Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1 Year Blogiversary & Mocha Cookies

So it might have seemed that I had fallen off the face of the planet, but I am back.  I started a new job and I am working a normal 40 hour week.  Its been hard getting into a routine where I have time to bake, but I am working it out.  In other exciting news, I just past my 1 year of blogging mark which is a big milestone.  I cant believe its been a year, and man oh man so much has changed.   I went from a student with a passion for baking to a hard working 9-5er with no time to bake.

Anywhoo.  Thanksgiving just past and we are rolling up on Christmas real fast.  This is when the big scramble for baking and gifts hits us like a ton of bricks.  There is never a enough time in the day to get everything done, but I think I discovered something that might help.  These cookies!!  These cookies have a rich chocolaty brownie flavor with espresso!  What more could u ask for.  This are great for a mid-day pick-me-up or perfect to add to your holiday cookie tray, just don't let the kids get to them!

Mocha Cookies - Adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: 3 Dozen
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder or Dark Special Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon (Optional)
2 Tablespoons Instant Espresso Powder (I used Starbucks VIA Packages)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 Cup (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
1 Cup Packed Light-Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Egg, plus one egg yolk
1 Cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; set aside. 
  3. In a small bowl, stir together espresso powder, vanilla, and a tablespoon of water; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and yolk; mix until incorporated. 
  5. Add espresso mixture; mix well, scraping down the sides of a bowl with a spatula. At low speed, add flour mixture in small batches, mixing until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, and stir in chocolate chunks.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, scoop heaping balls of dough and place 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool completely before removing cookies.
  7. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oreo Cake

It was my boyfriends 25th birthday yesterday so I made him OREO Cake.  His favorite is white cake with store bought chocolate frosting, but I had to get more creative then that so I made Oreo Cake!  I got too busy today to make the cake from scratch so I gave in and used box mix, it happens to the best of us sometimes.  I wanted to make sure that there was at least one thing he asked for in the cake so I bought the chocolate frosting at the store for the middle of the cake and put the Oreo buttercream on the outside.  I had a really hard time spreading the chunky frosting round the cake but it turned out okay.  I used the left over Oreos to surround the outside of the cake, because why not.   This was a huge hit with my boyfriend and his friends, very chocolaty though so be sure to serve a glass of milk with every slice of cake.  Enjoy!
Happy Birthday Joe!!

Oreo Cake - Adapted from My Baking Addiction
Yield: 2 Layer 8 Inch Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1 (18.25 ounce) Package Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 (5.9 ounce) Package Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix (I used 2 small packages which was about 2.5 oz)
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Warm Water - I think I forgot this in my rush to get the cakes in the oven!
2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips - I dont think you need this much extra chocolate....

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease (2) 8 or 9 inch round cake pans thoroughly.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, salt vanilla, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and divide batter into the prepared pans.
  3.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking the baking time. Bake until the top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake for at least 30 minutes before inverting. Allow cake to cool completely on wire rack.
Oreo Buttercream
2 Stick Unsalted Butter – room temperature
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Pounds Powdered Sugar
3-4 Tablespoons Very Cold Milk
25 Oreo cookies chopped - or they will chop themselves if you put them in the mixer and turn up the speed!

  1. Cream the butters in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla extract and combine well.
  2. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining well after each addition until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Add the Oreo Cookies and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Frost your cooled cake layers and decorate.
  5. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

100th Post & Nutella Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

Today is also my 100th post!! I have been blogging for almost a year now and I love still love it.  I started my blog while sitting in my biology class one day.  I already followed a few blogs and I thought to myself, I can do this too!  My style has changed over the months, and my photography has improved but I still love baking and sharing my treats with everyone.  I have a lot to make on my Baking Bucket List, so I will continue blogging and trying new recipes!  I hope you enjoy this recipe for Nutella cream cheese brownies!  They are truly amazing!!

P.S. The CMA's were AMAZING tonight!!!

Nutella Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies - Adapted from Lovin The Oven
Yield: 16 Squares
Cream Cheese Topping Ingredients:
5 Oz Cream Cheese - not whipped
2 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature and unsalted
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/4 Cup Nutella

Brownie Batter Ingredients:
3/4 Cups Flour
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Stick of Butter, room temperature and unsalted
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Eggs

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.  Grease and line a 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream cheese topping - 
    1. Cream together butter, sugar and flour. Add cream cheese and mix/blend until smooth.
    2. Scrape bowl and add the egg and beat until the topping is nice and creamy. 
    3. Scrap bowl and add Nutella, beat about one minute or until the nutella is mixed into the cream cheese mixture completely.
    4. Set topping aside and mix brownie batter.
  3. Brownie batter - 
    1. Sift flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
    2. In a small bowl cream sugar and 1/2 stick of butter, add eggs one at a time, beat well then add vanilla.
    3. Fold egg, sugar, butter and vanilla mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
    4. Spread 3/4 of the brownie batter into the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  4. Randomly dollop the cream cheese topping over the brownie batter.
  5. Randomly dollop the rest of the brownie batter on top of the cream cheese batter. Swirl with the tip of a knife.
  6. Bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Toffee Rum Banana Bread

Still have leftover Halloween candy!?  I had a lot of left over heath bar to use so I made this banana bread.  The toffee and the subtle rum flavor was a great twist on traditional banana bread.  I put most of the heath bar on the top of the bread instead of in the middle, which made a nice crunchy toffeey crust!! I would just cut off the top and eat that if I could.  I also liked using chopped up Heath Bar because it has more chocolate in it then the Heath Bits.  I added cinnamon and nutmeg to the recipe because why not.   This is a very moist banana bread and I think it would a huge hit at any holiday party!

Toffee Rum Banana Bread - Adapted from Hershey's
Yield: 1 large loaf or 2 small loafs
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
3 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Milk
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Rum (I used Bacardi)
1 Egg
1 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana (about 3 medium)
1 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)
1 1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits, divided (I used 10 fun size heath bars)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2-inch baking pans.  I just used one pan and used about 75% of the batter.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add milk, oil, rum, egg and banana; stir with spoon until well blended. Stir in nuts. 
  3. Spread 1-1/4 cups batter into bottom of each prepared pan. Top each batter with 1/2 cup toffee bits. Gently spread about 1 cup remaining batter in each pan. Sprinkle remaining bits over batter. 
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. If only making one loaf, bake time will increase to 45-55 minutes.  (Bread will have slight sink in center.) Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, loosen bread from sides of pan. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.
  5. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Butterfinger Brownies

Do you have leftover Halloween candy!?  Here is one way you can use some of it.  See I planned for this to happen.  When I picked out my Halloween candy, I only bought stuff I knew I could bake with after.  When the trick-or-treaters stopped coming, I dumped out the candy bowl and starting sorting and counting my loot.  I found this recipe and knew it would be a perfect recipe for my 12 butterfingers.  Tomorrow I am making something with my 10 Heath Bars, so look forward to that recipe!  Anyway, I pulled these straight out of the oven to take to Working Wardrobes to share some good news with them.  The whole staff at Working Wardrobes has been so supportive and helpful over the years, I cant thank them enough.  These were a huge hit and I will be making another treat on the 13th for all the volunteers at the Baubles & Bags Brunch.  If anyone lives in the Los Angeles area and wants to support a great organization that helps men and women in crisis get back to work, then click on that link!!  Thanks!!

So the good news is I was offered a full time job working for a company called Regus.  I will be working at one of their offices in Newport Beach.  I am thrilled about this opportunity, but I am worried I wont have much time for baking.  I guess time will tell what my schedule is like, but I want to continue blogging.  So I am closing my Nordstrom chapter soon, and opening another one.  YAY!

Photo taken in my car with my iPhone... not great!!
Butterfinger Brownies - Adapted from Recipe Girl
Yield: 25 brownies
4 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 Cup Butter, unsalted and softened
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter - don't use natural pb, use something like skippy or jif
2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Flour
16 (.65 ounce) Butterfingers candy bars, chopped, big chunks are okay (or just use 10.4 ounces total) - I only had 12 bars and it was enough...

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil; grease the foil.
  2. Melt chocolate in glass bowl in the microwave- short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter, peanut butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. 
  4. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour. Stir in chopped butterfingers (reserving about 3/4 cup for the top).
  5. Spread batter into prepared pan. Top with reserved Butterfingers chunks.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, peel off the tin foil.  Slice into squares.  If you want, refrigerate until brownies are well-chilled- if overnight, cover with plastic wrap. 
  8. Enjoy!!