Friday, September 30, 2011

Chocolate Nutella Cookies

My boyfriend is off to Michigan today to visit his brother.  I wanted to send him off with some goodies to share with the roommates.  His first thought was I could make cookies for the Frat his brother just joined, but I vetoed that idea.   I didn't really wanna make cookies for tons of hungry men and then make my boyfriend travel with them.  I found this recipe and it sounded really good.  The recipe has no eggs it,  but they still turned out like a normal cookie.  With no eggs, the cookie dough is hard to resist eating, so beware.  They are very rich and chocolaty, and the Nutella brings a nice flavor to the cookie.  The cookies literally just melt in your mouth!!



Chocolate Nutella Cookies - Adapted from Our Best Bites
Yield: 2 Dozen Cookies
Ingredients:
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Butter, Unsalted and room temperature
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Hazelnut Extract (you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla if you can’t find or don’t like hazelnut extract, I didnt use the hazelnut)
1/3 Cup Nutella
1/3 Cup Milk

Directions:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Set the mixture aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Add the extracts and beat for another 30 seconds or so. Add the Nutella and beat until smooth.
  3. With the mixer running, add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add the milk, mixing until combined completely, then add the remaining flour mixture and mix completely. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes (and as long as 2-3 days).
  5. Preheat oven to 325 when ready to bake.  Prepare a baking sheet.
  6. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place them on the lined cookie sheet, allowing about 2″ between the dough balls.
  7. Lightly press the dough balls with the bottom of a drinking glass and then bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are crackly on top and soft, but starting to set. 
  8. Remove from the oven and allow them to stand for about 5 minutes and then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cowboy Cookies

My favorite cowboy will be getting some cowboy cookies on his door step for his birthday.   I have a top secret recipe that is similar to this one, that everyone loves, especially the birthday boy.  But I wanted to make something new, and something I could post on my blog.  I deliberated for hours this morning trying to figure out what to make and which recipe to use.  I am very glad I choose this one because these cookies are amazing!  The dough is dark from all the cinnamon and I love that!  These will be a big hit at any event!!
Happy Birthday Lukas!!




This recipe makes a lot of cookies!
Cowboy Cookies - Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: 4 Dozen Big Cookies - This recipe is 2/3 of the original recipe...
Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
2/3 Teaspoon Salt, I just eye-balled it...
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
2 Cups Chocolate Chips
2 Cups Old Fashion Rolled Oats
1 1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut, Sweetened or Unsweetened is fine
1 1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. 
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. 
  5. With a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula stir in the chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans. I continued to use my mixer and it was very full, almost over flowing.  
  6. For each cookie, scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are set but the middles still look light and puffy, about 10-13 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool cookies on the baking sheets.
  7. Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

So lately there have been lots of posts for brownies that have peanut butter cups in them.  I, of course, wanted to make them too.  I went out and bought a bag of the Mini Reece's Peanut Butter Cups a few weeks ago, but just finally had a chance to make them.  Its been a busy week with work, and my birthday.  My boyfriend and I took a little vacation/ road trip to Sedona, Az.  It was amazingly beautiful and we had a great time hiking, wine tasting, and eating the local cuisine.  We tired Cactus Fries; they were interesting... But anyway, back to the baking.  I wanted to find a good brownie recipe to add the peanut butter cups too. I think I found the perfect recipe from Alton Brown.  He makes a Cocoa Brownie that is unlike any other brownie I have ever tired.  The texture is different and its super chocolaty.  The method for making these is unique, you use a Kitchen Aid with the whisk attachment and you beat the eggs first.  Kinda different.  And there is brown sugar in these brownies, also unusual.  But all I can say about these is they are AMAZING.  I poured half the batter in the pan, then sprinkled a whole bag of Reece's Minis and 2 handfuls of chocolate chips, then poured on the other half of the batter.  If you don't want to add the peanut butter cups, I would still recommend these as a plain brownie.  YUM!



Me at the top of Doe Mesa, Sedona, Az
Cocoa Brownies with Peanut Butter Cups - Adapted from Food Network-Alton Brown
Yield: 24 Brownie squares
Ingredients:
4 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar, sifted
1 Cup Brown Sugar, sifted - I had a real hard time sifting brown sugar, I would not recommend it!
1 Cup Melted Butter
1 1/4 Cups Cocoa, sifted
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Cup Flour, sifted
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Bag of Mini Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, 8oz
1/2 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 300. Butter or grease an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. 
  3. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
  4. Pour 1/2 the batter into a greased 8-inch square pan then add a bag of mini peanut butter cups and some chocolate chips.  Add the rest of the batter on top.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.
  6. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I had buttermilk so I made bread.  Its AMAZING!  So much cinnamon and sugar its addicting.  The end.....





All that dark brown is SUGAR!
Cinnamon Swirl Bread - Adapted from Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Yield: 1 loaf
Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Buttermilk

Filling and Topping:
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, salt, and vanilla. 
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add alternately to the creamed mixture along with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. 
  4. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon together until well mixed. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into a greased 9x5 loaf pan or three mini loaf pans. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat the layers twice more, ending with cinnamon on top. 
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until it tests done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest in the pan 20 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely.  Make sure it is completely cool before slicing.
  6. Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Grand Marnier Cupcakes

My mom's birthday was on Thursday.  We had a huge power outage all over Southern California that day so she had a candlelit birthday party.  She was having another joint birthday party on Saturday night so I thought i would bring her some cupcakes.  It was also my aunts birthday a few weeks ago too and she has been bugging me to make her a cake.  So i figured i would let me mom choose what type of cupcakes she wanted.  She is by far my harshest critic so if she likes something then you know it is good.   I showed up to her house with only 12 cupcakes and realized there was about 40 people at her house.  Needless to say people where fighting over these cupcakes.  My mom said they were my best cupcakes yet, so that is saying a lot.  The cupcake is a perfect moist chocolate cake, then they were filled with dark chocolate ganache with Grand Marnier, and the orange buttercream on top was amazing.   This is a rich and dreamy cupcake on every level... the end!

Happy Birthday Mom!








Grand Marnier Cupcakes - Adapted from Three Many Cooks
Yield: 24 Cupcakes or about 75 Mini Cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 3/4 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cups Cocoa Powder, best quality possible
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk, shaken
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs, at room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup Freshly Brewed Hot Coffee

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Batter will be very liquidity.
  3. Using a large scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells, filling each well 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.
  4. Once cupcakes have cooled, hollow out a small circle in the center of each cupcake.  I use an apple corer.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients:
2/3 Cup Heavy Cream
12 ounces or 1 1/2 Cups Dark Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier

Directions:
  1. Place chocolate in a large heat safe bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes. 
  3. Whisk the chocolate and cream mixture until smooth and glossy. Stir in the Grand Marnier. Allow ganache to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  4. Pipe or spoon the ganache into each hollowed cupcake and top with buttercream.

Orange Buttercream
Ingredients:
4 Sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
2 Pounds Powdered sugar, sifted
Zest of One Large Orange
Pinch of Fine Grain Sea Salt
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
3 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
1-3 Tablespoons Milk

Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.
  2. Add orange zest, salt, vanilla, and Grand Marnier. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and beat until thoroughly combined. If frosting is too thick, gradually add in milk until the desired consistency is reached. 
  3. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with leftover ganache if you want.
Storage:
These cupcakes are best served the day they are made; however, they will keep covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Allow cupcakes to come to room temperature for 45-60 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Confetti Cookies

Who doesnt love confetti!?  I love confetti cake so I figured I would love confetti cookies, and after making these I know I love confetti cookies!  These look awesome and they taste awesome also.  It just a basic sugar cookies base with the added M&M's for color and chocolate flavor.  These are fun for all ages and are a delicious treat!!




Confetti Cookies - Adapted from Munchkin Munchies
Yield: 3 Dozen 
Ingredients:
2 1⁄2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1⁄2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup Crushed up M&M's Candies - about 2 regular size bags of M&M's

Diretions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Stir in 1 cup of the m&m confetti bits and mix well.
  5. Use a medium cookie scoop and place cookie scoops on parchment-lined baking sheet (I used my airbake, so no need for parchment) about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes or just until the edges begin to brown.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Enjoy!!