Posts tagged ‘Dessert’

May 29, 2012

Cookies and cream cupcakes

Annie’s Eats

Makes: 24

  • 24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 24 Oreo cookie halves

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.

*Chef’s note: Yum! Be sure to pull these out of the oven when there are still moist crumbs attached to your test toothpick; if you wait until it is completely clean, the cupcakes will be too dense/dry. Great flavor and fun/pretty presentation, though. It also isn’t a bad idea to lightly spray your liners with Pam; the cookie pieces may otherwise stick. These would be great with a vanilla frosting as well.

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May 16, 2012

Strawberry shortcake cake

Pioneer Woman

Serves: 10

Cake

  • 1-1/2 cup Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 whole Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream, Room Temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Icing

  • 1/2 pound Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1-1/2 pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 pound Strawberries

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

*Chef’s note: This was the first thing I baked in the oven of my new apartment! Probably not the best idea, in hindsight. I think my oven runs a bit hot, because I checked the cakes very early after 30 minutes and they already were done. Perhaps a bit too done. The outside was more of a crust, which makes this tough to cut. I also would double the amount of strawberries. It may seem like a lot, but it’s a lot of cake! Especially with my overly dry version, more moisture and sweetness would have been great. The cake did have a great flavor, though. It was a nice switch-up from the typical biscuit base. As requested by my boyfriend, the recipient of this cake, we used Cool Whip in place of the frosting. T’was delicious! I recommend letting it thaw a tad before digging in when you remove it from the fridge.

May 16, 2012

Key lime mini cupcakes

Family Circle

Makes: 24 mini cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup Key lime or traditional lime juice

Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Key lime juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line indents of two 12-cup mini cupcake pans with paper or foil liners.

Cupcakes. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a second medium-size bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high for 1 minute. Add egg and beat until combined. On low, beat in half the flour mixture, then the Key lime juice, followed by remaining flour mixture. Spoon evenly into prepared liners. Bake at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks.

Frosting. In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, butter and Key lime juice. Beat until smooth. Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

*Chef’s note: Blimey limey! These are so cute and so delicious. I added crushed graham cracker crumbs to the top to complete a nice refreshing treat :) I added 1 tsp. vanilla to the batter, used Key lime juice and used 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. cake flour in place of the all-purpose flour. I also left the lime juice out of the frosting and added 1 tsp. vanilla to it after tasting the super-limey batter. The Key limes are a real pain to juice, but using any type of juicing tool helps tremendously.

May 16, 2012

Salted mudslide cookies

How Sweet It Is

Makes: I forget exactly how many. Enough to give my grandpa a decent amount as a birthday gift and still keep some for myself.

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 10-15 minutes
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur + 1 teaspoon (Godiva, Kahlua, etc)
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks
  • sea salt for topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix the flour, cocoa, coffee powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the melted butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Stream in coffee liqueur and mix. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms – it will look crumbly at first, but it will come together. I even used my hands to help at one point. If you find you absolutely need more liquid add in a teaspoon of coffee liqueur, but it should come together. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Remove dough from the fridge and roll into golfball sized balls. Set on a non-stick baking sheet with 2 inches between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are set and the middles are still soft. The centers should be puffy. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool completely then dig in!

*Chef’s note: These. cookies. are. the. best. cookies. Fantastic! Ms. How Sweet It Is seriously knows what she is doing. Especially when it comes to sinful desserts. Are you weird and hate chocolate? Do you not care for coffee? You’ll still love these cookies. So soft and moist and full of flavor. The salt adds the perfect compliment to the sweetness, too. *Italian finger-kissing delicious perfection gesture*

May 16, 2012

Peanut butter fudge pretzel brownies

How Sweet It Is

Makes: 12 bars

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups crushed pretzel pieces
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

Combine melted butter and pretzel crumbs in a bowl until moistened. With the back of a spoon, press pretzels into the 8×8 pan making a crust. If pretzels seem loose, drizzle some additional melted butter over top of hit with a quick shot of non-stick spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed, add in cocoa, flour and salt, mixing until combined – about 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips. Using a spatula sprayed with non-stick spray, evenly spread brownies on top of pretzel crust. Set pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brownies are baked through.

When brownies have about 3 minutes left baking, melt peanut butter (I melted mine in the microwave in 30 second increments then stirring) in a bowl. Once melted, stir in 1/3 cup powdered sugar and mix until no lumps remain. Pour over warm brownies and spread evenly. Refrigerate brownies for 1-2 hours, then cut into bars and serve.

*Chef’s note: If you are a sucker for the sweet/salty combo like I am, you will absolutely die for these brownies. I just know it. I could have eaten the whole pan by myself in just a couple of days (hours?). I did encounter the too-crumbly crust problem, so next time I would try baking the brownies alone, then topping with the peanut butter mixture and pressing the pretzel “crust” into the peanut butter before it sets in the fridge. Would taste the same and be easier to eat! You can sub in your favorite brownie recipe and enjoy this just as much! I added several Tbsp. of that Smucker’s dark chocolate fudge sauce I love so much to this batter.

May 16, 2012

Dark chocolate truffles

Ghiradelli

Makes: 30 truffles

  • 1  3/4 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the chocolate chips. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl.

Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours.

Using a melon baller or small spoon, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the cocoa. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Note: The Unsweetened Cocoa can be replaced with 3/4 cup of chopped almonds or pecans.

*Chef’s note: These are perfect for a SUPER DARK chocolate lover. Quite bitter. I like dark chocolate, but next time I would use half semi-sweet chocolate to better suit my taste buds. I also preferred these dipped in pecans over the cocoa (and I even used sweetened cocoa). They were kind of a pain to roll out, because even a melon baller doesn’t form perfect, solid balls, and the chocolate melts as soon as you get your hands on it. That’s another reason I preferred the nut coating; better hides the imperfections ;)

May 16, 2012

Apple galette

Oprah (Jane Lockhart)

Serves: 8-10

  • 4 medium Yellow Delicious or Gala apples
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • powdered sugar for dusting
While the pastry is defrosting, peel the apples, cut in half, and core.
Slice the apples very thin, approximately 1/8″ thick. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the sliced apples to prevent them from browning.

Dust counter with a little flour. Sprinkle some flour onto rolling pin. Roll pastry out into a rectangle. Fold and crimp edges of pastry about 1 inch on each side to make a 1/2″ border. (Crimping the border prevents the folded edges from coming undone while in the oven.) Transfer pastry dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Start in one corner with the sliced apples and overlap the slices so that they cover about half of the previous row. Continue to overlap apples in rows until the apples cover the entire pastry. Sprinkle the softened butter over the apples. Sprinkle the sugar over the apples. Place pastry in the oven and bake until the tart is deep golden brown and the apples are caramelizing, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Mix the apricot preserves with water and either microwave or place in a small pot under low heat on the stove until it is warm. Strain the preserves. Brush glaze onto the apples and cool. With a piece of parchment paper, cover the apple part of the Galette, leaving the edges exposed. Dust edges with powdered sugar. Cut the Galette in large squares and serve.

*Chef’s note: I love the simplicity of this elegant dessert. It was a huge hit when I made it for my mom’s French-themed book club meeting (along with Ghiradelli dark chocolate truffles, Food Network’s Croque Monsieur and more). I used granny smith apples but next time may use a combination with a sweeter apple added.

April 10, 2012

Classic lemon bars

Food Network

Makes: 24 bars

For the crust:

  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)

Make the crust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; grease the foil with oil. Pulse the butter, flour, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F. Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

*Chef’s note: These definitely have a pucker power to them, as they should! Very yummy. It took only 6 1/2 lemons to get the 1 c. juice for me after rolling the lemons and then juicing them with that handy hand squeezer thingy. I had problems with my food processor blade getting stuck and had to make the crust dough in my mixer and add a couple tablespoons of milk to make it come together, but it still turned out fine in the end — just a tad dense. The top of my lemon “liquid” was a bit frothy and it kind of baked in that way, but you can’t really tell when it’s dusted with powdered sugar. And it still tastes the same. Main concern. I wouldn’t worry about over-baking these, because they are very gooey. Definitely serve straight from the fridge, and wait until then to dust with sugar (the bars just soak it right up).

April 10, 2012

Tender white cake

King Arthur Flour

Makes: Two 8″ or 9″ round layers; one 9″x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake’ or 20-24 cupcakes

  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar; superfine sugar is best
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg
  • 1 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt or 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8″ x 2″ or 9″ x 2″ round pans; a 9″ x 13″ pan; or 2 standard cupcake pans (20 to 24 cupcakes) by greasing and flouring; or lining with parchment, then greasing the parchment. Note: Make sure your 8″ round pans are at least 2″ deep; if they’re not, use one of the other pan options.

Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the temperature of the butter, how much it’s mixed, and granulation of the sugar used.

Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the structure of the cake. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.

In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes for 8″ or 9″ rounds; 36 to 42 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake; or 18 to 20 minutes for cupcakes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan, if desired (not advisable for a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake), cool on a rack, and frost.

*Chef’s note: Delish. I halved the recipe (a bit tricky with this one) and got 11 cupcakes out of it. I have to admit that I left out the almond extract (mine was expired, and I didn’t want to risk ruining the whole cake but didn’t feel like running to the store on Easter Sunday), but I wish I hadn’t. This cake was very moist and had a nice subtle sweetness, but I think the addition of almond extract would have made it by giving it a little something special. It still was a great base for my coconut frosting (1 stick butter, 2+ cups powdered sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla, 2/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes).

April 2, 2012

Brown butter oatmeal chunk cookies

How Sweet It Is

Makes: 15-18

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks
  • optional: 1- 2 tablespoons milk, if dough is crumbly

Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add butter. Whisking constantly, cook butter until bubbly and until small brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan – about 5-6 minutes. Watch closely and immediately remove the butter from the heat, whisking for an additional 30 seconds or so. Set aside and let cool COMPLETELY. Note: It does not need to solidfy at all, but it should not be warm to the touch.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, oats and cinnamon, mixing, then set aside.

Once butter has cooled, add to a large bowl. Whisk in sugars, stirring until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla, whisking until smooth once again. Slowly begin to stir in dry ingredients, using your hands if necessary (I always do) to bring dough together. If you find that the dough still won’t come together, add in milk 1 tablespoon at a time (I rarely have to do this.) Fold in chocolate chips, distributing them evenly. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on a nonstick baking sheet, then bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms and edges are golden. Let cool before serving.

*Chef’s note: Brown butter + oats + brown sugar + chocolate chunks = sure success. Yummm! [Whispers:] And I have a confession to make: I didn’t successfully brown the butter! And they still were awesome. I even over-baked them by a minute or two because I was waiting for some brownage around the edges. And they still were awesome. Moist and chewy for all 3 days they lasted. Yay! I didn’t need the milk in the dough. Definitely use the chocolate chunks, though. There’s just something about them that makes these better. And please attempt the brown butter. I know I will again. I can only imagine its toffee tones will improve the cookie even more.