Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Sugar Cookies

So these cookies had help. My Mom loves Halloween as much (if not -gasp- more) than I do! I told her about maybe some sort of drawing on the cookies (I was then thinking of royal icing) wishing I had better drawing skills than some rocking stick figures. (ha) Luckily I came across this book. (amazing when you google how to draw Halloween) It's pretty much the 'how to' draw for dummies. I need that. Then I remembered Bakerella and Americolor's Gourmet Food Writer Pens! HELLO! The next day my Mom sent me a "Happy Halloween" package. I'm 26 and my Mom still spoils me.

These cookies have the cakey, creamy texture that almost melts in your mouth. Pair it with your favorite cookie icing (I've grown farther away from Royal icing the more cookie icing I make) and you've got a great cookie that tastes like it was way more effort.

No Fail Sugar Cookies
via a blog post on Wilton Forums

These do no ‘poof’ up much at all. This recipe is great to use for very detailed cookies. They can also be frozen (well wrapped) for up to 2 months. Unfrozen and packaged they will keep up to 3 weeks.

2 sticks of SALTED butter (the better the brand the better the cookie here)
1 lg egg
1c sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 3/4c- 3 cups flour

Oven to 400. NOT A TYPO. 400.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in flour mixing until the dough forms. The dough should NOT be crumbly. And there’s no need to chill it.

Flour your countertop and flour your roller. Work with 1/3 of the dough at a time so you don’t over flour any dough.

These are best nice and thick a decent 1/4”.

Place on parchment lined cookie sheets (better if without edges so that they all cook evenly)

Bake for 7-8 minutes. These give ‘just barely’ done cookies. That’s how I like em. If you want a crunchy sugar cookie- this isn’t for you.

Cool on cookie rack. Decorate with your favorite icing.

*if you’re feeling a bit on the wild side- swipe out vanilla for almond, or orange, or lemon. I’ve done it all and it’s a nice change!

Have a SAFE and HAPPY Halloween!

Kathy of had a genius idea before me! If I had seen those before I did mine, I probably would have done some cool aged look to the cookies- adorable! Be sure to check those out too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Graveyard Cupcakes (Devils Food with Flour Frosting)

Yeah for Halloween! My husband brought these to his job the day after I made them and they were all gone before lunch! He stopped in the middle of his day to let me know that he'd received a slew of compliments on them! That definitively made my day! I used (2) new recipes for these cupcakes and I'm glad I did! The Devils Food is by far THE best chocolate cupcake I've ever made! And the flour frosting- blew me away. I thought I was taking a long shot making a flour based frosting (come one seriously!? flour!?) but I'm so glad I took the leap! It's so good! Not a super sweet frosting- this is light and while still sweet doesn't leave you on a sugar high. I really liked it for a nice change of pace. If I did these particular cupcakes over again (and why not?! they rocked) I would add a layer of frosting to the bottom before piping with the grass effect. I would have preferred more frosting.
(I'm having some fun with photo editing..can ya tell?! lol)

Devils Food Cupcakes
(seriously the best chocolate cupcake) printable
(adapted from: What the Fruitcake?)

3/4 cup Strong Hot Coffee (brewed or instant)
3/4 cup cocoa
12 Tablespoons (stick and 1/2) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk**
1 tsp vanilla

**If you’re out of buttermilk or don’t always keep it on hand you can use 1T lemon juice or 1T white vinegar to make it. Add your 1T of lemon juice or vinegar to bottom of a 1c liquid measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1c. If you’re making buttermilk- do this first so that it has time to set.

Oven to 350. Line (2) muffin tins with liners and set aside.

Make your coffee. I used a packet and 1/2 of instant to 3/4c of hot water and blended. Mix in your cocoa into the hot coffee until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Sift your baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour together. Set aside.

Mix buttermilk and vanilla- also set aside.

Cream your butter and brown sugar together in your mixer until nice and combined. Ya know creamy like.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each just until they’re incorporated. Don’t forget to scrape down the bowl.

Now add your flour and milk mixture. Alternating in 3 parts. Starting with and ending with flour. Mixing just until combined each time. It’ll go like this: 1/3 of flour, mix. 1/2 of milk, mix. 1/3 of flour,mix. Other 1/2 of milk, mix. Rest of flour, mix. (mixing each time just until combined and often scraping down bowl)

Now add in your coffee/cocoa mixture. It’ll look a bit weird. But mix until combined. I found it best to start with my mixer mixing, but to finish by hand making sure I really scraped the bowl to get it all in.

Now- equally divide the mixture into your prepared lined muffin tins. I use a handy dandy ice cream scoop and level it off each time.

Bake in oven for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick in center comes out clean. They’re very beautiful aren’t they?

Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before removing them to continue cooling on a wire rack.

Flour Frosting
(no judging until you try this and are convinced) printable
(via The Pioneer Woman)

5 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Butter
1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

Trust me on this okay!?

In a small saucepan or skillet ( I use skillet so it heats faster and I feel like I can whisk more to ensure the flour is broken up), whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix. Pay attention to this! It’s very true! Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.

It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. REALLY beat it! You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. I probably had this beating for 3-4 minutes. It’ll really start to look great!!

This pipes fine. I wouldn’t use it to decorate a cake (as in, it does not crust). However I think it makes beautiful swirls for cupcakes (and I’m a fan of more is better of this frosting- so hard to stop tasting it!) And would be great for a dessert cake. I’m typing this and thinking of the next excuse I can use to make it.

It’s supposed to be best served the day it’s made. However, I refrigerated it (butter) and served it the next day after it came back to room temp and it was still just as good! I kept some in the fridge and you’ll want it to come to room temp before attempting anything with it. It does take color just fine!

I used double chocolate filled Milano Cookies and used Americolor Gourmet Food Writer to write on them- and inserted them into the back of the cupcake after frosting them. I added little bones to the crushed oreo dirt mound for oomph.
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Witches Brooms


I love Halloween, it's passed down from my Mom and I can't help it. We decorate the outside up every year and we've gone as far as buying and "corpsing" up an anatomical skeleton 2 years ago. We named him Les. (after Guitarist Les Paul). We dress up, our kids dress up. I bake too much stuff, my husband's job enjoys the overflow. We all eat too much candy, then have some guilt attacks and take long fall walks. Life is good.

This week. Halloween Week.

Witches Brooms
(Adapted from:Betty Crocker: Halloween)

1 package of Peanut Butter Cookie Mix (betty crocker)
(and required ingredients on the cookie package- not terribly helpful, I know)


Your favorite Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe


package of pretzel rods (cut in 1/2- approx 24 total rods)
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon shortening
1/2 cup purple candy melts
OPTIONAL: sprinkles.


Oven to 350.
Mix up your package cookie mix and roll into rough balls I used my cookie scoop- approx 1 1/4inch balls. Insert pretzel rod (the broken end) into the cookie dough and press into shape on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat until you’ve used up your cookie dough/rods. Use forks to press into dough to give the broom bristles. Press deep.

Bake 12 minutes or until set and brown.

After baked and cooled. Melt your semi sweet chips and shortening together, stir until smooth. Spoon melted chocolate over brooms, leaving about an 1” at top of pretzel handle and bottom halves of cookie bristles uncovered.

Drizzle purple or orange or butterscotch chips (melted) over the chocolate and let set until chocolate is firm.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

I often get those days where I feel like I should be doing something- then I find I have no motivation to do anything.

Somehow, someway on a day like that I managed to get these beautiful babies done. Cracked open a cookbook- looked up chocolate (cause when this girl is in a funk- that's what's needed) and found that I had everything to complete this recipe. Praise be to the chocolate gods.

Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes
(adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours- Dorie Greenspan).

For the Swirl:
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sugar
For the Cake:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter @ room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
7 oz milk chocolate melted and cooled (good stuff)

For the Glaze:
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon toasted pecans chopped (optional)

Oven to 350. Butter generously (as everything to do with butter should always be generous) a 6 cup mini bundt pan.

For the Swirl:
Toss the nuts, cocoa, and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside

For the Cake:
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In your stand mixer beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and beat for one minute more. Add the vanilla. It’ll look a bit curdled. Don’t stress. Reduce the mixer to low and add in 1/2 the flour mix, mix just until it’s incorporated. Add the milk and when it’s blended into the batter, add the rest of the flour. Mix again just until it’s incorporated. Then add the chocolate and mix to blend.
Fill each of the mini bundt molds with a little bit of batter- then sprinkle the swirl evenly between the 6 molds. Top off the molds with the rest of the batter.
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let rest for 5 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a cooling rack. Let stand to room temperature.

For the Glaze:
Melt chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Pour/drizzle over top. If you’re feeling a bit nutty (I usually am) add the toasted (toast please!) pecans and marvel at the gorgeousness of these pretty little desserts.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Easy Cheese Danish

On a whim I decided to roll through the 150+ recipes I have bookmarked and came across one where I magically had all the ingredients for.

That usually doesn't happen by the way. I'm almost always short an egg which I never realize until I'm adding them into the already wet batter, while my kids are down for nap.

Irregardless, after a quick run though the SHORT ingredient list- I had it all! I'm thrilled that I did. These babies had been on my radar for a while, and for some reason I always thought that I couldn't cut it. I mean - danish- sounds so fancy. I don't know if I can do fancy.

While they didn't turn as fancy as I'd have liked (I think next time I make them- and I'll make them again- my poor waistline) I'll fold them differently. All four corners together. I loved how the cheese filling oozed, and the puff pastry was so flaky. I wish I'd made them yesterday afternoon so my Husband could have taken them to work with him. I see them sitting on the counter over there. I already had one for breakfast.

I'll be venturing on to making them with different fillings...while I don't care for fruit ones, my Husband does, so I see an apple in the future (hello Fall!) and a pecan filled one. Anywho- if you find puff pastry on sale pick up a few extra boxes to store in the freezer and whip these babies up for super simple, showstopping occasions.

Easy Cheese Danish
(adapted from Ina Garten)

* 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
* 2 table­spoons ricotta cheese
* 1 tea­spoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/8 tea­spoon salt
* zest of one small lemon
* 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pas­try, defrosted
* 1 egg beaten with 1 table­spoon water, for egg wash

Pre­heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parch­ment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of your mixer fit­ted with a pad­dle attach­ment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just com­bined. Don’t whip!

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pas­try onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the sheet into quar­ters with a pizza cutter. Place a heap­ing table­spoon of cheese fill­ing into the mid­dle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the bor­der of each pas­try with egg wash and fold 2 oppo­site cor­ners to the cen­ter, brush­ing and over­lap­ping the cor­ners of each pas­try so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pas­tries with egg wash. Place the pas­tries on the pre­pared sheet pan. Repeat with the sec­ond sheet of puff pas­try and refrig­er­ate the filled Dan­ish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pas­tries for about 20 min­utes, rotat­ing the pan once dur­ing bak­ing, until puffed and brown. Best served warm.

These ARE super easy and the taste hits the spot!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Bake Peanut Butter Treats

So this month for Taste and Create I was partnered up with Glenda from Busy-at-Home she has a very nice and organized recipe index that was a breeze to browse through (very unlike my index- I never tag- urgh)I'm big in desserts so I wet with something I thought I could toss together while the kids were attached to my legs.
This one did the trick! They both helped me beat down the graham crackers and we all shared in eating a treat when they were set!

This is super simple and can be adapted well. Think chunky peanut butter or nutella, it's possible they could become even better. As it is, I've been waiting for my husband to have a day where he's in the office so he can take them out of my fridge so I can stop nibbling. Sometimes I think this blog thing is detrimental to my diet. Long story short- these are good. Wait to make them until you can send them away!

No Bake Peanut Butter Treats
(adapted from

* 1 cups butter, melted
* 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
* 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
* 1 lb. powdered sugar
* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
*2 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Crush graham crackers into crumbs- get out some pent up frustration.(or buy crumbs if you’re feeling ‘zen’)

Melt butter in microwave safe bowl.

Add peanut butter, powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs to butter and mix well. It will form a soft, moist dough. I used my Kitchen Aid for this - and it was a dream. If you feel like a work out - use a bowl and spoon.

Press the dough into a lightly greased 9x13 parchment lined pan (I LOVE parchment)

In another microwave safe container, melt the semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until they are completely melted and spreadable.

Spread on top of the peanut butter mixture till smooth. Melt dark chunks in the similar fashion and drizzle on top of the semi sweet. IF you want pretty little bars- score the chocolate now, for easy, no breakage cutting later.

OR (what I would have done if I were thinking clearly about it) use candy molds or mini silicone cupcake molds. They would be utterly adorable and no cutting to worry about.

However you do it, after done spreading chocolate refrigerate until chocolate is set!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Black and White Banana Bread

It's been 10 days since posting. That's October for you! (well for me really) I love Fall. It something about Halloween that gets my bones a rattlin! This post I'm doing has ZIP to do with Halloween, but more along the lines of Fall. A deliciously moist banana bread with a chocolate rum undertone that's fantastic. It also doesn't hurt that it's so pretty. Next time I'm doubling up and making mini loaves to give out. It's one of those bread recipes that gets better with age too. I think the flavors really emerged on day two.

Black and White Banana Bread (printable)
(via Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 ripe bananas peeled
squirt of lemon juice
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon DARK rum (think good stuff!)
3 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter @ room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Oven to 325 degrees Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan dust the inside with flour and tap out excess. Place pan on an insulated cookie sheet.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
Mash the bananas with the lemon juice, and zest then stir in the rum. Set aside.
In your mixer, beat 8 tablespoons of butter (1stick) at medium speed until creamy about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2-3 minutes until light and smooth. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each. Add the vanilla. The batter will look curdled. Don’t worry.
Reduce mixer to low and add in half the flour, mix only until incorporated. With mixer running add the milk and when it’s blended, add remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down bowl and add the banana mix.
Melt your chocolate chips with your 2T butter in a microwave safe bowl and stir until smooth.
Add in a little bit less than 1/2 of your banana batter into the chocolate mixture.and stir to blend.
Drop alternating spoonfuls of batter into prepared pan and gently blend with a butter knife. Don’t over do it- 6-8 runs (zig zags) is great.
Bake for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into center comes out clean. If it looks like it’s getting too brown (mine didn’t) cover with a loosely tented foil sheet. Remove when done and let cool in pan 15minutes, then remove and cool right side up on a cooling rack.
Marvel at the marble.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Filling

That's a mouthful. And your mouth will be full eating these! Oh why I waited so long to try whoopie pies I'll never know! They're like little mini cakes with endless possibilities! Just delicious! The cake is the perfect platform for the caramel frosting, the frosting is sweet enough to make you mmmmm, but then you get that 'salted' flavor, and you're eating another bite, and before you know it, 1/2 your pies are gone.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies
adapted from epicurious

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

2. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

3. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Salted Caramel Frosting
adapted from Chow

* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
* 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
* 2-3 cups powdered sugar

1. Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
2. Combine salt, vanilla and heavy cream.
3. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 15 minutes.
4. Combine butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.
5. Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

SMS: Coconut Pecan Frosting

SMS time again! I really love that I joined this awesome group of ladies! It's a great way to force myself to bake new things!! This week's pick was a Coconut Pecan Frosting. Or what I refer to as German Chocolate Frosting, that's normally what I eat this frosting with...German Chocolate cake, however I'm rather fond of brownies. And I needed a quick fix, so a box it was. And it was delicious. Mostly because of the frosting. Be sure to check out Eliana of A Chica Bakes for the recipe!

*I'm trying out this whole 'labeling' thing for photos...haven't decided if I like it or not. It's not like they're super OMG shots...but I feel like if I keep trying hard enough, someday they'll be good enough someone else will want to take credit for them, so I'd better get in practice now. HA!- More ramblings.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

WMD Chip Cookies

So, these cookies really make me wish I took better photos. Don't get me wrong, I love taking pictures, and I try, but I'm just not very good, and I'm using a point and shoot. It sounds like I'm making excuses, and to be honest, I am. But I'm hoping that by Christmas I'll have talked my husband into getting me a spankin new camera and some magic wand to wave over photos to make them rock. Maybe then I'd quit getting denied entry to certain photo food hot spots. That being said, these cookies are pretty good! In my opinion they're a mix of a brownie, a cake and a cookie. The richness of a brownie, the texture of a fudgey cake, and the shape of a cookie with the delicious chunks. I've decided to call these WMD Chip cookies because they contain white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate all in one. Hello delicious!

WMD Chip Cookies Printable
adapted from Bakers Royale

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
8 tablespoon butter, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted pecans

Oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Set aside .
Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, on medium speed beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Bring speed down to low and beat in the chocolate mixture until well combined.
Add the flour to the mixture and gently fold with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop 1-1/2 tablespoon of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.