Tag Archives: chocolate

Vegan Chocolate Cake

vegan chocolate cake | pale yellowYesterday I discovered a new part of the beach!  Usually I walk downtown because there are more points of interest and I like walking to the jetties, but once and awhile I walk uptown on the beach.  Uptown is just houses, beautiful houses, but just houses.  I walked down to where the public city beach ends and the park begins, it was a beautiful sight.

vegan chocolate cake | pale yellowNow that I’ve reached the end of the beach I want to  climb the fence and keep walking.  It’s time to break all the rules!  We’ll see what happens, if I stop posting for a few days it’s probably because I got arrested.  No worries.

vegan chocolate cake | pale yellowDo you ever wake up and decide you’re going to make yourself a cake?  I had been thinking about layer cakes for a week, I was ready for this to happen.  It happens some days.  At least this cake is vegan and borderline healthy.  Vegan is healthy, right?  I’m going to pretend that it is; that’s just my style.

vegan chocolate cake | pale yellowDespite being vegan, this cake doesn’t taste vegan.  And there aren’t any weird vegan tricks.  Just a simple cake, with simple ingredients, and a little coconut whipped cream.  The cake is super moist and tender and squishy.  The chocolate is rich and flavorful.  A little whipped cream and fresh strawberries pair delightfully.  Spring time in a cake!  Plus, when you make yourself a cake you have lots of leftovers, perfect for freezing.  Now when I crave cake, I have a piece ready that just needs to be thawed!

vegan chocolate cake | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Graham Crackers
Two Years Ago – Cake Decorating 2 – Final Cake

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Vegan Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Shutterbean
Yield – 8 servings

Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cold water

Topping
1 quart strawberries, cut into thick slices
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cans coconut milk, refrigerated
1 tablespoon sugar
splash of vanilla

  1. Cake – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease the bottoms and sides of a 8” and 6” round pan.  Cut circles of parchment paper and place on the bottom of each pan.  Grease the paper and then lightly dust each pan with cocoa powder.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, soda, and salt.  Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture.
  3. Stir together the oil, vanilla, vinegar, and water in a measure cup.  Pour into the well in the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
  4. Divide the batter between the two pans, more in the larger pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pan.  Let the cakes cool completely on the wire rack.
  6. Topping – Slice the strawberries and add to a bowl, toss with sugar and vinegar.  Let sit in the fridge while the cakes cool.
  7. Carefully separate the solid cream from the clear liquid in the canned coconut milk.  Add the coconut cream to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Add the sugar and vanilla.  Beat until creamy and fluffy.
  8. Assembly – Level the cakes (eat the scraps) and place the bottom layer on a cake stand.  Smear a generous layer of whipped cream.  Arrange two-thirds of the strawberries on the whipped cream.
  9. Place the smaller layer in the middle and spread the remaining whipped cream on top.  Arrange the rest of the strawberries.
  10. Store in the refrigerator.vegan chocolate cake | pale yellow
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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowYesterday  I went home sick.  There is nothing worse than driving yourself home, and hoping you make it.  I just couldn’t stay at work any longer, my bones hurt so bad.  Even laying in bed is uncomfortable because I feel like I’m putting too much strain on my hips and back.  At least I have a lot of padding, I don’t know how skinny people do it!

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowI’ve even lost my appetite – that’s when I know I’m really sick.  I ALWAYS want to eat; I need the comfort.  Not right now though, just some water, tea, and juice.  I really just want to feel better soon, there are a lot of things that need to get done and this illness is standing in my way!

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowSometimes I bake something, eat it, and don’t post recipe for a month.  Not the case with these bars, they were just too good to not share as soon as possible.  I was looking for an easy recipe that can be made ahead.  Usually bars fit the bill because there is no pan rotation in the oven and they need a day to really set up.  This was the perfect recipe and I can’t wait to make variations.

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowI ate the edges of these bars a little warm and let me tell you, that is the correct decision!  I bet these would be even better with a scoop of ice cream on top.  However, the bars were still perfect room temperature.  The brown butter provides wonderful nuttiness and the sprinkling of sea salt on top adds delightful balance.  Plus, there are plenty of rich, decadent chocolate chips to go around.  If you’re looking for a quick, easy (one pot), and delicious bar to impress your friends, look no further!

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Bellini Cupcakes

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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted from Buns in my Oven
Yield – 20 bars

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
10 ounces dark chocolate chips
fancy sea salt for sprinkling

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and generously grease a 9 x 13” pan.  Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  Grease the paper as well.
  2. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and heat until browned.  The butter will smell nutty; stir the whole time.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Whisk the sugars into the butter and then whisk in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch, soda, and salt.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellow

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies | Pale YellowFor the past few weeks, since it’s been warm out, I’ve been going for walks on the beach.  And let me tell you, it is amazingly restorative to the mind, body, and soul.  I have several friends that grew up on Lake Michigan and I didn’t understand their connection to the water, but now I do after only two months of living by the ocean!

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies | Pale YellowI’m learning important things like the tide schedule and which parts of the beach are easiest to walk on.  I’ve also learned that people go surfing in 40-degree (Fahrenheit) weather. crazy!  My parents don’t believe that I live by real beach so I’ve been sending them photos of sand and seashells; hopefully they’ll get the hint and come visit me.

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies | Pale YellowThe cold and wind the past few days have put a damper on my daily walks.  I’m so done with winter and just want hot weather and sunshine all the time.  I promise there will be no complaining when this summer is sweltering!  It’s flip-flop season, no more boots and socks.

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies | Pale YellowA dessert like this doesn’t need too many words to sell you on how delicious it tastes.  A rich, moist chocolate cake with a creamy peanut filling is hard to beat.  It’s been awhile since whoopie pies have been on the blog and this is the first of two fantastic recipes.  These were real good my friends, real good.Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Whoopie Pies, page 43 & 87
Yield – 9 whoopie pies

Whoopie Pie
1/2 + 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
peanut butter chips

Filling
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, PB & Co. is best!
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ˚F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt onto wax paper.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar until pale yellow.  Beat in the egg and the vanilla until well combined; scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Turn the mixer on low and add the flour mixture in three additions with the milk in between.  Beat until just combined.
  5. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough on the cookie sheets.  Leave at least 2 inches of space between each whoopie pie.  Press 5 peanut butter chips in each whoopie pie.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set.  Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Add the peanut butter and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy.  Turn the mixer to low and beat in the powdered sugar and salt.  Mix for about three minutes until the mixture is fluffy.
  8. Match halves together based on similar size.  Use a piping bag with a round tip to pipe the frosting on each half.  Gently squish the halves together.Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies | Pale Yellow

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Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowI’m not a fan of this whole Daylight’s Saving Time.  One nice things about winter is the ability to hunker down earlier and hide in my apartment.  Now that the sun is shining bright at 6 p.m. I feel like I should be outside or at least be productive.  All I want to do is stay in and watch TV: a co-worker gave me the first two seasons of Game of Thrones and I can’t stop.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowSince October I’ve been reading the book version; I’m half way through the third book.  The books are phenomenal, but long; I am very much invested.  I wanted to watch the show to see what the characters look like and I’m quite displeased.  Everyone kept telling me the show was just like the books – not true!  The show has the same plot, but so many minor changes.  And so much more sex, everyone is having sex with everyone else.  Except for Arya, she’s my favorite!  Winter is coming, put your clothes back on.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowBetween episodes I try to be productive, but that’s not going well.  My dishes keep piling up and my floors are filthy, as usual.  I also spend plenty of time looking up robot vacuums.  Unfortunately I cannot afford one, if anyone wants to help me out and buy me one, that would be greatly appreciated.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowThere are few things better in this world than a cheesecake bar: a rich chocolate base plus a creamy, flavored topping.  The brownie base is rich and chocolatey with a hint of Bailey’s flavor.  The cheesecake layer is even better because it is so creamy and even boozier.  Obviously, this a perfect dessert for a St. Patrick’s Day party!

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowPrint the Recipe!

Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Cozy Country Living
Yield – 24 pieces

Brownie Layer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon flour

  1. Brownie Layer - Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with piece of parchment paper.  Grease the paper and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter.  Whisk in the chocolate chips to melt them.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugars.
  3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then stir in the Bailey’s.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
  4. Cheesecake Layer - Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat together until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownies and swirl to combine the layers with a knife.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate before cutting into squares.bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellow

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Nutella S’more Martini

nutella smore martini | pale yellowIt’s cocktail time!  I would say it is always cocktail time, but that hasn’t been true lately.  It’s been wine time.  Last year I was drinking mostly bourbon, but now I’m on a red wine and champagne bender.  I’ve been trying to stock a wine stash, but it’s been difficult keeping an inventory!

nutella smore martini | pale yellowNow that my bar cart is all set up, my liquor is out and I see the different bottles I’ve purchased over the years.  I’ve purchased a lot of liquor and it is a little embarrassing.  However, I’ve been reintroduced to my collection.  One bottle that I was reintroduced to was my toasted marshmallow vodka.

nutella smore martini | pale yellowI bought the vodka to make s’more martinis over a year ago.  I made a batch but took pictures in the dark, so I never posted the recipe.  It was time to remake the martinis.  I spiced things up with a mini bottle of Frangelico; right decision!

nutella smore martini | pale yellowDessert cocktails are the best; they are sweet, creamy, and boozy.  Plus they pack a punch.  This drink in particular does not mess around.  After buying marshmallows and graham crackers I enjoyed one of these on a Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say, I didn’t get anything done the rest of the day.  Get out your mini blow torch and your shaker, because it’s cocktail time!

nutella smore martini | pale yellowPrint the Recipe!

Nutella S’more Martini
Adapted from Brit & Co.
Yield – 1 (but probably should be 2)

1 tablespoon nutella
2 graham crackers, crushed
2 ounces marshmallow vodka
2 ounces Frangelico
1 ounce cream
1 tablespoon melted chocolate or chocolate syrup
4-5 ice cubes
mini marshmallows on a toothpick, toasted

  1. Spread the Nutella on the edge of the glass.  Crush the graham crackers and dip the edge of the glass in the crushed graham crackers.
  2. Add the vodka, Frangelico, cream, melted chocolate, and ice to a shaker.  Shake, shake, shake!  Strain into your prepared glass.
  3. Add the mini marshmallows to the toothpick and use a mini blowtorch to toast.
  4. Garnish the glass.
  5. Enjoy responsibly!nutella smore martini | pale yellow

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Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies

Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies | Pale YellowI have turned into such a bum.  I have a green basket fully of papers that need to be dealt with and floors that need to be swept.  Plus, the turtles need a clean tank.  Instead I’ve been watching The Office nonstop and am completely distracted.  I’ve seen the show plenty of times, yet I’m not getting any work done and still laughing out loud.

Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies | Pale YellowI’ve almost made it through three seasons; I’m currently watching the one with Phyllis’ wedding and I hate it when Pam goes home with Roy.  My heart breaks for Jim each and every time.  The season finale of season two always makes me cry.  Speaking of crying, I had to suspend my Olympic-watching due to extreme emotional responses.

Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies | Pale YellowWatching the Olympics usually makes me tear up, but after the Women’s gold-medal hockey game I was a wreck.  It was such a great game and I was in a happy mood baking and running in to see all the exciting plays; and then the last 4 minutes happened.  And once the game ended and they showed all the crying faces, I was done.  I can’t imagine the physical and emotional toll of playing at level and how those women felt.  Despite the outcome, it was a great game of hockey and through my tears I was proud of the US ladies!

Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies | Pale YellowThese cookies were made in an effort to use up all the odd and end ingredients I have in my stock; specifically peppermint bits and extra chocolate chips.  It has been so cold and snowy these past two months I’ve been drinking a lot of cocoa.  Hot cocoa is best enjoyed with a splash or two of peppermint schnapps, hence the peppermint bits.

Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies | Pale YellowAnd obviously hot cocoa needs marshmallows.  These cookies are not the prettiest I’ve made, they are a tad flat, but still super chewy.  The cookies are rich and chocolatey.  There are plenty of chocolate chunks and peppermint bits, the marshmallows really add the hot cocoa flavor.  These cookies were hard to stop eating; literally, I couldn’t stop eating them!  Before winter is over, you should make these cookies!

Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies | Pale YellowTwo Years Ago – White Russian Cupcakes

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Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Yield – 30 cookies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (or whatever you have on hand)
3/4 cup mini dried marshmallows + extra for topping
1 cup peppermint bits

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line three cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow.  Scrape the bowl and beat in the vanilla and egg; mix until well combined.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt.  Add to the creamed butter on low speed and mix until just combined.  Beat in the chocolate chips, dried marshmallows, and peppermint bits.
  4. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough.  Add dried marshmallows on top.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes until just done.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.Mint Hot Cocoa Cookies | Pale Yellow

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowAs you all know, it’s winter.  And here in New York it’s been one hell of a winter.  Frankly, I’m tired of it all.  I like the snow as much as anyone, I’m just sick of scrapping it off my car every morning and worrying out getting stuck.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowI just want to enjoy being outside again without getting cold and wet.  I also want to wear flip-flops and Toms.  My boots are great, but my feet want to be free!  In other words, I’m ready for some warm spring days and I’m especially ready for hot summer days.  I just moved to the beach, let’s get this beach party started!  I haven’t even walked to the ocean yet.  Yes, a large part of that is laziness; but a bigger part is a my fear of slipping on the ice.  It’s treacherous out there; safety first.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowEnough whining, let’s discuss something happy, babies!  These delightful treats were made for John and Irene.  Clearly the babies aren’t ready for chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars, but until they are, their daddy can eat the treats for them!  I can’t think of a better way to survive this winter than staying inside holding little babies.  Of course when I was there Gavin and Kait slept and were perfectly happy; apparently having twin 3-week olds is a piece of cake!  Obviously, I’ve never cared for newborns :-)

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowNew parents need lots of sustenance.  What I lack in baby-caring skills I make up for in sugar, butter, chocolate, and peanut butter.  This is one of the best recipes I’ve posted to the blog, seriously.  I couldn’t stop eating them so I had to take the four remaining bars to Jackie’s; I want to fit through doorways.  The chocolate cookie/brownie bottom is rich and chocolatey with a creamy peanut butter layer on top.  The extra crust and chocolate drizzle keep the bars together and make it a complete package.  I wish I had some more bars, they were just so perfectly perfect; everything you could ever dream of wanting from a chocolate-peanut butter pairing.  Whether you have a little baby or not, you need to start shoving these bars in your face!chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Inside BruCrew Life
Yield – 24 bars

Chocolate Base
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 regular size Reese’s cups, frozen

Topping
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan with shortening and then dust with cocoa powder.  Set aside.
  2. Base – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat until creamy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, soda, cocoa powder onto parchment paper.  Add slowly to the creamed butter and mix on low until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Wet your hands with cold water and dry.  Press two-thirds of the dough on the bottom of the greased pan as evenly as possible.  The dough will be sticky.  Save the remaining dough for topping.
  5. Filling – In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat in the egg and peanut butter.  Chop the peanut butter cups and stir into the mixture.  Spread evenly over the base.
  6. Take the leftover dough and make round, flat disks.  Spread the disks over the top of the peanut butter filling.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set.  Let cool for 1-2 hours on a wire rack and then overnight in the fridge.
  8. Topping – Melt the chocolate chips and and shortening together.  Add to a disposable piping bag.
  9. Cut the bars into 24 pieces.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over each bar.
  10. Let the chocolate harden before packaging.  Store in the fridge.chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes | pale yellowHere are some cupcakes, some real cupcakes.  There is a delightful chocolate-bourbon base, a surprising pecan pie filling, and a perfect brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream with a touch of cinnamon.  Yes, this is for real!  I wasn’t joking on Instagram when I stated this maybe the best cupcake I have ever made.

chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes | pale yellowThis recipe has pecan bourbon in every component!  If you’ve never experienced pecan bourbon before, you need to try some ASAP.  Despite my love for bourbon, I have a hard time drinking it straight; there is just too much burn.  Not so with this bourbon from William Wolf.  It is smooth and delicious without burning; all you need is a glass and ice.  And no worries, it’s not too sweet!  If you don’t have access to pecan bourbon, I’m sure regular bourbon will work just as well.

chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes | pale yellowI saw this recipe a few weeks ago on Pinterest and was instantly impressed.  So many favorite things in one recipe.  There were only two questions: when was I going to make these cupcakes and who was awesome enough to deserve them?  Thankfully Dean has a birthday in late-January.  I’ve written about my love for Dean here, here, and here!  Check out the Dean love!  Anyway, he (and everyone else at happy hour) enjoyed the cupcakes!

chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes | pale yellowLet’s start with the frosting.  The original recipe called for a frosting with powdered sugar and caramelized pecans and a butter pecan type flavor.  The flavor sounded lovely but I’m not a fan of powdered sugar frosting.  A little bit of searching led me to a brown sugar version of Swiss meringue buttercream.  I ADORE Swiss meringue buttercream and this adaptation is delightful.  There is a whole host of ideas and usages I can see for this frosting.

chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes | pale yellowI’ve never put a full cup of booze in a cupcake recipe before but this recipe can handle it.  The cake is super moist, tender, and flavorful; you can actually taste the delectable pecan bourbon.  The filling is creamy and pecan-y; fantastic textural contrast in the cupcakes.  And the frosting, I’ve already talked about the frosting, but it’s super!  Find a friend you love and bake them these amazing cupcakes!chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes | pale yellowPrint the Recipe!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Frosting adapted from Sweetapolita
Yield – 19 cupcakes

Cupcakes
1 cup pecan bourbon
1 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Filling
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons pecan bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting
5 egg whites
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons pecan bourbon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pecan halves for garnish

  1. Cupcakes – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line your cupcake tin with liners
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the bourbon, oil, and cocoa powder until smooth.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the eggs and yogurt together.  Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture.  Beat in the sugar; scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda; beat on low speed until just combined.
  5. Use a standard ice cream scoop to portion the batter in the cupcake liners.  The liners should be about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours.
  7. Filling – Whisk together the water and cornstarch until smooth in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil; whisk the entire time.
  8. While whisking, toast the chopped pecans in a dry skillet until they are warm and smell nutty.
  9. Remove the filling from the stove top and stir in the pecans, bourbon, and vanilla.
  10. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
  11. Frosting – Take a small pot and fill it with a small amount of water.  Place the bowl of a stand mixer on top.  Add the egg whites, sugar, and a pinch of salt.  Whisk and heat until the mixture is hot and the sugar is dissolved.  It should feel smooth.
  12. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the bowl is cool to the touch and the meringue has formed stiff peaks.  This takes about 10 minutes.
  13. Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until well combined.  Mix in the bourbon, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  14. Assembly – Cut a cone out of each cupcake with a paring knife.  Cut the tip off the cone and set the top aside next to the cupcake.  Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in each cupcake; replace with the top.
  15. Add the frosting to a piping bag with a 1M tip and pipe a swirl on each cupcake.
  16. Toast the pecan halves until they are warm and then let cool.  Place one half on top of each cupcake.chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes | pale yellow

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Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Mini Cupcakes

dark chocolate salted caramel mini cupcakes | pale yellowThe snow is pretty intense.  It started snowing at 9 am yesterday and never really stopped.  The drive home was not great.  I went to the grocery store to stock up on baking essentials (and wine, obvi)  just in case a magical snow day presented itself.  Somehow I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

dark chocolate salted caramel mini cupcakes | pale yellowPeople were stuck on the roads for HOURS and there isn’t a snow day called in the evening press conference.  What gives?  If I was in charge (and I should really be in charge), I would call snow days all. the. time.  It’s really about the safety of the kids; they shouldn’t be subjected to the dangers of icy, treacherous conditions.  Safety first.  Plus, they need to learn how to shovel sidewalks and make snowmen.  Kids are subjected to too many tests and not enough fun days.

dark chocolate salted caramel mini cupcakes | pale yellowRant over.  I don’t even get snow days anymore, but I believe in them strongly!  Clearly I could never live in a warm climate without the possibly of inclement weather days.  There is something so lovely about stocking the kitchen with good food and nestling in for the day – I love it!

dark chocolate salted caramel mini cupcakes | pale yellowAccording to my dad, this was the best thing he ate during my December/Michigan baking spree.  But I shouldn’t mention him on the blog, apparently it’s “not right to write about people on the internet.”  Trust me, things got intense around the house.  Luckily he doesn’t read the blog or even understand what a blog really is; no worries, I can hold my own when sparring with my father.  He may complain but he still eats ALL the treats!

dark chocolate salted caramel mini cupcakes | pale yellowI’ve had many chocolate/salted caramel combinations on this blog, but this recipe is one of the greats.  The tininess makes each bite perfect.  There is a chocolate cake that is moist and tender filled with a salted caramel sauce.  A salted, caramel, swiss meringue buttercream is a perfect topping for the cake.  This recipe is a keeper; make it happen!dark chocolate salted caramel mini cupcakes | pale yellow

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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
Yield – 33 mini cupcakes

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sour cream

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons salted caramel sauce

  1. Salted Caramel Sauce – Do the day before:  Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water to a medium saucepan and heat until it reaches a nice amber color.
  2. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and salt.  Stir in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth.  Store in a glass container.
  3. Dark Chocolate Cupcakes – Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
  4. Melt the butter, chocolate, and cocoa together in a medium bowl in the microwave in 20-second intervals.  Stir in between intervals and heat until just melted.  Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Sift together the flour, soda, and powder on wax paper and set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs.  Beat in the sugar, vanilla, and salt until the mix is light and fluffy.
  7. Gently stir the flour mixture into the eggs in three additions with the sour cream in between.  Mix until just combined.
  8. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the batter into the cupcake liners.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Whisk the eggs until frothy and no longer gritty.
  10. Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they reach stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to the touch; about 10 minutes.
  11. With the mixer running on medium-high speed, beat in the butter one tablespoon at a time.  The frosting will look like its breaking or separating, but just keep beating.  Beat in the vanilla and salted caramel sauce.  The frosting will be very thick and smooth.
  12. Assembly – Use a paring knife to cut a cone out of each cupcake; set aside, don’t eat!  Spoon about 1 teaspoon of salted caramel sauce into each cupcake, place the cone over the top.
  13. Add the frosting to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe a swirl on each.
  14. Store in a cool place, but bring to room temperature before eating for the tastiest results!dark chocolate salted caramel mini cupcakes | pale yellow

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Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowWould you believe me if  I told you I was virtually unpacked?  Well I am!  Thanks to great movers, Michelle’s task master ways, and Jackie’s kitchen stacking skills, all the boxes were unpacked, the cardboard smashed and taken downstairs.  There is no way I could have done it with out them!

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowYesterday I got up and rearranged my bedroom furniture because the bed felt like it was in a weird location; now it feels right!  The kitchen needed a little rearranging and Dean came over to help set up my internet/TV.  Decorations are not up, but with time and inspiration they will be up soon.  As things start to look cute and lovely I’ll try to post pictures to the What I Learned series.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowThe strangest thing  about moving so far has been adjusting to a new grocery store.  I knew Key Foods like the back of my hand and it’s frustrating wandering the aisles.  Plus, Waldbaums doesn’t seem to carry Kind bars – my breakfast staple.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowI made these scones right after Thanksgiving as a little snack for myself.  They were a lovely snack on my flight back to New York after my Michigan weekend.  These scones are not dry at all and are filled with goodies.  There is plenty of banana flavor and lots of chocolate and walnut goodness.  Sometimes scones can be not-so-good; I promise you, these are not those!

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Vanilla Pudding Shots

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Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones
Adapted from How Sweet it is
Yield – 8 scones

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, loosely packed
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/3 cup buttermilk (or squirt of lemon juice + enough milk to make 1/3 cup, let sit 2 minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ripe banana
scant 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
scant 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
splash vanilla
extra walnuts & chocolate chips to sprinkle on top, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 ˚F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, soda, powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  3. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  4. Use your fingers to massage the butter into the flour.  Keep mixing until the flour and butter are combined in coarse crumbs.
  5. Mash the banana into the buttermilk and stir in the vanilla.  Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the banana/buttermilk mixture in the middle. Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  6. Use a fork to combine the ingredients.  Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  7. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead together lightly.  Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  8. Push the mixture into a 6” circle and cut into 8 pieces.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  9. Place the pieces on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until the scones just begin to brown.
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  11. Make the glaze by stirring together the milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  If you like a lot of glaze, double the amounts.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  12. Spoon the glaze over each scone and sprinkle with walnuts and chocolate chips.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow

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