Monthly Archives: February 2012

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese

I made this recipe almost a month ago for our Super Bowl party, but I forgot to take pictures due to the Blood Orange Margaritas.  This was a recipe was also chosen for the New Foods list.  These little dates are so good, it was not difficult to want to make them again!  A lazy Saturday is the perfect time to enjoy some delicious dates!  They are so good!!!!  Like really, really good!  If you are having a cocktail party or you want to make a fancy appetizer, please make these, you will not be disappointed!

One note about dates – all by themselves, these little guys are so delicious!  I didn’t even know if I would like them, but I do!  They are sweet and chewy, almost like candy, but they are not candy, dates are a fruit!

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Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese with balsamic-honey sauce
Yield – 24 pieces
Adapted from Simply Scratch

8 slices of bacon
24 dates, pitted and split open
4 ounces blue cheese, I used gorganzola
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of Kosher salt
2 grinds of black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Split open all the dates, I used kitchen scissors to cut open one side.
  • Stuff each date with some blue cheese crumbles.
  • Cut each strip of bacon into thirds so you have 24 pieces.
  • Wrap each date stuffed with cheese in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
  • Place the dates on a wire rack (I used the rack from the toaster oven) over a foil lined baking sheet.  This is all for easy clean up.
  • Bake for 23-25 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.
  • Drizzle with the balsamic-honey sauce

Balsamic-Honey Sauce

  • Combine the vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper into a small saucepan on medium heat.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce reduces by two-thirds, stir frequently.
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Nutella Stuffed Cookies

Ever since I saw this recipe on Bridget’s blog, Bake at 350, I have been wanting to try it.  I trust Bridget and when she tells me to start my oven, I listen!  Since Stacey was out of town this weekend, Ruth and I had a whole list of things to do that Stacey doesn’t like.  We went and saw The Artist, an amazing movie BTW, we (I) baked using nuts and peanut butter, and we watched Pride & Prejudice on TV (the new version, yuck)!!!  Look out for homemade Tagalongs later this week!

These cookies are as delicious as promised!  They look so innocent with their soft sugar cookie exterior, but when you take a bite and find the rich, creamy, Nutella middle, it’s heavenly!  The sea salt cuts  the sweetness so the cookie becomes the perfect mix of crunchy, gooey, salty, sweet, and nutty.  That is a lot adjectives for one little cookie, but trust me, it’s fitting!  Bake these cookies!  Since I was just baking for Ruth and I, I cut the recipe in half.  Double everything or visit the original site to make more, you probably should make more!

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Nutella Stuffed Cookies
Adapted from Bake at 350 via Cookin’ Canuck
Yield – 17 cookies

1/3 cup Nutella
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar + 1/3 cup sugar for rolling
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon sea salt

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper and scoop out 1 teaspoon blobs of Nutella, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until the Nutella is hard and easy to work with.
  • Sift together the flour, powder, and salt onto parchment paper.
  • Beat together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add in the egg and vanilla beating to combine.  Slowly add in the flour mix on low speed until just combined.  Stir together, scrapping down the sides of the bowl.
  • Scoop into approximately 2 tablespoon portions, I used a medium size ice cream scoop and place on parchment paper.  Split each ball in half.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on one half of each dough ball.
  • Place a frozen blob of Nutella on top of the sea salt.  If the Nutella gets too soft, refreeze for a few minutes.
  • Place the other half of dough on the Nutella and sandwich together and then roll back into a ball.
  • Roll the ball in the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet, leave about 2 inches of space around each cookie.  Flatten slightly with your hand.
  • Bake for 11 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

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White Russian Cupcakes

Another week of cupcakes, never a bad thing!  These cupcakes were made for my friend and co-work, Adriana, Happy Birthday Bitch!  I know it sounds mean, but if you know Adriana, it is completely appropriate!!  I saw these cupcakes a few weeks ago on Pinterest and I was looking for a perfect occasion, Adriana’s birthday is a perfect occasion!
I made these cupcakes mini because more people will grab a little cupcake than a big and if you enjoyed one little cupcake, it is easy to justify having one or two more!  The White Russian cupcakes actually taste better the next day!  I think the frosting needs the time to absorb all of the Kahlua deliciousness!  I added a lot of Kahlua and vodka, because I like a good strong White Russian, and apparently all of my taste testers at work seemed to agree!  These little babies had a lot of rave reviews!!!  The smell when you opened the box was out of this world, the cupcakes just perfumed the air with White Russians!

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White Russian Cupcakes
Adapted from Baked Perfection
Yield 36-40 mini cupcakes

White Russian Cupcakes
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons vodka + 2 tablespoons vodka
2 tablespoons Kahlua + 2 tablespoons Kahlua

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Sift together the dry ingredients onto parchment paper.
  • Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time and beat to combine.  Beat in the vanilla.
  • Measure the milk into a large measuring cup and add in 2 tablespoons each of vodka and Kahlua.
  • Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with two additions of the milk mixture.
  • Mix with a spatula to make sure everything is well combined.
  • Using a one tablespoon mini scoop, portion into lined mini-cupcake pans.  Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Stir together the remaining vodka and Kahlua and brush onto the warm cupcakes.  Set on a wire rack to cool.

Kahlua Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 cups powdered sugar (or a 2 lb bag)
8-9 tablespoons Kahlua
2 tablespoons vodka
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 ounce dark chocolate, grated

  • Cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  • Add in the salt and beat to combine
  • Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat slowly at first and then increase the speed until the mixture is creamy.  Things will get thick.
  • Mix together the vodka, Kahlua, and cream and add the mix slowly to the frosting.  Only add enough liquid so that the frosting is the right consistency and the flavor is good. Remember, it tastes more boozey the next day!
  • Add the frosting to a large piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip and pipe onto the cupcakes.
  • Sprinkle with grated chocolate.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Swirled Vanilla Frosting

These cupcakes were inspired by an idea I saw on Pinterest for swirling frosting and have been looking for a reason to make cupcakes with this sort of frosting.  My school was having a bake sale to raise money for Pennies for Patients, a charity that raises money for Leukemia & Lymphoma society.  Our school is kind of competitive and we end up raising a lot of money for the charity every year!  This is a fun way to teach students about importance of charitable giving and how a few people working together contributing a small amount can add up quickly to a much greater amount!

I used the same chocolate recipe from my Wilton cake because it is easy and delicious!  This is the type of recipe that should make everyone stop using box mixes!  The vanilla frosting is from my Butter Lane cupcake class.  I’m not usually a fan of vanilla frosting, but this one is so creamy and delicious, perfect for dying any sort of color.  I told my students to go buy cupcakes at lunch and they all came back to me complaining that all the teachers bought them first!  Sorry kids, teachers need their cupcakes too!  I received excellent feedback from my co-workers, this chocolate cupcake is delicious, you have to try it!  I’m sure you could add any extract of your choosing to make the flavor match your theme!

Swirling the frosting was really fun and not nearly as much work as I assumed.  I tried to break down the steps as best as I could.

  • Make your frosting and add a little Super White to make the frosting better able to absorb color.  Divide the frosting into 2 bowls and mix in the color of your choosing.  I always use Americolor gels.  For these cupcakes I chose Electric Yellow and Electric Purple.
  • Place about half of the yellow frosting in a 12″ disposable piping bag to fill it about half fill.  Squeeze the frosting around so that it is spread out and flat.  Repeat with the purple frosting.
  • Place the two bags of frosting on top of each other and put in a large 18″ piping bag, this one in non-disposable, with a large star tip.  Look to see where the bag meets the inside of the tip.  Pull out the smaller piping bags and trim to the appropriate size so that the frosting will come together in the tip, but stay separated in the bag.
  • Make sure to gather the inside bags and the outside bag when you twist the bags to begin piping.  Try a practice squeeze to see how the frosting comes out.
  • If you are satisfied, begin piping.  I used a star base and then I swirled around it.  I had to fill the smaller bags twice each to have enough frosting to frost 24 cupcakes.
  • Look at your cupcakes with pride and a sense of accomplishment!

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Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield – 24 cupcakes
Adapted from Bakerella

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa, I use Ghiradelli (good cocoa makes a difference!)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup whole milk
2/3 cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, soda, powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix together on low with the paddle attachment.  Beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined and then scrap down the sides.  Turn on the mixer and add the hot water slowly until well combined.

Fill 24 cupcakes liners with a not quite full basic ice cream scoop and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

Vanilla Frosting
Adapted from Butter Lane Cupcakes

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
7 cups powdered sugar (a 2 pound bag minus 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons vanilla

Beat the butter and cream cheese until light and creamy.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar.  Stop every once and a while to scrap down the bowl and then beat on high speed for a few seconds.  Add in the vanilla and beat again until well combined.

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, take 2

I have posted these cupcakes before in mini form, but I have made a few changes and I wanted to show off the cupcakes in their big boy form!  I wanted to say adult form, but regardless of size, these cupcakes should always be adults only.  You can really taste the liquor!  Again, these would be great for any upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!

I added a little cream cheese to the frosting to make it creamier and there is a new method for getting the ganache inside with a piping bag and specialty tip.

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes – adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield- 14 regular size cupcakes

Guinness Cupcakes
1/2 cup Guinness
8 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 + 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  In a small sauce pan melt the butter and the Guinness, set aside to cool slightly.  Sift together flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  Beat together the egg and the sour cream in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Pour in the butter mixture and beat to combine, then slowly add the dry ingredients and make sure everything is fully incorporated. Use a standard  ice cream scoop to a lined cupcake pan.  Bake for 14 minutes.  Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Whiskey Ganache
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon whiskey (I bought a little bottle of Jack Daniels)

Heat the cream in a small saucepan while you break up the chocolate.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.  Add in the butter and the whiskey stirring to melt the butter.  Taste the ganache, if you want it to be booze-ier, add more whiskey!  Place the ganache in a piping bag with a number 230 Wilton tip.  Poke the tip into each cupcake until you reach the bottom and then slowly squeeze the feeling into the cupcake.

Bailey’s Buttercream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
7 tablespoons Baileys

Beat the butter and cream cheese until it is pale yellow and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until well combined.  The frosting will be really thick at this point, add about 2 tablespoons of Bailey’s and beat in.  Keep adding Bailey’s until the frosting is a good constancy and has a strong flavor. Adapt as needed.  I like my frosting to taste strongly of Bailey’s!  Use a big star tip to pipe a big star on top covering the ganache!

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Chocolate Cake with Salted Chocolate Buttercream – Wilton Class

(My final cake!  Please note the ribbon roses. I think this cake describes me perfectly; bright, full of chocolate, and a little goofy!)

For the past four weeks I have been talking the Wilton cake decorating class at Choc-oh-lot Plus.  I have learned a lot of basic piping techniques, especially how to properly hold the bag and the importance of icing consistancies.  Our instructor, Amy, is fantastic!  She is really cheerful, approachable, and very helpful.  I have signed up to take the second class about advanced piping and flower making!  The only negative is the frosting we are required to use, it tastes like crap.  If you enjoy the grocery-store style buttercream, then you’ll probably enjoy this frosting and I apologize for calling it crap.  The frosting does make beautiful decorations though!

(This is my first cake!)

If you scrap off the frosting on the outside, the inside is wonderful!!!  The chocolate cake is moist, soft, and has a beautiful crumb.  The chocolate flavor is rich and delicious.  And let me tell you about the filling, AMAZING!!!  I wanted to shove my face in it and eat it all.  I can’t wait to make the salted chocolate buttercream to adorn a cupcake or another baked good.  My roommates and I have been eating the leftover chocolate buttercream smeared on leftover brownies!

Assembly – Trim the cake so it has a flat top and then split in half.  I used one of these slicers, so easy and it makes the cake perfectly even!  Take a smear of buttercream and place it on the bottom of an 8″ round, cardboard cake board.  Take the top of the cake that you have trimmed and place in on the board with the cut side up.  The original top of the cake now becomes the bottom.  In your outside buttercream, pipe a 1/2 inch circle on the edge of the cake.  Spoon the salted chocolate buttercream inside and smooth.  Carefully place the second half evenly on top so the original bottom of the cake is now the top.  Cover the outside in buttercream and decorate to your heart’s content!

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Chocolate Cake
Yield 12-16 servings
Adapted from Bakerella

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa, I use Ghiradelli (good cocoa makes a difference!)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup whole milk
2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease the bottom of a 8” round by 3” tall cake pan.  Place a round piece of parchment paper cut to size at the bottom.  Grease the parchment paper and the sides.  Add in about a tablespoon of cocoa powder and evenly distribute the cocoa powder on the bottom and sides, shake out the extra.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, soda, powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix together on low with the paddle attachment.  Beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined and then scrap down the sides.  Turn on the mixer and add the hot water slowly until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes and test for doneness.  A skewer should come back without any liquid and a few crumbs.  I ended up baking mine for about 55 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn out of the pan until it cools completely.

Salted Chocolate Buttercream
Pale Yellow Original

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt the chocolate chips and cream together in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals until all the chocolate chips are melted, stirring in between.  Set the chocolate aside to cool.

Beat the butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, every other time, beat on high speed and then scrap down the bowl.  The mixture will get very dry, no worries.  Beat in the salt and vanilla.  Slowly add the chocolate mixture and whip on high speed.

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Oreo Cupcakes

These cupcakes have been made several times, always to rave reviews!  There is something about the whole Oreo at the bottom that people can’t get enough of.  I have adapted the recipe several times now and although it is definitely inspired by several different bloggers, I feel it is becoming my own.  These cupcakes are moist and delicious and full of Oreos.  The frosting is creamy and sweet!

A funny story about these actual cupcakes.  They were made for order of a dozen Oreo cupcakes and a dozen Irish Car bomb cupcakes.  I packed up the cupcakes in my cupcake caddy to take to work the next day and I place the caddy, as I always do, in the lobby of my apartment building.  Now I know I can be a naive New Yorker, but I’ve lived in the building for 3 years and besides my actual apartment, there are only 5-6 other people.  Nothing has ever happened to my cupcakes before.  But in the morning, as I was on my way out the door, I notice there were 2 cupcakes missing!  I run upstairs, talk to my roommates, but they knew nothing.  Someone took 2 cupcakes!!!  Luckily I had a few extra to replace the missing ones.

Inspired and dramatically adapted from Annie Eats via Beantown Baker

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Oreo Cupcake
Adapted vanilla cupcake – Cupcake Project
Yield 17 cupcakes

1 cup sugar (225 g)
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cup cake flour (175 g)
1 1/2 tea. baking powder
1/2 tea. baking soda
1/2 tea. salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (57 g)
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream (I used non-fat Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 table. vanilla
2/3 cup whole milk
17 Oreo bottoms w/ cream filling
12 full oreos, cut into quarters

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  Twist apart Oreos so that all the cream is on one half, place the half with the cream in each cupcake liner cream side up.  Put the cream-less halves aside.

Add the sugar to a small bowl. Split open the vanilla bean and scrap out the seeds with a paring knife.  Smush the vanilla seeds in the sugar and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer add the flour, powder, soda, and salt, mix slowly with the paddle attachment.  Add the vanilla sugar and mix together.  Add the butter and beat for several minutes until the mixture becomes nice and crumbly.

While the mixer is mixing, whisk together the sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, and milk.  Pour this in the mixer and combine on a slow speed.  Then turn on high for a few seconds.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the quartered Oreos by hand, it’s a lot of Oreos!

Using a standard ice cream scoop, pour into lined cupcake pans.  Bake 15-18 minutes until a toothpick in a center cupcake comes out clean.  Cool on cooling rack.

Cream cheese frosting – Pale Yellow Original
6 oz cream cheese (I always use 1/3 fat), room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until well combined.  Stop, scrape the bowl and add in one cup of powdered sugar, mix on slow speed to start, and then mix a few seconds on high speed.  Repeat with the second and third cups of powdered sugar.  Add the vanilla in with the third cup of powdered sugar.  Scoop the frosting into a piping bag with a large tip and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

To assemble, cut the bottom off the cream-less Oreos and place in the middle.  Sprinkle with a few Oreo crumbs.

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