Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Too much candy… just the right amount of Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

November 2, 2010

Post party we had quite a bit of candy left over. I brought it in to work to get rid of it. Unfortunately all my co-workers had the same idea. I’ve spent the last two days swimming in Nerds and M&Ms. It’s becoming a problem. I think I’m due for a dentist appointment too. Shudders.

The PARTY was funnn. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. I think you had a good time, yes? At some point in the night I lost possession of my camera. I found things like this on it:

The next morning?

Poor skeleton. Partied out. For political reasons, I cannot show you the rest of the party pics. But maybe just one of the whoopie pies I made.  They were yummy.  Whoopie Pies are popular now, popping up at bakeries everywhere.  I like how portable and individual they are–way less mess than cutting a full cake, even easier than a cupcake.  And because it’s fall, and because I’m obsessed with all things pumpkin and maple, here’s another pumpkin and maple recipe…

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Adapted from Bon Appétit

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tablespoons butter (3/4 stick), at room temp
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk

1 cup butter (two sticks), at room temp
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 (7.5 oz) jar of marshmallow filling or fluff
3-5 teaspoons maple syrup, to taste
salt, to taste

For the cakes:
Preheat oven to 350° F

Sift together the first eight ingredients into a medium bowl. Set aside. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Gradually add in oil, then the eggs, one by one. Beat in pumpkin. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the addition of the milk. Finish by beating in the the last half of the flour until just combined.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon desired amount of batter onto your pan. I used about 2 tablespoons per whoopie pie “half”, and spaced them about 3” apart on the pan. Bake 15-18 minutes until edges are just slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Watch these because the bottoms will burn! Carefully remove the cakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting:
With a hand or stand mixer, whip together the butter and powder sugar. Add marshmallow filling and a dash of salt. Gradually add maple syrup to taste. I loaded up on the maple syrup and added another dash of salt to cut the sweetness.

Spoon 1-2 Tablespoons on the center of the flat side (pan side) of a cooled whoopie pie cake. Grab another cake and gently press together. Enjoy!

This recipe made about 24 assembled pies.

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Miniature Evil

October 17, 2010

Today was my sister’s bachelorette spa party. The wedding is just a few weeks away now! Like my nails?  We had a blast at Juko Nail & Skin Rescue in Wicker Park. I highly highly recommend Juko for all your mani/pedi needs. The owner Oksha and her staff were so accommodating and so so nice.  We all felt pampered.

Annnnnddd I baked mini pumpkin cupcakes with maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting for the party.  Long description.  Tiny cakes. So good. Very Dangerous.  Someone come over and eat the three dozen leftover.  Yikes.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


adapted from here and here.  Recipe makes about 60 mini cupcakes.

2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground gloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
2-3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1+ teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt

For Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prep mini cupcake pan with paper liners.

Add vinegar to milk and set aside.

Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a medium bowl and set aside.

With a stand or electric hand mixer beat together the milk, butter, sugars, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture until smooth and well combined.

Fill mini cupcake pan with batter and bake 12-14 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

For Frosting:

Beat together butter and cream cheese until whipped and well combined.  Gradually add two cups powder sugar.  Beat in maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon.  Add more sugar or cinnamon to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Frost cooled cupcakes and serve!  Be sure to refrigerate the leftovers.

The Shower

September 25, 2010

My sister Michel’s wedding shower was last Sunday, and it was a success! We had a lot going on, but everything came together, no one was hurt, and we all made it to work on Monday morning mostly unscathed.

My Dad grilled chicken. My Ma & I made this barley salad recipe. We made a lot of this recipe. We should have made more, but I don’t think we had a big enough pot. It was so hearty and tasty.

My aunts and cousins made salads and appetizers and pretty jello molds.

My grandmother made a billion cookies. By the time we were cleaning up my Aunt’s place post-party, they were all gone. She’s a pretty great baker.

We made chocolate caramel cupcakes. A bit of a frosting mishap, but still super good.

I made nectarine sorbet and served it with a drizzle of red wine and strawberries.

Too much food!

I wish I took more pictures.

But it was busy!

Anyway, if you have cute pics from Michel’s big day, please email them my way. And… here’s the cupcake recipe…

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes


from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

makes 20 cupcakes

3 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (half cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup milk, room temperature

1 stick (half cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
sea salt for garnish

For the cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 350° F and prep your cupcake tins with paper liners.

On low power nuke the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Stop the microwave to stir every thirty seconds until chocolate is smooth and melted.  Set aside and cool to room temperature.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Using a hand mixer, cream 1 stick of butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and eggs, then the cooled chocolate.

Add the flour mixture to the batter in four parts, alternating with the addition of the milk.  Beat until just combined.

Pour batter into cupcake pans.  Bake 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.

For the frosting:

In a heavy-bottomed 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to low but maintain boil for 2 minutes and continue to stir the caramel.

Carefully add 1/2 cup of the milk to the caramel.  Return to a boil, and then remove from heat.  Cool for 30 minutes until caramel is lukewarm.

Transfer cooled caramel to a mixing bowl.  With a hand mixer, gradually incorporate the powdered sugar and milk.  Beat 3-4 minutes.  Chill frosting in fridge until ready to frost cupcakes, at least 1-2 hours.

Whip frosting with mixer to a spreadable consistency.  Add sugar or milk if necessary.  Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with sea salt.

Happy.

August 30, 2010

I had an amazing weekend!  A brief breakdown:  It involved fam and friends, train rides, car rides, and farmers markets…

bubblegum plums (tiny!), witnessing the marriage of a really sweet couple at a boat wedding, and a lovely Lake Geneva B&B…

getting thrown around at the Iggy & The Stooges concert, nighttime walks, popsicles, and cookies!

Finally.  I was super stoked to make this recipe ever since the Pioneer Woman posted it a few months ago.  I love chocolate malts, and this cookie, especially with the milk chocolate chips, really captures the flavor of that classic dessert drink.  I split the dough and tried half with these milk chocolate chips, and half with semi sweet.  Go with the milk chocolate for sure.  You won’t be disappointed.  Note, HIGHLY addictive.

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies


from the Pioneer Woman

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup, rounded, malted milk powder
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, vanilla, and malt powder until just combined.  Gradually mix in flour mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by the teaspoon or 1/2 tablespoon onto a cookie sheet.  Be sure to leave a couple inches between each cookie as they spread and will completely flatten out.  I used about a 1/2 tablespoon of dough for each cookie and I ended up with 4-5 dozen.

Bake 7-8 minutes, but start checking them at minute 5!  Because they are so thin, these cookies burn VERY quickly.  As you watch them in the oven, you will see them first puff up and then fall.  You will want to remove them as soon as they fall, maybe even when the middles are still puffed on a couple of the cookies on the sheet.  The cookies will be a medium brown, see above pics.

Cool on baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.  Enjoy!

What Zucchini?

August 19, 2010

It doesn’t look like it. But that above loaf has a cup of zucchini, which makes it a perfectly acceptable breakfast food. Veggies, they’re important. Chocolate, that’s important too. Dessert disguised as breakfast makes mornings tolerable. You’ll hardly notice your clogged tub not draining as you shower, or your leaning tower of dirty laundry while you frantically search search search for anything that’s “clean” and “work appropriate.” Really! Bake this bread… it’s magic!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Adapted from AllRecipes.com, makes one 9” x 5” loaf

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for the top of your loaf
1 (1 ounce) square of unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated and drained zucchini (drain in colander, pressing with a spoon to eliminate any excess water)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350° F and grease a 9″ x 5″ bread pan.

Combine the flours, baking soda, salt and 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips in a bowl. Set aside.

Melt the square of chocolate in the microwave on low power, checking every 30 seconds to stir.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and chocolate. Add zucchini and melted chocolate. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour batter in your prepped pan. If you would like to amp up the chocolate a bit more, sprinkle the top with a few more chocolate chips. Bake 60 minutes. A tooth pick inserted in the center will come out dry and crumb free. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.

Eat for breakfast, then later, eat for dessert. Versatility–important.

Today I Felt Crazy

August 19, 2010

Today I felt crazy.  Maybe because it’s Wednesday.  Maybe because I AM crazy.  I dunno.  I felt tired but antsy and weird and unbalanced.  I felt crazy at work and crazy while I was talking to people and crazy on the train and when I got home I felt crazy still.  I started baking and cooking dinner and making my lunch for tomorrow and DOING DISHES…

what the?  Dishes?  I know, I totally lost myself.  Don’t worry, at some point the crazy stopped.  I stopped.  There’s a crumby bread pan and bbq’d casserole dish sitting in the kitchen sink to prove it.  I hung out with Roomie L and went to Misiu’s art show at the bowling alley.  The world was right again.

That zucchini, however… there was something unsettling and not right about the size of that thing.  It was gifted by a friend.  Andrea was out of town for a week, and when she returned Mammoth Zucchini had turned mammoth, scaring all the other garden vegetables.  She very kindly turned it over to me.  Since yesterday I’ve used two recipes with the thing, and I still have about half left.

The first go was with a basic zucchini bread, with a bit of cornmeal to switch up the flavor.  It was a tad like corn bread, and had more of a crumbly texture than most zucchini breads I’ve tried.  I liked it plain, but you could also serve with a bit of butter.  Zucchini, Take I…

Zucchini Bread with Cornmeal

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything (buy it already, seriously).

When using super mammoth zucchini, make sure you drain the shredded veggie to get rid of excess water.  I used a colander, pressing the zucchini shreds along the bottom with a spatula.  Recipe makes one 9” x 5” bread loaf.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs
1 cup drained, shredded zucchini
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, plus some for greasing loaf pan
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350° F and grease your loaf pan.

Mix the dry ingredients (first 8 on list) together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Whisk the two eggs with the zucchini, brown sugar, melted butter, milk and vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 6o minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf should come out clean and crumb free.  Cool for ten minutes and transfer to a wire rack.

The Cupcakes

August 7, 2010

Sooooooooo.

90° Kansas City weather and vanilla rum buttercream just don’t mix. Things get a bit drippy. Melty. Runny. But still delicious. I brought these cupcakes for my bestie Jennie’s bachelorette party in KC. I talked about my super fun/fattening visit in my last entry. Did you read it? You should. I have adorable friends.

Anywho, these cupcakes were transported from house to hotel to restaurant. It was hot, I was worried. For a bit, anyways. Then at some point I forgot about them. I think it had something to do with our tequila-only margaritas at dinner, but I wasn’t complaining. Then Roomie L (who can hold her margaritas by the way), was like, “Cupcakes! Let’s pass them out!” or something. And so she did. And they were pretty dang good. Then I danced like a loon to Prince in 4” heels. Recipe now:

The Lime Rum Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart & a bunch of other recipes. There’s quite a bit of adjusting you can do with instructions below. The coconut is very subtle, so if you’re interested in having more of a Coconut Lime flavor you could toss in some coconut extract or shredded coconut. I loved the recipe as is… I think it’s my new favorite.  Note, the glaze recipe as listed below makes enough for 2 batches or 48 cupcakes. You can save the syrup for up to a month in your fridge though, or feel free to halve the recipe.  The cake recipes makes 24 cupcakes.  I had a little extra batter for a mini cake mold.

The CAKE
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup light coconut milk (not sweetened)
3 teaspoons lime juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons lime zest

The GLAZE
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons spiced rum

The FROSTING
1/2 – 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup spiced rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350° and prep your muffin tins with liners. Stir together the first three ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

With an electric stand or hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until combined and fluffy. Slowly add the vegetable oil, coconut milk, and lime juice.  Add the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in lime zest.

Pour batter into muffin tins and bake in preheated oven 18-20 minutes. Cupcakes will be very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water for the glaze over medium-high heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add the rum. Let the syrup cool completely.

While the cupcakes and glaze are cooling, whip up your buttercream. Start with 1/2 cup butter and add a cup of powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until combined and fluffy. Continue to add powdered sugar, a bit at a time, up to 3 1/2 cups.  Add your rum and vanilla extract. Take a taste. Add rum, powdered sugar, salt or butter until you reach the desired sweetness and consistency. I ended up using 4 full cups of the powdered sugar, but adding an extra dash of salt and an extra Tablespoon or so of butter as it was a bit sweet for me.

Time to assemble the cupcakes.  With a pastry brush, slowly dab on the rum glaze. Allow time for the cake to absorb it as you brush. Frost with your AMAZING buttercream, then zest a lime directly onto the frosted cupcakes. This gives the frosting an additional tang. Enjoy! I love citrus. And I love zesting.

The end.

A Different Kind of Flapjack

May 22, 2010

Right now I am drinking my THIRD (very large) cup of coffee today. And wishing I had a Flapjack to go with it. A British Flapjack. Not a pancake, although that would be great too, but a triangle of oatty deliciousness… see above or below picture.
Everyone, open your March issue of Bon Appétit to page 62 ( I know it’s buried in that pile of books/magazines/mail next to your bed), or just click here. Those Brits know what they’re doing. Recipes don’t get much easier than this–a basic butter, oatmeal, and sugar combo that bakes into a crispy granola bar. My first batch went quickly, definitely a roomie-fave. Maybe double this recipe.

British Flapjacks


adapted from Bon Appétit

The originally recipe calls for “golden syrup,” apparently popular in Great Britain. I substituted corn syrup, which worked well. You could also experiment with honey or molasses (although you might want to ease up on the brown sugar with the latter). And while you should try this recipe “plain” at least once, nut, raisin, craisin, and mini-chocolate chip versions would be pretty good too.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided into 8 pieces
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350° and grease an 8”x8”x2″ baking pan (preferably metal with a flat bottom).

Combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add oats and salt. Stir until combined. Press mixture into prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes until oats are a golden brown. Cool for five minutes in pan and then cut into squares or triangles while still soft.

Moguls, McTwists, & Rolo Cookies

February 20, 2010

The past week’s activities… a lazy combo of eating Girl Scout cookies and watching all the Olympic coverage one can without having cable.  No, I don’t have cable.  I live without the Food Network, Discovery Channel & Lifetime.  It’s a sad existence.

Less sad with the Olympics and Girl Scout cookies.  I figure if Olympians can eat McDonalds and drink Coca Cola (I’ve seen the commercials), I can have a few dozen thin mints.  It almost makes up for the fact that I cannot watch Golden Girls reruns.

Almost.  Now it’s time to put down the thin mints/samoas/dulce de leche cookies.  I want you to make these delicious Rolo Cookies instead.  They take a bit of time to roll, but it’s way worth it.  Your friends will love them.  And you for baking them.  Baking love.  That’s way better than cable…

the Rolo Cookies

Adapted from allrecipes.com.  Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup white sugar, plus more for rolling
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
36 Rolo candies, frozen

Cream butter and both white and brown sugars.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking powder.  Gradually add to butter mixture.

Cover and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.  Watch some downhill skiing.  Preheat your oven to 375° F.

Remove from fridge, let sit for a couple minutes while you prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper.  Now here comes the fun part…

Take 1-2 tablespoons of dough and flatten in the palm of your hand.  Press one frozen Rolo into your palm, and roll the dough around the candy, covering it completely.  Add a bit more dough if needed.  This will be messy.  Your hands will look gross but taste delicious.  Venture on.  Roll cookies in white sugar (this gives them a great texture) and place on your baking sheet.  Keep the cookies a couple inches apart.

Bake for 8 minutes.  Let cool on the sheets for 5-10 minutes–if you can wait that long.  The cookies will break if you try to remove when the centers are still soft, but of course they taste AWESOME still melty out of the oven.  Just be careful, the caramel centers will be hot, hot, hot.

A few notes:  You can use other candies for the centers… Reisens, Reeses… whatever you prefer.  Freezing the Rolos seems to prevent the cookies from “leaking” through the cookie while baking.  Play around with the chilling time, I have had the best luck with the dough temperature being just a bit cooler than room temp.  You can also “powder” your hands with cocoa when rolling,  this helps with sticky dough.

Holiday Cookie Exchange

January 10, 2010

My last post was about Thanksgiving.  And this one is Christmasy.  And it’s… January 10.  Yikes.  I spose in addition to my resolutions involving driving automobiles and daily vitamins, I should consider posting in a timely manner.  With relevant stories and recipes.  But I had to post these pictures even if it is a bit late.  My family hosted a holiday cookie exchange, and it was super great.  I was blown away by all the delicious cookies people brought.  And the decorating!

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies Orange Spice Sandwich Cookies

Poppyseed Kolachky Coconut Snowmen Iced Snicker Doodle

Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies Raspberry Truffle Peppermint Bon Bons

I had a blast.  I think others did too…

The Cookie Exchange

A very belated thanks to all the cookie exchange participants!  Everything was delicious.  And a very belated wish for a Happy New Year!

I think some sort of baking event needs to be planned for Valentine’s Day.  A cupcake exchange?  A cupcake decorating party?  Something.

Oh, and my sis J and brother decorated those gingerbread houses.  Pretty good, eh?

Bye for now.  I’ll be seeing ya… more… in 2010!