Treats “Just For”

June 16, 2008

It’s always nice to give someone a treat or a gift “just for” and tends to mean a bit more than when it’s for a holiday or special occasion.

These cupcakes I was originally going to make for a new friend who loves white chocolate, but things kinda fell through, so instead I have made them this weekend, just for 🙂

I wasn’t really happy with the frosting. It was tasty, but nothing great and definitely not worth a “wow,” but the cupcakes themselves are subtle and sweet and most definitely something worth trying again.

White Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Baking Bites

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz white chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 325F. Place liners in cupcake pan

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time then the melted chocolate and vanilla.

Working in two or three additions, alternate adding in the milk and flour mixture, making sure the flour is last. Mix just until well blended.

Divide batter into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

And just in case you want to try the frosting yourself…

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Source: Magnolia Cookbook

(this recipe is divided cause it would have made way too much…)

3/4 butter
3 tablespoon milk
4 1/2 ounces chocolate melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 sifted powdered sugar

Cream the butter in a medium sized bowl. Add in the milk and blend well. Mix in the chocolate and beat until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for three minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar until you reach the desired taste and consistency. 

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost as desired and sprinkle with more white chocolate. Enjoy.

I was pretty happy with these. Not only did I get to practice with my new decorating tips, but these really are great cupcakes.


The Dark Side of a Cookie

June 3, 2008

 It’s funny how chocolate can so easily grab peoples attention. Wouldn’t it be fun if more people could be like that? You simply say their name and people instantly want to know more. Sure people like to gossip about celebrities but I mean the real people out there like those of us baking all the time. A little bit of almost everything I bake (especially the cookies) makes its way into the office so whenever I stop one of my co-workers on her way to her desk in the morning she almost always asks “chocolate?!”…I could have been giving her phone messages but somehow she could just smell the chocolate, and these cookies in particular seemed to please her so hopefully they’ll grab your attention too 🙂

I wanted to find the perfect recipe for the last bit of that Amano chocolate I received from the Blake Makes giveaway. My initial plan was to make chocolate and white chocolate truffles, and cover the chocolate ones with the Amano but this new recipe didn’t quite turn out. Don’t worry, I will be making plenty of truffles in the future, just not Amano.

So I had to come up with a different great recipe and decided to peruse my Magnolia cookbook to see what I could find. There are of course tons of excellent recipes that I want to try eventually but I had a bit of a challenge that prevented me from trying most of them. You see, I need to go grocery shopping…badly. Now I know that I could easily go and get a small amount of what I might need for any recipe, but it’s much easier to be a little lazy and much more fun to see what you can do with what you got. Truthfully I am pretty happy I went with this one 🙂

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies
Source: Magnolia Cookbook

1 cup flour
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips*

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and shortening with the sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes or so for the sugar to dissolve then beat in to egg and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture until well blended then stir in the chocolate chips. *Note: this recipe called for 1/2 cup of chocolate chips but that wasn’t nearly enough so I added in another 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips. Set bowl in the fridge for a few minutes to chill. Preheat oven to 350F.

Drop dough by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, sprinkle with additional sugar and bake for approximately ten minutes.

Scoop onto a cooling rack and allow to cool. Enjoy 🙂

The dough for these was a little drier than normal but the resulting cookies were really great. I love the sprinkling of sugar on top and plan to use it again in the future 🙂


Simply Sweet

April 19, 2008

I have a pretty big event that I am gonna be baking for in the near future (yay!), so a lot of the recipes coming up, including this one, are gonna be practicing for that. Most of the recipes I want to use are things that I have done often, but as a few are new, I of course want to try them out first, make sure I can actually do them before attempting to do them in bulk 🙂

I don’t know what it is about shortbread cookies, but for some reason I love them. They are a very simple, delicate cookie. They are kinda sweet, so that could be part of it, (you all know of my sweet tooth) but it is just something about the combination of that specific texture and the taste that makes me very happy…it could also have something to do with the fact that I have always been able to convince myself this is healthier than other cookies 😉

I also wanted to practice working with white chocolate since it is so very different from milk/dark chocolate, so some of these are dipped or decorated a little, but they are great plain too. Just make yourself a nice cup of tea, grab a few of these things and unwind.

Shortbread Cookies
Source: Joy of Baking

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sale
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir (do not beat) in the flour mixture just until incorporated. It will seem very flaky and dry but that’s okay.

Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. You might have to knead the dough a bit to work it. If it starts sticking to the rolling pin, lightly dust the pin with flour. 

Cut cookies as desired and place on cookie sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies maintain their shape. Bake for 5 minutes, turn the cookie sheet and bake for 5 more minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on a rack.

 These are better the next day. They taste a little too much like powdered sugar that same day but after they get really good.

If you’d like to decorate them with chocolate, chop up the chocolate and melt in a double boiler. After that it’s up to your imagination. Swirl, drizzle, dip…whatever you please.

I also played around with chocolate covered oreos. I obviously need to work on my technique a little but it was still much fun and very tasty.


Taste & Create VII: (Kahlua) Hot Chocolate

March 23, 2008

 

I realize I’ve already done two other blogging events this month, and even without all of them it’s been a busy one, but this is always fun stuff. Especially this one, which I have really been looking forward to. The Taste & Create Event is a monthly blogging event by our wonderful host of For the Love of Food in which you get paired up with another food blogger, pick a recipe from their posts, make it and blog about it. There were 52 participants this month, and this is my entry.

My partner…actually partners, as it is a blogging couple, have a blog entitled We [Heart] Food. It’s a pretty great blog with healthy recipes, many that are healthy twists on old favorites and playful banter between the two.

There were so many recipes to choose from, and I am sure it will surprise no one that the two I was most drawn to were the (Almost)-Good-For-You Chocolate-Chip Cookies and their Kahlua Hot Chocolate.

I want to slowly easy into using wheat flours, so this time around I chose the hot chocolate. I’ve kept it pretty much the same so it’s just as healthy as they had it, with only a change the type of liqueur as that’s what I happened to have.

I gotta say, it’s hard to believe this thing os so non-fat/low-fat. It’s an easy recipe and perfect to relax with after a stressful day, or simply a cold, rainy spring day. And now it’s mostly guilt free too! 🙂

I actually made it twice, because I wanted to keep it as true to the original recipe as possible for the first time, but I really wanted to try it with white chocolate as well.

(Kahlua) Hot Chocolate
Source: We [Heart] Food

5 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small pieces, plus extra for mug rims
chopped mixed nuts (peanuts and hazelnuts)
3 cups 1% milk
1 cups fat-free half-and-half cream
sugar

1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
grated chocolate

To prepare the mugs, heat extra chocolate in a double-boiler until melted and smooth. Dip the rims of each mug into the chocolate, and then roll in chopped nuts. Refrigerate until ready to fill with the hot chocolate.

 

Heat the chocolate, milk and half and half cream over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, stirring until the chocolate has melted.
Whisk until the mixture is hot and frothy. Add in sugar if desired. Add in the Kahlua and vanilla; contine to whisk until the mixture is hot. Remove from heat.

Pour into prepared mugs and top with whipped cream. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

I have a pretty strong sweet tooth, and didn’t think this needed any sugar so you might want to taste it yourself before adding any. For the liqueur I used Dark Chocolate Liqueur for the dark chcolate and creme de cacao with the white chocolate. I imagine you can use anything you want with this and it’ll still come out great. I also used dark chocolate nestle’s crunch for the rims 🙂

Whatever you do with yours, enjoy 🙂