Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Peppermint Bonbon Cookies

Before you ask, yes I am STILL going through my Christmas "to blog" recipes.  I know, it's awful, but I bake so much during the holidays that I can't (well, lets not use the word "can't".  It's really more like "can't find the effort to") keep up with them AND my weekly baking that I do.  And so I run into this situation.  You're wondering why I'm posting something made with candy canes in April.  Well, they're just as tasty in April as they are in December and you can get Starlight candies any time of the year. So there.

I've had this recipe for a few years now and have made it for every Christmas goody bag since then.  They're excellent but honestly do need to be eaten within a day or too of making them or they get a little stale.  

This is one of the few recipes that I don't bother using my mixer for.  Just all hand stirring here!


Peppermint Bonbon Cookies

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 stick butter
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup finely crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
6 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons milk 
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Additional crushed peppermint candies (optional)

For cookies:
  • Melt butter and both chocolates in a double boiler.  Once smooth, stir in candy and sugar.  Cool 10 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time.  Stir in extracts.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to chocolate mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover and chill 1 hour.  
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Scoop onto parchment lined sheets and bake about 13 minutes.  Cool.
For drizzle:
  • Mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth.  Drizzle over cookies.  In the picture I posted I didn't do this step.  Sometimes I leave it out, sometimes I do both.  
  • Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over cookies.  Sprinkle with extra crushed candies.  Again, in this picture, no candies.  I wasn't feeling it this year.  
Straight from

Chocolate Caramel Slice

Oh my, these are good.  Really good.  Like really, REALLY good.  They're the perfect combination of sweet and salty, which is always great.  My dearest husband and his awful palate (don't worry, he won't read this.  I don't think he finds me nearly as amusing as I find myself.) were not impressed but I've decided he isn't a valid taste-tester anymore.  Don't get me wrong, he's still my go-to man for gobbling up any and all treats I make but he insists that everything tastes like it has coffee in it.  Except, of course, the things that actually DO have coffee in them.   I've actually tested him on it and he failed miserably.  What are you gonna do?  Me, I'll keep making things and having friends review them instead.

Chocolate Caramel Slice

1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cubed
1 tablespoon ice water
1 egg yolk

1  14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoon whipping cream
Sea Salt

For crust: 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line an 11x9 inch pan with parchment.  
  • Blend first 4 ingredients in processor.  Add butter and pulse until coarse meal forms.  Add water and egg yolk.  Blend until moist clumps form.  Press onto bottom of pan (I put a sheet of wax paper over it before I pressed because my fingers were pulling everything up).  
  • Bake about 20 minutes or until golden.  Pierce any bubbles with a fork.  Cool.
For caramel:
  • Whisk first 5 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.  Boil gently until caramel is think and temperature is 225 degrees, whisking constantly.  The recipe said this should take 6 minutes but it took me closer to 12.  
  • Pour over crust while caramel is still hot.  Smooth and cool 15 minutes.
For topping:
  • Heat cream to just boiling and pour over chopped chocolate.  Let sit 30 seconds then whisk until smooth.  Spread over caramel.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Refrigerate 1 hour or until set.
I found this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

I've had this picture sitting around for months now, waiting to be blogged about.  I remember how tasty and perfect these came out, especially in mini form , and couldn't wait to tell you all about them.  So why the wait, you ask?  Well, I couldn't find the recipe for the life of me.  I have a folder of blog recipes to try, a folder of hard copy recipes to try, a folder of recipes to type up, and a folder of recipes to blog.  It wasn't in any of these folders.  I was convinced that I'd lost it forever.  Until today.  I have been up since the wee hour of 4:00 am and did some serious google searching and finally found it!!  So before I lose it again, here it is!


Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Ganache Center
(makes about 24 full size)

1  1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1  1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1  2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup whipping cream

2 sticks butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk 
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

For cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare liners.
  • Combine boiling water and cocoa, whisk well and let cool.
  • Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add to butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  This is a thin batter, don't worry!
  • Fill liners about 2/3 full and bake 17-20 minutes (minis took me about 12 minutes). Cool.
For ganache
  • Chop chocolate and place in a glass bowl.  Bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate.  Let sit for 30 seconds or so and then stir until smooth.  Let sit until thick enough to pipe.
For frosting
  • Beat butter until creamy.  Add 4 cups powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint and beat until combined.  Add more sugar to get a piping consistency.
To Assemble
  • Once cupcakes are cool but a small cone out of the center of each top and fill with ganache.  Replace top (or don't, I've done both).
  • Pipe frosting on top.  I used a Wilton 1M tip for my little star dollop and it was perfect.  
  • Pipe ganache in a zig zag over the top.

What happens when I photograph during non-nap times:

I found this recipe in several parts on Iheartcuppycakes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Homemade Oreos

I saw these and just HAD to make them.  I'm definitely going to attack the Oreo Cupcakes that are attached to these little bits of heaven in the blog Cupcake Project.  I'm going to go ahead and leave out the little cup of milk in the center because, honestly, soggy food grosses me out.  Including Oreos.  I DO NOT dip my Oreos.  Drink milk along side, yes.  Dip, no.  First, there's the soggy part.  I don't care how fast you dip those suckers, something must be getting soaked in and that does not make me happy.  Second, what about those little crumbs that fall off and sink to the bottom of your milk.  Ewwwww.  I mean, really, are you supposed to drink that?  Ugh.  By the way, my husband is, I'm sure, appalled by my lack of dipping Oreos since he'll actually hold the cookie under the surface for long enough to intentionally get the Oreo soggy.  I shudder at the thought.  

Anyway, I digress. Sometime soon I will try the cupcakes but for this particular post I just did the cookies.  And my-oh-my, they're tasty.  Much better than a store bought Oreo.  It could be the lack of mystery ingredients, weird chemicals, or trans fat.  But I'm going with the size.  You can make them AS BIG AS YOU LIKE!  And I can tell you bigger Oreo=better Oreo.  

To be honest, I make big ones and they were probably a bit too big.  I know, how is there TOO BIG of an Oreo?  Don't get me wrong.  They're great big, but too big can be a bit much.  So, next time I'll scale down a bit. 



1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 egg


1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla

To make the cookies:
  • Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt and sugar.
  • Beat in butter and egg.  Mix until dough comes together in one large mass.
  • Scoop out rounded teaspoons of batter and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Now, I tried 3 methods to flattening these out.  1) dip the bottom of a glass in sugar and press down and leave as is 2) same thing but then use a round cutter to make them pretty and perfectly round and 3) flattening with the heal of my hand.  All worked equally well and the only difference was the look at the end.  If you don't mind rough edges, don't bother with the cutters.  Whatever you decide, flatten the cookies.
  • Bake for 9 minutes on 375 degrees.  Cool.
For filling:
  • Beat butter and shortening on low speed until smooth.  Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla.
  • Beat on high for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
To assemble:
  • Pipe about a teaspoon of filling onto a cookie.  Top with another cookie and squeeze together to flatten out the filling.  

I found this recipe on Cupcake Project

Cookies and Cream Rice Krispie Treats

My picture is blue and I don't know why.  I'm having some lighting issues lately that I'm trying to figure out but (obviously) haven't quite figured out yet.  Anyway, try to ignore the icy blue tint and focus on the Oreo chunks mixed deep into the crispy, crunchy, chewy core that is a Rice Krispie treat.

Anyway, back to baking.  I know, I know.  I promised I wouldn't let myself fall behind in my postings again and I did.  Please forgive me!  Please??  I have a really great excuse, if that matters.  He's 2, blond with big barrel roll curls, and totally impatient with me typing up recipes.  I can tell you from experience, it is next to impossible to type with said distraction in your lap pushing the button on the keyboard that makes all the windows open at the same time.  Not conducive to blogging at all.  :)

Anyway, I made these for my soldiers this month.  If you haven't checked out Soldier's Angels, do.  I am an Angel Baker and I get a monthly troop assignment that I bake for but there are lots of other ways to help support our troops. 

These are yummy!  To be honest, they're hard to stir.  My poor chicken-wing arms had a rough go of it, but they were worth it in the end.  They really only take a minute or so more than plain ol' Rice Krispie treats so give them a try!


Cookies and Cream Rice Krispie Treats

1/2 cup bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoon butter
10 oz marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
30 Oreo cookies, chopped and divided (I used Trader Joe's Joe Joes and they're excellent!)
4 oz white chocolate, melted (I used white candy melts since I had some on hand)

  • Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a pot melt butter.  Stir in marshmallows over medium-low heat until smooth.  Turn off heat and stir in vanilla and melted chocolate.
  • Add cereal and half the cookies.  Here's where it gets difficult if you have kitten-like strength in your upper body.  Stir until combined or until your arms give out, whichever comes first.  
  • Press into a parchment lined 9x13 pan.  
  • Melt white chocolate and spread over treats.  Sprinkle with remaining cookies and chill until set.

If found the recipe on Cast Sugar and just made the tiny changes I mentioned.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns

I have to admit, yeast is something I've only recently starting using. I've been baking pretty seriously now for about 7 years and only in the past year have I really been using yeast.  I had a few mishaps before then that kind of scared me off.  But, brave soul that I am, I tried again and have decided that I love using it.  Sure, I've killed off my fair share of the little critters but hey, it was for a good cause.  I've learned a few things along the way as well.  Because I'm the nice person that I am I'll share.  

#1) Yeast loves sweet things too! In particular, honey.  They just love going to town in their warm water with a teaspoon or so of honey stirred in.  Not once since I've started adding honey to the water have I had a no-bloom batch.  

#2) I'm pretty sure someone (lots of someones, actually) are lying about that whole "warm water" thing with yeast.  I use hot water.  And no-joke hot water at that.  It's not boiling but it hurts to touch.  I'm sure if it was boiling the little yeasties would be none too happy, but they seem fine in my scalding kitchen sink water.  So I wouldn't worry too much about that perfect just-above-body temperature water that seems to be recommended in most books.  Just make it hot-ish.

These are an excellent cinnamon roll-type breakfast.  They're not super sweet since there's not a massive amount of filling or frosting but you don't miss it.  I think the pumpkin gives them a nice flavor and definitely helps keep them moist.  I would definitely recommend eating them warm but I wouldn't shun a room temperature one if it was offered.  


Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns

2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (1 package)
1/4 cup hot-ish water
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

For buns:
  • Wake up those yeast in warm water with a teaspoon or so of honey.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Put 2 cups flour, pumpkin, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and nutmeg into mixer bowl with dough hook and mix until smooth.  Gradually add remaining dough, leaving about 1/4 cup.  Once incorporated remove dough to counter and hand knead in last 1/4 cup flour.  Dough will be tacky.
  • Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray.  Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm spot (inside your oven is a great place if your kitchen isn't warm.  Just turn it on at 200 degrees for a few minutes just to get it toasty, then shut if off before putting dough in to rise).  Let rise 45 minutes.
For filling:
  • Combine all ingredients with a pastry cutter or throw them in the food processor.
  • Punch dough down, let rest 5 minutes.  Roll to a 12x10 inch rectangle and sprinkle with filling.  Roll up the rectangle, starting with the long edge, pressing as you go.  Pinch seams to seal.  Cut into 9 slices. Place in a 9-inch square pan (my springform is great for this) coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise again for 25 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees while rising.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. 
For glaze:
  1. Combine all ingredients and drizzle over warm buns.

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

How could these be bad?  I mean, a nice vanilla cupcake filled with a cookie dough ball, then topped with vanilla frosting. Really, what's not to love?

A few notes. 
1) This recipe makes close to 30 cupcakes, so you may want to consider halving (or lower).  If you haven't seen this site, it's great for doing just that.
2) I keep this cookie dough on hand at all times.  It's fantastic.  It is by far my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It's chewy, it's chocolatey, it's perfection.  I make a batch and freeze what I don't use.  Ok, well, what I don't bake or don't eat raw, which typically leaves about 2 cookies worth... Anyway, the recipe makes about 2.5 dozen full size cookies which is WAY more than you need for the cupcake centers, since they're pretty little.  But hey, you can always use the rest to make actual cookies.  
3) There are eggs in the cookie dough.  I assume that they are getting baked a little bit, but not much since they're still pretty doughy once the cupcake is done baking.  If this makes you uncomfortable then 1) you can't be my friend anymore because what kind of person doesn't like raw cookie dough? and 2) you can find your own egg free recipe.  I have no interest in such a cookie dough.  I live on the wild side and salmonella can be damned!


Cookie dough cupcakes

1 3/4 cup cake flour, not self rising
1 1/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cookie dough
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

2 sticks butter, soft
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

For cookie dough
  • Melt butter.  
  • Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.  
  • Pour butter and sugars into mixer bowl and beat on medium speed.  Add egg, yolk, milk, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Slowly add flour until thoroughly combined.  Stir in chocolate chips. 
  • Scoop dough with a small scoop (about an inch in diameter).
  • If you're planning on making actual cookies, scoop with a larger scoop and bake at 375 for about 14 minutes.  Cook on sheet for a few minutes.
For cupcakes:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • With electric mixer and paddle, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  • In a large measuring cup whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.  With mixer on medium speed add wet ingredients in 3 parts.  Do not overbeat.
  • Divide batter among liners, filling about 2/3 full.  Drop a cookie dough ball into the middle.  Don't push it down, just leave it.
  • Bake about 17 minutes.
For frosting:
  • Cream butter and sugar on low.  Once incorporated add other ingredients and beat for 5 minutes.

I copied the idea from Ice Cream Before Dinner.  I used the same cupcake and icing that she uses.  Cookie dough is Alton Brown's Chewy.

Sugar Cookies

I'm still trying to catch up on all my old baking adventures.  My darling husband is currently occupying himself with a rousing game of Halo on XBox so now is as good a time as any! 

I made these for cookie baskets for Christmas this year.  Yes, I'm THAT far behind!  Anyway, this is the best rolled sugar cookie recipe EVER.  Yes, ever.  It's such an easy dough to work with, doesn't puff up and it holds it's shape while baking.  


Rolled Sugar Cookies

2 sticks butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and milk.  Beat until combined. Add flour and beat until just combined.
  • Roll out thick between two sheets of parchment.  Use cookie cutters.  Transfer to a parchment lined sheet.  Collect and re-roll scraps.  (For cookies with skinny parts, like these snowflakes, the dough is too soft to pick up off the parchment and transfer so I just peeled up the scrapes and transferred the parchment sheet I used to roll out straight onto the cookies sheet.  You can't cram as many in this way but it works).
  • Bake until edges are pale golden, about 10 minutes.  Let cool.
Royal Icing

2 egg whites
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon juice
milk to thin

  • Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Add sugar and vanilla/lemon.  Beat one minute.  Thin if necessary.  
  • Use immediately and cover any that you're not using.  This stuff dries to crunchy pretty quickly but will need a few hours to dry fully.  For these, I outlined in thick icing, then flooded with the thinned out version.  

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thanksgiving Cupcake Pops

Just a quick brag here.  I made these cute little pops for a friend for Thanksgiving.  I used a Spice Cake and cream cheese frosting.  Honestly, I wasn't a fan of the flavor of the cake (I prefer the chocolate ones I made quite awhile ago) but they still came out cute.

Cupcake pops are, of course, from Bakerella. If you haven't seen her site, go NOW!

Red Velvet Cake

I made this cake for my dearest husband's birthday in early December.  Red velvet is his absolute favorite cake and although it's not MY favorite, I'm encouraging it.  You see, my poor, misguided, palate-less husband used to prefer boxed chocolate cake with no frosting over all other cakes.  I know, I know.  It's embarrassing.  Thankfully he has come to his senses and has embraced "real" cake.  I don't know if it's my superior baking skills or...  Let's not kid ourselves, there is no or.  ;)

This cake is moist, great flavor, perfect texture.  I used the Sprinkles cream cheese frosting again, which is my favorite.  


2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder (not dutch)
1 ounce red food color
1 1/2 teaspoons water
2 sticks butter, soft
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

8 ounces cold cream cheese
1 stick butter, firm but not cold
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For cake
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment.
  • Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. 
  • In small bowl whisk cocoa, red food color, and water to a smooth paste.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar 1/4 cup at a time.  Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Once combined, add cocoa paste and mix until incorporated.
  • Add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk.  Do this by hand (rather than in the mixer) to avoid overworking.  Once all the ingredients are incorporated, beat another 10-12 strokes.
  • Divide between cake pans and bake about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan about 10 minutes then remove to a rack, and cool completely. 
For frosting
  • Combine butter, salt, and cream cheese in mixer and beat on medium speed 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sugar until just incorporated.  Don't over mix.  It should be thick but not fluffy.
  • Add vanilla. If necessary, add milk to thin.
Cake recipe found here, frosting from Sprinkles.