Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Speculaas [Club Baked]


You know when the writers wrote that they loved the Delta cookies, I remembered how much I enjoyed those cookies on my trip to New York almost 2 years ago. My dad had free flights so my brother and I were able to go to New York City for the first time. I had such a great time with my brother - how weird right?

Anyways, these cookies brought me back to my flight. That 5 hour cross country flight was not the most fun flight, but you know what? The cookies were the best part of it. I'm so glad that I was able to learn how to make these.


As I eat these cookies, I remember all the great time I had in New York - watching my first Broadway show...on Broadway. The top of the Empire State Building and Rockerfeller Center. Brooklyn. Central Park. Wall Street. Ground Zero. My goal is to be there once for New Years Eve and stay in a hotel room facing Times Square, where I stayed last time with my dad and brother, and watch the ball drop from my room and be able to celebrate with my friends in the room. That way, I can be there, but also be warm and be able to use the bathroom. I MUST GO BACK SOON.

The flavors are great. I can taste all the spices and they go great with my morning drink from Starbucks (Soy Earl Gray Latte). I can just munch on these cookies all day. Love! I made mine in very little batches because I know if I make big batches I end up giving most of them to my boyfriend and as much as I love him, I love these cookies for myself. I've been baking about a sheet or two. I have about 1/4 of the dough left. I'll be able to eat these cookies for next couple of days.


Check out the recipe here and other bakers here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Fresh cherries on sale for $1.99 at Safeway? I grabbed a couple of bags at first thinking that they are bad either taste wise or they were moldy, but when I got home and ate a handful, they were sweet and tangy and actually really good. The next time the boy went to Safeway, I asked him to pick me up a couple of bags again so I could bake with fresh cherries.

Damn, was that a good idea or what? I sat down and pitted all those cherries. Actually, my boyfriend did. He used a straw from Starbucks and just pitted them. It probably wasn't the most efficient way to do it, but it did pit the cherries pretty well, better than if we tried to cut them and pit them. Definitely cheaper than a cherry pitter.


The cupcake itself is a bit dense, but out of the oven, it's soft and delicious. It's not too sweet, but the cherries running through the batter provide a great little point of sweetness. I decided to top these with a cream cheese frosting - it's my favorite type! I found a great little recipe that makes just enough for about 12-15 cupcakes.

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes
(adapted from How Sweet It Is)
makes 12-15 cupcakes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped cherries
1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt with the mixer on low speed, then gradually increase speed. Add in chopped cherries and mix until combined. At this point, the cherries most likely have enough liquid that you don’t need to add any milk to the batter. If you batter seems dry and is not like typical cake batter, then add milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time, beating until incorporated.

Pour into cupcake liners, approximately 2 heaping tablespoons worth, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake is set. Let cool, then frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
(from Food Network)

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

To put the whole cupcake together, pipe the frosting onto the cupcake after it has cooled. I used a 1M frosting tip from Wilton, but any will do. Afterwards, decorate using some whole cherries with their stem still on.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies


After I got back from Sacramento, my boyfriend and I wanted to make dessert together since we never do it. We only make dinner together...sometimes. I made him promise that he wouldn't eat all the oreos and he didn't! He had about 10 left and we made half the recipe. It combines two of his favorite things together - chocolate chip cookies and oreo cookies.

To be honest, I've had one of these cookies that my friend had made a year or two ago. It was so sweet and decadent and I decided I would put off making those for a while. Well, it was a while, and I wanted to see if I could make them for myself.

These were super easy to make and using a silpat and some parchment paper, we threw the recipe together in a couple of minutes. Putting the cookie together was the best party and we had a lot of fun doing that together. I think the next time, I'll make these with mini Oreos so that they don't come out like huge cookies that no one wants to eat. Instead, they'll be smaller with a little surprise in the middle!


Modified from Becky Bakes
1 sticks (1/2 cup) softened butter
3/8 cup or 6 Tablespoons packed brown sugar, light or dark
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup of chocolate chips
some Oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together with a mixer until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

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 tablespoon 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 golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cocoa Rice Krispies Football Treats


I made these for my boyfriend who was working on the same day the San Francisco 49ers were playing the New York Giants for the NFC Championships. The sad part is, he didn't even end up having to go into work, and so he dropped them off at work for those who had to be there, and stayed at home and watched the game.

These were pretty good, although I'm not sure if I were to make them again, I would use peanut butter. I think the great taste of the cocoa rice krispies are enough. Damn, these treats are HUGE. Maybe I just can't shape them correctly, but next time, they'll be smaller. I'll probably end up making a half recipe or something.

Regardless, the 49ers didn't end up winning, but it was a great first season for Coach Harbaugh. Next year!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Blackberry Champagne Cupcakes


This is the first post in the series of posts that make GREAT Valentine's Day or romantic desserts. I know my boyfriend just revealed that he doesn't love cupcakes (WHAT HORROR), but I still decided to make these anyways.

Instead of making these for a romantic reason, I made them for a friend's party. I asked her what she wanted and she had mentioned raspberries and champagne. Although it's not the best thing to bake with, I thought I would give it a try. I didn't have fresh raspberries, but I did have fresh blackberries. It's not the same, but it's still amazing! HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAIL!!!


The cupcakes turned out surprisingly very well. Everyone really enjoyed them. I ran into some difficulties with the frosting, but since everyone was drinking, no one noticed! The cupcake was moist, even though I thought it would be quite dense and dry. Delicious new addition to my arsenal. Alcoholic cupcakes are great for birthdays!

Recipe (adapted from Love Cupcake):
Makes about 24 cupcakes
Soaked Blackberries:
1 1/2 cup champagne
2 containers of blackberries (about 70 of them)

1. Place the blackberries in the champagne in a container overnight, or at least 4 hours.

2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup champagne (from soaking the blackberries)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a mixer cream butter and sugar until well mixed and airy. Add eggs one at a time making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Slowly add in flour mixture. Stir in vanilla and champagne.
3. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full. Insert one blackberry into each cupcake. Cover with enough batter to cover the berry. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

Champagne Frosting:
1 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 cup champagne

Cream butter until smooth. Slowly add sifted powdered sugar. Mixture will bery thick, keep adding champagne to get the consistency you want. Frost cupcakes and top with a blackberry (soaked ones).

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mint Filled Brownies [MSCC]


A very quick post. I just make these yesterday - 1/3 of the recipe, had to do some math, but it turned out pretty simple. I actually ended up with 5 cupcakes and they made great brownies to eat with ice cream!

Delicious choice! It was simple to get those mini peppermint patties, now I just need to find more uses for them! Boyfriend loved them as a nice addition to our dinner together. Very minty, but the brownie was still soft and fudgy.



PS. Great choice by MSCC and Rebecca!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mississippi Mud Pie [Club Baked]


Yes, I was going to start baking again, and I have! One of my many New Years Resolutions is to bake (and cook) - at least once a week. This way I'll be improving my skills and providing wonderful treats to my friends in the Bay Area. I'll probably send a couple of cookies on the way to my friends in different countries and states which means I need your addresses and requests!

Anyways, back to this recipe. In the book it describes the Mississippi Mud Pie as a controversy so I decided to wiki it. Apparently on wikipedia, they only have the second version of the pie, with the dense cake and not this version.


This version has a nice cookie base, chocolate in the middle, ice cream, and some fudge on top! It's a nice delicious (and fattening) treat after a great dinner with my boyfriend. I used some Bailey's instead of whiskey, oreos instead of wafers for the base, and well, karamel sutra ice cream instead of coffee. I know it's not the same, but it was delicious regardless. I really enjoyed making this. I used about 1/6 of the recipe and ended up with three little pies in cupcake liners. I made these before I left for a business trip. I was gone for a week to Sacramento so it was great to eat dinner, drink wine, and talk to him. It's those little things in a relationship that really count.



PS. Thanks to Club Baked and Jess for this awesome pick!

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