Tag Archives: chocolate

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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Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s Pieces and Chocolate Chips

Peanut butter cookies with Reese's Pieces &  Chocolate Chips | Pale YellowLately I’ve had a little obsession with Reese’s Pieces.  Despite my complete and utter love for chocolate, I’m clearly satisfied with just peanut butter.  I’ve been sneaking bites of little pieces whenever I can.  This obsession is one of the many reasons why I’m giving up sweets for the month of January.  I just need a fresh start to 2014 and I thought a little less sugar would help me do so.  I was doing really well until my brownie sundae Saturday.  Whoops.

Peanut butter cookies with Reese's Pieces &  Chocolate Chips | Pale YellowMy room is currently a wall of boxes and all echo-y; oh, the joys of moving!  I’ve been trying to get my packing done on the weekends when I have extra energy and the room turns into utter chaos.  I took the time to organize boxes and the stack is taller than me; a little scary.

Peanut butter cookies with Reese's Pieces &  Chocolate Chips | Pale YellowThis is one of the recipes I’ve been saving in preparation for the big move since all my baking equipment is in the tower of boxes.  I made these cookies in October!  I facilitated a teacher workshop this fall and knew the best way to make a great first impression is to bake delicious cookies.  Judging by the speed in which the cookies were consumed, they were hit.

Peanut butter cookies with Reese's Pieces &  Chocolate Chips | Pale Yellow The cookies were good cookies – perfectly soft and chewy with tons of crunchy  Reese’s Pieces and chocolate chips.  A good cookie is a good cookie and these should join your regular rotation; I wish I had some now or at least in February when I’m eating sweets again!

Peanut butter cookies with Reese's Pieces &  Chocolate Chips | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s Pieces and Chocolate Chips
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Yield – 38 2-tablespoon cookies

1 egg
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cups Reese’s Pieces
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Add the egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat until light and creamy.  Scrape the bowl.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour, baking soda, salt, Reese’s Pieces, and chocolate chips.  Mix on low until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  4. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough.  Leave the dough ball shape.
  5. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until just set.  Do NOT over bake.
  6. Let cool completely before packaging, but definitely eat one WARM!Peanut butter cookies with Reese's Pieces &  Chocolate Chips | Pale Yellow

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Cookie Butter Truffle Brownies

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowDo you know what day it is?  Yes, it is hump day, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  Today is my two year blog-o-versery!  TWO YEARS!  When I started this blog I hoped it would have longevity, but didn’t know how long I would last; sometimes my level of commitment isn’t so great.

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowTwo years seems like so long ago, but has flown by!  I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of the blogging situation and have a respectable number of viewers.  Those first few months were only friends and family and now it’s crazy to thing strangers read this blog!  In two years I have amassed over 100,000 views; WOW!

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowTwo years has brought quite a bit of improvement, at least better photography!  Those beginning photos are quite horrific.  I would like to think my writing and fluidity has improved; I doubt my proofreading skills have…

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowHere are some delightful brownies to hopefully ring in another 2 years of blogging!  These are probably the best brownies I’ve ever made!  There are 28 brownie/bar recipes on this site and I’m telling you, this one is definitely in the top 3!

http://paleyellow.net/category/browniesbars/The brownies are super rich and fudgy; not cake-like at all.  The cookie butter truffles are fantastic little nuggets to sink your teeth into! Confession time – I bought a jar chocolate/cookie butter swirl months ago from Trader Joe’s and have been eating it by the spoonful, I thought it was time for some appropriate adult behavior, so I used it all up here!  Please celebrate my blog-o-versery with me and bake these brownies!

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

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Cookie Butter Truffle Brownies
Adapted from Bakergirl
Yield – 16 pieces

1/2 cup cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup chocolate chunks + more for the top

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper.  Liberally spray the parchment paper with Baker’s Joy.
  2. Mix together the cookie butter and powdered sugar until no longer sticky.  Roll into 10 balls and place in the freezer until you’re ready to use.
  3. Brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stove.  The butter should be a deep amber color.  Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the browned butter, sugar, and cocoa powder until well combined.  Beat in the salt, water, and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer off and add in the flour and chocolate chunks.  Beat on the lowest speed until just combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  Place the cookie butter truffles throughout the dough and press down.  Sprinkle some more chocolate chunks on top.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minute or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before cutting.cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellow

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Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowI was not joking about making 2014 the year of the mini cheesecakes.  Maybe it’ll be the year of mini things.  That way I can cut all recipes in half and just make a few of everything.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when I live alone and no one to share my treats with…

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowThis weekend the roommates and I sorted and divided all of the kitchen stuff; things were a little chaotic as we spread out everything from the kitchen into different piles.  We have a lot of kitchen supplies have been royally spoiled with a giant NYC kitchen these last four years; I do not know where everything is going to go!  Despite the great quantity of kitchen supplies, I have little practical items like non-prop plates and forks.  Luckily Ruth gave me some of her extra mixing bowls!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowOur kitchen seems sad and empty, I already moved out my baking ingredients so there won’t be any baking for the next few weeks.  Luckily I have several recipes saved for this purpose!  I don’t want to leave my regular stranded!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowLet’s talk cheesecakes – second cheesecake home run.  The crust is an appropriate lady finger base with a creamy, Kahula filled cheesecake on top.  A little Kahlua in the whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder makes the perfect topping.  Decadent, but tiny, these little tiramisu cheesecakes make a perfect dessert!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 36

2/3 cup dried ladyfinger crumbs
4 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
16 ounces (2 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup whipping cream
splash of Kahlua
dusting of cocoa powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line 36 mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Crush the ladyfingers and add 2/3 cup to 2 tablespoons of melted butter with the 4 teaspoons of sugar.  Toss with a fork until the crumbs are well moistened.
  3. Add about 1 teaspoon of crust into each paper liner and press firmly; I used a rolling pin.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the sugar and the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the Kahlua and espresso powder.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. Place 2-tablespoons of filling on each crust.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are just set.  Let cool completely on a wire rack and then cool for at least two hours in the fridge.
  7. Make the whipped cream by adding it to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beating until the cream reaches thick peaks.  Beat in the Kahlua.
  8. Use a piping bag with a plain tip to pipe a dollop on each cheesecake.  Dust the tops with cocoa powder.Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale Yellow

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Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes | Pale YellowApparently my mom has a lot of ideas about food photo styling!  She was going through the house pulling down sleds and ornaments and other trinkets for me to use in my photographs, it was hard to contain her excitement!  Thanks mom!

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes | Pale YellowIt’s kind of awkward to have other people watch you to take photographs of food; it’s not natural.  I’m standing on chairs, squatting, and moving around mini marshmallows.  Strange.  My dad mocks me (probably because he’s never viewed the blog before) and my mom tries to help me out.  Being back home with your parents is fantastic!

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes | Pale YellowEven though I made these little cupcakes for Christmas Eve, they would be perfect for any winter party, especially for children.  Weird tip, but the cupcakes definitely tasted better the next day!  American buttercream (butter + powdered sugar) is not my favorite and I wish it wouldn’t become a little crusty on top.  However, when the cupcakes hang out in a container with the mini marshmallows, the frosting and the marshmallows become softer, sweet!

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes | Pale YellowThe hot cocoa frosting really tastes likes hot cocoa!  I don’t know what is put into hot chocolate mix, but it has a distinct and wonderful flavor that shines on these cupcakes.  I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe that is moist and tender.  Please don’t skimp on the mini marshmallow bits, they truly make the cupcakes adorable and tasty!

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Christmas Cookie Wrap-up

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Hot Cocoa Cupcakes
Cupcakes adapted from Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
Frosting adapted from Cookies and Cups
Yield – 27 mini cupcakes

Cupcakes
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, Hershey’s special dark
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup hot water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line the mini muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, soda, powder, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low to just combine.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the oil, milk, egg, and vanilla with a fork.  Add to the flour mix and beat on low until just combined.  Scrape the bowl.
  4. Beat in the hot water and mix for 30 seconds on high speed.
  5. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the batter in the cupcake liners.  Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Frosting
1/2 cup dry hot chocolate mix (about 2 1/2 packets)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (small box) powdered sugar
splash of vanilla
mini dried marshmallow bits

  1. In a small saucepan add the hot chocolate mix and the cream.  Stir and heat until all the cocoa is dissolved.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Beat the butter until pale yellow in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat in the powdered sugar in small batches until well combined.  The mixture will become very dry.
  3. Beat in the cooled cocoa and mix on high for about a minute until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the vanilla.
  5. Pipe on the cupcakes and decorate with the dried marshmallows.Hot Cocoa Cupcakes | Pale Yellow

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Chocolate Peppermint Roll

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowI should be done with holiday recipes and start posting healthful food to get 2014 started right!  However, I’m not done!  January will bring more sweet treats and Monday will bring the last holiday themed recipe.  Promise!  I’ll be so busy packing and moving all January, I’ll probably just post cocktail recipes; that sounds closer to the truth.

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowThe recipe was an accomplishment; I’ve never made a roll up cake before.  I’ve always loved the look of roll-up cakes but was really intimidated by baking a cake on a cookie sheet and then rolling it up.  Fear is gone!  Despite a few cracks, this cake was a piece of cake!  Pun intended.  I made this when Michelle was over helping me bake and she was all like, “I’ve made lots of roll up cakes, they’re easy!”  It was great having her on hand to lend some tips!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale Yellow2012 was the year of stacked cakes, 2013 was the year of bundt cakes, so maybe 2014 will be the year of rolled cakes.  I know I have a pumpkin one pinned for next fall and I have visions of strawberry shortcake dancing in my head.  It will probably happen!  I’ll just need to wait and see how my new kitchen is for baking; I’ve been very accustomed to my current set-up…

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowDid you know this cake is gluten free?  True story; naturally gluten free!  I appreciate when recipes are naturally gluten-free or vegan or dairy free without any special ingredients.  I want to build my arsenal of allergies-friendly recipes that I can whip out whenever needed without having to buy weird stuff.  Everyone deserves to eat delicious treats!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowThis cake is quite delicious. The cake portion is soft and spongy with a rich chocolate flavor.  The eggs keep everything light and moist.  It’s hard to go wrong with a rich, minty whipped cream in the center!  To top of the cake there is a lovely ganache with peppermint pieces.  This type of dessert tastes as good as it looks and is a perfect center piece for any holiday table!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Yield – 10-12 slices

Cake
6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Filling
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds scrapped out

Ganache
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup Andes peppermint pieces

  1. Cake – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F.  Grease a 17×12” cookie sheet and line with parchment paper.  Grease and flour the parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Separate the eggs.  Beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  3. While eggs are beating, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second intervals.  Add the chocolate in a slow stream while the mix runs on high.  The egg mixture should become even thicker.  Beat in the vanilla.  Transfer the mix to another bowl.
  4. Clean the bowl and beater well and dry.  Add in the egg whites and and a pinch of salt to the clean bowl.  Beat until frothy.  Sprinkle in the cream of tartar and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold the stiff egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three increments.  Fold slowly to keep the air.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly. Take care to not squash the batter.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is dry.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Filling – While the cake is cooling make the whipped cream filling by adding the heavy cream to a bowl of stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  9. Add in the sugar, peppermint extract, and the seeds from one vanilla bean.  Beat until the cream has stiff peaks.
  10. Allow to set in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
  11. Spread the whipped cream over the cooled cake.  Start rolling at the short end of the cake facing you.  Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake.  If it cracks a bit it’s ok.
  12. Once the cake is rolled, place it in the fridge for another 10 minutes to set.
  13. Ganache – Heat 2/3 cup heavy cream in a saucepan until it begins to simmer.  Pour over the chocolate and set aside for 3 minutes.  Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  14. Assembly – Pour the ganache over the cake and push to the sides.  Sprinkle the Andes mint pieces over the top.  Refrigerate the cake for several hours to firm up before cutting.Chocolate Peppermint Roll | Pale Yellow

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Red Velvet Blossoms

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowI’m super excited that Christmas is 2 days away!  All I need to do is wrap presents and make cupcakes for Christmas Eve dinner.  The hard part of driving back to Michigan is done!  Now I just get to relax, see friends & family, and eat, drink, & be merry!  My mom and I even made one last batch of cookies – a secret family recipe!

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowRuth and I drove to Michigan in record time.  Even with dropping Andrea off at the airport, rain all day, and a stop for lunch, we made it in eleven hours – road trip success!  After a good night’s rest I’m ready to continue my holiday celebrations.

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowI brought these cookies to a cookie exchange and caroling party.  If you know me in real life, you know I am many things, but a singer I am not.  Luckily the hosts provided boozy punch and my favorite – spiced cider with rum.  After a few cocktails I was ready to go outside and sing a few carols.

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowNot only was the caroling fun, people on the street paused to take video, but the cookies were well received!  I get excited when people grab extra cookies.  Taking a second (or third) serving is the greatest complement a baker can receive!

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowRed velvet blossoms are a fantastic addition to your cookie tray.  They are sweet, big, and festive.  The red velvet crinkle cookies are delightful on their own with the white chocolate chips inside and the powdered sugar all around.  A little kiss on top adds more chocolate to compliment the cocoa in the cookies and looks lovely.  Let’s take a break from traditional chocolate & peanut butter blossoms with this red velvet version!

Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream

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Red Velvet Blossoms
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Yield – 44 2-tablespoon cookies

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean, seeded
2 teaspoons lemon juice
big squirt of red food coloring
3 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
44 Hershey kisses unwrapped, dark chocolate

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla seeds.  Add in the food coloring and lemon juice and beat until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, powder, soda, and salt.  Add to the rest of the ingredients on low speed until just combined.  Mix in the white chocolate chips.
  3. Cover the dough and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the dough.  Roll the dough in powdered sugar before placing on the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are set.  Place on a wire rack and put a kiss in the center.  Let cool completely before packaging.Red Velvet Blossoms | Pale Yellow

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Easy Turtles

Easy Turtles | Pale YellowBefore we talk about how delightful and easy these little pretzel turtles are, let’s talk about wine!  Why are we going to talk about wine?  Silly question.  Wine is wonderful.  Yesterday was snowy and then it was rainy, but it was all cold.  Nothing warms the soul more than a glass or two (or three) or cabernet sauvignon.  Nothing.

Easy Turtles | Pale YellowI was just telling Ruth how in the summer I only want to drink white wine and then I begin to ponder my heart’s desire for red wine.  However, winter hits, and I ONLY want red wine.  Red wine may be my favorite.  Sorry bourbon.

Easy Turtles | Pale YellowAnyway, I took a batch, version 1.0, to the Space Center for a staff meeting and they gobbled them right up; truly gobbled them up!  The folks at the Space Center seem like pretty healthy eaters most of the time and I have noticed that those who eat the healthiest, tend to lose the most control around sweets.  I love it!  I’m not trying to make people be unhealthy, but I enjoy helping people lose a little control!

Easy Turtles | Pale YellowVersion 1.0 was good, but it wasn’t great.  Here is version 2.0, and it is much, much tastier.  An extra drizzle of dark chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt make a HUGE difference; major flavor enhancers!  This is one of the easiest recipes I’ve posted: start the oven, spread out pretzels, put a Rolo on top, warm for 5 minutes, put a pecan on top of that, and you could be done with a delicious treat.  But take it to the next level with a dollop of melted dark chocolate, a little drizzle, and some sea salt.  A perfect bite.  It’s ten minutes of your life that will bring your continuous joy!

Easy Turtles | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Eggnog Cookies

Print the Recipe!

Easy Turtles
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Yield – 30

30 small square butter pretzels
30 Rolos
30 pecan halves
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
sea salt for sprinkling

  1. Turn on the oven to 350 ˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lay out 30 pretzels on the parchment paper and place one Rolo on each pretzel.
  3. Place in the oven for 4-5 minutes.  The Rolos should be soft but not melted.
  4. Place one pecan half on each Rolo and squish down a little.
  5. In a double boiler melt the chocolate with the butter.
  6. Set up a second cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon a scant half-tablespoon of chocolate in little circles.  Place one turtle on each circle.
  7. Drizzle the turtles with remaining chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Place in the refrigerator to harden completely.

Easy Turtles | Pale YellowNote – you can make as many as want, just change the amount of pretzels, Rolos, and pecan halves!

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Peppermint Bark Cookies

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellow I’m a proud participant in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2013!  I sent out 3 batches of these cookies and received 3 batches of cookies from other bloggers in return.

fbcookieswap2013_whiteI do admit, when I received my first batch of cookies from a stranger it was a little weird; usually I don’t eat food from people I don’t know.  But then I said, “What the heck?” and enjoyed a delightful cookie!  And then I shared with my roommates!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowI sent cookies to 3 blogs that are new to me: Whatcha Makin’ Now?, Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, and Homemade Cravings.  These ladies have created some lovely blogs with unique and interesting recipes; you should check them out!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowThe first batch I received was from Kat of I Want Crazy.  She sent fantastic coconut cream cookies that were quickly gobbles up by the roommates and I; I can’t wait for the recipe when she posts it!  The next batch was from Sarah at Punctuated with Food.  She sent super large, colorful cookies – so fun!  I think my third batch was lost in the shipping world because I often have a trouble receiving packages and was out of town for several days. To whoever sent the third batch thank you and I’m sorry, please let me know who you are!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowThis was one of the easiest doughs I have EVER worked with!  The chocolate dough was a breeze to roll out and it held its shape perfectly.  The chocolate cookies were delightful on their own without any chocolate topping.  The dough was minty and lovely.  I ate a lot of dough scraps, a lot.  I wish there was more minty flavor in the topping, so next time (and there will be a next time!) I would add a little dash of peppermint extract into the chocolate.

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowThese peppermint bark cookies are perfect for Christmas baking!  They are lovely and festive and full of chocolate and peppermint, which seem to be the ideal holiday flavors.  Peppermint bark seems to be EVERYWHERE!  This is a fun and creative way to incorporate peppermint bark into a cookie.  I wish I had a few left to scarf down!

peppermint bark cookies | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Pecan Bark

Print the Recipe!

Peppermint Bark Cookies
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield – 45 cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa, Hershey’s Special Dark
1/4 teaspoon salt
18 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil
15 ounces white chocolate
crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

  1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt, set aside
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until light and creamy on high speed.  Beat in the eggs and extracts.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. On low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined
  4. Wrap the dough in a disk in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  The dough is very soft.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Flour your surface and roll the dough into a thickness of 1/4″ and cut into 3-inch circles.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until set.  Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. In the bowl of a double boiler, melt the bittersweet chocolate with one tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer on the top of each cookie.  Allow the chocolate to harden by placing the cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  9. Melt the white chocolate in a clean double boiler with one tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use a teaspoon to spread white chocolate on each cookie.  Sprinkle the tops with crushed mints.
  10. Let harden in the refrigerator before packaging.peppermint bark cookies | pale yellow

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