Becki Bakes!

I bake, I blog, I raise babies….and this is where I tell you all about it!

Easy As Pie….?!?! April 19, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness! — beckid987 @ 10:33 pm

What a stupid saying!  I’m here to tell ya, there’s nothing easy about pie!  Well, nothing easy about pie dough, anyway.

I need to take this time to let you know that I do not care for baked fruit.  No apple pie, peach cobbler, or blueberry crumble for me, thanks.  So what possessed me to spend many hours of my life making miniature strawberry pies, you ask?

  1. I saw them over at Rainy Day Gal‘s site, and fell in love with their cuteness.
  2. David loves strawberries, and he IS a fan of baked fruit – so much that he would rather have that than a chocolate dessert almost any day.  Total weirdo, I know.
  3. I really wanted to take Lauren to the local strawberry farm and pick berries, so I needed to have something creative to do with all those strawberries once I got them home.

The strawberry hunting picking was an absolutely great time for Lauren and her little cousin.  I highly recommend it for those with toddlers!

Snacking incognito!

I could post a million pictures of my kid being adorable with strawberries, but I shall refrain.  For now.

So without further ado, I give you miniature strawberry pies!  Here again is the link to RDG’s post: mini strawberry pies.

Miniature Strawberry Pies by Rainy Day Gal

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs

Crust Instructions:

  • Mix the flours and salt together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (I do not own a stand mixer – just my trusty hand mixer, which only has the beaters.  So I improvised on the next step and used a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture.  It got me by.)

Old school tool.

  • Add the cold butter cubes and mix on low for 1 minute, then add the eggs and mix on medium low until the dough forms a cohesive mass.
  • Pat the dough into a disc, wrap in cellophane and place in the fridge.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh strawberries, to yield about 4 cups halved strawberries

My vote: perfect just like this!

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 dash cinnamon (If I make these again, I will probably use several dashes of cinnamon.  Maybe even a tablespoon!)
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • I went ahead and added 1/2 cup sour cream to the mixture, too.  Why?  Because I saw sour cream in another strawberry pie recipe and thought it sounded good, that’s why!

Filling Instructions:

  • In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
  • In a larger bowl, toss the strawberries with the vanilla extract (and the sour cream, if you’re like me) and then toss with the dry ingredients.

Assembling The Pies:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Place a cupcake pan in the freezer.
  • On a clean surface, roll out 3/4 of your pie dough until it is about 1/8″ thick.  (The whole “clean surface” thing did not work out for me.  AT ALL!  I had to flour, flour, flour my rolling surface so the dough would not stick.  And then I kept putting it in the fridge to let it firm back up, anyway.  Like I said, me and pie doe = not good friends.  Ah well.)
  • Return the remaining 1/4 of the dough to the fridge.
  • Cut circles in the rolled-out dough using a round that is approximately 3″ in diameter to make a total of 9 circles. (I wanted to fill a whole cupcake pan, so I made my dough stretch and made 12 circles.  However, this did not leave me with much dough leftover for criss-cross decorations on top of the pies.)
  • Remove cupcake pan from fridge and lightly grease 9 of the cups with butter.
  • Gently press each dough round into greased cups, coming all the way up the edges and leaving a small rim of dough at the top.
  • Patch any holes with a pinch of extra dough from the refrigerator.
  • If at any time you’re working with the dough and it becomes sticky, wrap and place in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before continuing.  (Again, this happened to me many times.  And I floured my surface.  Good luck to you!)
  • Overfill each pie with strawberry mixture.
  • Roll out remaining dough and slice into 1/4″ to 1/3″ strips.
  • Lay strips of dough across each pie in a criss-cross pattern, pinching each seam together as you go along.
  • Place cupcake pan on top of baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • If the crust is ever becoming too brown, cover pies with aluminum foil and continue baking. (I did end up covering mine with foil for the last 10 minutes.  No big deal!)
  • Let cool in pan for 30 minutes, then remove and let pies cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
  • Makes 9 pies.  (Or 12, if you do like me.)

Messy, but still CUTE!

Very good with coffee, much better with the (not pictured) whipped cream!

The verdict?  Not surprisingly, I wasn’t in love with the pies, but my family sure was!  My brother likes them the best of anything I’ve tried out on him so far! David really liked the filling, but he said the crust needed to be a little sweeter. So if you know how to do that, you might want to take his recommendation into consideration. All in all, I’m definitely glad I tried them out, and I really appreciated all the compliments these little guys won me, so thank you, Jenny!

Hope you all have a great week!

Becki

From me, to you!

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Baking Outside The Box April 14, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness! — beckid987 @ 10:42 pm

Fact: I love me some brownies. Always have, always will.  However, I was quite satisfied with brownies from the box.  Simple, easy, delicious.  I’ve had homemade brownies from time to time at potlucks and whatnot, and have never felt inclined to make them myself.  In fact, most homemade brownies I had in the past were rather cake-y, and I like my brownies to be fudge-y, thank you very much.

Well.  WELL.  All that boxed stuff is out the window now.  I just made the best brownies of my LIFE, thanks to Shauna at Piece of Cake.  These brownies are so good, that I’m blogging about them ON THE SAME DAY THAT I MADE THEM. When’s the last time THAT happened?  Never, that’s when!

So, in case you didn’t catch it in that last paragraph, here’s the link to the recipe: Best Cocoa Brownies EVER!!

I pretty much followed all the instructions, except for melting the first 3 ingredients over simmering water.  I just put them in a glass bowl and put that directly on the burner over medium heat.  I’m a rebel, I know.

I also added 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips to the batter.  Why?  Because I’m pregnant and I can, that’s why!  I would have also added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, but David doesn’t really care for nuts in his baked goods, and I also didn’t have any walnuts.  So instead I added 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, sprinkled over the top (so Dave could easily scrape them off) about halfway through the baking process.  Which took a lot longer than the 25 minutes that Shauna claims.  Mine were done in about 40 minutes.

Perfection!

Oh, and did I mention how rich these bad boys are??  I, the choco-holic brownie fanatic was well and truly satisfied after one small brownie.  (Small for me, anyway.  Shauna said this makes 16 brownies.  I made it into 12.)

You know you want a bite!

What’s that you say?  No wonder I was full, seeing as how I added a scoop of ice cream?  Huh.

Say goodbye to the box!

Becki

 

Easter Review! April 6, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness! — beckid987 @ 12:23 pm

Happy Easter, everybody!

What’s that?  I’m a little late on the Easter wishes?  Well, I still hope you had a great holiday, and that you continue to have a lovely spring.  With the weather we’ve been having here, it’s hard not to fall in love with life again.  Hope blooms anew with the flowers and green things!  Weren’t seasons a great idea?!

The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day When the sun is out and the wind is still, You're one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, A cloud comes over the sunlit arch, A wind comes off a frozen peak, And you're two months back in the middle of March. -Robert Frost

So let me tell you about my Easter celebrations and baking.  If you’re into cute food, you will love the baking!

Dave’s Mom courageously volunteered to have Easter dinner (lunch) at her house – and invited my Dad, my brother and his family to come over, too.   That’s a lot of cooking, cleaning, and hosting that she signed up for!  Have I ever mentioned how awesome my Mother-In-Law is??  Super awesome, that’s how!

Knowing that I have this little baking obsession, she went ahead and asked me to handle the dessert.  As if she could have stopped me from bringing one!

Thanks to Bakerella, I am totally consumed with the idea of home-made “pops.”  They’re just so stinking cute, crafty, and different!  I also happen to LOVE the white fudge Oreos that come out for a limited time each winter, so when I found this recipe by Jenny at Picky Palate, my little brain wheels started turning!

People gag-gifted Oreos to David over Christmas because if you know my hubby, you know that Oreos are one of the only sweets that he really enjoys.  And since he’s not a big sweet eater, even of Oreos, and because I would rather make my own treats than dig into the Oreos, we have a ridiculously huge stash of them in our Pantry.  Everything from bite-sized to traditional to double stuff!

Because everything is cuter in miniature, and also because I had found a really cute, springy-themed plastic cup that I wanted to use for my pops at Wal-Mart, I knew I wanted to make the pops out of the miniature Oreos, and so I did the following:

Miniature Oreos do not come with enough filling to accomodate a lollipop stick on their own, so I opened up a few Double Stuf cookies, scraped out their guts and nuked ’em so they’d be spreadable.  Then I opened up the minis, added some extra Stuf, squished a stick  into ’em, and closed them back up, like so:

This is what the assembly line would have looked like if my Grandmother made Oreo Pops. And took pictures. And shared them with me.

You didn’t need that in color, did you?  They are black and white cookies, after all.  And I’m a little fascinated with PW’s Vintage Action at the moment.  Bear with me.  Anyway, after you’ve got as many Oreos as you’d like on sticks, let them set for about half an hour or so – that way your melted Stuf will unmelt.  Got that?

Then you can either be like Jenny, and use white melting chips to make some pretty colors for your pops, or be lazy like me and use already colored melting chips to dunk your pops.  Either way, you can’t go wrong.  Be bold, be creative, have fun!

The front of the bouquet...and the back!

Like I said, I love pops.  But we needed to have something a little more substantial to satisfy our (my) sweet teeth, so I also made some cupcakes.  And not just ANY cupcakes, but ones inspired by the fabulous Bakerella, of course!  Not only are these guys completely adorable, but I also loved the idea that everybody – adults (particularly ME) included – would get their own Easter basket.  Because let’s be honest…I’m not the only one who misses waking up to a basket full of goodies on Easter morning, am I?

I’m not normally a huge fan of carrot cake, but I had used this recipe a few months ago to make my Dad’s birthday cake and it was fabulous.  So, because it’s Easter, and there’s the whole bunny thing going on, and bunnies love carrots, I made carrot cupcakes ala my favorite PW.

Sadly, this time around the carrot cake recipe and I did not get along.  I don’t know what the problem was, but the first batch I made, I overfilled the cupcake liners, which made a huge mess in my oven and almost caused me to give up on the carrot cake from scratch idea altogether.  However, I tried again because my sweet David volunteered (OK, I asked and he acquiesced) to go buy more sugar AND grate the next batch of carrots.  Side note:  I.Hate.Grating.

'Nuff said.

The second batch looked beautiful, so I continued on my merry way.  Little did I know that they actually turned out rather dry – I did not taste test any until Easter dinner.  Sooo – sorry for the second-rate cupcakes, guys!  Still, I totally loved how they looked, and I will probably be making these little baskets again next year, but with a different cake recipe.  Apparently most of the guys (my husband, my brother, my father-in-law…) aren’t crazy about carrot cake, either.  Works for me!

I’m not posting any recipes, since I included the links to the originals above.  And for the baskets, you can use pretty much any candy your heart desires.  Here’s what I used:

Do you see those adorable little animal jellies in the center back, there?  Oh yeah.  PRECIOUS.  And of all the places, I found them at the dreaded Wal-Mart!  $1/pack!  Totally awesome.

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for:


Me to finally end this post.  Ha!

Love ya,

Becki

 

Let Them Eat Cake! March 21, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness! — beckid987 @ 9:37 pm

I know I still haven’t posted the long-promised sticky bun recipe, but I’m gonna skip that for now and go straight to some fantastic CAKE.

David’s cake request for the past 3 or so years in a row now has been a chocolate cake with FRESH strawberries incorporated somehow.  My first several attempts were not that great.  It’s hard to put fresh strawberries into baked goods!

But this year I hit the jackpot, my friends.  I combined elements from several different cakes that I found intriguing/delectable.  I made a chocolate genoise cake, with a mascarpone cream and fresh strawberry filling, topped with a white chocolate icing.  Then I went ahead and used fresh chocolate covered strawberries and a dark chocolate ganache to decorate it.  Hellooooo, little slices of heaven!

I had never had mascarpone anything before, but it sounded pretty amazing and I have been into trying new things lately.  Boy am I glad I did!  I don’t know how to describe it exactly…maybe something like fresh whipped cream meets sour cream and cream cheese.  Kind of.  It’s a very delicate, fresh taste.  You just gotta try it yourself to see what the heck I’m talking about.

And after making Dave’s cake, I had plenty of mascarpone cream and chocolate ganache leftover, as well as some of the white chocolate icing, so today I went ahead and used my favorite mocha cupcake recipe to make MORE fabulous treats.  I think I like the cupcakes even better than the cake!  The cake was VERY good, but the white chocolate icing and the fresh strawberries in the filling don’t do well after a day or two.  That cake is made to be eaten same-day.

So here’s some recipes for ya:

David’s Chocolate Genoise Strawberry Mascarpone Cream and White Chocolate Icing Cake

(yes, I am aware I will need to come up with a shorter title for that one.  Later, my friends…later.)

Le Cake!

Chocolate Genoise Cake Ingredients:

-3 tbsp melted unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/2 cup cake flour

-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

-4 large eggs

-2/3 cup white sugar

Cake Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350°

-Spray 9″ round pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

-In small bowl, combine butter and vanilla

-In medium bowl, sift flour and cocoa (yes, I did actually sift it this time.  It’s not much flour, the sifting goes quickly!)

-In large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar.  Place over saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until lukewarm.  Remove from heat and beat on high until mixture has cooled, tripled in volume and looks like softly whipped cream (approximately 5 minutes)

-Sift 1/3 of flour mixture over whipped eggs and gently fold in.  Repeat until all flour is folded in. (No, I did not sift it a second time.)

-Take 1 cup of batter and fold into butter mixture.

-Fold butter into batter and pour into prepared cake pan.  Bake approximately 20-25 minutes.

Mascarpone Cream Filling Ingredients:

-1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

-2/3 cup granulated sugar, separated

-8oz mascarpone cheese

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling Directions:

-In a chilled bowl, with chilled beaters, beat whipping cream and 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.

-In separate bowl, cream mascarpone cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla until creamy.  Combine with whipped cream.

Cake, sliced in half, with mascarpone filling topped with sliced strawberries. Then I put more filling on the other half of the cake, slapped the two halves together and iced the whole thing. Got it??

White Chocolate Icing Ingredients:

-3/4 cup white chocolate, melted over low heat

-3 tbsp flour

-1 cup milk

-1 cup sugar (I think they meant granulated sugar.  I started creaming the butter with granulated sugar and then freaked out because aren’t you always supposed to use powdered sugar for icing?  So I threw it away and started over with powdered.  It worked great with powdered sugar, but I have since found several similar icing recipes that use granulated sugar.  So it’s your call.  I can vouch that powdered sugar works….others say granulated is amazing in this recipe.)

-1 cup butter

-1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Icing Directions:

-Stir flour into melted chocolate.  Add milk gradually and blend well.  Cook over medium heat until very thick. (This takes a long time.  Like maybe 15 minutes or so.  Have patience and stir well!)

-Cool completely.

-Beat sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.

-Gradually add chocolate mixture and beat until consistency of whipped cream.

This cake did not last long! Yum!

As I mentioned before, I had plenty of leftover mascarpone cream, icing, and chocolate ganache so today I made my favorite mocha cupcakes with them!

You can find the recipe for the mocha cupcakes here.

Basically, I used a spoon to make a hollow in the cupcakes, like so:

Makin' room for some filling!

and then I put my leftover mascarpone cream in a ziploc with the end cut off and filled the hollows with deliciousness.  Then I put some of the cupcake back over the filling, like this:

Cupcake caps!

And then I microwaved my leftover ganache, and spread it over as many cupcakes as I could.  When I ran out of that, I made a vanilla sugar cookie icing out of sugar water and powdered sugar, and used it on the rest of the cupcakes, so I ended up with these:

Not so pretty, but oh, SO good!

I thought that I loved these mocha cupcakes with the white chocolate icing, but I think I love them even more with the mascarpone filling and dark chocolate ganache. They. Are.  Awe.some!

Happy baking,

Becki

 

Show Me The LOVE! February 14, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness! — beckid987 @ 2:29 pm

It’s Valentine’s day, and in my opinion, nothing says sweet love better than SWEETS!

So for our church Valentine’s banquet this past Friday, I went all Bakerella and made marshmallow swirl brownie pops and red velvet cake pops.  I think they turned out absolutely adorable, but honestly, I have no idea how Bakerella does all the intricate, detailed confections she is constantly cranking out.  I think I ended up making roughly 30 pops, and it took me approximately 6 hours.  Much like my hair and make-up, I do not have the patience for that kind of cuteness!  And my pops were way messier looking than Bakerella’s, too.  Yargh.  Although in my defense, Bakerella does not have one of these cute little bundles of destruction tugging at her legs while she does her thing:

Lauren <3's Tupperware!

Lauren <3's Tupperware!

I am glad I made the pops, I just don’t see them coming up in my future again soon.  Especially since they were heart-shaped.  The heart-shape makes it really difficult to smoothly and quickly coat them with the candy melts.  Round pops are much easier!  So if you’re feeling totally adorable and froggy, here’s the scoop on all things Pops:

Red Velvet Cake Pops by Bakerella

Ingredients:
-1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake, or 2 rounds.  It does not matter.)

Mmm....cake!

-1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.) I only used 1/2 the can.  I don’t know why.  If I do these again, I’ll probably go with the whole thing!
-1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate or other colored candy melts, depending on your project!)
-wax paper

Directions:

-After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl. (I crumbled it into big chunks by hand, then used a mixer to really pulverize it.  What?  I already said I don’t possess an abundance of patience!)

Crumbled cake!

-Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.) Fingers, Bakerella?  Puh-lease.  I used the mixer here, too!

-Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)  OK, for this step I used a heart-shaped candy mold to squish little chunks of the cake mix into, well, heart shapes!

Candy mold! Not to be confused with moldy candy....

-Carefully insert lollipop sticks into your cake balls/hearts/what-have-you.

Super cute already, no?

-Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.  You know I stuck mine in the freezer!)

-Melt chocolate (or candy melts) in microwave per directions on package.

-Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.) I used a knife to spread the candy coating on my pops, and then I stuck them in a styrofoam block and put them in the freezer so they wouldn’t take so long to set up.

ah candy melts...so much potential...so much more frustration!

-Then I made little tags for my pops, like so:

Yes, they are messy. I was running out of time!

-Then I bagged ’em and tagged ’em, and stuck em in cute little vases like so:

Oh yeah, I also added sprinkles to my pops. The red ones aren't melting, they have white glitter sprinkles!

-For the brownie pops, I used a box of fudge brownie mix.  I made these once before and made them according to the “fudgy” brownie directions and they turned out awesome.  This time for some reason I thought I’d try making them according to the “cake-like” brownie directions and my pops came out kind of dry.  So, go fudgy with your fudgy brownie mix!  Then crumble your brownies while they’re still warm, grab a jar of marshmallow creme and nuke it for about 20 seconds.  Add most of that to your brownies and roll into pops as directed above!

Then last night I made a whole meal o’love for David and my Dad, ala The Pioneer Woman. This involved spending another half a day in the kitchen…but it wasn’t quite as labor intensive as those crazy Pops.  I made Drip Beef Sandwiches, which both my Dad and Dave were somewhat skeptical about until they actually tried them.  Then it was nothing but “more, please!” I also made onion straws, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  And salad, of course. Everything was fabulous.  But the icing on the cupcake, if you will, was the LIFE by Chocolate Cupcakes.  Just look at these beauties:

 

Happy New Year! January 5, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness!,Friends & Loved Ones,Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 11:56 pm

I hope the holidays were as kind to you as they were to me.  I won’t say they were easy, necessarily, because there were definitely many melt-downs for me as I remembered and missed my Mom.  But those moments were only moments, and on the whole I had a GREAT holiday season, mostly thanks to David’s awesome family.  Man do I love those people. All of ’em, right down to the great-grannies.  They’re fun, they’re loving, they accept and even seem to like me, and they ADORE my kiddo.

Lauren had a fabulous first Christmas, thank you for asking.  She has more toys than we have space now.  What a blessing of a “problem” to have!  She had a great time rocking out to all the singing Christmas decorations, and she kept her cousins entertained and harassed getting into every little thing they left sitting out.  Lauren and her cousins are the cutest things going, by the way.  Don’t believe me?  I have proof!

Lauren and her cousin Leah

Lauren and cousins Dalton and Devin

I trust you are convinced!

I did do a lot of cooking and baking over the holidays, but I did not do a lot of photographing.  Sorry, guys!  How about if I post two recipes today to make up for it?  Yes?  OK!

Christmas Eve Mice

Ingredients:

-1 package Oreo Cookies, twisted apart, or 2 packages white chocolate covered oreos, whole (I have not made them with the white chocolate oreos.  Yet.  Next year, my pretties…next year!)

-2 jars Maraschino Cherries, With Stems, drained, rinsed and patted dry

40 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Approximately 1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tsp shortening

1 tube red icing gel and 1 tube green icing gel

Directions:

-Set up an assembly line, however works for you.  I did mine like so:

Assembly line, minus the melted chocolate.  It's there, just not in the shot.

Assembly line, minus the melted chocolate. It's there, just not in this shot.

-Put your chocolate chips and the shortening in a small bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted.  Stir until smooth.

-Grab a cherry by the stem and completely dunk the cherry in the chocolate (not the stem!)

-Place cherry on it’s side on Oreo Cookie.  Place it over to one side more, so you will have room to pipe your decorations next to the mouse.  The cherry makes up the mouse body and the stem is it’s tail.

-Quickly press the flat side of a Hershey kiss to the side of the cherry opposite the stem.  The kiss makes up the mouse head.

-Place two almond slices between the kiss and the cherry – these make up the mouse ears.

-Repeat until you have 40 mice completed.  You will probably need to reheat your chocolate once or twice during this process – that’s OK.

-Use your red and green gel to pipe holly decorations next to your mouse.  You can also use the red gel to make eyes for your mouse, or use black gel if you have it.  Black would be much cuter, but I always use red because I’m too cheap to buy 3 tubes of icing.

-Serve at your next holiday party and eat up the ooh’s and ahh’s and “how cute!”s.


OK, and recipe #2 I discovered and made today.  How’s that for fresh blogging, huh??  I took this recipe from Katie at You Are What You Eat…Or Reheat – how cute is that title??  She’s funny and makes good food.  And she loves animals and The Pioneer Woman.  Which reminds me – I need to show you one of my favorite Christmas presents this year!  Check this puppy out:

That's right, ladies and gents! My very own PW cookbook signed by THE Pioneer Woman herself. She even spelled my name right!

David was totally awesome to make that happen.  I think he loves me or something!

OK, so here’s another recipe that you really need to try ASAP:

Chocolate Chip Brownie Pillows

Ingredients:

-1 (20 oz) pkg double chocolate brownie mix

-1 stick unsalted butter (I used salted, and I think my cookies turned out just fine.  David agrees!)

-1/2 cup shortening

-1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (Katie did not specify dark or light.  I used light, because that’s what I had.)

-2 large eggs

-1 egg yolk

-1 tbsp vanilla extract

-2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used bleached.  It’s what I had.  Again, David and I agree – these turned out fabulously!)

-2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-3/4 tsp salt

-3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

-Prepare brownies according to package directions in an 8″ square pan.  Cool completely.

-Then cut into 3 dozen or so tiny squares.

Little, little bites.

-While the brownies are baking, beat butter and shortening at medium speed until creamy.

-Add brown sugar, beating until smooth.

-Add eggs, yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended.

-Combine flour and next three ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended after each addition.

-Stir in chocolate chips, cover, and chill dough 1 hour.

Show me the DOUGH!

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Unless you’re like me and just left your oven on between making the brownies and chilling the cookie dough.  Oops.)

-For each cookie, scoop 1/2 cup dough onto wax paper lined cookie sheet; place cookies 3 in. apart. Using fingers make an indention in mound of dough; place 1 brownie square in center. Press dough around brownie to form a ball. Repeat. (OK I totally did not do mine like this.  I scooped out a heaping tablespoon, smooshed it down, smashed in a piece of brownie, then added another stingy tablespoon on top.  It was just easier that way, and made much smaller and many more cookies.)

-Chill 15 minutes.

-Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned and cookies look set.

-Cool 2 minutes.

-Remove to wire rack and let cool completely.

It's a BROWNIE. In the middle of a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. Yes!!

-Try not to eat all of these bad boys in one sitting.  Especially if you’ve made new year’s resolutions involving diets and other such nonsense.

Here’s to a glorious 2010,

Becki



 

Mmmilk Dud Cupcakes! September 18, 2009

Filed under: Baking Goodness! — beckid987 @ 3:47 pm

Yesterday, in a fit of hormones, I went on a “must have chocolatey sugary goodness!” rampage, and I am so glad that I did!

I combined a couple of recipes from Jenny at Picky Palate and spent the afternoon attempting (and mostly failing) not to eat all twenty-four of the cupcakes that I made.  I took the Caramel Buttercream Icing (are you drooling yet??  every time I read or say “caramel buttercream icing” my tastebuds smile.  best idea ever, Ms. Picky Palate!) from this recipe and the cupcake batter from this recipe to make these:

milkdud2

Milk Dud Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

-1 box devil’s food cake mix

-4 eggs

-1/2 cup vegetable oil

-1/2 cup water

-1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix (Buying instant pudding is tricky.  I hate the packaging because it is not immediately obvious which ones are sugar-free and which ones are regular.  I spent a long time staring at them before buying 4 packages of what I thought was regular chocolate instant pudding mix.  When I pulled out a box to make these cupcakes yesterday and discovered that I had purchased 4 boxes of sugar-free, I almost had a melt-down.  I hate it when I’m “tricked” into low-fat, no-fat, sugar-free stuff!!  But as it turns out, these cupcakes are plenty sweet enough – I did not miss the additional sugar that would have come with a box of regular pudding.  Sorry for this long side note…I had to get that off my chest!)

-1/2 cup sour cream

-1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet for mine, and they’re fine.  But the semi-sweet kind of overpowers the caramel – I think milk-chocolate chips would be a much better choice for these cupcakes.)

-1 movie-theatre sized box Milk Duds

Caramel Buttercream Icing Ingredients:

-20 soft caramels

-1/4 cup milk

-2 egg yolks

-3 1/4 cups powdered sugar

-2 sticks softened butter

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350º

-Using a stand or electric mixer, combine all cake ingredients except chocolate chips.  Mix on medium for 2 minutes or until well combined and somewhat thick.  Add chocolate chips and stir until combined.

-Scoop into 25 paper lined muffin cups.  Don’t be like me and waste your cute white cupcake liners on these chocolate cupcakes.  White cupcake liners are made for light-colored batters.  Duh.  But aren’t these adorable?

cute, no?

cute, no?

-Press 1 Milk Dud into the center of each cupcake.

-Bake for 22-25 minutes or until they pass the toothpick-test.  Let ’em cool completely before frosting. (OK and here I have to say that straight out of the oven, with no icing or anything, these guys are SO GOOD.  I ate a whole one as soon as they came out of the oven, and I could have easily eaten a couple more!  The chocolate chips and the Milk Dud are all gooey and melty and mmmmmmm…)

Caramel Buttercream Icing Directions:

-Unwrap caramels and place them and the milk into a medium saucepan over medium low heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

-In a seperate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

-Using a stand or electric mixer, slowly beat together the melted caramel and the egg yolk mixture until well combined.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate until well chilled – at least an hour or so.

-Once the caramel mixture is chilled, add the softened butter and beat until whipped.  Slowly beat in the remaining 3 cups powdered sugar, until everything is light and fluffy.

-Frost your cupcakes and ENJOY!

Oh, and there won’t be enough frosting to make them all swirly and pretty like this:

milkdud

So you’ll just have to slap it on like this:

notpretty

But that’s OK because you’re still going to want to shovel it into your mouth like this:

Get In My Belly!

Get In My Belly!

Have a great weekend!

Becki