Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Best of Both Worlds

Now here is a super easy treat that will amaze everyone and make them say, why didn't I think of that?! That's exactly what I said to myself when I saw these on Genesis of a Cook. You should definitely check that blog out, lots of yummy stuff on there.

Anyway, the great thing about this is you can make these any variation you want. You can even use a box mix of brownies and a tub of cookie dough if you are too tired to make it all from scratch. In this case I used the brownie recipe from GoaC and then used the Toll House recipe on the back of the bag as the cookie dough for the tops of the brownies. It's super easy. I suggest trying these. They are wicked good.

Brownie Layer

3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cookie Layer

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 in baking pan.

2. For brownie layer, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and cocoa; stir to blend. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs and vanilla. In a bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda; stir into chocolate mixture and add chocolate chips. Spread into baking pan.

3. For cookie layer, grind oats in a food processor or blinder until fine. In a medium bowl, combine the ground oats with the flour, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. In another medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla and lemon juice. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips.

4. Take the cookie mixture and add dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie layer. Press down lightly.

5. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches in comes out almost clean. Cool completely before cutting. Cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

Super Bowl Cupcakes

The name here is actually deceiving. While these cupcakes were for a Super Bowl party, they were in no way, shape, or form geared towards football. Not like my football playoff cupcakes anyway.

One of Glenn's coworkers asked if I could make her a dozen cupcakes and deliver them to her for her party and of course I said yes. She wanted 6 of my Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes and 6 of my Mariner Mousse Cupcakes. Both were made easily and boxed up, ready for delivery.

If you would like the recipe for the Strawberry Lemon cupcakes, go here. If you would like the recipe for the Mariner Mousse Cupcakes, go here. Enjoy!

p.s. Since I was too lazy to go through my own archives to find the recipe for the Mariner Mousse Cupcakes, I came across this neat writeup from the Seattle PI which I thought was beyond awesome. They like me there, maybe I should move to Tacoma, WA like I've been thinkin. Sweet!

V-Day Cupcakes, Desperately Late

I couldn't let Valentine's Day pass by without giving everyone at work a Valentine from me. My valentines are in the form of cupcakes, as you can see. Red Velvet cupcakes to be exact. Here is the recipe...

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tablespoons red food coloring (you can omit this, I usually do)
1 teaspoon white vinegar (lemon juice is okay too)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I guess Wow is really the only way to describe my reaction once I realized it has been nearly a month since my last post. What's going on here?!?! Even though February is a short month, I try to look back and explain my absence and I don't come up with much. Last week was AIMS testing, so there's one reason. The rest of the month? I'm not so sure! We have been "remodeling/redoing" our bathroom this month too, but it's not like we've been working non-stop. It's a really cool "green" project though. Almost everything in the bathroom is either repurposed, vintage, or local. Yay! Anyway... I apologize, to myself I suppose, for being so lazy.

I think the easiest way to do this is to gather up all my pictures and post them along with recipes. No stories or recaps this time around. Too much to do. So here goes.

Oh!!!!! Before I forget... I was at Urban Outfitters the other day when I spotted the book Baked: New Frontiers in Baking on their sale table. Talk about a sale. I just got a 30 dollar book for 5 bucks! If you have an Urban by you, stop by and maybe you'll get lucky like me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

These are a mouthful, both to say and eat. They are also a pain to make. Well, I take that back. I enjoy baking and this was like making cupcakes and cookies, but all rolled in to one, so it was technically double the joy of baking. I had assumed that we would be back in time from the SuperBowl (sorry Cardinals) to make these, and we were because we left at half time. However, it took me about 3-4 hours from start to finish to get these done. Amazingly enough I finished in time to watch The Office afterwards. Sweet!

These cupcakes were for the February Birthdays at work. As usual, I got no suggestions. After a little bit of prying and prodding I was able to get a suggestion for pistachio or chocolate hazelnut. While both sound fantastic to me, and my Hazelnut Kahlua Nutella cupcakes were some of my favorite, I opted out of those fearing other people may not be too keen on them. Finally, it hit me! I've been dying to make these Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes for AGES! So I did. I didn't get to do the cookie dough frosting though. Doubling the recipe for the cupcakes cleaned me out of my brown sugar. Light and Dark.

Fantastic. Everyone loved these and they were a great big hit. I even ate one of my own creations! I usually don't have one of my cupcakes, and I am not really sure why, but this time I did and it was wonderful. I loved it. I definitely suggest that anyone looking to impress people with a cupcake should try these. They may be time consuming but they are pretty easy. People will really appreciate the creativity and yumminess that goes into these.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes
recipes found on Hello Baker

Chocolate Chip Cookies
by Alton Brown
yields 30 balls and a lot of mini cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter
2-1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
*** Roll approximately 30 balls of dough into the size of a marble (you can do larger if you want, just compensate by adding less cupcake batter in the end) and freeze the balls until ready for cupcakes ***

*** If you want to make mini cookies, scoop out dime sized pieces of cookie dough and bake for about 7-10 minutes ***

Brown Sugar Cupcakes
from Cupcake Bakeshop
yields appx. 30 cupcakes

1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C milk
1 T vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.
  5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  6. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
  7. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
  8. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
  9. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
  10. Place previously prepared frozen cookie dough ball (mine were fairly big) into cup liners, then fill about half to three-quarters full of cupcake batter.
  11. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when lightly touched. (Testing by using a toothpick would be insufficient because of the gooey cookie dough in the center).
Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Frosting
recipe by Me
yields enough to frost all cupcakes

8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 T butter, softened
3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 C mini chocolate chips

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
2. Add in vanilla beat paste and beat together until incorporated.
3. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
4. Stir in mini chocolate chips and frost cooled cupcakes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cupcakes in Arizona: Cake Cafe

I went to this place ages ago, except I didn't have a blog then, so I didn't review it. I am now. First I will start off with the appearance of the Cake Cafe. Glenn and I spotted this place in a generic looking strip mall that had some balloons and a sign out front advertising the new bakery. Awesome! We went inside and we're turned off by all the tacky gifts lining the wall. The place looks like a 12 year old girl decorated it, and that's not a good thing. The display for the "Famous Cupcakes" was really small, one of those clear containers you usually see with muffins or bagels inside them. It really looked like an afterthought.

Now these "Famous Cupcakes" have got me stumped as to where the name came from. I'm not sure who decided these were famous, but I can't really vouch for that. I got a peanut butter chocolate cupcake and Glenn got a chocolate mint cupcake. Having just been back from Yummy Cupcakes in Santa Monica about a month prior, we were eager to recreate the flavors we had there. Mission not accomplished. My chocolate cake was dry and tasted off. Reviews on Yelp suggest that this is because they used cake mix, and I have to agree. That's probably it. The frosting however, I liked because it was super sweet and peanut buttery. The grainy texture was a little irritating, but the flavor was still good. Opponents of super sweet will not enjoy these. Glenn also had a chocolate cake and the accompanying "off" taste. He also wasn't sure if the mint was in the cake as well as in the frosting. He enjoyed the frosting, but quoted Yummy Cupcakes as being far superior.

I'm sorry Cake Cafe. I really want to like you. I try to support local business, but only if they are putting out a product Arizona can be proud of. Try making your cakes from scratch and taking them out of the oven a few minutes earlier. Those simple tips can do wonders for your business. Until then, I will continue to make my own cupcakes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not Too Pretty

These certainly won't be winning any beauty contests anytime soon. In fact, I think they kinda look like poo. Really. Moving on...

Sometimes, or all the time if you are like me, you just need to have some sweets. Especially if you are watching Jack Bauer kickin butt on 24. You have to keep your blood sugar up just to watch the show. Of course I didn't have anything on Monday, so I had to make something. The only quick and instantly gratifying thing I could think of was to make cookies. That way we could eat a little dough to satisfy us for the time being, and then bake the cookies later. Perfect plan. I even had a recipe bookmarked that I wanted to try.

These were pretty easy cookies to make, and they didn't require a lot of bowls and cups. That is ALWAYS a good thing. (I'm trying to be more conscious of how many dishes I create because I can't always dump clean up on Glenn.) To make these more (or less I should say) interesting, and more palatable for Glenn, I subbed peanut butter chips for the white chocolate chips called for in the recipe, and I omitted the cloves (ewww.)

These cookies turned out great. I loved the substitution of the peanut butter chips, it really balanced out the richness of all the chocolate. I would definitely recommend making these cookies.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
recipe from Food Network

1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C (1 stick) butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
2 large eggs
1 yolk
1 C packed brown sugar (I used 2/3 dark and 1/3 light)
1 T vanilla extract
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
1 C peanut butter chips

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Using a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add bittersweet chocolate and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow the rest of the chocolate to melt.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until no clumps remain. Pour in chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir the flour mixture in using small additions. Try to incorporate the flour mixture as quickly as possible without overmixing. Gently stir in the chocolate and peanut butter chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to scoop. Overnight works really well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray) and scoop dough into balls about the size of ping pong balls (1-1.5 oz each). Place each ball about 1.5-2 inches apart. Bake for about 13-15 minutes. The top should look dry and may start to crack. Allow cookies to cool on a rack.

I Got Your Crazy