Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

Aren't these festive? I've decided I am totally digging anything with cheesecake involved here lately. The filling in these are more of a cream cheese frosting than cheesecake, but that doesn't make them any less delicious. These are fairly easy to make, using a cake mix to make the dough. I took these babies to the office and everyone loved them.  A few comment were..."these are so soft and moist," "I think these are the best cookies I've ever had," and my favorite, "these were like a party in my mouth." Needless to say, these cookies are pretty good. The dough is a little sticky, so be forewarned when you work with it. Hope you all are having a great time with all of your holiday baking, and I think these would be great to add to your repertoire.

Ok I don't know if I'm "supposed" to say this, but other than the baking part, I'm REALLY ready for Christmas to be over. It is just so stressful, and I don't even have kids yet. The stores are just jam-packed, the grocery store isn't even fun right now. Have you ever seen Christmas with the Cranks? I'm thinking a cruise for Christmas would be great, but how are you supposed to get out of everything? I need to start looking into this idea.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies  

For the cookies:
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
For the cheesecake filling:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
For the white chocolate drizzle:
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted 

1. To make cookies, in a large bowl combine cake mix and flour. Whisk until clumps disappear. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. The dough will be oily. Refrigerate for at least two hours. 

2. To make the cheesecake filling, using a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place on a plate. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have 10. Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours. 

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. To assemble the cookies, take about 1/4 cup of red velvet cookie dough and flatten in your hands. Place a teaspoon of cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Scoop onto lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Only bake 3 cookies at a time. The cookies are large and will spread. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. 

4. Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the cookies set until the chocolate hardens. Serve and enjoy!

I wish I could say I came up with the recipe, but alas I did not. It was Maria at two peas and their pod who came up with this yumminess. Check out her blog for her beautiful pictures. I am definitely not that caliber of a photographer yet, but I'm working on it. :) Guess who's wishing for a new camera for Christmas? Santa, *hint hint*

Friday, December 9, 2011

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Let the cookie and candy baking begin! I love this time of year, even though most Texans would curse me when I say this, but I would love to live somewhere a little colder that gets a little snow. That trip to Colorado made me want to be somewhere that I could really enjoy the season. Can you guys believe I still haven't decorated for Christmas? The other half is not too big on the holiday spirit, but I love it. I have such a small place that we really don't have anywhere to put a tree. I need to hit up pinterest for some small space decorating ideas. I need to get something in here. 

Anyway, lets move on to this amazingly delicious cookie. It tastes just like apple cider and these are great warm. I did do one thing different, which I regret, so learn from my mistake. When I went to the grocery store to pick up the caramel squares they only had a generic brand. When I smooshed them between my fingers they were pretty hard. If you start off with a hard caramel when they cool you'll end up with hard caramel, so I chose to use the Kraft caramel bits instead because they were a lot softer. When they baked they distributed throughout the cookie, so if this is what you are going for then the caramel bits are for you, but I wanted the pool of gooey caramel to ooze out when I break them open. So just an FYI when you go to get the ingredients. Any way that you do it though, if you like apple cider, you will love these. It's like the apple cider fairy drop kicked you in the mouth. Enjoy!

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

  • 1 cup softened butter 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix - all 10 packets 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 3 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz) 


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!) 

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. 

With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. 

Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined. 

Refrigerate for about an hour. (If you're really impatient you don't have to do this, but it makes it so much easier to work with.)

When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels.

Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)

Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart. 

Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.

Recipe from Scrambled Henfruit.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

There is nothing better than a big ol' slice of pie during the holidays. If you are like me with a love for the classics, but wanting to try something a tad bit different, this may be a yummy, caramely (yes, I make up my own words) variation of the traditional apple pie for you. This year I told myself I wanted to experiment with pies, and for the first time, make my own crust from scratch.  So far I've made a Maple-Walnut Pie, White Chocolate-Rum Pie, (Delicious, but didn't set) and this beauty here. The added caramel really ups the flavor ante. This one was really fun to make because I baked it over at my mom's house the night before Thanksgiving.  I had the other half and mom in the kitchen with me helping me with the pie and helping me with a bottle of champagne. They both helped peel, core, and slice the apples for the pie (while grumbling the whole time) while I worked on the crust and the caramel. They were great little helpers, and isn't that what the holidays are all about anyway? Hope you all had a great one!  Now it's time for Christmas cookies and candy. 

What are you baking for the holidays? 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

  • 3 pounds mixed apples
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter 
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 disks dough of basic crust
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Peel and core the apples; slice 1/4 inch thick; toss with lemon juice.
  2. Cook sugar over medium-high heat until amber, about 10 minutes.
  3. Off the heat, stir in butter and cream; add apples and cook until soft.
  4. Stir in flour; let cool, then add sea salt.
  5. Roll out 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch round on a floured surface; ease into a 9-inch pie plate. (or start with a store bought pie crust) 
  6. Add the apples, mounding them slightly in the center.
  7. Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round. Lay it over the filling; press the edges of the crusts together, then fold over the overhang under itself and crimp to seal. (Feel free to do anything you'd like for the covering crust, as you can see I attempted a lattice top, need to work on that) Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse. Cut a few slits in the top crust. Chill 1 hour.
  8. Place a baking sheet on the lowest oven rack and preheat to 425 for 30 minutes. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet; lower the temperature to 375.
  9. Bake until golden, 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. (cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly) Cool on a rack.

Basic Crust (Makes 2 disks dough)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting) 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 4 tbsp cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces 
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  1. Pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor. 
  2. Add the shortening and 1/3 of the butter; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. 
  3. Add the remaining butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. 
  4. Add 1/4 cup ice water and pulse a few more times. If the dough doesn't hold together when squeezed, add more ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing. 
  5. Divide between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pat into disks; wrap and chill at least 1 hour. 
I was given a little insert from a food network magazine that had 50 pies in it. Different variations of the classics. This is where I found the recipe with many delicious sounding others. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maple-Walnut Pie

If you love pecan pie then you will love this variation. It's the same as your regular pecan pie recipe except you replace the corn syrup with real maple syrup and you replace the pecans with toasted walnuts. The maple syrup gives it almost more of a vanilla flavor. This was actually my first attempt at making my pie crust from scratch, and it turned out pretty well. It's actually pretty easy when using a food processor to do it. I took this pie to our office Thanksgiving party and there was none left over for me to take home to let the other half try. (Poor thing just had to smell the heaven coming out of the oven and didn't get to try it) As far as the pie crust goes though, this is how I feel, unless you think your recipe for pie crust is way better than store bought, or you just really prefer making your desserts from scratch, feel free to use store bought. It's easier and consistent. Then again perfecting your recipe is part of the fun of baking, right? :) 

Maple-Walnut Pie

  • 1 disk dough of basic crust (recipe below) or one 9-inch store bought crust 
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp lemon zest 
  • 1 tbsp flour 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, toasted 
  1. Place a baking sheet on the lowest oven rack and preheat to 425 for 30 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling; Whisk all of the remaining ingredients except the walnuts in a bowl. 
  3. Spread the walnuts in the crust and pour in the filling. 
  4. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and lower the temperature to 325.
  5. Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is set, 45 to 55 minutes. (Cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly.) Cool on rack. 

Basic Crust (Makes 2 disks dough)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting) 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 4 tbsp cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces 
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  1. Pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor. 
  2. Add the shortening and 1/3 of the butter; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. 
  3. Add the remaining butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. 
  4. Add 1/4 cup ice water and pulse a few more times. If the dough doesn't hold together when squeezed, add more ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing. 
  5. Divide between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pat into disks; wrap and chill at least 1 hour. 
  6. Roll out the dough into a 12 in round on a lightly floured surface. 
  7. Ease into a 9-inch pie plate; fold the overhang under itself and crimp. 
  8. Chill for 30 minutes
I was given a little insert from a food network magazine that had 50 pies in it. Different variations of the classics. This is where I found the recipe with many delicious sounding others. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Weekend Getaway

Last weekend the other half and I decided to take a little trip to Denver.  Neither of us had gone before and thought it would be a great city to explore. It was absolutely beautiful, and after the extremely hot Texas summer it was great to be in the cold all bundled up. For those of you that don't know, we dabble in home brew. We definitely enjoy our beer and love creating our own. Denver and other areas in Colorado are chalk full of micro-breweries, it's like the Napa valley for beer, "beer country." =) So we flew in Friday night and checked into our hotel downtown and walked a couple of blocks to a unique little gastopub for dinner, where they served things like lamb burgers, truffle fries, and duck posole. 

Saturday was the day the other half termed "beer day," we walked around downtown all day, visiting 16th street full of shopping and restaurants, LODO (lower downtown,) and lots of pubs and breweries. My favorite was The Great Divide, where they had a nice little tour and lots of different beers to try in the tasting room. This was such a fun relaxing day. 

This is where the magic happens

Fermenting tanks in the back and some oak aging going on in those barrels :)

Sunday was our site-seeing day, so we drove on to Golden, Red Rock Amphitheater, and Boulder. Golden was a small little town where there wasn't much to see, we ended up not stopping. They're known for their big brewery, which is Coors Brewing Company. Then we moved on to Red Rock, talk about beautiful! It's an old amphitheater that is built in between these gorgeous red rocks that are situated just right for great acoustics. 

The amphitheater

We then moved on to Boulder, where stumbled upon another micro-brewery, there our server gave us directions to a little waterfall up in the mountains. After finishing our pint we excitedly got our things together to go explore the mountains. We found more snow and amazing views. The waterfall was just a little hike off the road, definitely worth it. 

What a beautiful site

We kept going further into the mountains where we stumbled upon a lake and a little ski town. We ended up driving back to Denver the scenic route down the mountain. Our flight wasn't due out until 8:50 so we still had time to check some things out in the city. We had a great trip, and it was actually our first one by ourselves without any friends or family traveling with us.  It was wonderful and I can't wait to do it again.  It was like meeting up with an old friend.  We all get caught up in the daily grind and sometimes forget to connect and really spend quality time with our loved ones.  It's great to slow down and really enjoy life and those around you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yumminess, stuffed inside of yumminess, how can you go wrong?  This chocolate chip cookie recipe is probably one of the best I've come across.  You stick an Oreo inside that and you've got a winner.  I took a few of these to work the next day (the rest I hoarded at home for myself), and they were a huge hit.  I plan on baking a lot more cookies after Thanksgiving, so this is just something to wet the appetite.  The next two weeks I'm going to dedicate to pies!  To be honest I have never tried making my own pie crust and I've decided it's time to change that.  If you guys have any tips for me, they would be much appreciated.

Another thing I would like your input on is something I've been struggling with.  That is the struggle between baking and eating these beautiful yummy things, and staying healthy and watching the waistline.  I can't seem to find a good balance.  When I'm counting calories and trying to shed a few pounds it's really hard to spare 200 to 500 calories on a little dessert.  Everything I've found to bake that is low calorie is usually whole wheat, with splenda, and no butter.  This makes the baked goods healthier but not so yummy.  What's a girl to do?  Any ideas?  I absolutely love baking, so a few extra pounds is not going to stop me, but finding a nice balance would be great.

Now on to that yummy recipe. Reprinted from another great blog that I love to read, Picky Palate.
Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 2 sticks softened butter 
  • 3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla 
  • 3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 10 oz bag chocolate chips 
  • 1 bag Oreo Cookies, I used the double stuff 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined. Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined. Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie. Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo Cookie is enclosed with dough. Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Serve with a tall glass of milk, enjoy!

Makes about 2 dozen VERY LARGE Cookies

Monday, October 31, 2011

October and Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Happy Halloween and Happy Monday! 

I do have to apologize for not having a totally awesome, gross, Halloween post for you. It has been a very busy month, full of activities and fun. Been going to a lot of sporting events and get-togethers. Unfortunately, I haven't been home to bake as often as I'd like, and honestly between everything I've been too tired to sit down and write anything for the blog. I did manage to crank a few things out of the kitchen though, some great, some experiments that were not so great. :) Oh well, learn from your mistakes. Some recipes I need to tweak and perfect a little more before sharing them with you. 

The news I'm most excited to share with you all is that I finally jumped on the Swiss Meringue Buttercream bandwagon. I do have to say it is amazing! It is smooth and fluffy and not too sweet. Way better than regular buttercream! Once you go Swiss you can't resist! (Geez :p) I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to regular buttercream after trying this. I just made the regular vanilla version, although the flavor possibilities are endless. I learned the technique and got the recipe off of one of my favorite blogs, Sweetapolita. She has a post that totally breaks down the different types of meringue buttercreams and their techniques. I found it to be very informative and helpful. 

5 large egg whites (30g each–total 150g) 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar 
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt 

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot. 

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavorings, extracts, and more. 

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes. 

Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. 

Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.

Here are a few things coming out of my kitchen this month...... 

Root beer Cupcakes

Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes (Still working this one out.)

Chocolate cake with Swiss meringue buttercream filling and chocolate frosting

So how was your Halloween?  Did you get to take the kiddos trick or treating?  No kids here so I don't get to do that yet, but my mom (lover of all things scary) and a friend of hers dragged me to a haunted house this year.  I swear I clung on to them like it was a life or death situation, then when they start chasing you with a chain saw, oh no, why do we like to scare ourselves?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oreo Cheesecakes

Who doesn’t love cookies and cream? A few weirdos out there I’m sure, right along side the kooks that don’t like chocolate. (I mean that in the nicest way possible :D) I can understand the peeps that don’t really care for cheesecake because it’s so easy to obtain a bad one, sour, clumpy, that’s no good. You just have to make sure that when you are making cheesecake you’re using room temperature items and creaming the cream cheese real well before you proceed. I really like this recipe because it's relatively easy and you don’t have to use a water bath. (Which can get tricky to take out of the oven) Plus you don’t even have to make a crust, how easy is that!? This is also another one of those recipes that you could play around with and try out different flavors. A good fall variation would be golden Oreo’s with a little pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice added to the batter, it would be yummy! 

Oreo Cheesecakes 
Makes 15 

21 Oreo, cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, 15 left whole and 6 chopped 
1 pounds cream cheese (two 8oz packages), room temperature 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten 
1/2 cup sour cream 
Pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 275° F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each lined muffin cup. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in the vanilla. 

Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add in sour cream and salt, beat to combine. Using a large spatula, fold in the chopped Oreo cookies. 

Divide batter evenly among the cookie-filled muffin cups, fill each cup almost to the top. Bake, rotating muffin tins halfway through, until the filling is set, about 22 to 28 minutes. 

Transfer the muffins tins to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate (in the muffin tins) at least 4 hours (or overnight). Remove from tins just before serving. 

I found this beautiful recipe on La Mia Vita Dolce which she got from one of Martha Stewart’s cookbooks. I halved the recipe.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Oh the Irish Car Bomb, if you've never had one, they are quite yummy. It’s a shot that consists of about a half a pint of Guinness, and a shot glass of half Jameson’s Irish whiskey and half Bailey’s Irish cream, you drop the shot into the pint glass and chug. The other half requested these for his birthday, and I thought they were perfect for a guy. Chocolate with three different types of alcohol, how can you go wrong? He was lucky to be home while I was baking because he got to have an actual Irish car bomb with the left over liquor. And I'll admit I did have a Guinness too while I was baking, even though I started at 11:30am. (Hey! I must check the quality of the ingredients I'm using!) Most of the similar recipes I've seen call for an Irish cream buttercream, but the other half hates frosting so I opted for an Irish cream whipped cream frosting instead. The end result was perfect! If you are looking for a well balanced cupcake, this is the one for you. I think that if you had topped this with a sugary buttercream it would have been too sweet. The whipped cream complimented the rich ganache center very well. I also would like to add that I could bake everything with beer because it gives it such a rich flavor and moist texture. (Which I may try) So you guys have got to try this one, they’re awesome!

The other half says it's the best cupcake he's ever had. (And I didn't make him say that)

1 (11.2 fl oz) bottle Guinness 
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 eggs
1 (8oz) container sour cream 

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners. 

In a medium saucepan, combine Guinness and butter and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then whisk in cocoa powder until smooth and let cool. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add cooled chocolate mixture to the sour cream and eggs and beat until just combined. 

Slowly add dry ingredients and beat briefly on a slow speed, scraping down sides as needed. 

Fill each cupcake paper 3/4 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 17-18 minutes (Mine baked for 18 minutes and came out perfect) 

Remove cupcakes from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan and placing on wire rack. Cool completely before filling. 

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 teaspoons Jameson whiskey 

Place chocolate in a medium heat-resistant bowl. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream until bubbling.

Carefully pour it over chocolate and let sit untouched for 20 seconds. After that, stir until smooth and combined. 

Add in butter and whiskey. Let cool until it’s a pipe-able consistency, using the fridge if needed. If you use the fridge, make sure to stir every 10 minutes.

Irish Cream Whipped Cream Frosting 
2 C heavy whipping cream 
2/3 C sugar 
2 T Baileys Irish Cream (I added a little extra) 

Whip heavy whipping cream until it looks like whipped cream. 

Mix in sugar and Baileys Irish Cream until just combined

Cupcakes and ganache adapted from Cake and Allie
Irish cream whipped cream from Cupcake Project

Friday, September 23, 2011


It’s that time of year again, the air is a little crisper, the days a little shorter. People are more open to sugary treats now that summer is over and don’t have to worry about fitting into that skimpy swimsuit. That’s right guys it’s the first day of fall! Yay! I LOVE all the holiday treats! Not only is it a great time for treats, but I can’t wait to start wearing all the cute cooler weather clothes again. (Oh no! I need to start Christmas shopping! Crap)

Chocolate, peanut butter, and butterscotch, OH MY! It’s a hybrid of a rice krispies treat without the marshmallow. I think I like these better than the plain old rice krispies treat. This recipe reminds me of those yummy treats my grandmother usually made around the holidays, like puppy chow, chinese chews, and divinity. Mmmm, can't wait to try my hand at those. These will give you the same feel good sensation too. Of course this is the original recipe, but there are many ways you can modernize it and dress it up. Use different cereals, add coconut or nuts, whatever you like. 

Happy Fall everyone!


1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cup crispy rice cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
cooking spray 

Measure corn syrup and sugar into a large saucepan, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. 

Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. 

Add crispy rice cereal. Stir until well coated. Press into 9x13x2" pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. 

Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 1×2" bars to serve. 

This is an heirloom recipe I found while browsing the CNN site. I had never heard of these before, but they sure sounded good. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pumpkin Truffle Pops

Even though here in Texas it’s barely getting out of the triple digits, I know fall is right around the corner. I can’t wait for that crisp fall air and cozy sweaters! One thing I love about this time of year is all the fall flavors, pumpkin being a favorite. There is just something about the smell of pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger wafting through the house while the leaves blow around on the ground outside.  I've already found myself longing for that time, yet it’s still like summer outside. So for the best of both worlds, I chose to try making a pumpkin no-bake dessert to experience the flavor, without my oven heating up the house. I think these beauties did the trick.

If you want to try these little yummy bites of autumn, you’re going to have to head over to Ashley’s blog, Diary of a Reporter, to check out my guest post. Ashley asked me to do a fall dessert for her, and I couldn't be more honored. Ashley’s not only a great writer, but she shares her creativity in other ways as well, her art, her photography and videos, and the outfits she puts together just to name a few. So go get the recipe, and stay a while and enjoy.

***It was brought to my attention that the link to the guest post for this recipe no longer exists. Now I can't just leave you guys hanging, these are too delicious! So just in case you are looking I'm posting the recipe.***

Let me tell you guys about these pumpkin truffle pops. This is a no-bake dessert that you can whip up anytime you need a little sinful chocolate fix. You really can play around with this recipe and try out different cookies, coatings, or sprinkles. The flavor combos are endless. I want to try a peanut butter and chocolate version soon using nutter butters.

Pumpkin Truffle Pops 

1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese (softened) 
1 pkg. (16.6oz) Golden Oreo Cookies 
2 pkg. (6oz) white baking chocolate 
2 – 4 tbsp pumpkin puree (to taste or desired consistency, I used 4) 
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
Lollipop sticks 

Ok after you round up all the ingredients, now comes the fun part. You have to turn all those Oreos into finely crushed cookie crumbs. There are two ways to go about this, either throw them into a food processor and blitz them (easy), or throw them into a plastic storage bag and pulverize the bajeezus out of them with any large object you can find. (I personally used my large rolling pin) Now take your time and let out all that pent up hostility, it’s been a long week.

Pour the cookie crumbs into a large bowl and save about 1/4 cup or so and set aside.

Mix the cookie crumbs, cream cheese, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. (Try not to eat it right off the spoon) 

Using a tablespoon or small scoop, shape into 1-2in balls (make them as big or small as you’d like) Then place them on a parchment paper or foil lined cookie sheet. Pop them in the fridge or freezer to chill out for a while. (I used the freezer and let them set for about 30 minutes. If you skip this step you risk the chance of the truffles sliding down the lollipop sticks) 

When you are ready to assemble, start by melting the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 30 seconds intervals stirring in between. 

Take a truffle out of the fridge or freezer and gently stab the lollipop stick in the truffle a little more than half of the way through. 

Then dip away! I top them with a little of those cookie crumbs we sat aside and a good sprinkling of the pumpkin pie spice. Now put them in a short glass, coffee mug, or piece of Styrofoam, and pop them back in the fridge to set. In about an hour, viola! you have some nice fall pumpkin pops.

Adapted from the original recipe here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake

I received a request at work to make a strawberry cheesecake. I found this beautiful cheesecake on a fellow blog, and it looked gorgeous. This little recipe did end up giving me some trouble though. First of all I had to convert it from grams, which was a first for me so I was a little worried about the outcome. Then when it came to the technique of swirling the colors, well let’s just say my technique was a little lacking. It was swirled inside, but not on top so it ended up looking totally different than the one I was trying to recreate. Now to be honest this wasn’t my favorite cheesecake, but strawberry cheesecake is not my favorite and I’m a chocoholic and think that chocolate should always be involved with cheesecake. The coworkers did seem to enjoy it though.

10 graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C superfine sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F and wrap the outside of a 9in spring form pan three times with foil, making sure to alternate direction. Wrap it tightly as without tight foil barrier, water can seep through the pan.

Combine graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until it all mixed together well and moistened.

Press mixture into spring form pan. Make sure you pack it together solid so the cheesecake mixture doesn’t leak through to the bottom.

3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 C superfine sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
16oz bag frozen strawberries, thawed and drained (of course you can use fresh here if you’d like)
3 drops red food coloring

Place 2 1/2 blocks of cream cheese in a food processor along with the lemon juice, vanilla and sugar and process till the mixture is completely smooth. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs and egg yolks then process again till smooth and well combined.

Remove about 2/3 of the cheesecake mixture and set aside, then add the berries, remaining 1/2 block of cream cheese and food dye to the 1/3 cheesecake mixture remaining in the processor and blitz till the berries are smoothly incorporated. The food dye is optional, but will help make the layers more striking once baked.

Pour the white and strawberry cheesecake mixtures into the pan, alternating flavors and trying to keep each addition fairly even. Once all the mixture has been added, drag a skewer from the edges to the middle to make a pattern. At this stage, you can also add a little natural strawberry preserve or roasted strawberries to be found as little surprises in each slice.

Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or till the top of the cheesecake feels set to the touch. (I baked mine for 45 minutes and checked it and it felt set, but it was a little too soft when I served it the next day, it should have baked a little while longer) Once the cake is baked, chill overnight in the fridge to allow it to set completely, then slice and serve.

Recipe by the Kitchen Wench (Re-printed and converted with a few changes)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Porter Cupcakes

Thank goodness I am not one of those types of people that just run into the grocery store for exactly what I need and run out. I enjoy going to the grocery store; I like to look around and find new things and ingredients.  If I didn’t do that I would have never found the coconut porter by Maui brewing company. I enjoy beer very much, in fact the other half and I brew our own beer, but I love to try new ones. When I saw the coconut porter I knew I had to try it and I knew I had to bake with it. So you guys get to reap the reward of my fondness of beer and cupcakes.

When I took them out of the oven, I couldn’t believe how perfect they looked. These were the best looking cupcakes I have ever baked. I could smell the chocolate and coconut and a faint smell of the beer. (Maybe it was the one I was drinking, but I still smelled it none the less) I could not wait to get these put together so I could devour one. And boy did I! They are perfectly moist with just right balance of chocolaty and coconuty goodness. The beer just adds richness to the cupcake. The co-workers loved them, and a couple even said they were the best cupcake they have ever had.

Chocolate Coconut Porter Cupcakes 
(Makes 24 cupcakes) 

1(12oz) can Maui coconut porter 
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp coconut extract 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 eggs
1 (8oz) container sour cream 

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners. 

In a medium saucepan, combine coconut porter and butter and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then whisk in cocoa powder until smooth and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, and coconut and vanilla extract until smooth. Add cooled chocolate mixture to the sour cream and eggs and beat until just combined. 

Slowly add dry ingredients and beat briefly on a slow speed, scraping down sides as needed. 

Fill each cupcake paper 3/4 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 17-18 minutes  (Mine baked for 17 minutes and came out perfect) 

Remove cupcakes from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan and placing on wire rack. 

Cool completely before filling.

1 (5.1 oz) box vanilla pudding 
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk 
1/4 cup heavy cream 
1 cup flaked coconut 
¼ tsp coconut extract 

Whisk together until thick and creamy. Stir in coconut. Chill until ready to use.

1 cup butter (2 sticks, room temp) 
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup cocoa powder
6 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
5 fl oz coconut milk 
1 tbsp Maui coconut porter
1 tsp coconut extract 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
toasted shredded coconut (for garnish, I made about a cup) 

In a small, microwave safe bowl, melt unsweetened chocolate. Heat in 30-45 second intervals, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth. (I let mine sit on top of the stove, in a glass bowl, on top of a burner, while the oven preheated and in melted perfectly.) Let cool to room temperature. 

Transfer chocolate to a larger bowl. Beat in butter, cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, coconut milk, coconut porter, coconut and vanilla extract, and salt, (basically everything else) :) beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy.  

Add more confectioners’ sugar for a thicker frosting if desired.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nutella Cookies

So I received a little promotion at work and it’s my last week in my current department. So we (I) am celebrating this week. I ended up going to happy hour this evening after work and decided to indulge in much deserved beer and happy hour food which included fried pickles. I love them! Afterward, I get home to my empty apartment (the other half is at work) and decided I want to bake something! So what is super easy, fast, with the fewest ingredients so I can get my tipsy sweet fix? Oh yeah, those nutella cookies I read about on Lemon Drop! Two ingredients and I don’t have to operate heavy machinery, perfect!! 

As I write this, they are in the oven and they smell A-MAZING! So chocolaty! Now they spread quite a bit so make sure and space them about 2” apart. 

OMG! (I don’t even say OMG and I’m saying OMG) How in the world can two ingredients taste so good!? This one is too easy for you not to try! 

About 15 minutes later I’m eating these incredibly chocolaty, chewy, fudgy cookies. They are so good warm right out of the oven. Awesome! Thank you Linda for posting this recipe! 

Nutella Cookies (Even easy when you’re tipsy)

1 cup Nutella
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper

Whisk together Nutella and egg until fully combined

With a cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop small dollops of batter onto prepared cookie sheets leaving 2 inches space between each one

Bake 8-10 minutes. I baked mine for 10 min because I liked a crispier cookie.

Let cool on rack 5 minutes then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Found this one on Lemon Drop.


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