Sunday, May 27, 2012

Coca Cola Cupcakes

My husband's latest obsession is Coca Cola. It's the only thing he'll drink lately besides plain old water. I do have to say that it's pretty tasty with a little lime and some tequila, but really. I can't do it plain. Not out of a bottle/can at least. Of course I went perusing the internet for other ways to enjoy this bubbly beverage with him. And I found this. YUM. Although she mentioned it being in memorandum of Whitney Houston, I can forgive her for that bit for the taste. They're heavenly. I even made a Coca Cola frosting to go on top, though it's not much of a Coke taste. 
This is another case where you are NOT allowed to make fun of my blossoming piping skills.. Just kidding. I laughed myself when I was done. I definitely need some practice. I do at least have tools other than a ziploc bag now. Notice the lovely ridges? I even figured out how to attach the coupler and tip to the bag without the instructions (because my kids undoubtedly walked off with them). The minis (see above picture) turned out okay, but the bigger ones.. Well.. It's a work in progress. The good news is they taste better than my piping job looks. 


1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup Coca Cola
Maraschino Cherries (optional)

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp Coca Cola


Preheat oven to 350º.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, combine until well mixed. 

In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with Coca Cola to the wet ingredients until all is incorporated. 

Evenly distribute the batter between lined muffin cups. This recipe made 12 regular cupcakes and 8 minis. If you choose, press a maraschino cherry into each cupcake at this time. For the minis, maybe a half or quarter cherry will suffice. Bake minis for 13-16 minutes, regular size for 20-25 minutes. 

In a large bowl, cream butter and vanilla until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and Coke alternately until the right consistency is reached. You can add more powdered sugar to make it stiffer, or more Coke to go the opposite way. 

When cupcakes have cooled at least 20-30 minutes, spread or pipe frosting on. This recipe makes slightly more than I needed to pipe it onto all of my cupcakes. You can use more, or save the rest for later. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles, if desired. 

These have a very cakey texture, and the Coke adds a strange note that most people wouldn't be able to pick out until you told them what it was. Then the light bulb goes on. It's fun to watch!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

It's been over a week since I've posted something. I've been sorely neglecting my poor blog! In my defense, things have been crazy busy, and as a result of such, I'm crazy broke, as I'm sure anyone who has ever been in their mid 20's knows happens. Especially those that had kids at that point. Anyways, I'm sorry.

So, later this weekend, I'm braving another batch of Salted Caramel Cupcakes, but I needed to make something less stressful before I attempt that. Plus hubby and I both had a sweet tooth tonight. And I have fallen in love with Pinterest. Hence, these. 

I love LOVE cookie dough. I'm not a huge fan though of chocolate chip cookies. They're so PLAIN. Actually, I think it's more that I'm just sick of them. I thought about doing a different type of cookie dough, but decided I'd stick with traditional for these. At least mostly. I've discovered these Mallow Bits recently, and I'm obsessed.
They're just the marshmallows that come in the hot chocolate packets. You know, the ones that you tried to fish out as a kid. C'mon, I know I'm not the only one who did it! I'm just the bad one that left the package of hot chocolate WITHOUT marshmallows for someone else to discover after it was too late for them to realize that the marshmallow part was missing. I was terrible. Actually, until I found these, I still did it. Hubs was NOT happy the first time it happened. There was quite the string of expletives as he poured the mix into a mug of hot water only to find that there was no marshmallows. OOPS. 

Okay. Now. Onto the recipe. I didn't have mini chocolate chips as the original recipe called for, so I chopped up a Hershey's bar I had in my pantry to miniature chunks. And I'm obsessed with the Mallow Bits. Of course those are in there too. And it's hot today, so I didn't want to turn my oven on. PERFECT. The dough is a bit crumbly, but as long as you warm it slightly with your hand by pressing it together into a ball, they stay together pretty well after that. 


1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped chocolate bar or mini chocolate chips
1/4 - 1/2 cup Mallow Bits


In a large bowl, stir together butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Gradually add flour. Stir in chocolate and marshmallows.

Roll into 1" balls and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Drizzle or dip in chocolate, or eat as is! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

Tomorrow, I say goodbye (at least for awhile) to a friend. It's funny how close you can get with people in such a short amount of time. The good news is, the internet is a magical thing. Along with phones. Plus she is keeping her house on the coast, so she's already said she's going to strategically plan her trips back up from Arizona to Washington so that they coincide with when I'm making something good. Funny how food draws people together. She gave me blueberries (which are in the frosting for these cupcakes!) and a decorator's sugar and food coloring set, and I have given her lots of cheesecakes, muffins, cupcakes, etc. And sarcasm. I think that one went both ways pretty heavily though. She'll definitely be missed. 

Okay. Enough of the sentimental crap. Onto to the cupcakes! Lemon cupcakes with a gorgeous blueberry buttercream frosting. Hello, delicious! I didn't used to be a blueberry person, and I'm still not when it comes to eating them by themselves, but I've decided in the last few years that they're not bad baked into things. They're actually quite delicious! And lemon. I've always been a citrus person. Lemon and lime especially. Lemon cupcakes are always so fresh and light tasting. Did I mention that she gave me a food coloring set? The good kind. With "golden egg yellow". Which I might add is a bit more yellow that I thought it might be. I think that food should look like it tastes. These cupcakes look like a gorgeous yellow lemon. In hind sight, knowing how strong the coloring is, I will use less. It is at least a nice contrast to the pretty purple/blue of the frosting. Add purple and yellow decorator's sugar, and it's PERFECT. 


3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
Zest of 2-3 lemons, finely grated
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Yellow food coloring (optional)
Whole blueberries (optional)

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup blueberries, pureed
4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp whipping cream


Preheat oven to 325º.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

Cream sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Add zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add flour in three additions, alternating with two additions of buttermilk. Pour into lined muffin tins. If you'd like, add one whole blueberry to the top of each mini muffin cup, or three to regular size, and press down gently until about 1/2 to 3/4 submerged in batter. When baked, they will look like this and be easily covered with frosting for a lovely surprise!

Bake regular sized cupcakes for 20-25 mins, mini's for 15-20 mins. If you put blueberries in them, leave them in for an extra minute or two, the batter directly around the blueberry will need it to finish. 

For the frosting, cream butter, vanilla and cinnamon until creamy. Add blueberries, mix well. Add the powdered sugar and whipping cream until desired consistency is reached. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with decorator sugar if desired.

My husband gives the "blueberry surprise" ones a 10 of 10. His only complaint was that my frosting was too soft because it was warm. Which is pretty impressive, because he's usually got more to pick at when he tries my new recipes. More to come after tomorrow's festivities!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Salted caramel. Most people either love or hate it. I, for one, love it. And so does one of my good friends at work. Her birthday happened to be this week, and so being the good friend I am, I made her a batch of salted caramel cupcakes for her to do what she pleased with. They were GORGEOUS. And mighty tasty! 

I've been staring at this recipe for weeks now. I have a thing about cooking sugar. I'm terrified of it. Almost as terrified of it as I am of opossums and the dark (laugh it up now, just wait until they take over!). I finally braved it though. For a good cause. I'm not going to lie, there was at least one messed up batch, and quite a few expletives, but definitely a good cause. Caramel-making is not for wusses. 

(Forgive me for the awful piping job. My piping skills are still a work in progress, and would probably be more easily honed had I a decorator's set instead of a ziplock bag.)


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt (it really does make a difference!)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick, softened)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk

Salted Caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp salted butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

2 sticks salted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 - 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
Salted Caramel


Preheat oven to 325º. Line a muffin tin with baking cups.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. 

Cream sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined after each. Add vanilla, combine. Add flour in three batches, alternating with two batches of buttermilk, combining well after each addition. Divide batter evenly between 12 cups. Bake for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick/knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

In a medium to large sized sauce pan, melt sugar for caramel. Whisk the sugar as it melts until it becomes deep amber in color. Add butter, whisk until melted, then add cream, slowly (watch out for the foam, it will get you if you're not careful!). Whisk until sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 

Cut a small round piece out of the top of each cupcake and fill with 1 tsp caramel, then replace cupcake piece. (See below for demonstration)
(credit to Sprinkles Bakes)

After filling the cupcakes, you should have some caramel left over if you only used the 1 tsp per cupcake. Use the rest of this caramel for the frosting. 

Beat the butter, vanilla and salt together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, mix until well combined. Add the caramel (you can save a smidge for drizzling over the tops if you choose, but they're still pretty good without. You can also just make another batch to drizzle over the cupcakes.. and maybe some vanilla bean ice cream. YUM. Beat the frosting until light, fluffy and airy. Start with the 1 1/2 cups, adding more if you desire a stiffer consistency. I used about 2 1/2 cups because it was pretty hot and humid the day I made them and my frosting wouldn't have held up otherwise. 

Pipe (or spread) the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a caramel drizzle, coarse sugar, whatever your little heart desires. You can also visit the original site for a recipe for caramel rounds to decorate, as seen in the picture above. 

The frosting is creamy, smooth, and the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The brown sugar cupcake adds to the caramel goodness, and then there's the sweet surprise in the middle. I was informed that these tasted like a cupcake shop cupcake, only better! What praise! 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some more cupcakes to make! Next round is lemon blueberry cupcakes, post to come soon!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chocolate Cheesecake

Even though I don't like cheesecake, I love MAKING cheesecake because the possibilities are endless. It lets my inner creative baker go crazy. Tomorrow being Mother's Day, and my mother in law and her boyfriend enjoying cheesecake, I figured that when we go down to see them, I'd make some to bring along. What better flavor cheesecake for the occasion is there than chocolate? I mean, really now. Of course it's not PLAIN chocolate, heaven forbid I ever make something PLAIN. They smell fantastic though. I can tell you that much. Even for cheesecakes. 


2 pkgs cream cheese (8oz each, softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp Kahlua
2 eggs

1/2 pkg of graham crackers, crushed
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp Kahlua


Preheat oven to 325º. 

Cream the cream cheese. Add sugar, cocoa powder and Kahlua, blend well. Add eggs and mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, combine crust ingredients until the liquids are well distributed.

Distribute crust ingredients between 12 muffin cups, lined. This will be JUST ENOUGH for 12. Press the crust mixture down with a spoon or fingers. Add about 1/4 cup of filling to each cup. There is exactly enough filling for 12 cups. 

Bake for 20-25 mins or until only slight movement remains in the cups. 

Simple and elegant. The Kahlua is just enough coffee to enhance the chocolate while adding that wonderful kick. And they're gorgeous. And smell delicious. Did I mention that? Another that ALMOST makes me want to try them. 


Hubby tried these, and believe me, he's my biggest critic other than myself when it comes to cooking. He said (inbetween mouthfuls) that these are rich, creamy, slightly tangy, and "MMMMMMM.. they taste a bit like tangy hot chocolate.. and some syrupy black cherries would be AWESOME on top.." (the last bit of course was after he had already shoved the rest of his in his mouth). So there you go folks, if you wanted a black forest cheesecake, these would make a perfect base. Maybe soon I'll give it a shot!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Berry Breakfast Muffins

Summer is coming. I love berries. There is no better combination I think than brown sugar, cinnamon and BERRIES. I recently made some cranberry orange muffins from a box mix (I despise box mixes, but occasionally they're necessary in a pinch..). I had been avoiding it because I realized after I got home that the box said it only made 11 muffins.. Not 12.. I have an aversion to odd numbers like that. I could handle 8. Or even 10. But not 11. I just can't do it. Being the brilliant person I am, I realized as I was staring at it for the two hundredth time that I had some blueberries in my freezer. Just enough to make up for a missing muffin. YES! So I added them. And it turned out wonderfully. All twelve of them!


So. Having an aversion to intentionally uneven numbers and boxed mixes, I set out to find my own. And they turned out HEAVENLY.


Okay. Ready?


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup regular flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
2 eggs, beaten
6 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup frozen blueberries (can also use fresh if available)


Preheat oven to 350º.

Soak cranberries in orange juice at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (everything up to the cinnamon on the ingredients list). Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until just mixed. If you're using fresh blueberries instead of frozen, you may want to fold them in at the very end after everything else is mixed so that they stay whole.

Scoop 1 tbsp of batter into lined (or very well greased) mini muffin cups or 1/4 cup into lined (or very well greased) regular muffin cups. Bake mini muffins for 12-16 minutes, regular size for 23-28 minutes, until a knife/toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If you want these to have more of an orange flavor, you can also add some orange zest, 1tsp to 1tbsp, depending on how much orange you want in it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hot Buttered Rum Cookies

Well. I've ventured into the unknown (for me at least) of making cookies without a recipe. Again by necessity. I've run out of chocolate chips, and discovered this right AFTER I came back from a store run for dinner ingredients. OF COURSE. How do I keep running out of things without me realizing it? Especially things like this that I'm the only one in the house that uses them. *Sigh* Oh well. Life goes on. So, being the innovative (and slightly desperate) person that I am, I searched my cupboards and pantry for inspiration. And I found it. Hot buttered rum mix. I'm not a fan of hot buttered rum myself, the idea of rum in and of itself is slightly nauseating to me, but my husband likes it, so we happened to have a container. Having had the drink only once, I had NO idea what was actually in it, only that it smelled wonderful. If you choose to make your own instead of using a store-bought mix, it's super simple, just see the recipe I have posted for it

Okay. Onto the cookies. I made this recipe up, and I'm pretty darn proud of myself for it. Because I had to tweak it quite a bit as I went along, there are no in process shots. Sorry guys, I'll get some next time I make these. 


1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup hot buttered rum mix
1 tbsp Kahlua (or other coffee-flavored liqueur)
2 eggs
2 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg


Preheat oven to 325º. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Cream butter. Add sugar, vanilla, hot buttered rum mix, and kahlua, mix until well blended. Add eggs, and mix until just barely combined. If you're using a hand mixer, PUT IT DOWN NOW. Trust me. You'll thank me later. If you've got some fancy Kitchen-Aid with a super slow setting and/or a paddle attachment, please, feel free to continue. I've got a hand mixer with beater attachments only, and I've already ruined one batch of my molasses cookies by not putting it down before I put the dry ingredients in. Trust me. Do it.

Mix the remaining dry ingredients together and mix into the wet. Do not over mix. Again, learn from my mistakes! 

Roll into 1" balls, roll in sugar (or you can do a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg like I did! I kept about the same proportions of sugar and spices as in the cookies). Bake for 8-11 mins (mine were 10 on the dot). Let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to a cooling rack, or parchment paper over a kitchen towel on the counter. 

Okay. So, for whatever reason, these cookies have a slightly apple-y taste to them. I used Reser's Hot Buttered Rum mix for these, since I had it on hand already and it needed to be used. 

That may have been it? I'm open to interpretation though, and if anyone makes it with the homemade (which I'm going to next time around!), let me know if it makes a difference. After they were cooled off, they also tasted a bit like snickerdoodles! YUM! 

Here's the finished product:


Hot Buttered Rum Mix

Okay guys, short post! This is meant to go along with my Hot Buttered Rum Cookies, or you can enjoy as it's meant!

1 Stick of butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

Combine all ingredients, refrigerate (or freeze!) until used.

See? Simple. 

If you want to make hot buttered rum, add 1 tsp or so of mix to a mug, 1 jigger (about 1 oz) of rum, and fill with either hot water or hot coffee, enjoy!