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Chocolate Chip Muffins

One evening a few nights ago, David mentioned that he didn’t have any snacks to eat at work.  He never eats first thing in the morning, but after he’s been at work for a few hours, he’s ready for something.  I am willing to bake him something as often as he wants, but he rarely asks for anything.  I offered to make him some muffins, and since it was late, I knew I needed a recipe where I had all the ingredients on hand.  Chocolate chip muffins immediately came to mind, and I searched for a recipe since I didn’t already have one saved.

These were so simple to put together, and I didn’t even have to get out my mixer.  It’s nice to have that instant gratification!  I took one out for myself, and loved how light and fluffy they were.  These made a great mid-morning snack and David said he loved having them to look forward to all week at work.  The chocolate chips will make you think you’re getting away with something for breakfast 🙂

Chocolate Chip Muffins
Source: Bake or Break

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease or line 12 muffins cups.  In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in melted butter, milk, and vanilla.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.

Irish Cream Truffle Fudge

I love Bailey’s and any dessert made with it immediately catches my eye.  Seeing that I’m also a big fan of making candy, especially fudge, I knew that I couldn’t go wrong with this recipe.  It’s pretty simple to make, and doesn’t even require a candy thermometer.  You just melt the ingredients together in two separate steps, pouring the second layer over the cooled first layer.  After a couple of hours in the refrigerator, you cut it into squares and you’re ready to enjoy!  The Bailey’s flavor really came through, but it wasn’t overpowering and went together very well with the chocolate.  If you’re still looking for a St. Patrick’s Day dessert, this may be the answer!

Irish Cream Truffle Fudge
Source: allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup Irish cream liqueur
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Butter a 8×8 inch pan.
  2. In the top half of a double boiler melt the 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1 cup white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter until soft enough to stir.
  3. Stir in the confectioner’s sugar and Irish cream until mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts. Place mixture in the prepared pan and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over top; press and smooth top down.
  4. In the top half of a double boiler melt remaining chocolates until soft. Remove from heat and with a fork beat in the butter and Irish cream until smooth. Spread topping over cooled fudge with a knife. If a smooth top is important place plastic wrap over the top. Refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours at least. This fudge can be easily frozen.

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

I’ve never been a coffee drinker.  When I was in college I discovered that I loved coffee flavored desserts, but I’ve just never been able to drink a cup of coffee.  It’s funny, because my mom is a big coffee drinker but hates coffee in everything else!  Anyway, I was responsible for bringing dessert to a meeting recently and when I was going over the possibilities in my head, I kept going back to mocha flavors.  I love cupcakes because they’re perfect for individual servings, which suited the meeting well.  I looked at several recipes before settling on this one.  What really drew me in was the buttercream.  I’ve made similar Swiss buttercreams before (in Dorie’s famous Perfect Party Cake and again with this raspberry buttercream).  The thought of coffee-flavored Swiss buttercream sounded really good to me.

These cupcakes were really delicious!  They had the perfect mix of chocolate and coffee.  When I tasted the batter, I didn’t think the coffee flavor stood out enough, so I added 2 teaspoons of ground coffee.  I was really pleased with the way the mocha flavor came out in the cupcakes, and the frosting brought out the flavor even more.  I really loved the way this frosting came out.  It was rich and buttery and was the perfect match to the cupcakes.  This was all in all a wonderful cupcake!

Mocha Cupcakes
Source: slightly adapted from How to Eat a Cupcake, originally from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski

Makes 12-16 (I got 15)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 teaspoons ground coffee
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and brewed coffee. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about ½ to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 16-20 minutes (book says 22-24 minutes, mine were done at 16). Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee

Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee into 1 tbsp hot water until dissolved, then put it in the refrigerator or freezer until it comes down to room temperature. Reduce mixer speed to low and add coffee mixture. Continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles.

Mexican Beans with Chorizo and Greens

Another winner from Rick Bayless!  I love chorizo, and this recipe stood out to me.  It’s basically a soup, but a pretty thick one.  With the greens, black beans, chorizo, chiles in adobo, and cheese, there are a lot of strong flavors present, but they go together really well.  It was incredibly simple to make, and I put it together in about 30 minutes, making it a great weeknight meal.  The chiles make it nice and spicy, and you can adjust the spiciness by adding more of less, depending on your taste.  We both really loved this, and I know it will be a repeat dinner on the menu at our house!

Mexican Beans with Chorizo and Greens
Source: Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

8 to 12 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed

10 ounces cleaned young spinach (about 10 cups) OR one 12-ounce bunch Swiss chard, thick lower stems cut off, leaves sliced crosswise into ½ inch strips (about 8 cups) (I used the Swiss chard)

Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained

1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

Salt

½ cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese

½ cup chopped green onions or thin-sliced red onion, for garnish

In a medium-large heavy pot (such as a Dutch oven), cook the chorizo over medium heat, stirring regularly and breaking up clumps, until lightly browned and thoroughly done, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the chorizo is cooking, place the spinach or Swiss chard in a microwaveable bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high until completely wilted, usually about 2 minutes for spinach, 3 minutes or so for Swiss chard.  Uncover the bowl and set aside.

When the chorizo is ready, add the beans, chopped chipotles, and 1 ½ cups water.  Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors.  Taste and season with salt, usually about ½ teaspoon, depending on the saltiness of the chorizo and beans.  Add the wilted greens and let the mixture return to a boil.

Ladle into bowls and serve, passing the cheese and onion for each person to add.

Homemade Applesauce

I’ve always liked applesauce, and lately I’ve really enjoyed eating it as part of breakfast.  And since I always prefer homemade versions of food, I wanted to try a homemade version.  I found one that looked promising, and couldn’t wait to try it out.  Homemade applesauce is actually quite easy.  After slicing the apples, you simply mix them in a pot with the other ingredients and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the apples are tender.  Once the apples are tender, you just mash them (I used my immersion blender) until you get the right consistency.  You can have chunky or smooth applesauce depending on your preference.  My applesauce is darker than the original, but that probably is because I used ground cinnamon rather than a cinnamon stick.  This was a great version and was full of cinnamon flavor.  I loved having this for breakfast every morning!

Homemade Applesauce
Source: slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein.)
  • 4 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
  • Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
  • 3 inches of cinnamon stick (I used 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • up to 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Method

1 Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

2 Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher.

Ready to serve, either hot or refrigerated. Delicious with vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt.

Freezes easily, lasts up to one year in a cold freezer.

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love when I see recipes that have my favorite ingredients.  I got the itch to bake something recently, and immediately thought of these cookies.  The combination of oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate is pretty hard to resist, and these cookies put these ingredients together beautifully.  They are soft and chewy, and have just the right amount of crispness on the outside.  The peanut butter flavor stands out and complements the other flavors really well.  I used a mix of peanut butter chips and chocolate chips for extra peanut butter flavor.  I must also admit that the dough is pretty hard to resist!  I found myself eating a lot of dough during the baking process 🙂  Be careful not to overbake these.  They won’t look done after 10 minutes, but they will be perfectly done a few minutes after you take them out of the oven.

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Brown Eyed  Baker

Makes about 16 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used a mixture of chocolate chips an peanut butter chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.

4. Use a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons) and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I think that I am just completely unable to resist the chocolate peanut butter combination.  The thought of a peanut butter filling inside just got me so excited.  The cupcake batter is a pretty standard chocolate cupcake, and is strong enough to hold the peanut butter filling.  The peanut butter filling was quite tasty.  It was the same type of filling you would use to make buckeyes.  I did change the frosting, using my favorite peanut butter frosting recipe instead because I just wasn’t feeling the cream cheese.  These cupcakes were amazing- just the chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting would have been delicious, but the peanut butter filling just took them over the top.  These cupcakes were a hit, and I’ve discovered that there are many other people out there who also have a weakness for chocolate and peanut butter!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Source: cupcakes and filling originally from Good Housekeeping, as seen on Proceed With Caution and Annie’s Eats, frosting from Food Network (Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients:
For the filling:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

To make the filling, combine the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (at least 24) and set aside on a baking sheet.

To make the cake batter, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together and set aside.  In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix just until incorporated.

Spoon a tablespoon or two of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Place a ball of the peanut butter filling in each cupcake well and top with the remaining batter so that all the cups are filled.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.



Lemon Lemon Cake

No, that title isn’t a mistake.  This cake is so packed full of lemon flavor, it had to be named twice!  David’s parents recently visited, and I wanted to have something sweet to snack on.  David’s family loves lemon baked goods, so when I saw this as I was flipping through my cookbooks, it was the obvious choice.  It’s listed in the cookbook under breakfast sweets, but it’s really good any time of day.  I made it the night they got here after dinner, and a good portion of it was gone before we went to bed!  It’s almost like a pound cake, but very light in texture.  It’s very full of lemon- there’s lemon in the cake, then you glaze it with a lemon syrup, and then the optional lemon glaze (but don’t let it be optional…definitely include it!).  This is as must-make for the lemon lovers that you know!

Lemon Lemon Cake
Source: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

FOR THE LEMON CAKE
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
8 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

FOR THE LEMON SYRUP
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

FOR THE LEMON GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, or more if needed
4 to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
MAKE THE LEMON CAKES

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides and bottom of two 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until combined. With the motor running, drizzle the butter in through the feed tube. Add the sour cream and vanilla and pulse until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Sprinkle the flour mixture, one third at a time, folding gently after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F., and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE LEMON SYRUP

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and invert the loaves onto the pan. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves.

Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cakes cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

(The soaked but unglazed loaves will keep, wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen, for up to 6 weeks.)
LEMON GLAZE

In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. If the mixture is too stiff, add up to another 2 tablespoons lemon juice and whisk again, adding small amounts of lemon juice and/or confectioners’ sugar until you get the right consistency. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

The glazed loaves will keep for up to 3 days, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

German Chocolate Cake Brownies

I’m  a big fan of anything German chocolate, just like the rest of my family.  So when I saw this recipe for German Chocolate Brownies, I knew that I’d have to try it eventually.  I had a sweet tooth craving the other night, and decided to make a small batch of these.  I also wanted to see how they lived up to their German chocolate name.  To my delight, they definitely did!  These start off as basic brownies, and then you add the traditional coconut-pecan topping, and place it under the broiler until it browns slightly.  The brownies themselves were good.  They were sweet, but not overly so, which was  a good thing because the topping is very sweet.  I loved this recipe because sometimes I want to have the flavor of a cake, but don’t want to make an entire layer cake.  It’s also a good dessert to take to a place where an entire layer cake isn’t practical.  Who wouldn’t want a German chocolate dessert to just pick up in your hand?

If you like German Chocolate, check out these other desserts:

German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Pie
German Chocolate Ice Cream

German Chocolate Cake Brownies
Source: Baking Bites

Note: I cut the recipe in half and baked them in two 4.5-inch springform pans.

1/2 cup butter
3 ounces semisweet chocolate or German sweet chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
1/2 cup chopped, toasted and salted pecans
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together the butter and the chocolate. Stir until smooth and then allow to cool for several minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl with sugar. Beat in vanilla extract and then add the eggs one at a time.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and stir until everything is just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with very moist crumbs, not just batter, attached.

While the brownies bake, prepare the topping. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. When brownies are done, gently spread the topping over the brownies, adding it in dollops to cover the whole surface evenly.
Place pan under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, until topping has lightly browned. Watch closely so that it does not burn.

Cool completely before slicing. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 20 brownies.

Apple Cinnamon Butterscotch Muffins

Like many other places on the East Coast, we had a snow day recently.  Ours ended up being more snow than ice, but here in South Carolina, that was reason enough to stay in 🙂  We had some friends over, and they decided to stay over because of the weather.  The next morning, we woke up to snow and I decided to bake some muffins for us to enjoy.  I looked at ones I had bookmarked, and since I had all the ingredients on hand for these, they were the obvious choice.  These muffins were so easy to put together, and they were truly delicious.  I love the combination of apples and cinnamon, and adding butterscotch in the mix made them even better.  There are several options for the topping, but I just kept it simple and sprinkled the tops with some cinnamon sugar.  These were a great snow day treat, and loved snacking on these while watching movies and being lazy all day 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Butterscotch Muffins
Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Sugar Plum

Ingredients:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
¾ cup butterscotch chips
¾ cup chopped apples
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped

For topping (optional)

Dried apple slices
Maple syrup
Granulated sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the wells of two muffin pans with paper liners (about 18 liners total).  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix lightly with a fork to blend.  Stir in the oats.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the applesauce, eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating just until incorporated.  Fold in the butterscotch chips, apples, and toasted pecans with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups.  If desired, press a dried apple slice into the top of the batter in each cup.  Drizzle lightly with maple syrup and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: about 18 muffins