Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was at a loss as to what to make the other day.  Sometimes I have things planned out weeks ahead, other times I just go with what I feel like baking.  But I had no idea what to make the other day.  Then I came across this recipe and knew it would be perfect.  Things with brown butter in it make the flavor so much better since the butter develops a nutty flavor when browned.  They were supposed to be cookie bars, but I turned them into cookies.....just about anything that is a cookie bar can be made into cookies - very rarely do you run into the exception to it.  I got to work on making these and put the first batch in the oven.  Heays is off work this week and was in the kitchen with me while I was baking.  When I was a couple batches deep in baking them, Heays turned to me and said she didn't know if she could stay in the kitchen much longer because they smelled so good and they were tempting her too much.  I love my sisters honesty on my baking.....I know she wouldn't of said it unless she meant it. 

All the cookies were done and cooling - and I went to move one of the cooling racks with cookies on it and I dropped one.  I swore and Heays came in and said she got it! She knew I couldn't give out something that fell on the floor - even if I do clean the area by the stove every day because I get flour all over the place.  Once cooled I even tried one.....they were good - really good. 

I packed them up and off I went to my taste testers.  I love seeing one of them, she anxiously awaits my arrival and usually has a cup of tea waiting to drink with her treats I bring.  We always say hi and I tell her what I've got for her that day and then she immediately tries one - and she never fails with a good comment for me.  I love her bluntness about things I bring her, she always says the first thing that comes to her mind.  She said that these were like 'sex in my mouth' and that she was going to hide the rest from her boyfriend.  Now I know what you're thinking, but her boyfriend has his own list of things for me to make going for him and I'm slowly crossing them off (he gave me like 10 things) and yes she does share with him, he just gets a couple :) On to my next stop and they immediately dove into them as well.  These will be sure to please anyone. 

Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. 
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown; remove from heat and let cool.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine browned butter and both sugars; stir with a wooden spoon until combined.  Attach bowl to mixer; add eggs.  Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat to combine.  Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.  Add toffee bits and chocolate chips and stir until fully incorporated. 
  4. Scoop teaspoon of dough onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing each one 2" apart - they will spread out.  Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, 9-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.  Let cool on trays for 2 minutes and then move to cooling rack to completely cool. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I love S'mores.  Always have and always will.  Something about the combination of marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate together just makes me feel happy and like a kid again.  I follow David Lebovitz on Facebook and when I saw that he posted this recipe for Mallowmores I knew I had to make them.  I've made a couple things with S'mores ingredients on here so far, my favorite being the S'mores cookies.  Well, this just knocked those cookies out of first place and have taken over.  I love when things take time to make and they are worth every second of my time and effort.  And I got to make marshmallows - I haven't done that in years.  You forget how easy some things are when you haven't made them in forever.  It's probably a good thing I forgot how easy it is to make them, I have a love affair with marshmallows in my hot chocolate - like to the point where I can't see hot chocolate and it's just a sea of marshmallows floating in it.  It's bad - I know.  My mom has the same issue with whipped cream so I know I get it from her.  The hardest part of making these is's a lot of waiting.  The marshmallows take over 6 hours to set up.  My suggestion is to make them in the afternoon and let them set up overnight so you don't wait around all day and have them taunt you every time you walk into your kitchen.  I know what you're thinking - 6 hours?!  Yes, lots of time - but it's so worth it!! I mean look at these things......

why hello there
......its worth it.  Soooo worth it.  I've said before it's rare if I eat something more than once when I make it - well I couldn't stop eating these.  It was bad - like Cookie Dough Truffles bad.  Once you make the marshmallows, the rest is easy.  Once the mallows are set and ready to go, time to make the graham crackers.  Once baked off, you put a marshmallow on top of each cracker to melt a little and seal together.

Clearly some of mine melted too much
Once that has cooled and set, time to dip in chocolate!! And really, everything is better coated in chocolate (kind of like everything is better with bacon).

it was hard to wait while the chocolate set up
All of my taste testers loved them.  Huge hit.....and I was told that I have to make them again.  I am going to try a couple of things different the next time I make them - like bake the graham crackers as a giant one and then put the marshmallows on top and then when cooled, cut them into squares - that way I wont have misshaped ones.  And use Candy Quick - it uses up a lot of chocolate chips if you do it the way the recipe calls for.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

untitled cupcake

Growing up I always loved it when my parents bought Sunny Doodle cupcakes at the grocery store.  A delicious yellow pound cake with cream filling.  It didn't happen very often, so I have fond memories of them.  Last week I made and instantly decided that this was going to be my pound cake recipe - it was delicious - moist, full of flavor and I could not for the life of me stop snacking on it.  I knew I had a winner.  This was confirmed by Heay's telling me how good they were and that I should make Sunny Doodles (a favorite of all 3 of ours).  An idea had been given to me just then.  I hadn't thought of Sunny Doodles in forever, but once she said it to me I could see myself making them.  We all know that's a sign of trouble and that I'm going to do it.  Days went by and the idea was still gnawing at me.  I knew I had to do it.  And I really wanted a freaking Sunny Doodle.  I couldn't get them out of my head.....usually when something like this happens I bake it off within a day or two of it occurring to me.  But last week I had a heavy load of baking and need to put it off until this week.  It was torture.  Monday finally rolled around and I got right to it.  Made the Pound Cake cupcakes and let them cool and I had decided to put a pastry cream into them instead of just a whipped cream filling.  Why not take it up a notch?! 

Time to fill them.....debating in my head about whether I should cut a slit and fill them or cut a giant hole, dig some out, fill it and top it.  Since I don't have a cupcake corer yet, and my knife skills are questionable, I went with the slit.  So easy, just cut a little and fill it until you can see a little of the cream popping out the top of the cupcake. 

takes me right back to childhood
It's rare for me to wait to try something until my sisters get home from work unless I was baking later in the day or it takes a while to set up, but for these I waited until after dinner to try one out.  It was awesome.  Not quite like a Sunny Doodle, but really close.  The pastry cream gave it a nice flavor - I was a happy Cb.  Then the debate of a name for them came about.  Names like CB's Doodles and Sunny Creams were tossed around.  I don't know why I'm having such a hard time naming things lately - although I was told by many people that the Cake Balls were a great name and I should keep it.  So for now this has no name, suggestions are gladly welcome :)

To make these, bake the Pound Cake according to the instructions, but bake in cupcake tins for 18-20 minutes or until done.  Let cool completely and then fill with a homemade whipped cream or store bought brand. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cake Balls

I have a lot of chocolate candy coating in my cabinet, and it's been talking to me lately.  I guess that's what I get for buying 6 bags of it while it was on sale.  So instead of being taunted by it every time I open it, I thought I would use it all up.  This recipe was perfect for it - and super easy. You don't need much for this - even better right?  A store bought pound cake (or from scratch), a package of vanilla pudding, milk and some candy coating and you are all set!  I love simple recipes, and somehow they are always the tastiest things. 

 I'm going to warn you now, besides the bad name of these, they are truly addicting.  I put it out to my Facebook followers for a new name and was told that Cake Balls was perfect.  So for now I'm sticking with the name.  These little bad boys wont last long once you make them.  And you will be making them all the time.  It's got trouble written all over it.

Cake Balls

1 store bought or from scratch pound cake, crumbled into fine crumbs
3/4 cup cold milk
1 package ( 3.4 oz) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 1/2 packages of chocolate candy coating (if you can't find this, use 3 packages (4.4 oz each) milk chocolate bars
sprinkles (optional)

  1. Stir milk and pudding mix in medium bowl with large spoon just until pudding mix is moistened.  Immediately add cake crumbs; mix well.
  2. Shape into 36 (1-inch) balls; place on waxed paper covered rimmed baking sheet.  Freeze 1 hour.
  3. Melt chocolate in medium microwaveable bowl 30 seconds at a time until melted; stir until smooth.  Dip balls in chocolate; return to baking sheet.  If using sprinkles, top immediately.  Let stand until coating is firm.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stout Cupcakes

St. Patrick's Day is upon us, and it's time for a festive post.  I had already done Guinness Ice Cream, and I didn't want to repeat something, so I searched for something else to use my Guinness in......Stout Cupcakes.  I'm still not a fan of Guinness, but baking with it is a different story.  And amazingly enough I love the ice cream, so why not try it out in baked goods?  I made these the same day as I made my ice cream base, so no beer went to waste - unlike last time where I had to dump some out because after trying it again I learned I still wasn't a fan of it so down the drain it went.  The weather has been unseasonably warm for this time of year lately, but the smell of spices wafting from my oven while they were baking up was amazing.  It filled my entire home with the scent and made it cozy.  The only thing that could of made it more perfect was if it was raining or snowing out and I was snuggled in under my favorite quilt with some hot chocolate.  But instead I had my windows open and a nice light breeze that occasionally entered through the window couldn't take away thoughts of winter and coziness.

festive green sprinkles

The smell of these baking alone made me so excited to try these, and they don't disappoint.  These cupcakes are delicious.....a grown up gingerbread cupcake with just a hint of Guinness at the end.  Amazingly tasty, moist and sure to please any skeptic.  So what are you waiting for?! Go make these!

Stout Cupcakes
makes 28

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 1/4 cups Guinness, poured and settled
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Guinness, poured and settled

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat oil, molasses, brown sugar, whole eggs, yolk, zest and stout until combined.  Reduce speed to low.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.  Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks to cool completely. 
  4. Make glaze: whisk together ingredients until combined.  Use immediately. 
  5. Place cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; spoon glaze over cupcakes, let set.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cupcakes

I don't know about you, but when Easter rolls around and all that candy comes out, it's a dangerous thing.  I have a severe addiction to Mini Eggs (it's a good thing they only come out once a year, and I'm not fond of the dark chocolate ones...something about them just doesn't taste right to me), and I love the Reese's Eggs they put out.  I do love Peanut Butter Cups, I mean really who doesn't right?  So why not make it into a cupcake?  The recipe calls to make them minis, but you can make them full size if you like.  Personally, the minis are so freaking cute....but be warned, you will eat a lot of them since they are tiny and highly addicting. 

You can use your favorite from scratch recipe or a box mix.  I went with my favorite from scratch recipe.....which is normally fine, makes about 30 normal sized cupcakes.  Well I was making minis and wasn't thinking about the fact that I only have 1 mini cupcake tin......100 mini cupcakes and hours later I was finally done making them.  The thought of getting another mini cupcake tin did cross my mind, but how often do I make mini cupcakes? It will take up more space in my already growing crowded cabinet of baking ware.  And talking with my friend Kate confirmed that she has the same thought as well and we both see it pointless to get another one.  So I baked in batches and it took way longer than it should of, but I had tons of time on my hands and it didn't bother me. 

Once all cooled, time for the fun part, the peanut butter frosting.  This part is really simple....really the hardest part of all of this is making all the cupcakes.  Pipe a little peak on top of each cupcake and stick them in the freezer to firm up while I melt the chocolate topping.  Dip each one in chocolate (I varied how far I dipped each one, going from most of the top, covering all of the peanut butter to finally going with making the whole top covered in chocolate.  It does require more but it's totally worth it).  Into the fridge they go to set and then it's time to eat. 

I squished it while cutting (it was still cold)
So good! Just like a peanut butter cup and just as addicting.  Be careful not to leave too many around you, you will end up eating them all. 

Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cupcakes

1 chocolate cake box mix or favorite from scratch recipe

Make cupcakes as directions call for.  Let cool fully.

The following amounts are good for 24 mini cupcakes - adjust if needed for more

Peanut Butter Topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
(1) 10 oz bag peanut butter chips
1 tbsp butter
6 oz semisweet or milk chocolate chips
3 tbsp hot water
  1. Once cupcakes are fully cooled, make the topping.  Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over peanut butter chips in a heatproof bowl and let stand 5 minutes until the chips have melted.  Whisk until smooth.  Refrigerate until the topping is set, about 10 minutes, then beat with a mixer until fluffy and pale.  Transfer to a pastry bag with a 1" round tip and pipe peaks onto each cupcake.  Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Make the glaze: Put the butter, chocolate and water in a small, deep microwave safe bowl and melt at 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted, stir until smooth.  Dip the frozen peaks of each cupcake into the glaze, letting the excess drip off.  Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes For Mom

It was my Mom's birthday over the weekend, and according to some unnamed tradition that's been going on for a couple years now, I make the birthday person their favorite cake or cupcake.  My Mom's favorite is yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  I'm still looking for a good recipe that I love as much as my chocolate one.  I found one I thought sounded really good and was excited about trying it out.  Then I found out that AD and UD were coming down for the weekend.  I love when family comes.  We get to catch up, have a good time and many laughs, and of course I always bake something.  When I bring treats over to my parents house when they have guests, things never last long.  So I thought I would make jumbo cupcakes (less eating since they are huge) and toss in some Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies as well (I had actually been craving these again since I made them the first time). 

I made the batter and poured into the jumbo cupcake liners (which I love - Cupcake Creations.  They are popping up everywhere in grocery stores.  Great designs, don't need a cupcake tin to bake them in, amazing quality).  I knew that I had overfilled one or two of them and tried to scoop out as much batter as I could to make it alright.  First cookie sheet went into the oven, and 20 minutes later I had this on my hands.

this cupcake was not a fan of the lovely home I gave it
So one decided to jump ship at some point during baking - lesson learned not to fill up the liners too much and I should of scooped out more than I thought.  The second batch went in and no accidents in that one.  Jumbo cupcakes took over my kitchen counter while they cooled.  Once all cooled, I frosted them. 

this picture doesn't do them justice
to how big they really are
The time to bring them to my parents house came.  My Mom tried one and said she really liked them.  Moist and tasty.  My Dad (whose favorite is chocolate with white frosting) said that he couldn't fairly judge them because 'it's like comparing a Yugo to a Cadillac'  (this statement made me giggle so bad, and the look on his face as he said it was priceless because he was so sincere as he said it I knew that was going to be all he had to say about the cupcakes).  I thought they were alright.  Moist, check.  Flavor - could use some improving.  Not sure if I want to mess with this recipe some more and try it again or move on to another one.  If you have any great yellow cake recipes, please send them my way!!  My need for perfection with my baking is gnawing away at me that I haven't gotten this one right yet.  :( 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mocha Flats

I think I'm beginning to have an addiction/obsession with making cookies that need to be refrigerated for a day before making them.  It just seems so easy.  Make the dough one day, form it into a log and stick it in the fridge until tomorrow. Then you get to slice them up and bake them off.  Frees up a lot of time for those of you who are busy.  And any cookie that you refrigerate can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months (I know I say this a lot lately, but it's really a great tip).  I have a special place in my heart for anything Mocha.  I have a strong love for coffee and chocolate separately, and when they are put together, you get one happy camper out of me.  Any time I see a mocha cookie, I immediately mark it off to make it - I must try them all out.  I still can't decide if this is a good thing or not.  But I am happy I'm slowly picking up more taste testers - I really don't need extra treats in my house, no matter what my stomach thinks it wants. 

The hardest part of making these is really nothing.  Well maybe all the waiting you have to do.  But cookies is something anyone can do, even if you consider yourself someone who "can't bake".  If you rely on box mixes because of the ease and convenience, try out this recipe.  Once you start making your own things from scratch, you will no longer want to buy those box mixes.  Once they are all sliced up and baked off in the oven and cooled,then comes the fun part, dipping them in chocolate. 

they may be small, but they are really good
Let the chocolate set and then you can eat them.  If you love mocha like I do, try these out. 

Mocha Flats
makes about 48 cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp instant coffee crystals
1 tsp water
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 egg
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp shortening

  1. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt; set aside.  Stir coffee crystals and water until crystals dissolve; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and 1/2 cup shortening with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and brown sugar.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in coffee mixture, melted chocolate and egg until combined.  Add in flour mixture and mix until combined.
  3. Divide dough in half.  Shape each half into a 7" long roll.  Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper.  Chill for 6-24 hours or until firm enough to slice. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Cut rolls into 1/4" slices.  Place 1" apart on prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes, or until edges are firm and lightly browned.  Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool. 
  5. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir until smooth.  Dip one half of each cookie into chocolate mixture and place back on parchment paper or Silpat.  Let stand until chocolate is set. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've never really been a fan of Oatmeal Cookies.  I'm not really sure what it is about them that always left me wanting something else - I will always have a soft spot in my heart for regular Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Making them always puts me in a good mood and eating them puts a smile on my face.  And snacking on the dough while making them always seems to happen no matter how hard I try to resist it.  I was cleaning out my cabinet of baking supplies and saw that I had some Oatmeal in there.  I remembered seeing a recipe for Oatmeal Cookies and thought why not try making some.  Just because I haven't really liked any of the ones I've tried before didn't mean I wouldn't like the ones I make.  I'm so happy I tried these out.  Cookies that need to be refrigerated overnight are the easiest thing in the world.  Letting them sit for 24 hours really lets the flavors develop and come together to make a great cookie.  Plus it seems really easy when you make them over 2 days.  And the fact that you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months is a great plus, you never know when you will need some cookies for something. 

I made the dough and tasted a little, and I have to say, it was tasty.  I wrapped them up and stuck them in the freezer.  The next day came and it was time to make these.  Sliced up the dough and onto the cookie sheets they went.  The smell that was coming from my oven was something I wasn't prepared for.  It smelled so delicious I couldn't wait to try one - something that totally shocked me. 

Time came to try one out - and it turns out I was immediately hooked.  I couldn't stop eating them.  I think I ended up eating 4 or 5 of these before I left to deliver them to my taste testers.  I know you might be thinking that it doesn't seem like a lot, but for me it is.  I very rarely eat more than 1 of something I make, sometimes I don't eat it at all.  I am now a fan of Oatmeal Cookies, well at least this version of them. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 56 cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. In a bowl stir together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and brown sugar.  Beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla until combined.  Add in flour and mix until combined.  Add in oats and chocolate chips.
  2. Divide dough in half.  Shape each half into an 8" long roll.  Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper.  Freeze for 8-24 hours or until firm enough to slice. 
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.  Cut rolls into 1/4" slices and place 2" apart on prepared cookie sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Enlglish Muffin Bread

One of my favorite taste testers boyfriends gave me a list of things to make him, and this was on it.  I had never heard of it before and was intrigued by it.  So a couple of days later when My Baking Addiction posted that she was going to make this, I knew I had to make it and try it out myself.  My family is a fan of english muffins, and when I told my Dad about this he was very excited to try it out.  I said we would have it with breakfast Sunday morning.  Saturday rolled around and I made the dough - and let me tell you this is the easiest bread to make ever.  Toss everything in a bowl and mix, let rise and then toss it in the oven to bake.  I've now made it twice and it gets easier every time.  But the smell that comes out of your oven while this bakes is amazing.  Once it's golden brown, time to take it out of the oven.

golden brown deliciousness
Now came the hard part of waiting.  And let me tell you, judging by the smell, it was hard not to try a piece.  Sunday morning finally came and my sisters and I go over to our parents for breakfast.  My Dad was so excited to toast this up. 

We all loved it.  It's so good and the fact that it's ridiculously easy and that tasty cemented the fact that I will be making this for a long time.  My Dad also threw out the suggestion that we use this bread for Egg Nog French Toast.....that spells trouble.