Posts Tagged ‘Desserts’

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.

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.

Mascarpone Love

September 7, 2010

While very common, tiramisu is not “old school” Italian fare by any means. A quick wiki search shows that the layered dessert is maybe thirty, forty years old max. Which means that when my Gram and I decided to make this, we did not have a family recipe to refer to. Based on everyone’s feedback, I think we managed just fine with Gale Gand’s recipe. It’s ridiculously good. Coffee, whipped cream, chocolate, mascarpone, KAHLUA… I mean how can you go wrong? And the best part is, you don’t even have to turn on your oven. Just get you hand/stand mixers ready. Make this for people you really REALLY like.
Tiramisu
Recipe barely adapted from Gale Gand’s for the Food Network. WARNING, this recipe uses RAW eggs, and lots of ’em. You MUST splurge on the pasteurized, salmonella-free eggs at your grocery store. No poisoning people, K?  Also, the gelatin won’t add any flavor to the tiramisu, but it will help your mousse set, so don’t skip it!

7 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin powder
4 1/2 Tablespoons water
3 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 1/4 cup, cooled espresso or strongly brewed coffee
1/4 cup Kahlua
20-24 ladyfingers
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2- 3/4 cup dark chocolate shavings

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the egg yolks and one cup of the sugar until color pales and “ribbon stage” is reached.  This is at the point in beating when a spatula drawn through the yolks will leave a trail that lasts a few moments.  Add mascarpone and mix until combined, set aside.

In a small heat-safe bowl combine gelatin and water.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  The gelatin will firm.  Fill a slightly larger, microwave-safe bowl with an inch or two of water.  Heat in microwave until water is boiling, about two minutes.  Remove from microwave, placing smaller bowl with gelatin in larger one, creating a double boiler.  Stir gelatin well.  Gelatin will begin to soften, and then liquefy.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks and then mix in 1/4 cup of sugar.  Slowly add gelatin.  Whip egg whites to stiff, glossy peaks.  Gently fold in whipped cream, and then the egg yolk mixture until combined.  Now you’re ready to assemble your tiramisu.

In a small bowl, combine Kahlua and espresso.  Quickly dip both sides of the ladyfingers into the espresso mixture and arrange in the bottom of an 8″x10″ pan in a single layer.  Ladyfingers should be close to each other, using 10-12 in the first layer.  Cover the ladyfingers with half of the mascarpone mixture.  With a sifter, dust the layer with 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.  Then create a second layer with 10-12 more espresso soaked ladyfingers and the rest of the mascarpone.  Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Chill in the fridge 2-3 hours until the layers have set.

Sooooo good.  Thanks Gram for making it with me!

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!

A list, because it’s Monday.

August 23, 2010

This past weekend I…

  • went to Whole Foods.  Twice.
  • consumed cantaloupe gelato.
  • celebrated Mego’s birthday at Bull & Bear.  Go drink their Dirty Money cocktail… vodka lime ginger goodness… served in a copper mug… do it.
  • made an edible pasta dinner in 12 minutes.
  • bought two pairs of shoes.
  • decided I spend too much money, made plans to return the shoes.
  • contemplated getting a second, part-time job to pay for things like gelato and shoes.
  • got sick of thinking of things like money and played Beatles Rock Band.  A lot.
  • wanted to make/eat  marshmallow pies.
  • decided to be economical, and ate this sorbet, made with the last of my orchard peaches instead…

Peach Basil Sorbet


Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop.

I didn’t like any of the pictures I took of the sorbet.  Ah well.  I think this recipe turned out pretty good–even a certain picky boy liked it.  Next time I will try a lemon basil flavor… maybe as a gelato.  I love fresh basil,  mmm.  Taste the sorbet mixture before freezing to see if you need any additional sugar.  I used 4 white and 3 yellow fleshed peaches, so either work.

7 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted & cubed
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of your peaches)
2/3 cup water
5-7 fresh basil leaves, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, heat peaches and water, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes, until peaches are cooked through.  Stir in 1/2 cup of sugar and remove from heat.  Cool to room temperature.

Add basil and lemon juice to peaches.  Puree mixture in a blender until smooth.  Chill in fridge for 2 hours.

Remove from fridge.  Taste mixture and add more sugar if desired.  Freeze mixture with an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

How was your weekend?

In Celebration!

August 20, 2010

In celebration of Meagan’s birthday…

Vanilla Caramel Fudge Cupcakes from Sugar Bliss. Yum. It’s their flavor of the week, get there before this Sunday to enjoy! Next week’s flavor? Mint Chocolate Chip. Now you know!

Happy Birthday Meagan! All the best this year. You’re the most wunderest True Blood/sometimes-gym buddy a girl can ask for.

XOXO

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.

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 Reappearing Act

August 4, 2010

The Plaza Fountain

This weekend I was lucky enough to spend time with two of my favorite people–Jennie & Perry, of previous Who Wants Candy fame. They now live in Kansas City, and are fun, sweet, and just generally awesome. And they’re getting married! Roomie and I drove down on Friday for Jennie’s bachelorette party with a carload of party favors, candy, bald cupcakes, and buttercream. We listened to a lot of Beatles songs and ate salt and vinegar chips. We talked about our hopes and dreams and how we wanted BBQ.

BBQ. The food in Kansas City is just fantastic. From a caloric standpoint, it’s really probably a good thing I was only there a weekend. I could have walked the 500+ miles home and not burned off what I consumed. All. Totally. Worth. It. Here’s where we went…

Jennie & Perry at Waldo Pizza Waldo Pizza
We went to Waldo’s to experience St. Louis Style Pizza, which until last Friday, I had never heard of. Apparently it involves a very thin, cracker-like crust, minimal sauce, and a ton of cheese (provolone, swiss, cheddar & mozz). We got ours with pepperoni, in addition to a “regular” thin crust veggie. They were both great, but the St. Louis Style definitely won me over. I am not saying it will ever replace my deep dish, but the greasy cheese blend and pepperoni, paired with the crunch of the crust was pretty perfect. I’m not sure how authentic a St. Louis Style pizza is served in Kansas City, but I’ll take it.

Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue
I have no pictures of Oklahoma Joe’s. My apologies, but I was too busy stuffing my face, fighting back tears of joy because I was eating the best BBQ I think I’ve ever had. Plus my fingers were too sticky from the aforementioned BBQ to take out my camera. Did I mention this place is in a gas station? And that you can smell the BBQ from the parking lot? And it’s complete torture inhaling delicious BBQ fumes while you wait in line for the 20-30 minutes until you get your food? Goodness, goodness. We shared ribs, which were fall-off-the-bone AMAZING. They had just a bit of sauce, and were incredibly tender. Totally perfect. The Z-Man Brisket Sandwich was AMAZING, CRAZY GOOD. The meat was tender, not at all chewy, and the sandwich was topped with melty provolone and onion rings. They also had fountain Barq’s Red Creme Soda. I’m not making this up. Perry, I curse/love you for bringing me here. My life is ruined.

Cupcake À La Mode Perry with Key Lime Cupcake
This place is precious and very pink! I tried two of their cupcakes, one of which was their monthly special–Key Lime Pie (pictured with Perry, right). Total yum. A moist lime cake with a tangy cream cheese frosting and topped with graham cracker crumbs. Great seasonal flavor. And then! The Marshmallow Fondue, which has to be as close to a S’more a cupcake can get. Chocolate cake stuffed with a bit of marshmallow goo, topped with chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, and a chocolate covered graham. Heaven. Other offered flavors? After Dinner Mint, Bella Nutella, Amaretto Sweet, and Raspberry Lemonade to name just a few. I hope the cupcake craze lasts forever.

Laura Drinks LimeadeTopsy’s
Limeade. Limeade. Limeade. They also serve ice cream, popcorn (their cinnamon popcorn is supposed to be fantastic), candy, and other assorted treats, but I can only comment on their really great limeade. Refreshing, not overly sweet or syrupy, with the slightest bit of carbonation. It was ridiculously hot walking through the Plaza, and this was the perfect drink for ridiculously hot. Why can’t I find a good place for limeade in Chicago? Anyone? Is this just a Kansas/ Missouri thing?

I am back in Chicago and just ate a frozen enchilada meal.  Send help/bbq/limeade.

me