Tag Archives: vanilla

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gooey Bars

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowJuice cleanse done!  And I know it sounds sarcastic, but I feel great!  I have more energy, my insides are moving, and I’m not hungry.  If you’re looking for a little reboot, I highly recommend a 3-day cleanse.  It’s just enough to make you feel different and require discipline, but short enough to commit.  In all honesty, I think I’m ready for a five day cleanse!

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowI made these bars in the middle of the cleanse for the lovely Andrea in celebration of her 30th birthday!  She is from the outskirts of St. Louis and gooey butter cake is apparently a thing there.  As soon as she started talking about it, I knew I needed to find a recipe and save it for her birthday.

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowHere’s the thing though, I’ve never had gooey butter cake before, and I still haven’t.  There is one piece saved in my fridge for Thursday when I reintroduce sugar into my diet.  This is probably the first recipe I’ve posted that I’ve never actually eaten.  Weird.

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowAnd, obviously, instead of making an original version, I jazzed it up with a layer of cookie dough in the middle.  Since I can’t describe the bars from my first hand experience, we’ll use Andrea’s words, “I would call them rich buttery sugar bombs that are indulgent and comforting.  And the perfect treat to start a new decade!”  I’ll report back Friday!

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Watermelon Martini

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gooey Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups and Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Yield – 9 giant bars, 16 regular sized bars

Crust Layer
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
seeds from one vanilla bean
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg

Cookie Dough Layer
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Topping
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup powdered sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper.  Liberally grease the parchment paper with shortening.
  2. Crust Layer - To make the crust, add the sugar, flour, cake flour, milk, powder, and seeds from a vanilla bean to a medium bowl and whisk together.
  3. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture.  You are looking for coarse crumbs, finer than a pie crust.
  4. Melt the butter and add to the mix with the egg.  Stir until combined.  The dough will come together nicely.  Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow
  5. Cookie Dough – Toss the butter in the same bowl you just used.  Cream in the brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in the milk and vanilla until well combined.  Add the flour, salt, and chocolate chips, stir until just combined.
  6. Spread evenly over the crust, leaving 1/2” of the crust showing.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow
  7. Topping – Again, use the same bowl.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Stir in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla until the mixture is well incorporated.  Mix in the powdered sugar.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow
  8. Pour over the cookie dough and spread as evenly as possible.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the edges start to brown.  The middle will still be jiggly.
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.  Cool overnight and then slice.
  11. Serve with an extra dusting of powdered sugar.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow
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Toffee Crunch Vanilla Ice Cream

toffee crunch vanilla ice cream | pale yellowOh. My. Word.  I’ve talked a lot about the Ample Hills Creamery Cookbook and how much I love the actual ice shop, but I wasn’t quite prepared by how tasty and creamy this recipe tastes.  It’s amazing that a little milk powder makes all the difference.

toffee crunch vanilla ice cream | pale yellowAnother little something that makes a tremendous difference is a candy thermometer.  I didn’t actually own one until after I made toffee, but let me tell you, having a candy thermometer would have made much better toffee.  Whenever I make something with cooked sugar, I just wing it and don’t pay attention to actual temperatures.  In this case, it was needed.

toffee crunch vanilla ice cream | pale yellowMy toffee was soft, like a caramel.  If I had cooked it to the proper temperature, the toffee would have been harder and more toffee like.  I have recently purchased a candy thermometer like a proper food blogger, so  I look forward to making more (hard) toffee in the future!

toffee crunch vanilla ice cream | pale yellowPlease, please, please, make this ice cream.  It’s going to change your life!  You don’t need toffee bits or anything special; the vanilla ice cream is the best I’ve ever had all on its own. The ice cream is sweet but not over powering, the vanilla flavor shines, and it is so creamy and smooth on the tongue.  Summer is here, it’s time for the best ice cream ever!

toffee crunch vanilla ice cream | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Brown Butter Biscoff Rice Crispy Treats
Two Years Ago – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Cake

Print the Recipe!

Toffee Crunch Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from Ample Hills Creamery, page 168
Yield – 1 quart

Toffee
1 cup (2 sticks) + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

 

Vanilla Ice Cream
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup skim milk powder
1 2/3 cup whole milk
1 2/3 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
30 coffee beans (or 1 Trader Joe K-cup)
3 egg yolks
splash of vanilla extract

  1. Toffee – Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and liberally grease the pan and paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan combined the butter, both sugars, salt and water.  Cook and stir until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are combined.
  3. Stop stirring and heat until the mixture reaches 305 ˚F on a candy thermometer; be careful.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.  Pour into the prepared pan evenly.
  5. Let sit for a few minutes and then sprinkle the chocolate over the top.  Once the chocolate has melted, spread in an even layer.
  6. Allow the toffee to cool and then refrigerate until brittle.  Cut into small pieces.
  7. Ice Cream – Place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer the night before.
  8. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
  9. Combine the sugar, skim milk powder, and milk in a medium saucepan.  Whisk until well combined.  Whisk in the cream.
  10. Split the vanilla bean and add the seeds plus the bean pod to the saucepan with the coffee.
  11. Stir and cook until the mixture thickens.
  12. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in a little of the hot cream mixture slowly to temper the eggs.  Once the eggs are tempered, return to the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 165 ˚F.
  13. Stir in the vanilla and strain the mixture with a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.  Place this bowl in the ice bath.
  14. Once the mixture cools completely, churn according to the directions of your ice cream maker.
  15. Fold in the toffee bits and place in a freezer safe container for several hours to firm up.DSC_059toffee crunch vanilla ice cream | pale yellow0

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Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Root Beer Float Cupcakes | Pale YellowYou what’s super condescending?  When you’re watching Netflix and after three episodes it asks you if you’re still watching.  Obviously, I’m still watching!  If I wasn’t walking I would walk away or press pause.  Stop judging me Netflix!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes | Pale YellowYou know what’s more annoying than Netflix being condescending?  The rain.  Itt’s been raining for the past 24 hours, and there is really nothing better to do than watch TV.  April showers are certainly roaring along, at least it’s not snowing here like in Michigan…

Root Beer Float Cupcakes | Pale YellowYou know what is not annoying?  A Song of Ice and Fire!  ** Spoilers ** I’m finally reading book 5; Joffrey is dead, Jon Snow, Bran, & Tyrion are back in the picture, and I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that everyone is going to die.  My only wish is that Arya and Sansa would get their names back.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes | Pale YellowAnyway, these cupcakes were eaten on a sunny, non-condescending day, a day when Ruth and Chelsea came to visit.  We were able to do my favorite thing and go for a little walk on the beach. There was also a lot of eating.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes | Pale YellowChelsea’s birthday was a weeks prior, so it was completely appropriate to celebrate with cupcakes of her choosing.  Root beer float cupcakes have been on my Pinterest board for awhile, so I was excited to make them.  All I needed was a little root beer extract.  I’m thrilled by the way the frosting came out.  The cupcakes are dark like root beer, the root beer flavored-frosting is on the outside to look like foam, and the plain frosting is in the middle to look like whipped cream.  The cupcakes really taste like a root beer float; all creamy, vanilla-y, and root beer-y.  These are a great way to turn your favorite beverage into dessert!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes | Pale YellowTwo Years Ago – Single Girl Chocolate Cake

Print the Recipe!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Adapted from Dine and Dash
Frosting from Sweetapolita
Yield – 12 cupcakes

Root Beer Cupcakes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon root beer extract
splash of vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Vanilla & Root Beer Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
5 egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon root beer extract

  1. Cupcakes – Preheat to the oven to 350 ˚F and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.  Set aside.
  2. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until smooth.  Beat in the sugars for 2-3 minutes until pale yellow.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat in the extracts and applesauce.  Scrape down the bowl.
  3. Whisk together the flour, powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add the flour in 3 batches with milk in between each addition of flour.  Mix until just combined.
  4. Use a standard ice cream scoop to portion the batter into each cupcake liner, they should be about half full.
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  6. Frosting – Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and place the bowl in a small pot of simmering water.  Whisk the sugars and egg whites until they are no longer gritty to the touch.  Add a pinch of salt.
  7. Remove the bowl from the pot and place in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat for about 10 minutes until the meringue is stiff and shiny and the bowl is cool to the touch.
  8. Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, just keep beating until the mixture becomes completely creamy.
  9. Beat in the vanilla.  Add half the frosting to a piping bag with a large star tip, set aside.
  10. Beat the root beer extract into the remaining frosting.  Add to a piping bag with a round tip.
  11. Pipe the root beer frosting around the outside of the cupcake.  Pipe the vanilla frosting in the center.
  12. Cut paper straws in half and add to each cupcake.Root Beer Float Cupcakes | Pale Yellow

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Vanilla Pudding Mix

Vanilla Pudding Mix | Pale YellowSecond pudding this week, I told you I was serious about this pudding situation.  This one is almost dairy free; the pudding mix is made with nonfat dry milk powder, but the actual pudding shown in the pictures is made with unsweetened almond milk.  I wasn’t sure how almond milk would react when made into pudding, but it was a success!

Vanilla Pudding Mix | Pale YellowI really wanted to make my own pudding mix because pudding mixes are ingredients in many a cookie and cake recipe and I was tired of buying those little boxes.  Once you start going box free, it becomes this snowball effect; can’t stop, won’t stop.  Instant pudding was holding me back.

Vanilla Pudding Mix | Pale YellowThis pudding however, is not instant; it’s some cook-and-serve action.  I don’t mind though, I find it super relaxing to stir milk and powder on the stove.  Seriously.  The mix takes about two minutes to measure in a jar and then it bit of shaking.  The pudding is there now, ready for me to use whenever a pudding craving comes my way.  And clearly I’ve been having many a pudding cravings.

Vanilla Pudding Mix | Pale YellowThe pudding had a gelatinous texture, but I really enjoyed the feeling in my mouth.  I made a bold choice and divided the pudding into only two servings; my rational was the low caloric value of almond milk, 30-40 calories a serving, so therefore each serving is a healthy cup of almond milk and few tablespoons of sugar.  See, I really can justify any indulgence!  I’m glad I have the pudding mix ready to go because if Waldbaums continues to keep almond milk on sale, there are going to be many batches of vanilla-almond puddling in my future!

Vanilla Pudding Mix | Pale YellowTwo Years Ago – Bacon Cupcakes

Print the Recipe!

Instant Pudding Mix
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 5 batches of pudding (20 servings)

Instant Pudding Mix
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 vanilla beans

  1. Add the sugar, cornstarch, milk powder, and salt to a 1-quart mason jar.
  2. Split the vanilla beans and scrape about the seeds.  Add the seeds and vanilla bean bod to the jar.
  3. Shake well to combine.  Store until you’re ready to make pudding!

Pudding Time
2 cups almond milk (or regular milk)
1/2 cup vanilla pudding mix

  1. Add the milk and pudding mix to a medium saucepan.  Stir and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let simmer until it thickens.  Whisk the entire time.
  2. Serve hot or place in small bowls and cover with plastic wrap directly on top and refrigerate for several hours before for serving.Vanilla Pudding Mix | Pale Yellow

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Vanilla Whiskey Cupcakes

vanilla whiskey cupcakes | pale yellowI think we all know by this time that my favorite holiday is Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day.  Now that I live in Rockaway, things are even better!  Instead of planning a sleepover, I just need to wait until the sound of bagpipes comes through my windows and I can head out to the parade.  And then come home in sleep in my own bed, score!

vanilla whiskey cupcakes | pale yellowEven though these would be PERFECT for St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you dyed the frosting green, these were made for a birthday celebration.  There will be more St. Patrick’s Day treats next week, but if you can’t wait, check out green velvet cupcakes, shamrock shake cupcakes, Bailey’s glazed doughnuts, Irish car bomb brownies, Irish soda bread, whiskey cupcakes, and Irish car bomb cupcakes.

vanilla whiskey cupcakes | pale yellowMichelle wanted to surprise Derrick with a surprise 30th birthday and asked me to bake some treats.  Derrick is a difficult to bake for because he’s not a sweet eater. What???  Truth.  He took a bite and seemed to enjoy it, good enough.  Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed them!

vanilla whiskey cupcakes | pale yellowI took my regular yellow cupcake and added whiskey to the frosting.  There wasn’t enough whiskey flavor so I made a quick whiskey-caramel sauce to glaze the mini cupcakes.  This was the perfect touch and took the cupcakes from good tp spectacular.  The glaze is sweet, full of whiskey flavor, and lovingly sticky.  A mini vanilla cupcake with whiskey is a delightful treat for a birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, or Wednesdays!

vanilla whiskey cupcakes | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Coffee Marshmallows

Print the Recipe!

Vanilla Whiskey Cupcakes
Adapted from Tie Dye Cupcakes
Yield – 24 mini cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes
2/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 + 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk

Whiskey Frosting
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whiskey
7 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey

Whiskey-Caramel Sauce
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup whiskey

  1. Cupcakes – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line 24 mini cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Add the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar.  Massage the vanilla into the sugar.  Add the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt to the bowl.  Mix on low speed to combine.  Add the butter to the flour and mix until crumbly.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.  Add to the stand mixer and mix until just combined.  Pour in the milk and beat until smooth.
  4. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough into the cupcake liners.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Frosting – Add the milk, 1/2 cup whiskey, and flour to a small saucepan.  Whisk and heat until the mixture becomes thick like toothpaste.  Whisk in the vanilla.  Let cool completely.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.  Beat in the flour mixture until the frosting is no longer gritty.
  8. Beat in the whiskey.  Set aside.
  9. Whiskey-Caramel Sauce – Add the brown sugar and whiskey to a small saucepan.  Stir and heat until the mixture becomes bubbly and thickens.  Dip each cupcake in the hot sauce.  Allow the sauce to cool on the cupcakes
  10. Assembly – Add the frosting to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe the frosting on to each cupcake.vanilla whiskey cupcakes | pale yellow

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale YellowMy college girlfriends and I were getting together for the weekend to run a 5K and spend some quality time together.  Friday night we grilled some burgers and everyone brought a salad to share.  Now I make some delicious salads, but I had a feeling my friends would want a little bit more than a salad from me!

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale YellowWhen you have a baking blog, people expect dessert!  I’m fine with that expectation and am happy to oblige, especially for my Michigan friends and family.  They see what everyone gets to eat in Brooklyn and they are a little sad they don’t get to taste all my treats.  When I brought the jars up to Angela’s gorgeous rooftop eating area everyone exclaimed, “Are these going to be on your blog?  Are we going to be on your blog?”  Apparently everyone wants to be featured on the blog.  Here you go ladies!  Love you bunches!

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale YellowNeedless to say the pudding was the perfect fuel for us to run our race.  If you’ve never run a Color Run you should totally do one soon.  As a non-runner who needed to train a year to run a 5K, the Color Run is friendly to people like me and completely do-able.  It really is the #happiest5K

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale YellowI was lacking in my training and doubted I would be able to run the whole thing, but with plenty of encouragement from Angela and a slow pace I ran the whole race in a speedy 38 minutes!  I’m so proud of Angela and myself.  We left colorful and sweaty with smiles on our faces.  The Color Run was a great way for my college friends and I to celebrate 11 years of friendships and the start of our 30th birthdays!

Color Run Grand Rapids #happiest5K | Pale YellowAfter we brunched, showered, and de-colored it was time for drinks.  Grand Rapids, MI has become Beer City, USA and it was time for me to properly explore some of the options.  Even though I went to college there, I wasn’t a huge beer drinker then and there wasn’t the beer culture there is now.  We spent a delightful afternoon at Founders Brewery drinking and laughing – a typical afternoon together!

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale YellowLets talk about desserts in jars for quick second – I’ve made desserts here and here, but these are the cutest and most practical usage.  These are easy to carry and transport and put together.  Most importantly, desserts in jars are a breeze to serve because everyone gets there own little dish.  Cleaning is a bit of work, but nothing a bottle sponge can’t take care of!

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale YellowBanana pudding is a classic dessert for a reason; it’s delicious, especially when jazzed up with chocolate and peanut butter.  Yummy.  Creamy vanilla pudding with bananas topped with peanut butter cookies is an awfully good start.  Dig a little deeper and you’ll find some rich chocolate mixed with peanut butter, so decadent and creamy.  Scoop to the bottom and find the crunchy wafer bottom.  If you’re lucky you’ll get a little bit of everything in one bite!

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars
Adapted from Bakerella
Yield – 8 servings

30 vanilla wafers
3 + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 medium bananas
1 lemon
2 packages instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 ounces each)
2 cups milk
8 ounces cool whip, thawed
8 nutter butter cookies
8 1/2-pint (8 ounce) wide mouth pint jarsChocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale Yellow

  1. Crush the vanilla wafers in a baggie with a rolling pin.  If you’re fancy you can use a food processor.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add the butter, sugar, and crushed vanilla wafers to a large bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Divide the crust evenly between the 8 jars and press down gently.  I used about 2 tablespoons in each jar.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.  Heat in 20-second intervals and stir in between.  Stir the peanut butter into the chocolate.
  5. Place the chocolate-peanut butter mixture in a piping bag and pipe on top of each crust distributing the chocolate peanut-butter mixture evenly.
  6. Slice the bananas into thick slices and toss in a bowl with the juice of one lemon.  Place 5-6 slices in each jar, press down on the chocolate mixture.
  7. In a large bowl whip together the pudding packets and milk until thick.  Fold in the cool whip with a rubber spatula.
  8. Use another piping bag to pipe the pudding into each jar.  I had a lot of extra pudding so I layered some in glasses with extra banana slices and vanilla wafers for my family to enjoy later.
  9. Break up the nutter butters and place on top of the pudding.
  10. Close the lid and refrigerate until serving.  Take the puddings out of the fridge about 20 minutes before eating to allow the chocolate and crust to soften – perfect eating!

Chocoalate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding in Jars | Pale Yellow

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Coconut Cupcakes

coconut cupcakes | pale yellow {a vanilla cupcake with a rich coconut cream inside and a coconut swiss meringue butter cream with toasted coconut flakes on top}A couple months ago I saw this gorgeous flaked coconut at Key Foods and have been dreaming about the appropriate application.  There is something so luscious about thick, wide cuts of coconut; heavenly!

coconut cupcakes | pale yellow {a vanilla cupcake with a rich coconut cream inside and a coconut swiss meringue butter cream with toasted coconut flakes on top}While I was dreaming of coconut dishes, one of my assistant principals mentioned his love of coconut after eating a tres leche cupcakes.  Now I’m not a one to brown nose, but I’m not above a little cupcake bribery.  A little cupcake here and there makes small infractions or special requests so much more manageable.  I highly recommend baking cupcakes to get what you want here and there.

coconut cupcakes | pale yellow {a vanilla cupcake with a rich coconut cream inside and a coconut swiss meringue butter cream with toasted coconut flakes on top}It took awhile to find the right coconut recipe, I wanted one with a lot of coconut, specifically some sort of coconut cream.  And let me tell you, the coconut cream in the middle is the star of the show.  It’s amazing!!  Cream of coconut, coconut milk, and coconut milk make the pastry cream super flavorful, sweet, and delicious.  Imagine the creamiest, freshest pudding and that’s what you have in the middle of cupcakes.  Plus cute little specks of vanilla bean.

coconut cupcakes | pale yellow {a vanilla cupcake with a rich coconut cream inside and a coconut swiss meringue butter cream with toasted coconut flakes on top}The cupcake is soft and tender and a perfect vehicle to contain the delectable coconut cream inside.  As usual the Swiss meringue buttercream is smooth and creamy without being too sweet.  The cream of coconut folds in well so the frosting has a hint of coconut.  Toasted coconut on top adds beauty, crunch, and even more fresh coconut flavor.  Obviously you could use any shredded coconut, but I adore the big flakes here.

coconut cupcakes | pale yellow {a vanilla cupcake with a rich coconut cream inside and a coconut swiss meringue butter cream with toasted coconut flakes on top}These cupcakes were brought to a floor luncheon.  I have great co-workers and it was fantastic to share a meal together.  The floor was quite impressed with the cupcakes as was my assistant principal.  I think you need to whip up a batch of cupcakes and bring them into work to impress your boss.  Hey, maybe you’ll get to leave work a little early one day!  Who knows, it worked for me!

coconut cupcakes | pale yellow {a vanilla cupcake with a rich coconut cream inside and a coconut swiss meringue butter cream with toasted coconut flakes on top}One Year Ago – Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Print the Recipe!

Coconut Cupcakes
Adapted from – Baking in the Attic
Yield – 24 cupcakes

Coconut Pastry Cream
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 cup cream of coconut

  1. Add the milk, coconut milk, and the vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out to a medium saucepan.  Heat and stir until the mixture begins to simmer.
  2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Add the heated milk into the eggs little by little to temper the eggs.
  3. Once all the milk is incorporated into the eggs, add the whole mixture back to the saucepan and heat & whisk until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency.
  4. Push the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.  Stir in the coconut and vanilla extracts.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and place in the fridge to cool completely, about 2 hours.
  6. To complete the cream, add 3/4 cup custard to the heavy cream and cream of coconut.  Beat in the bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form.
  7. Add the cream to a pastry bag with an injection tip.

Vanilla Cupcakes
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
6 egg whites
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, powder, and salt to the bowl a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low to combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Whisk together the milk, egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds.  Set aside.
  4. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time to the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.
  5. Pour in most of the milk/egg mixture and beat on medium-high speed until the batter is fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. On the lowest speed add in the rest of the milk/egg mixture and mix until just combined.
  7. Use a standard ice cream scoop to portion the batter.  Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Inject each cupcake with the pastry cream.

Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
toasted coconut for garnish

  1. Set up a double boiler by adding a small amount of water to a small saucepan.
  2. Place the bowl of a stand mixer on the small saucepan and add the egg whites, sugar, and salt to the bowl.  Heat and whisk until the mixture is no longer gritty.
  3. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
  4. Beat in the butter at medium-high speed one tablespoon at a time until everything is incorporated.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Beat in the cream of coconut, coconut extract, and vanilla extract.
  6. Add to a pastry bag and pipe onto each cupcake.
  7. Toast the coconut in a dry skillet until golden brown.  Let cool completely and then sprinkle on the cupcake.

coconut cupcakes | pale yellow {a vanilla cupcake with a rich coconut cream inside and a coconut swiss meringue butter cream with toasted coconut flakes on top}

 

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Chocolate & Vanilla Twist Cupcakes

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}It’s my birthday!  It’s not everyday a girl, really a lady, turns 29.  Twenty-nine, sounds so old!  Maybe it’s the “9″ in there that sounds weird because honestly 30 sounds friendlier than 29 right about now.

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}There are a lot of things I would like to accomplish before I turn thirty in a year.  I love having my birthday in the middle of the year because it allows me to reevaluate my goals and resolutions set in January.  My main goal was completed last week – I was offered a new job!  Not just a new job, but a different career path.  It was the perfect pre-birthday surprise I needed to jump start my new year!  Another goal is to travel and visit more; to be more present with the people I love and spend more face time together.  My last goal is to continue to make healthier choices in my life.  I’m definitely not getting younger and it’s important to me to stay strong and healthy.  Running was a fantastic start last year, and I hope to add more healthy additions to my life throughout this year.

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}And since it’s my birthday and I can do what I want; I made my own birthday cupcakes two weeks before my actual birthday so I would have them to post today.  I also made my own birthday treat for my family party yesterday; I can’t wait to share that recipe with you soon!

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}These were not my original plan.  I had left over strawberry and chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and thought I could whip up a vanilla version to make an awesome Neapolitan cupcake.  Unfortunately fresh strawberries in a frosting don’t hold up well after a few days in the fridge.  Luckily, I improvised!

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}One of my favorite treats in the summer is a vanilla/chocolate soft serve ice cream cone smothered in colorful sprinkles.  There is something so fun and refreshing about that combination, I can’t stop.  Here is my tribute to a great summer staple in cupcake form!  For a more comprehensive frosting-how-to, click my original swirled frosting recipe here.

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}I’ve waited a long time to try the ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe from The Cupcake Project.  I adore the ultimate vanilla cupcake and have used it over and over again.  The chocolate version is a bit disappointing.  The texture was delightful – moist and tender with a soft crumb, but the flavor was lacking.  I wanted a more intense chocolate flavor with depth.  Perhaps I needed a better cocoa powder and melted chocolate.  One change I will definitely be making is substituting the warm water for coffee; coffee adds fantastic depth of flavor to chocolate.

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}Don’t get me wrong here, the cupcakes were still amaze-balls!  I heard Snooki using that word on MTV today (LOVE summer trash TV) and I died a little because I love that word, but her using it ruined things for me a bit.  I nick-picked the cupcake portion, but it’s completely edible and tasty.  The frosting on top is rich and creamy without being too sweet and is the star of the show.  As an extra bonus we have sprinkles!  Everything tastes better with sprinkles.

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}One Year Ago – Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate & Vanilla Twist Cupcakes
Chocolate cupcake adapted from the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake by Cupcake Project
Yield – 16 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, I used Ghiradelli 70%
2 eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder, I used Ghiradelli
1/2 cup water, room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line the cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20-second intervals until just melted.  Add to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time until fully incorporated.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Whisk together the oil, vanilla, and yogurt.  Set aside.
  6. Whisk together the flour, salt, soda, and cocoa powder.  Also set aside.
  7. Add the dry ingredients in three additions with the wet ingredients in between on low speed until just combined.
  8. Beat in the water until combined.
  9. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the batter.  Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate & Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
splash of vanilla
5 ounces dark chocolate
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
sprinkles

  1. Set up a double boiler by adding a small amount of water to a small saucepan.
  2. Place the bowl of a stand mixer on the small saucepan and add the egg whites, sugar, and salt to the bowl.  Heat and whisk until the mixture is no longer gritty.
  3. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
  4. Beat in the butter at medium-high speed one tablespoon at a time until everything is incorporated.  Scrape the bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla.
  5. Divide the frosting in half.
  6. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20-second intervals until just melted.  Beat into half the frosting.
  7. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and beat into the other half of the frosting.
  8. Add a small scoop of each frosting to a separate, disposable piping bag.  Flatten the bags as best you can and be careful not to overfill the bags. Snip the ends of the pastry bags.
  9. Place the bags together in a large pastry bag with a star tip.  Twist the top together and squeeze out.  Pipe onto each cupcake.
  10. Dip half of each cupcake in sprinkles.

Chocolate Vanilla Twist Cupcakes | Pale Yellow {Chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  With some sprinkles of course!}Happy Birthday to Me!

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Funfetti Cupcakes

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}Last day of school!!!!!! I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, probably last June, but the last day of school is better as a teacher than it ever was a student.  Teachers work incredibly hard all year long grading on weekends, late nights for concerts and conferences, and all the time spent in concern over our students. We know what it means to work hard and the joys of rest time!

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}And a break means beach time!  Cocktails!  Naps!  Reading for fun!  Let the good times roll.  Best of all most of my friends are teachers so I have plenty of people to keep me company with my “busy” schedule!

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}This last day of school is a little bittersweet – it’s my last last-day-of-school.  I made the decision earlier this year that teaching was no longer the right career path for me.  I reached out to try somethings that unfortunately did not work out, but I still knew it was time for me to leave the classroom.  Despite the disappointment and sadness, I plunged forward and found a new direction, one I’m truly excited about.

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}It is perfectly fitting I made these for a student, the last of my student monitors to receive her birthday treat.  It’s also sadly the last time I’ll get make cupcakes for one of my “kids.”  There are a lot of things I won’t miss about being a teacher, but after watching my students graduate last Thursday, most of those reasons were forgotten.  Nevertheless, it is time for a change and as the tears well up in my eyes, I know what I did for six years mattered, at least mattered to me.  Now I need a cupcake: cupcakes = instant smiles!

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}I’m not ready to go into details about my new direction since I was officially informed yesterday, but it changed a major move that was in the works. What I will say is that I will continue to be an educator, I will continue to engage students in science, but I will no longer be in the classroom.  I have spent the whole day beaming ear to ear and getting lots of hugs; its been a good, great, most fantastic day!!!

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}You know what else is fantastic?  These cupcakes, obvi!  There is nothing better than a moist, flavorful vanilla cupcake and frosting.  This recipe is one of my favorites jazzed up with sprinkles!  The sweet, but not too sweet frosting is light and fluffy and sits so nicely atop the vanilla scented, sprinkled filled cakes.  A dash of sprinkles on top and you’re done – happiness on a plate!

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}One Year Ago – Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches and Vanilla Cupcakes

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Funfetti Cupcake
adapted from Tie Dye Cupcakes
Yield – 17 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tea. baking powder
1/2 tea. baking soda
1/2 tea. salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Add the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife.  Smash the vanilla seeds in the sugar and set aside.
  3. Add the flour, powder, soda, and salt to the sugar mix slowly with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and beat for several minutes until the mixture becomes nice and crumbly.
  4. While the mixer is mixing, whisk together the yogurt, oil, and vanilla.  Pour this in the mixer and combine.
  5. Slowly add the milk in and turn on high for a few seconds.
  6. Mix in the container of sprinkles.
  7. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the dough.
  8. Bake 14-17 minutes until a toothpick in a center cupcake comes out clean.  Cool on cooling rack.

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}Whipped Vanilla Frosting

1 1/2 cups whole milk
7 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup sprinkles + extra for garnish

  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 bean paste, and allow to cool completely.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – the mixture will stay grainy, it’ll be ok, I was worried at first, too, but it really turns out wonderfully!
  4. Add in the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until the entire frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the 1/2 cup of sprinkles and mix until just combined.
  6. Add to a piping bag with a large round tip, pipe, add some sprinkles, and enjoy!

funfetti cupcakes | pale yellow {vanilla cupcakes and frosting filled with lots of colorful sprinkles!}

 

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Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Tracy of Shutterbean has a little phrase she often throws around on her blog – “Can’t stop, won’t stop.” and that is exactly how I feel about ice cream.  I literally ate all the rocky road ice cream single handedly and as soon as it was finished I whipped up a batch of this ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Even though I’ve had an ice cream maker for over a year, this is my first attempt at vanilla ice cream.  I’m kind of vanilla in many areas of my life but NOT when it comes to ice cream.  For example, my wardrobe is quite vanilla.  I favor solids and simple prints, cotton dresses and flip-flops.  Accessories are somehow really difficult for me.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Yet when it comes to ice cream and baked goods I’m all about accessories.  Plain vanilla ice cream – BORING!!  Luckily I had a quart of man whore bar trimmings in the freezer begging to be put into something wonderful.  You know when you’re trimming bars for a pretty presentation and you’re usually tempted to eat all the edges?  Well gather some self-control and freeze those bad boys for later use.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Trimmed edges make the BEST mix-ins for ice cream.  You’re eating a smooth, creamy, decadent ice cream and then BOOM, a delicious bite of an amazing baked good.  Waste not, want not – word.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Anyway, vanilla ice cream maybe a little boring, but throw in a little something special inside and you have yourself a marvelous, cold treat for the hottest days of summer.  You won’t regret your decision to mix all your leftover treats in your ice cream, trust me!

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}One Year Ago – Watermelon Martinis

Print the Recipe!

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whipped vodka
1 quart man whore bars, cut into small chunks

  1. Place the bowl of the ice cream maker in the freezer the night before.
  2. Heat the milk, 1 cup heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan until simmering.  Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds.  Add the seeds and the bean pod to the simmering cream.
  3. Simmer for one minute and then cover with a lid.  Remove from the heat and let steep for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and place the mixture back on the heat.
  5. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks.  Add the heated cream mixture to the eggs little by little to temper the eggs.  Once the eggs are warm, add them to the mixture on the stove.
  6. Heat and whisk until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  7. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve.
  8. Stir in the vanilla and the vodka.  Cool the ice cream base completely.  I usually cool in the fridge overnight.
  9. Churn the ice cream according the directions on your ice cream maker.  Once churned pour into a freezer safe bowl and then mix in the chopped man whore bars.
  10. Freeze until firm.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}

 

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