Monthly Archives: May 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Cake

This cake was kind of a lot of work, but with careful planning and making a few things ahead, it wasn’t too bad!  Here was my schedule:

Mon. – Bake the cake and cheesecake, wrap both in plastic wrap, freeze. (1 hour active time + 3-4 hours baking & cooling time)

Tues. – Make the cookie dough, wrap and freeze. (1/2 hour active time)

Sun. – Make the frosting, assemble, and serve. (1 hour active time)

That really isn’t too much time when you consider this cake can easily serve 20 people, it’s a lot of cake!  Plus, it’s very rich and that is phrase I rarely use.  None of the parts are difficult on their own.  This is the type of baking project I still find challenging and really enjoy!

I made this cake in honor of my roommate Ruth’s birthday.  Her parents were in town visiting for the weekend and I really wanted to make something impressive!  This is an impressive cake!  We enjoyed eating it very much!

My only complaint about the cake was the molasses.  I found the flavor very over powering and I would leave it out next time.  I usually like molasses, but I guess I like the flavor in a spice cookie, not a cheese cake.  Everything else was delicious, especially the cookie dough part!  One tip – let the cake, cheesecake, and cookie dough thaw a bit before assembly.  The frosting was freezing to the side causing to crack when I cut pieces.

Print the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Cake
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Chocolate Cake
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot coffee
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, I used non-fat
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease the inside of a 9” cake pan (I used my springform) and then place a piece of parchment at the bottom.  Grease the parchment and dust the inside with extra cocoa powder, shake out the extra cocoa powder.
  2. Chop up the chocolate and add it and the cocoa powder to the hot coffee.  Stir to melt the chocolate and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla.  Add in about half the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. In your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  Mix on low to combine with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and the other half of the chocolate mixture and beat on low to combine.
  5. Add the egg mixture in two parts and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake 25-30 or until the cake is set and then let cool on a wire rack.  After about 10 minutes, remove the cake from the pan.
  7. Trim the top of the cake with a cake leveler so the top is flat.
  8. Once the cake is completely cooled, wrap completely in plastic wrap and freeze.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease a 9-in springform pan.  Line the bottom with parchment, grease the parchment, and then dust the inside with flour.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow.  Add in the cream cheese a little at a time and beat until well combined.
  3. Scrap down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time and then the pudding, molasses, vanilla, and baking powder.  Mix on medium until everything is well incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes until the top is set.
  5. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan. Use a cake leveler to make the top of the cheesecake flat.
  6. Wrap in plastic and place in the freezer until assembly.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter melted
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons whole milk

  1. Line a 9-in springform pan with plastic wrap with plenty hanging over the side.
  2. Add the flour, salt, brown sugar, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low until well combined.
  3. Pour in the butter and vanilla and mix until a dry dough forms.  Add in the chocolate chips.
  4. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough becomes soft.
  5. Press into the springform pan and tightly wrap in plastic.  Freeze until assembly.

Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment on low to combine everything.  Then beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the vanilla, molasses, cocoa, and salt.  Again beat on high until everything is well combined.  Scrap the bowl as needed.

Assembly
Chocolate chips for decoration

  1. Place the chocolate cake on the serving plate.  Places small strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake to assist with clean up.
  2. Spread a small layer of frosting on top of the cake.
  3. Top with the cheesecake.
  4. Top the cheesecake with the cookie dough.
  5. Frost the sides of the cake with an offset spatua.  No need to frost the top.
  6. With a piping bag and a star tip, pip stars on the top edge of the cake, place a chocolate chip in the center of each star. If you want candles on your cake, pipe a big swirl for each candle.  Place the candles in the middle of the swirls.
  7. Remove the wax paper, wipe down the edge of the plate, and pipe stars at the bottom.
  8. Refrigerate until serving.

 

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Man Cupcakes

“Made for a man, fit for a woman.”

You could also call these, “Cinnamon-Maple-Bacon Cupcakes with a Cinnamon-Maple Buttercream topped with candied bacon.”  Love it or leave it.

Clearly there are not a lot of men in my life.  I live with women, am friends with women, and I work with mostly women.  So when it’s time to make a cupcake for a dude, I want to go all out!  These cupcakes were made in honor of Rob’s birthday.

When I last made Bacon Cupcakes, it was definitely an experiment where I just threw bacon into a regular cupcake.  Not these babies!  These were well thought out and bacon was incorporated three ways; bacon fat inside the cupcake batter, crumbled bacon side, and candied bacon on top.  I really wanted to play off of the breakfast-ness of bacon, a breakfast cupcake if you will.

The cupcake is an adaptation of Martha Stewart’s snickerdoodle cupcake.  The cake itself is very moist and tender with excellent cinnamon flavor.  The bacon fat adds a subtle flavor and extra moisture.  Using a recipe from a regional cookbook is a little wonky and the buttercream was a bit troublesome, but came out well at the end.  It’s a sweet and delicious frosting that is perfectly creamy.  Candied bacon on top is A-mazing!  This is not just a garnish, this is a requirement.

Print the Recipe.

Man Cupcakes
(Cinnamon-Maple-Bacon Cupcake with a Cinnamon-Maple Buttercream and candied bacon on top)
Yield – 15

Cinnamon-Maple-Bacon Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, page 151

8 slices of bacon, cooked crispy
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons cooled bacon fat
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup, grade B
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook 8 slices of bacon on the stove top, cook until extra crispy and then cool on paper towel.  Pour the bacon fat into a container and set aside.  (I put mine in the freezer to cool faster)
  3. Sift together the flours, powder, salt, and cinnamon onto wax paper, set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter, bacon fat, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs in one at a time and then beat in the vanilla and maple syrup.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer on slow and add the flour in three additions with half the milk in between.  Mix until just combined.
  6. Crumble the cooked bacon and mix in by hand.
  7. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to place the batter in a lined cupcake tin.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Candied Bacon
5 slices of bacon
5 tablespoons brown sugar

  1. Cover a toaster oven tray in foil.  Place the bacon strips on the foil.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over each slice of bacon.  Press into the bacon.
  3. Bake in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes.  Watch closely and rotate the pan as needed. Bake until the sugar turns dark brown and bubbly.
  4. Let the bacon cool slightly and then carefully move to a sheet of parchment paper to cool and harden.  Once cool, cut each slice into 3 pieces.

Maple-Cinnamon Buttercream
Adapted from The Official Vermont Maple Cookbook, 3rd Edition, page 24

Yield – barely enough for 15 cupcakes, (if you like a lot of frosting, I upped the recipe by 50% in parenthesis & in red – you could always use the extra frosting for pancakes!)
1 cup maple syrup, grade B (1 1/2)
2 egg whites (3)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature (18 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (3/4)

  1. Place the maple syrup on a small pot on the stove.  Boil until it reaches 235 F.  It starts heating really fast and then goes slow at the end.  Do NOT stir, just leave it alone.  Meanwhile, add the egg whites to the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  2. Once the maple syrup reaches 235 F, turn on the mixer and whip the egg whites until they have soft peaks and are no longer foamy.  This takes about 2-3 minutes.
  3. When the maple syrup reaches 242 F, turn the mixer on low and slowly drizzle in the maple syrup.  Beat on high until you have stiff peaks.
  4. Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time.  Keep beating to combine everything and the frosting becomes stiffer.

My frosting went really liquidy at this point and I freaked out, threw everything in the fridge, and then started beating again.  I was about ready to throw it all away and start again, but then everything came together.   Sometimes you just need to beat the s&!t out of the frosting.

  1. Add to a piping bag and frost the cupcakes.  Add the candied bacon on top.

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Cake Batter Martinis

This is embarrassing to admit, but I don’t own a cocktail shaker.  Yep, this girl who loves her cocktails can’t properly make them at home.  I’ve been looking at recipes like this for ages on blogs and Pinterest, but I’ve always been too cheap to buy the fancy liquors.  Not anymore, I’m going to be all about the cocktails now.  They are just so much fun!

Real talk – I made this a cottage cheese container.  It has a tight fitting lid and everything turned out fine when I shook the drink over the sink, only minimum leakage.  Whatever, it’s my apartment, I can make drinks how I want to!

I had originally planned on making these to go with the Black Bean Sliders for our roommate dinner, but that was NOT going to happen.  So I waited a few days and then the perfect evening rolled around.  I had just finished making 48 Oreo cupcakes for an order and the last episode of Dexter had arrived from Netflix.  The cocktail was made, the DVD was in, the couch was calling my name, and I enjoyed!

Don’t let the sprinkles fool you!  This cocktail packs a punch!  It is smooth and delicious, but it is also strong. The cake batter martini would be fantastic if you only want a drink or two and want to show off your fancy pants!

Print the recipe.

Cake Batter Martini
Adapted from Sugarcrafter
Yield – 2 cocktails

leftover frosting
sprinkles

1/4 cup (4 ounces) cake vodka (Three Olives)
1/4 cup (4 ounces) chocolate liqueur (Godiva)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) amaretto (Disaronno)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cream
handful of ice

  1. Spread some frosting around the rim of your cocktail glass and then dip in a shallow container of sprinkles.  Set aside.
  2. In a cocktail shaker add the vodka, liqueur, amaretto, cream, and ice.  Shake, shake shake, and pour into your glass.
  3. Enjoy responsibly!

Since writing the above I went out and bought a cocktail shaker, I wanted to be a cool kid!

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S’more Cupcakes

True story – I ran out of baking powder and had to buy more.  Who runs out of baking powder?  Usually I try to buy a new baking powder and soda every 6 months because I like to keep things fresh, not because I’m in danger of running out.  Weird!  Clearly I’ve been baking a lot more than usual these past few months.

Ruth asked me to make these cupcakes for one of her co-worker’s birthday.  I happily agreed with our usual arrangement – she buys the ingredients, I bake the cupcakes!  I like doing orders because it saves me the overwhelming task of deciding what to make!  This was a particularly good order because I have been meaning to make S’more cupcakes for awhile, but there was never a good reason.  I’m glad Ruth requested them.  I didn’t go fancy, I went with my favorite lady, Martha Stewart, for a perfectly simple recipe.

I started this post Sunday morning and as I sit here, Sunday afternoon is quickly passing by.  Where does my weekend go?  I stumbled upon this blog via Pinterest and sat in disbelieve at the incrediable beauty and sadness inside.  It always amazes me the stories held within someone else’s life.  I am so thankful for my own story and relative lack of tragedy.

At no point did I intend for this to turn into a meloncholoy post, the coffee I’ve been drinking is making my eyes twitch a little bit.

Then, I remembered I was in the process of applying for a grant and I had to make a response video that is due tomorrow.  The video is done, I’m still twitching from the coffee, my room is a mess, and this post is not finished.  My train of though became derailed a long, long time ago!

Anyway, let’s chat about the cupcakes!  The cake itself was a little dense for me, probably because of the graham flour.  I prefer a lighter crumb for my cupcakes.  Despite the denser texture, the cake was delicious, it was really awesome to taste the graham-cracker-ness of the cake!  The chocolate ganache provided the right amount of chocolate goodness on top and the marshmallow on top was a smoky wonder.  The recipe made a solid 24 regular sized cupcakes plus 7 minis which were perfect was sampling and taste testing!  Overall, success!

Plus, anytime you get to use a mini blow torch, you just know its going to be awesome!

Print the Recipe

S’more Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes page 151
Yield – 24 regular cupcakes + 7 minis

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups graham flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift together the flours, powder, salt, and cinnamon onto wax paper and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the sugar, butter, and honey until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.  Beat on high speed until everything is well mixed.
  4. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into lined cupcake pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. For the mini cupcakes, scoop 1 tablespoon of batter and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Ganache Topping
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

  1. Start the ganache after you take the cupcakes out of the oven.
  2. Heat the cream and corn syrup in a small pot and bring to a simmer but not a boil.
  3. Chop the chocolate and place it in a bowl and then add heated cream.
  4. Let sit for a minute and then stir until the chocolate is melted.
  5. Set aside to cool, stirring every few minutes.
  6. Pour about 1-2 teaspoons of ganache on the top of each cupcake, them set while you make the frosting.

 

Marshmallow Frosting + Assembly
1 envelope gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar

  1. Place the 1/3 cup of cold water into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Leave it alone.
  2. Boil the 1/4 cup of water with the sugar.  Do not stir, simply go around the edge of the pan with a wetted pastry brush to remove all the sugar crystals from the sides.
  3. Boil until the mixture reaches 238 F on a candy thermometer.
  4. Slowly pour the sugar into the gelatin mixture.  Beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks forms.  This takes about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Immediately pipe onto the cupcakes.
  6. Using a small blowtorch, brown the edges of each cupcake.  I placed my cupcakes on an upside down glass so I can spin while I torch.

 

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Homemade Slider Buns

Is it necessary to make your own buns for sliders?  No.  But is it absolutely delicious, YES!!!  These buns are soft, tender, and light as air.  They had just a hint of sweetness and they had a full wheat flavor.  The buns made a excellent accompaniment to the black bean sliders, but they are delicious on their  own.

Making bread is really satisfying and peaceful, it’s something I wish I would make more often!  These buns were easy to make, they just take a little bit of time and some planning.

Print the Recipe.

Homemade Slider Buns
Adapted from Annie Eats
Yield – 16 slider buns

3 tablespoons milk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg + 1 egg for an egg wash
2 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
coarse salt for topping

  1. Heat the milk and water in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warm, but not hot.
  2. Add the milk/water, yeast, sugar, salt, and one egg to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix until well combined.
  3. Add in the flours and mix on low speed.  Add in the butter and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Switch to the dough hook and beat on low speed for 7 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover, and place in a warm spot to let proof and double in size.  This takes about an hour.
  1. Cut the dough into 16 even pieces and place on an oiled cookie sheet.  Again cover, leave in a warm spot, and let proof to double in size.  This takes another hour.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Beat the other egg with a fork and then brush on top of all the buns.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes until brown.  Separate and split.

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50 Shades of Grey Cupcakes

Soooooooo, yeah, I’ve read the book, all three actually.  And I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty details, but it was an enjoyable weekend.

Pretty much everyone at work has read the books too, we talk about them at lunch, specifically, who should play the characters when it is made into a movie.  I vote for Ryan Gosling.  Yes, I work with a lot women, so it’s not surprising that we are all reading the books, but a lot of male co-workers are reading the books too.  I’ve mentioned before about how awesome my staff is, right?

The best part about the books is who introduced me to them.  There will be no names here, but she is a pretty awesome lady!  And I was SHOCKED to learn about this type of book from her.  She is one of the kindest, most genuine, and modest people I know in the best possible way.  She is conservative in her practices, yet so open and tolerant in the way she treats others.  I am honored to be her colleague and her friend!

So it’s her birthday this week!  And what better way to celebrate a birthday than with cupcakes?  I mean obliviously there are better ways, but this is a family friendly blog.  Red room anyone?

These bad boys are an adaptation of the slutty brownie, which makes perfect sense!  Chewy chocolate chip cookie on the bottom, Oreo in the middle, and a rich, dark brownie on top.  Everything you need in one delicious bite!  But cupcakes do need frosting, otherwise it is just a muffin, and no one wants a boring muffin on their birthday, not even a slutty one.  To turn these guys into cupcakes I made a whipped vanilla frosting and dyed it in an ombre fashion to have four shades of gray.  I did not anticipate how shiny and silky the frosting would look, I was pleasantly surprised, and it certainly reminded me of everyone’s favorite gray silk tie!

The flavor?  Safety word good!  So rich, so buttery, so delicious.  You know you want some.

Print the Recipe.

50 Shades of Grey Cupcakes
Adapted from Slutty Brownies originally from What’s Gaby Cooking
Yield – 16 cupcakes

5 tablespoons + 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup & 2 tablespoons + 3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 + 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 + 1 eggs
1/4 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 + 1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
16 Oreos

Making the brownie layer:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt 5 tablespoons of butter on a saucepan over medium heat.  Once melted add in 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar and the cocoa.  Whisk until blended together and then remove from the heat.
  3. Add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 egg, again whisk to combine.  Add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup flour.  Mix until everything just comes together.  Set aside to cool.

Making the cookie layer:

  1. Beat together 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow.
  2. Add in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, beat to combine and then scrape down the bowl.
  3. Add in 1/2 teaspoon salt, the powder, soda, and 1 1/4 cups flour.  Mix on slow until all the flour is incorporated.  Mix in the chocolate chips by hand.

Assembly:

  1. Use silicone cupcake liners if you have them, lightly grease the inside.
  2. Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough into each lined cupcake cup.  Press an Oreo on top.
  3. Scoop about 1 – 1 1/4 tablespoons of brownie batter on top of the Oreo.  Spread slightly with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until the brownie is set.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. There will be leftover cookie dough, what you do with that cookie dough is nobody’s business…

50 (4) Shades of Grey Whipped Vanilla Frosting
Adapted from Can you Stay for Dinner
Yield – decorates 16-20 cupcakes generously

1 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
black gel food coloring

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and thick resembling pancake batter.
  2. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and allow to cool completely.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – just keep beating until it is no longer grainy.
  4. Add in the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until the entire frosting is light and fluffy.
  5. Add a small drop of black food coloring and mix well to combine.
  6. Scoop a bit into a piping bag and pipe onto 4 cupcakes.  Squeeze the rest of the frosting into the bowl.
  7. Add another small drop of black food coloring mix well to combine.  Repeat step 6.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 two more times.  This will give you four shades of gray.

Laters, babe.

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Black Bean Sliders {Roommate Dinner}

It’s time for some real talk – I made these sliders on Sunday, yet I did not eat them until Tuesday.  I’m sure you’re very confused.  Aren’t roommate dinners on Sunday?

Roommate dinners ARE on Sunday, and my roommates did eat them on Sunday.  Now you may be asking yourself why I didn’t eat them on Sunday with my roommates.

Let me tell you a story.   It was my turn to make dinner on Seis de Mayo, but Cinco de Mayo kicked my butt hard.  Like I never want to have another margarita, hard.  Yet, in my post-margarita-haze, I was still able to make a delicious dinner!  There was a lot of laying on the couch in between steps,  but dinner made it to the table and I went to bed.  Sunday was not my proudest of moments.

The burgers were delicious!  A little bit spicy from the cayenne (Stacey and Ruth claim they tasted no spiciness, but we have different palates) and soft from the beans.  You could really taste the cilantro and I loved how you could see the bits of corn, cilantro, onion, and bean throughout the slider.  They just scream healthful!  The avocado mayo was the perfect condiment with a bit of sass and lot of flavor.  The homemade buns were amazing, but more on those in another post!

Yes, this menu had originally had more extensive plans, but whatevs.

Menu

  1. Black bean sliders with avocado mayo (recipe below)
  2. Homemade buns
  3. Asparagus grilled with oil, salt, & pepper

Print the Recipe.

Black Bean Sliders
Adapted from Mother Thyme
Yield – 12 sliders (feeds 4-6 people)

2 cloves of garlic
1 cup white onion (1/2 medium onion)
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 15.5 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons catsup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
15 grinds of fresh pepper
2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
olive oil for sauteing

  1. Finely chop the garlic and the onion.
  2. Add about a teaspoon of oil to a saute pan and saute the garlic and onions until tender and translucent.  Turn off the heat and add the corn into the pan.  Set aside.
  3. Drain and rinse the black beans.   Place in a medium sized bowl and use a potato masher to smush the black beans into a chunky paste.  Add in the catsup, soy sauce, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.
  4. Mix in the sauteed mixture.  Add in enough bread crumbs to dry the mixture.
  5. Use a standard ice cream scoop to make 12 equal balls.  Flatten each ball and place in the fridge for about 1/2 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, make the avocado mayo.
  7. Add some oil to the saute pan and cook the patties 6 at a time until they are thoroughly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

Avocado Mayo
1 avocado
1/2 cup light mayo
juice of one lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a small bowl.  Use a fork to smush together.
  2. Cover and keep chilled in the fridge.
  3. Spread on rolls, add a few slices of tomato, and top with the cooked patty.

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Margarita Whoopie Pies

It was Krystal’s birthday and two of her favorite things are margaritas and whoopie pies.  Plus, her birthday is on Cinco de Mayo, perfect!  Obviously I should have posted this recipe two weeks ago, but then they would not have been fresh for Krystal’s birthday. At least we were all able to enjoy them on Cinco de Mayo!

Krystal is one of the zaniest people I have ever met.  She is feisty, loads of fun, and always there when you need her.  We don’t get to hang out much during the regular school week, but on Saturdays we always have a blast at Saturday School! She has been asking me for awhile now to teacher her how to make whoopie pies, I guess I will have to one day, but until then, I can just keep making them for her!

Whoopie pies are as much fun to make as they are to say.  They look impressive, but they are just as easy as a simple cupcake recipe.  The cake is moist and full of lime flavor and the filling is creamy and sweet.  The whole whoopie pie has just a hint of tequila with a big punch of fresh lime, very refreshing!

Print the Recipe.

Margarita Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Whoopie Pies page 52 and 76
Yield – 20 whoopie pies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or scant 1/2 cup milk with a enough lemon juice to make it 1/2 cup)
zest of 1 1/2 limes
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon silver tequila
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, powder, soda, and salt onto wax paper and set aside.
  3. Beat together the butter, shortening, and sugars in a mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat for several minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add in the milk, zest, lime juice, tequila, and vanilla.  Again beat for several minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Add the flour mix and beat until just combined.
  6. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, scoop the batter onto the parchment paper leaving space between.  Bake for 10 minutes until the tops just begin to brown and then cool completely on a wire rack.

Filling
1 regular size jar of Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
zest of 1 1/2 limes
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons silver tequila
2 cups powdered sugar
lime green food coloring
white sanding sugar for decoration

  1. Beat the fluff and shortening together in a mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the zest, lime juice, and tequila.  Beat on high speed until the everything is well incorporated.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar on low speed.  Add a squirt of green food coloring and increase the speed and whip the filling.
  4. Add the filling to a piping bag with a round tip and pipe on the flat side of one little cake.  Top with a matching cake and roll the edges in white sanding sugar.

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Caramel Snickers Bars

When I think of Snickers bars I think of my mother.  I have never really asked her, but I assume they are her favorite type of candy bar.  She seems to go the nuts and chocolate route because I also associate her with Rocky Road and Almond Joy.  Growing up we had nuts in everything, like chocolate chip cookies, brownies, banana bread, etc.  Nuts seem so taboo now with all the allergies people have I rarely bake with anymore.  It’s kind of sad because I really like nuts.

I didn’t really mean to start talking about nuts here, oh well.  My family in Michigan sees all the goodies I bake here on the blog or over on Facebook and they get a little bit jealous of every one in New York.  When I can, I try to send treats now and again, but not everything ships well.  I try to do some baking whenever I’m in Michigan but I guess it’s not enough.

Since Mother’s Day is Sunday, and I want to show up my brother in the gift giving department, I decided to send my mom a sweet treat that reminded me of her!  And I just sent my dad a really cool candy card, so I had to make sure my mom got her share of the goods!

My mom is pretty awesome.  She’s really mellow and though we live 500 miles apart she still wants to apart of my life.  Growing up she always used to let me help her bake and as I gained more skills, she let me do the baking and would often clean up after me.  I’m kind of messy too!  One December when I was home from college, I was assigned a different cookie to make each day for the Christmas cookie tray.  Whatever, I was on break, no school, no work, I liked to bake!  However, I think she took the credit for baking all those cookies!  I wish we could share these together!

Anyways, lets talk about these bars!  They are very chewy and very sweet!  The dulce de leche and all the butter and all the sugar make for a very rich dessert.  I cut these bars small, and I highly recommend having several little bites.  The bits of chocolate and nuts really come through and I was surprised by how much they tasted like a giant, fresh Snickers bar! I added a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the dough and next time I would wait until they came out of the oven and melt chocolate on top to make more of a chocolate topping or frosting.  Would that be too decadent?  Definitely make these the night before you want to eat them and refrigerate!  I always struggle with cutting bars, but cutting these cold was a breeze.  I hope my mom enjoys them as much as Ruth and I enjoyed munching on the scraps!

Print the Recipe.

Caramel Snickers Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups
Yield – 21 (1 1/2″ x 2″) squares + all the trimmings

2 cups flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 whole egg + 1 yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 regular sized Snickers bars, chopped
1/2 of a 14-ounce can of Dulce de Leche
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Line a 8 x 12” pan with aluminum foil and spray the inside with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk together the flour, oats, powder, soda, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Beat together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat in the egg and the yolk, and the vanilla.  Beat on high speed until the mixture is a pale brown color.
  5. Add in the flour mixture and mix on slow speed until just combined.
  6. Stir in the chopped Snickers bars by hand.
  7. Spread into the prepared pan and dollop about half the can of Dulce de Leche on top.  Swirl with a butter knife.
  8. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and smooth everything down.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes.  The top should be golden and the middle will still be a little wiggly.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack and then place in the fridge overnight before cutting.

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Filed under Brownies/Bars

Vanilla Cupcakes with Caramel and Chocolate

A vanilla bean mini cupcake with a caramel filling, dark chocolate topping, caramel whipped buttercream, and a dark chocolate coating.  That should be the official name, but it seemed really wordy to put in the headline.  All the words make for an absolutely delicious and wonderful experience.  I try not to throw around definitive statements, but these cupcakes are probably the best thing I have ever baked.  There, I’ve said it.

I was inspired and it was raining, so instead of going for a healthful walk, I stayed inside and created awesomeness.  While chaperoning a field trip, several colleagues and myself took a short interlude to enjoy some ice cream.  After watching over 250 sixth graders run around, we needed a little treat.  So we indulged in Magnum bars.  If you’ve never had a magnum bar, you need to treat yourself.  Premium vanilla ice cream, chocolate and caramel – amazing!  My first thought while eating the marvelous ice cream bar was cupcakes!

Before I talk about how awesome these cupcakes taste and how they are totally worth the ten million steps, let’s talk about photography.  I know these pictures are weak.  Look, it was a rainy cloudy day, and it was in the evening with no sun.  I’m sorry.  The recipe was too delicious to not share and all the cupcakes were eaten quickly.  Next time will be better, I promise.

Now the good stuff.  The cupcakes were moist and soft, full of vanilla bean scent and flavor.  Inside, there was a smooth and creamy caramel filling that was just enough to add richness and flavor.  The dark chocolate on top was smooth and decadent.  The caramel buttercream was light and fluffy and sweet without being too sweet.  A little sprinkling of salt brings the entire morsel together.  I definitely believe these cupcakes should be consumed as minis because there is a lot to enjoy it might be too rich if this was full size cupcake.

Yes, there a lot of steps involved, but isn’t that the fun of baking?

Print the Recipe.

Vanilla Mini Cupcakes
adapted from Cupcake Project
Yields 21 mini cupcakes

1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, I use non-fat
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Add the sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife.  Smush the vanilla seeds in the sugar and set aside while you gather all of the other ingredients.
  3. Sift together the flour, soda, powder, and salt over the sugar.  Mix together on low speed.
  4. Add the butter and beat for several minutes until the mixture becomes nice and crumbly.
  5. While the mixer is mixing, whisk together the sour cream, oil, milk, and vanilla.  Pour this in the mixer and combine.  Beat until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
  6. Using a medium sized scoop, pour into lined cupcake pans.  Bake 10-12 minutes until a toothpick in a center cupcake comes out clean.  Cool on cooling rack.

Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Baking Illustrated, page 120

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
8-10 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon corn syrup

  1. In a medium saucepan heat the sugar and water together.  Cover and let the mixture boil until it reaches 300 F.  Do not stir, just let it boil.
  2. Meanwhile bring 8 tablespoons of heavy cream, butter, vanilla, salt, and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan.
  3. Remove the lid from the sugar and let it continue to boil until it reaches 350 F and browns.  Add in a little bit of the cream mixture and leave it alone to bubble.
  4. Slowly add the rest of the cream mixture as you whisk the caramel sauce.  Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour into a different bowl.  Add more cream as needed to get the consistency you want.  This is not supposed to be a hard caramel.  Drop some on the counter and as it cools see what it does.  If the caramel becomes solid, add more cream one tablespoon at a time.  Place the fridge to cool as you make the frosting.

Caramel Frosting
Adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner

3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons caramel sauce

  1. Heat the milk and the flour in a medium saucepan.  Keep whisking the entire time.  Whisk until the mixture is thick like pudding.
  2. Pull the milk mixture off the heat and whisk in the vanilla and the caramel sauce.  Let cool completely.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow and there is no longer a gritty texture, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the in the milk mixture and beat for several minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and there is no longer any grittiness.
  5. Do NOT refrigerate!  Trust me, it changes the texture.

Assembly
15 ounces dark chocolate
coarse finishing salt

  1. Melt the chocolate in the bowl of a double boiler above simmering water.  Melt the chocolate slowly.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a small piping bag with the cooled caramel and a filling tip.  Push the tip into the cupcakes and pull up so you are not pushing the filling to the bottom.  Squeeze in the caramel.
  3. Dip the top of each cupcake in a little bit of chocolate.  Place in the freezer for 10 minutes or until the chocolate sets.
  4. Frost each cupcake with caramel frosting, I used a spatula for this.  Place in the freezer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Tilt the bowl of melted chocolate so most of the chocolate is pooled together.  Dip the top in the chocolate and shake off any excess.
  6. Sprinkle with a few grains of coarse salt.
  7. Enjoy the moment!

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Filed under Cupcakes