavored cupcakes are topped with a light and fluffy spiced white chocolate buttercream. With a little bit of magic in every bite– these Cranberry Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting are a perfect way to savor the season of Christmas with every bite.

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Easy Chocolate Covered Red, White, And Blue Strawberries

Nanni always has some sort of special treat for the sons at every holiday gathering. Our 4th of July cookout was no exception. When I saw these, I was excited. Talk about taking chocolate covered strawberries to a whole new level! They were absolutely decious and a stunning addition to the table. I can’t wait to make another batch, this time getting the sons involved.

Strawberries dipped in white chocolate, and blue sugar are a fun and easy dessert, and make a perfect patriotic candy for the 4th of July, or the 5th (you know for all the celebratory cookouts all weekend long). It’s not too late to make a batch either, they’re totally last-minute friendly. So whether it’s at some point this weekend, or at next year’s festivities, bring a special sweetness and a hail to the redwhite and blue in celebration of our independence.

Hold on to the recipe though ….. Christmas is 174 days away and these are just as eye catching using green.

Easy Chocolate Covered Red, White, And Blue Strawberries

4 Sons 'R' Us: Red White and Blue Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Strawberries, washed and dried
White chocolate
Blue sugar, edible glitter, or sprinkles (blue sugar is shown in the picture)

Red White and Blue Chocolate Covered Strawberries 2

Directions

1. Place blue sugar in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl melt the chocolate, either in the microwave for two minute intervals, stirring in between until totally melted, in a mini crockpot set to low (this will keep it warm for some time and allow you more time to work), or using a double boiler on the stove top. Holding the stem, dip the lower two thirds of the strawberries in the melted white chocolate. Then, dip the lower third of the strawberries in the blue sugar or spoon it onto the strawberry.
3. Place on wax paper or a Silpat and refrigerate until completely cool.

Cinnamon Roll Caramel Popcorn

By popcorn experiment # 4, the sons and I had had enough spicy seasonings and were ready to venture back into sweeter waters. Obviously, ‘cinnamon roll’ popcorn was a must-try. The smells coming from my stopve-top and oven were incredible. With that first mouth-watering bite we discovered the finished product didn’t disappoint. It actually tasted like a cinnamon roll (but with crunch!). Who knew?! In fact, it was soooo good, that we bagged a second batch up and gave it out to family & friends as late Christmas gifts.

Sorry for my lack of picture planning. My camera battery died before I could nap a picture of the drizzled white chocolate topping. This second batch didn’t stick around long enough for me to get one afterwards either. Little popcorn monsters!

Seriously though, this is the next big thing (at least in the popcorn world).  It is completely amazing: buttery, crunchy, caramel popcorn with a burst of cinnamon and a drizzle of white chocolate.

Cinnamon Roll Caramel Popcorn

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cinnamon Roll Popcorn

recipe originally from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

18 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 cup kernels)
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 ounces white chocolate, melted

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
2. Place the popcorn in a really large bowl (or two separate large bowls if you don’t have an extra big one).
3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will bubble so be careful.
4. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix until the popcorn is evenly coated.
5. Turn the popcorn out onto the baking sheets, spreading into an even layer on each sheet. Bake the popcorn for one hour*, stirring and tossing every 20 minutes. Move the bottom tray to the upper rack and vice versa each time you stir. The popcorn will deepen in color and harden a bit as the caramel bakes and sets.
6. When the popcorn comes out of the oven, scrape it onto an even layer of parchment or wax paper.
7. Drizzle the white chocolate over the top (using the tines of a fork to drizzle it across or pour the melted chocolate into a freezer quart-size ziploc bag and snip a corner to drizzle).
8. Let the popcorn sit until white chocolate is set, 30 minutes or so. Break into pieces. Try not to eat the entire batch. I’m not kidding.

* If you like a bit of chewiness to your toffee-like popcorn, bake it for 40 minutes instead of the full hour.