Monday, January 30, 2012

Max's Birthday (Carrot) Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

My son turned one last week! Of course, I felt it was necessary to introduce him to the sweet world of cake. As a protective first-time mom, I also wanted to pretend that I was giving him something somewhat healthy, though, so I used these carrot cupcakes, which contain whole wheat flour and natural applesauce but still taste awesome. :D

Carrot Cupcakes
(Adapted from Food Network's Ellie Krieger - makes 24 cupcakes)

* 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1-1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1 cup natural applesauce
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 3 cups finely shredded carrots


Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift together the first 6 ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups (I filled mine a little over 3/4 full). Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then top with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
(Adapted from MultiplyDelicious on Tasty Kitchen - Generously frosts 24 cupcakes)

* 32 ounces cream cheese, straight from the fridge (I use full-fat, sorry y'all!)
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 4 cups confectioners' sugar
* 2 tbsp vanilla extract
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon


Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until fairly smooth. Add vanilla and cinnamon, then beat in confectioners' sugar one cup at a time. Beat just until smooth and combined for best texture.

Frost cupcakes and serve to one year old. After a few minutes, this will be the result!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alton Brown's "The Chewy" Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've made these cookies several times now, and they have always been a huge hit. It's hard to even feel motivated to try a different chocolate chip cookie recipe. I also use this dough in the center of my cookie dough cuppycakes now.


Alton Brown's "The Chewy"
(Adapted from Food Network with only minimal modifications.)

* 2 sticks unsalted butter
* 2 1/4 cups bread flour (it's really important to use bread flour)
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardeli)


Heat oven to 375 degrees F. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 350.)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. (Note: Be careful to melt the butter slooooowly. If you do it too quickly - i.e. on too high a heat - it will separate and you'll end up with greasy cookies.)

Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets (I skipped the parchment because my nonstick baking sheets are AWESOME), 6 cookies per sheet. (AB says to use a #20 disher to scoop the cookies. I use a large OXO cookie scoop, which according to the Internets, is the same size.)

Bake for 14 minutes (my cookies took about 14-15 minutes - keep an eye on them or they'll burn) or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

NOTE: I chill my dough for 24-36 hours before baking the cookies (though AB doesn't say to do this). I find that it really improves the flavor of the cookies. Your mileage may vary.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Cuppycakes

I made these for a friend's birthday. Only I've been a little behind on things, and so I made her the "birthday" cupcakes about 5 months late. She did say they were worth the wait, though. ;-)

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Chocolate Raspberry Cuppycakes
(Borrowed from Sweetest Kitchen - makes 12 cupcakes)

* 125g soft unsalted butter
* 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
* 300g raspberry jam (I used seedless)
* 150g caster sugar
* pinch of salt
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 150g self-rising flour


Preheat your oven to 350F. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 325.)

Melt butter in a double boiler. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the raspberry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour.

Put batter in lined cupcake pan. Do not overfill! I estimate you want to put no more than 1.5 tablespoons of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake for about 25 minutes (it was 26-28 for me). Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a rack.

Cool cupcakes completely. Fill cupcakes with raspberry whipped cream using the cone method, then frost with the chocolate ganache icing (recipes are below).

Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling

* 1/2 cup ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream
* 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
* 1/4 cup lightly sweetened raspberry puree (recipe below)

To make the raspberry puree:

Thaw 24 oz (680 grams) of frozen unsweetened raspberries in a large fine-meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl. (This may take a few hours.) Once the berries have completely thawed, force the juice from the berries by gently pressing them with the back of a large spoon. All that should remain in the strainer is the raspberry seeds.

Throw away the raspberry seeds and and stir in 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar. Sweeten more if necessary, to taste. (For extra flavor you can also add a little raspberry liqueur.)

Store covered in the refrigerator up to a week, or freeze up to a year. Makes approximately 1 3/4 cups (420 ml).

To make the raspberry whipped cream filling:

In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat only until soft peaks form. Add the sweetened raspberry puree a little at a time, and beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Taste and fold in more sugar or puree, if required.

Chocolate Ganache Icing

* 100g dark chocolate
* 100ml double cream
* 12 fresh raspberries, optional


Break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and then whisk – by hand or electrically – until thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a raspberry in the center of each.

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Here's a bonus picture of a whole dozen cuppycakes.

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cayenne Cookies

Taken from here.

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* 1/4 cup flour
* 1/4 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
* 8 oz (1 1/3 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips or squares, 63 % to 70% cacao
* 4 Tbs butter, unsalted
* 2 Tbs brewed espresso (I used espresso powder dissolved in boiling water)
* 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
* 1 tsp cayenne powder
* 2 large eggs
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup dried cherries
* 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven 375°. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 350.)

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside.

In a double boiler or pot of simmering (not boiling) water with a heat-safe bowl set on top as shown, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter. When melted, turn off heat and add espresso, vanilla and cayenne. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl or standing electric mixer (if you have one use it, I don’t and this saddens me but at least I get a workout) beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high just until frothy about 2 minutes. Slowly add sugar and beat on high until egg and sugar mixture is thick, about 13 more minutes. (Note: I ended up beating the egg and sugar mixture for about 14-15 minutes.)

Gently fold using a spoon or spatula cooled chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture. Fold until partially combined. Add flour and carefully fold again until partially combined. Next add the dried cherries, semi-sweet chocolate chips and pecans. Fold until everything is just mixed. Be careful not to over mix and deflate the eggs. If the mixture is a little runny, chill in refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place small spoonfuls of cookie batter (I used a small cookie scoop that's about 3/4 of a tablespoon) onto baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches between each cookie (I put 8 cookies on each baking sheet).

Set in oven and bake for 9 minutes. Oven times do vary. What you are looking for is a shiny brownie-like crust.

When finished, cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then remove from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I stole this recipe shamelessly from Smitten Kitchen, with only a couple changes.

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* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
* 1-1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
* 3/4 cup raisins (I recommend Newman's Own organic)


Preheat oven to 350°F. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 325. I also didn't use parchment paper and my cookies were fine.)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins.

Cover the dough and chill it in the fridge for at least one hour. Using cold dough helps the cookies bake up thick and chewy.

Roll dough into balls of about 1.5 tablespoons each. I use a medium OXO cookie scoop and put 9 cookies on each cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top (mine took about 14 minutes). Let the cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cuppycakes

I actually made these cuppycakes once back in November but somehow failed to take any pictures of them. Then a friend of mine came in town to visit a couple months ago, so I made them again... only with a fortuitous accidental modification.

My intention was to make the cake part using the dark chocolate cupcake recipe in this post. That's how I did it the first time I made the chocolate peanut butter cuppycakes, and it came out delicious. However, I accidentally grabbed the wrong chocolate from my pantry, and used 60% cacao instead of 85%.

The cupcakes came out good anyway. They didn't taste like dark chocolate, but they were way more moist than the batch I made with the darker chocolate.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cuppycakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)


For the cupcakes:
* 3 to 4 oz. good-quality 60% cacao chocolate (I used Ghirardeli)
* 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter
* 1 1/8 c. sugar
* 4 eggs
* 5/8 c. flour
* 1/8 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
* 3/4 tsp. baking powder
* Pinch salt

For the peanut butter filling (adapted from here):
* 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
* 2 tbsp. butter
* 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F (I actually preheated mine to 325F).

Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.

To make the peanut butter filling:

In bowl, with mixer on medium speed, mix confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until blended. Shape mixture into 12 balls. (Balls will be sticky and don't need to be perfectly shaped.) Place balls on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

To assemble and bake:

Scoop batter into cupcake cups (I filled mine pretty full - 2 level scoops with my small cookie scoop, which I think holds 3/4 tbsp). Roll peanut butter filling into balls and place one ball atop each cupcake (do not press down into the batter). Cover with a small amount of batter (I used a small "eating" spoonful).

Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops look cracked and brownie-like and a toothpick inserted in the side (not the center) comes out clean.

I baked these cupcakes for about 25 minutes. Given the fact that they were soft and falling apart, I think they could have stayed in another minute or two but they tasted AWESOME.

Wait until cupcakes cool completely. Then frost with the peanut butter frosting recipe from here.

Paula Deen's Monster Cookies (Rawr!)

Apparently, monster cookies are well-loved by a lot of people, but I had never heard of them until recently when I found the recipe on Paula Deen's website. Now I've made them twice in the past month or so just because they are so easy to make and people always seem to love them.

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Monster Cookies
(makes 36 cookies)

* 1/4 cup raisins, optional (I recommend Newman's Own organic raisins)
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
* 1 stick butter, softened
* 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
* 3 eggs
* 2 teaspoon baking soda
* 4 1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

(Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 325. And I did not use the parchment paper for these cookies and they were fine.)

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets (I actually used a medium OXO cookie scoop, which is 1.5 tbsp).

Bake for 8-10 minutes (my cookies were a little larger and took 14-15 minutes to bake). Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags (or an airtight container like the one I use, pictured below).

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