Sunday, March 31, 2013

White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Easter Cookies

I will never get better at blogging. It's just not going to happen, I've already accepted that fact. Baking is the easy part. It's the taking (good) pictures, experimenting with different ingredients, and actually sitting down to write about it that's the difficult part. Let's be serious, the only reason anyone ever looks at food blogs is because of the pictures. I'm so guilty of it. Sometimes during lunch at work I will browse food blogs looking for the next thing I want to bake, then drool about how amazing everything looks for the next 4+ hours of my day.

Today is Easter. My favorite Holiday of the year. Don't get me wrong, Christmas is awesome, everyone gives and receives gifts, but did you know Jesus' Birthday isn't even in December? There's a lot of people who don't. Easter really means something and symbolizes so much, so I decided today I would take the time and finally blog about something. 

Chocolate cookies made with white chocolate chips, sprinkled with mini egg sprinkles, oh and there's avocado in the batter. Yep, that's right, avocado. I know it sounds crazy, but I've been wanting to try it for a while. You replace the butter in a recipe with avocado, and adjust accordingly. Since you're not using butter, the cookies won't really spread. Avocado doesn't melt like butter, margarine or shortening, so it's important to take the time to flatten the cookies and shape them, or else they will literally look like poo. (That's not a joke)

White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Easter Cookies
1 Medium Avocado (Just under 3/4 c. mashed)
1 tsp. canola oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
3 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup flour   
White chocolate chips
Easter sprinkles of your choice 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl (or food processor) mash up the avocado to remove all of the large chunks. Stir in oil.

Mix in the sugar and vanilla until all ingredients are combined. Stir in the vinegar and baking soda. Lastly stir in the flour and cocoa powder until all ingredients are fully incorporated and there are no chunks. I used about 3/4 cups of white chocolate chips and mixed in sprinkles to the batter as well.

 Using a spoon, spoon small 1 tablespoon cookies onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently flatten the tops of the cookies and sprinkle some more sprinkles on top. My personal favorite were these cute pastel eggs. I own sprinkles for every holiday thanks to my mother. I also have cupcake liners for just about every holiday, life event. She knows me really well, what can I say!
 Place in the preheated oven for approximately 8-10 minutes. It will depend how large your cookies are. Cookies are done when tops are firm to touch. Let them cool on the tray for at least 5-10 minutes. Or you can just eat it when its pipping hot like I always like to do.

See they look pretty identical to when they went in the oven. You would literally never know there was avocado in the batter. Would it taste even better with butter? Maybe, but these are pretty great!


Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chocolate Mint Snaps

Well, it's safe to say my Christmas Eve mishap put a little damper on all this blogging I was supposed to be doing. Coming down with what now appears to be a stomach virus, I was down for the count on Christmas Day. Luckily for me, I finished all of my baking on the Eve. Thank goodness for a great family that understood my want/need to be in bed all day and my great parents who took care of me and went out in search of Alka-Seltzer and Ginger Ale in the middle of entertaining on Christmas day. Love Family <3 Either way, these recipes are still great no matter what time of year, so a couple days after Christmas won't be the end of the world. I brought these cookies into my office during our Holiday gift exchange and they seemed to go over really well. 

It's true, I'm on a cookie kick. I'm not really sure why... that's a lie, I do. Since I've become quite lactose intolerant, it's pretty rare that I can try the batter,  cupcakes, and frosting to see whether they are good or not anymore so I find it easier to make cookies. On top of this, people are more likely to eat things that are quick and easy to grab. I've learned this as I've brought things into my office. I would bring in a container of cookies and they are gone in a few hours.. while the last couple of times I've brought in cupcakes, they've taken all day to finish. People don't mind having 3, 4 cookies, but they rarely have more than one cupcake. Yep, fact!

For these reasons, and my love for chocolate.... and mint, I decided to make chocolate mint snaps! Depending on how long you cook these cookies, you can either get a lighter fluffy cookie, or a thinner crispy cookie. I made mine so they were soft in the middle and crispy on the edge and I was (am) a hugeeee fan. Another great idea would be to place a hershey kiss in the middle like a peanut blossom. These cookies puff up like them in the oven. 

Go pick yourself up a little bottle of peppermint extract and start making these cookies :)

Chocolate Mint Snaps
Recipe adapted from Christmas Cookies

2 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 cup sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop the squares into smaller chunks, and in a small microwave proof bowl, melt chocolate. Start with 20 second intervals and stir in between each. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Cream together shortening and sugar. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Combine cocoa powder and water, then add all chocolate mixtures to the batter. Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Spoon large tablespoons and roll into a ball. Roll the balls in sugar. 
Place about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. 
Bake approximately 12-15 minutes. If you desire cookies that are crispy on the outside, and softer on the insider, you'll want to watch the cookies puff up, then start to settle. As soon as the cookies start settling, bake them for another minute then remove to cook on a baking rack.

I wrapped some up and placed them with some other cookies as my white elephant gift for work.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cocoa Hazelnut Biscottis

Two for two! Yes! I'm sitting here, drinking some delicious cider and just extremely happy that I'm getting my second recipe up here. It's quite an accomplishment for me to be blogging two nights in a row. I honestly don't remember the last time I did that, let's hope I can keep this up. I'm definitely way too excited to be sharing about this new recipe, but that's alright, because if you're reading this you either a. know who I am and are rolling your eyes at my love for baking or b. are actually interested in the recipe, in which case you can skip down a few lines. Either way, let'ssss start.

I've never made Biscottis before but it was definitely worth the task. I started from a recipe for cinnamon and hazelnut biscotttis. I loved the idea of hazelnuts, but one thing was missing... chocolate. I just love chocolate, much like the other half of the world, so I experimented with the batter a little bit. I substituted cocoa powder for some flour. Also, rather than a rough chop for the hazelnuts, i did more of a grind, so I also left out some flour. Last but not least, I drizzled them in milk chocolate. It's the easiest thing but it literally just makes it that much better. 

Cocoa Hazelnut Biscottis
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking liner. Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl; set aside. 
Grind hazelnuts in a food processor (I used my magic bullet since I don't yet own a food processor, surprisingly . Combine sugar and butter and mix until fluffy. Add orange zest and vanilla and mix well. Add eggs 1 at a time, blending just until incorporated after each addition. Add flour mixture and mix until just blended. Fold in hazelnuts.  
Turn dough out onto a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with one tablespoon flour and one tablespoon powdered sugar. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 9" x 2" log.
Place the logs on the baking sheet. Flatten each log to 12" x 2 1/2". Bake 25 minutes or until very light golden and firm to touch. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer the logs to a cutting board. 
Using a serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 3/4-inch-wide slices. Place slices, cut side down, on your baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn biscotti over, bake about 15 minutes more or until light golden and firm. Transfer biscotti to racks and cool.
Biscottis have a natural crumbly texture to them, so it's okay if you leave them in the oven for an extra few minutes. Cool the cookies completely. Once cool, place about a half a cup of melting chocolates in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second increments and stir in between each until chocolate is fully melted (about 1 1/2 minutes). Stir chocolate until it cools slightly. Transfer to either a piping bag or plastic sandwich bag and cut the end off. Drizzle chocolate along tops of cookies. The nice thing about this is that you can put on as much or as little as you like!!

Mmmmm yum!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Let me start by saying, it's been a while. A very very very long while since I've actually taken the time to post about something I've baked. Quite like my last hiatus (which I believe was not too many posts ago...) I've been baking a lot, some new things and some old things. My goal is to try those new recipes again and get them up here. We'll see how that goes. 

With Christmas coming up, I've decided to start this up again. Last Christmas I made these delicious chocolate eggnog cupcakes with eggnog frosting. I started to post about it and never finished. Now, I have no idea how I made those cupcakes. Quite disappointing. This is my grand attempt at saving all of these recipes from the holidays. 

The first on my holiday list is a little ironic since it's a healthy cookie. With the exception of some sugar, you really can't feel bad about eating these... which hey, might be good to have around during the holidays. While everyone is busy running around during the hectic weeks leading up to Christmas, I felt like it would be a great idea to have something remotely healthy to grab in the morning. These won't taste like your average cookie, you can definitely tell it's made with ingredients that are good for you, but still a great treat.

Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter spread (I use this since I'm lactose intolerant, can substitute with butter)
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups oats 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened fat free Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup grated apples

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. 
Grate approximately 1- 1 1/2 apples to produce one cup of apples. Set aside. 
In the base of a stand mixer cream together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter. Add the egg followed by the vanilla. In another bowl combine the yogurt, milk, and pumpkin purée. Add half of the milk ingredients into the stand mixer and combine, followed by half of the dry ingredients. Repeat and stir just until everything is incorporated. Stir in apples. 
Spoon heaping tablespoon onto a non-stick cooking pan. Slightly press down on the top since the cookies don't spread much. I used my cinnamon-sugar grinder to top off the cookies. Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes. It may take longer to reach desired consistency. The bottom of the cookies should be golden brown.

Remove and set on cooking rack. Set these out for an on-the-go breakfast treat or just whenever you're craving something that you won't feel TOO bad about.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes and Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I am going to first say that I can't believe I'm blogging again. It's not like I haven't been baking, I bake at least twice a month. No, not as often as my once or twice a week I was up to during the Summer, but hey, at that point I was unemployed and pretty much doing nothing, which was fantastic :). Ugh, jobs and adult responsibilities have kept me from doing what I love!  I currently have 4 recipe posts that are still drafts. And a ton of more pictures of just cookies, cupcakes, and muffins. It's sad because, at this point, I barely remember making them! I'm determined to actually post this. Why? Because these cupcakes are extremely delicious and I have to start making more time for doing the things I love. This might actually be the best vanilla cupcake recipe I've ever tried. (It better be, since it's advertised as such), and this chocolate cupcake, ah so yummy. Well, here is my latest baking extravaganza :) (I was literally in my kitchen for 5 hours, I would call that an extravaganza)

The name of this post alone is a mouth full. I made one frosting and used it on two different, fairly simple batters. 
So the first cupcake I made was the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake from The Cupcake Project. I've been looking at this recipe for quite some time, and I just had to make it one day. The majority of vanilla cupcakes I've tried have not been that good. Sometimes they'll come out a little more like corn bread. Gross. Unless of course you want to make corn bread, but that clearly was never my intention. Anyway, I tried the batter (because that's probably one of my favorite parts of baking) and yea, it was easily the best vanilla batter I've ever had. Ever. I could probably eat it by the spoonful if I was allowed. It uses a full vanilla bean! My first time baking with those, and let me tell you, one vanilla bean can cost between $4 and $6! My advice is to go to Home Goods and pick them up there. Overall, delicious cupcake, Go try it.

Cutting the vanilla bean :)

The second cupcake was a variation on this Chocolate Velvet Cupcake recipe. It was a much larger batch, so I made about 2/3 of it. I played around with some of the ingredients and it was a greattttt success. Not something I can always say about my first-time experiments. They are definitely worth a try if you're looking for a light, chocolate cupcake as opposed to a heavy, devil's food cake, type of chocolate cake.

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes
About 24
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
6 oz. good chocolate
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin tin.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate until melted. Mix the chocolate every 30 seconds for about  1 1/2 minutes.
In the base of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar. Add the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time just until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and beat just until combined.
Slowly mix in the flour mixture. Alternate this with the sour cream until combined. Lastly, in the hot water, fully dissolve the cocoa powder. Once dissolved, pour into the batter and mix until smooth.
Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 full. Place in the oven for 16-18 minutes. After removing the tin from the oven, remove each cupcake to cool on a wire rack.

Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 5 cups
1/2 cup butter
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
32 oz. package powdered sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cook butter in a small saucepan on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat. Pour butter into a heat-safe bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator for an hour, when the butter starts to solidify. 
Beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. 

These combinations of flavors worked out so well together I was extremelyy happy. 
I used a large star tip to pipe the frosting on to each one. Mmm yummy vanilla.

 I think I'm actually obsessed with how light and fluffy these cupcakes were. These recipes may actually turn into my go-to recipes. I definitely have some other variations I'll make on the chocolate, but the vanilla, being straight from The Cupcake Project, I wouldn't change a thing. 

I also made a massive cupcake to decorate with a "25" made from chocolate as well as a ton of candles. Works well for a mini birthday cake!
Enjoy :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I started writing this post on Christmas day. It's now February 12th and I still haven't posted it. Talk about getting behind in my blogging. I'm not going to try and rewrite this as if I'm writing it today, so bare with me. I can't believe it's been so long. I guess the eggnog is a little out-dated, but delicious cookies to say the least!
I've been obsessed with the thought of eggnog lately. Not like I can have a glass considering my lactose intolerance. But I know how much it screams winter and Christmas and of course I've been trying to put together more recipes for winter. In case eggnog isn't in season (ironically when I wrote this, it was, but now it's not!), it can easily be substituted for milk. 
Eggnog Snickerdoodles
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup eggnog
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon for coating

Cream together the butter and sugar with a mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Beat the flour mixture with the butter mixture. Slowly add in the eggnog one tablespoon at a time until the batter is uniform. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Just before removing from the refrigerator, mix the 1/4 cup sugar and tablespoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Drop tablespoons of batter into the cinnamon sugar, coat evenly and then place on the baking sheet. 
Gently pat down each cookie. Since the batter is more cake-like, it holds its shape so be sure to pat them down. Place in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes.
My beautiful little Maxi enjoyed baking with me while I was home :)

The eggnog just seems to emphasize the holiday feel of these cookies. I seriously love it. Eat and of course,
Enjoy :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Baileys Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

I think it's literally impossible to come up with a cupcake idea that hasn't already been tried.. (Actually, I think I have one, but I still have some more testing to do). I was thinking of winter related goodies and thought of hot chocolate. I've done so much peppermint, I didn't want to do it again. What else goes with hot chocolate besides marshmallows? Oh yea, Baileys. Turning lactose intolerant is such a tease. I used to be able to eat anything dairy! Now I must be careful. Luckily a little Baileys is doable :)
What do I need for baileys hot chocolate cupcakes? A deliciously rich chocolate cupcake. Check. Marshmallow frosting. Check, and even some toasted marshmallow on that one. Baileys chocolate ganache. Super delicious check.

I worked from a recipe from A Cozy Kitchen. I used her recipe for the chocolate cupcakes, except for my coffee, I brewed a Chocolate blend! I've officially fallen in love with buying coffees from Home Goods since they have awesome flavors and it's actually just about the same price as buying Folgers. Crazy, I know.

Next step is the Marshmallow frosting. Using a seven-minute frosting keeps it light and fluffy, although I may opt for a true marshmallow frosting next time by using some fluff. I used a different recipe since I knew I like to save the extras for cupcake pops. You can either use her recipe, use this one, or halve it! Having a stand mixer is a HUGE help with this one.

Marshmallow Frosting
4 large egg whites
1 3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees F. Meanwhile, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl until foamy. While beating the egg whites, slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg whites for about 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla then continue beating until it reaches the desired consistency. About 2 more minutes or so.

Bailey's Chocolate Ganache
9 oz. good semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

Place heavy cream and Bailey's in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Chop up the chocolate and place in a large, heatproof bowl. Just before the cream reaches a boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk together until all the chocolate is melted.

Unless you're planning to serve these immediately, place the ganache in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes until it's cool.

There are several options for this. You can use a Brulee torch to toast the marshmallow frosting, place the cupcakes in the oven under the boiler, or if you're like me and have a super weird oven that doesn't broil, place them in the toaster oven! (Or you can just be perfectly happy with non-toasted marshmallow frosting)
When all of the layers are cooled, pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
Place under the broiler for about 2 minutes while WATCHING THEM CAREFULLY. Do NOT leave the cupcakes unattended. Remove and repeat until all cupcakes are nice and browned.
Once the frosting is cooled, take a spoonful of the ganache and drizzle it on top. They can get a little messy, but I wasn't complaining.
Don't have too many, or you'll get a little buzz. Just kidding, eat a whole bunch. Maybe even eat the ganache by the spoonful.

Enjoy :)