Friday, January 27, 2012

Neapolitan Cupcakes!

okay, so i bit into it. but you HAD to see this cupcake's insides.

In case some are wondering what Neapolitan is, it's the combination of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. I'm sure you had tons of it in ice cream form back when you attended magic show birthday parties or Easter Egg hunts. I remember it all too well. I would actually just eat the vanilla and chocolate ice cream and skip the strawberry. I was afraid of the little pieces of fruit. My, how much I've grown from then!

This recipe is barely even a recipe. All you semi-homemade goddesses will love this one. I also think it's got the perfect color palette for a Valentine's cupcake! I'm sure your sweetheart would love to grub on one of these.

You won't need much for ingredients. Just a box of brownie mix, strawberry cake mix, and whatever ingredients you need to make the two. I iced them with a vanilla cream cheese frosting,  but you could make any type you choose. Let's get started!

Neapolitan Cupcakes

1 box brownie mix (i went with hershey's milk chocolate kind and chose the "cake like" option)
1 box strawberry cake mix (betty crocker all the way babe!)
Any ingredients needed to make mixes based on box (i ended up needing oil, water and eggs)

The How To:

Preheat your oven to the temperature on the box of the strawberry cake mix.

Spray your cupcake tins with non stick cooking spray.

Then mix both the batter mixes according to the boxes and do them in separate bowls.

After you are done mixing, place a heaping spoonful of the brownie batter into each cupcake tin.

like so.

After filling the tins with brownie batter, place about 3-4 smaller spoonfuls of strawberry batter over the brownie batter.

like this!

You may have a little bit of batter left over once you're done. You can toss it or make some mini cupcakes like I did.

Bake your cupcakes for the amount of time allotted on the strawberry cake box. (My box advised 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees. This could vary.)

Let the cupcakes cool completely. Frost with your desired frosting. I went with a cream cheese frosting but the options are endless.

I'm hoping some of you guys will try and make these! I would be your Valentine for sure if you did! :)  Happy Baking!
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baked S'mores Bars

You know when you are craving something delicious but are absolutely too lazy to make anything yourself?

True story: this was me a few nights ago.  These are the times I wish I could just wiggle my nose and chocolate cake would just show up on my dining room table. Unfortunately this did not happen. Nor does it EVER. I'm bitter. I ended up pacing the condo several times until I climbed up (yes I have to get a stool and climb) into my baking cabinet to see what I had lying around...

Gumballs? No thanks.
Cupcake pearls? Pass.

Marshmallows? Why, hello there! So nice of you to show up. I was beginning to worry I might starve.

I was lacking major creativity, so the hubs and I just stood in front of the stove and "roasted" marshmallows on the burner and then made mini S'mores with some leftover graham crackers and chocolate bits. Hardly culinary, but it was sooo good and satisfied my sweet tooth.

This got me to thinking about bringing S'mores back to the blog. My most popular post to date is still the S'mores Cupcakes I did way back when. So it's time for a throwback! This time in "bar" form!

The recipe is simple, easy to follow, and the result is super fantastical. You just pop these puppies in the oven for 30 minutes and be amazed by their awesomeness.

Baked S'mores Bars
recipe from The Apron Gal

1/2 cup butter, room temperature1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (i bought a premade box of crumbs!)

1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 or 3 super-sized (5 oz.) chocolate bars (I used Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff

The How To:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of  8 x 8 pan.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.
Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. Two 5 oz. Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly.
Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer.

Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the creme. This is most easily done by putting the second half of the dough in a gallon size freezer bag. Use your palms or rolling pin to flatten it out, and then use scissors to cut down both long sides of the bag, so it will open up book-style. Open it up carefully, and the dough will stick on one side of the bag. Then place the bag, dough side down, on the other three layers. From there peel the bag up and carefully spread the dough where it is uneven.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely or almost completely for the melty factor before cutting into bars.

Happy Baking! :)
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Monday, January 23, 2012

A "Delightful" Raspberry Bar

Hey Friends! I know I have been a little ghost in the kitchen lately. Sorrrryyyyy! Sometimes work comes before baking! I will be back in action later this week, but I have a special treat for you today! A guest blog! A huge thank you to my best gal pal Stacy, over at "Delightful Dish" for sharing this wonderful Raspberry Bar recipe!  Hope you guys enjoy! :)

Hello all from Delightful Dish!

Tori and I started this blogging journey together as a way to share our love for cooking/baking and I’m happy to now be her first guest blogger! Since my blog is all kinds of cooking, it’s nice every now and then to break into sweets. I am definitely not on the level of baking as our favorite sugarcoated goddess, Tori… but I like to pretend I can be every now and then.

This dessert is one of my favs. I like it because it’s semi homemade and also very versatile. The first time I made this dish I used mint extract-similar to a grasshopper bar. Since I was out of mint this go round, I used raspberry extract and red food coloring. And what goes better with raspberry than white chocolate?? Who says you have to measure everything in baking… I threw those suckers in there too!

Now I know it’s the New Year and I’m supposed to be posting all sorts of healthy recipes to stick with my “new years resolution” but let’s be honest- I love sweets WAY too much to do something as silly as make a resolution I know I won’t keep. I’m just going to keep making these sinful looking treats and sharing them with you in hopes that someone will fall off the bandwagon with me. “Everything is ok in moderation!” That’s my motto and I’m sticking to it!

Raspberry Bars
Inspired by Betty Crocker

1 Pouch Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix (I use Betty Crocker)
1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 tbsp Water
1 Egg

3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 3oz Package Cream Cheese, Softened
1/4 Cup Butter, Softened
2 tbsp Milk
1/4 tsp Raspberry Extract
4 Drops Red Food Coloring

1oz Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1 tbsp Butter, Melted


Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir all bar ingredients until soft dough forms. Add white chocolate chips last, making sure you coat them with flour first so they don’t all sink to the bottom. Press into pan with hands and bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely. Next, in large bowl, stir all frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over bars. In small microwavable bowl, microwave glaze ingredients on high for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and drizzle over frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars and serve.

Entering your world now is delicious satisfaction.
Enjoy! :)

Please visit Delightful Dish for more treats and dinner options! It has been my pleasure to share this recipe with you! Until next time…

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lemon White Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I have actually become quite fond of cookie recipes lately.  Mainly because they're simple and don't take up much time at all. You can create wonderful treats in less than an hour. I haven't had much free time on my hands this week, so quick, easy and delicious was the name of the game.

And we struck cookie gold with this one, folks! This sugar cookie has a subtle tartness from the lemon and is jam packed with white chocolate chips. The combination is really yummy. Plus, they are so low maintenance you can 3 dozen ready in about a half hour.

 Try it! You'll like it! I promise.

Lemon White Chocolate Cookies

1 cup butter (unsalted)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3 teaspoons lemon extract
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz. white chocolate chips

The How To:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixer beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.

Add the egg and beat until combine. Add the lemon extra and combine.

 In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the sifted ingredients into the mixer and combine until everything is mixed well.

Turn the mixer on the slowest speed and add the white chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before baking.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto the baking sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Transfer cookies from baking sheet to cooling rack until cooled.

Has anyone made some awesome cookies lately? I'd to hear about it!
Happy Baking!
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Mini Cheddar Herb Breads with Goat Cheese Frosting

Remember those cookies I posted yesterday? They're already GONE.
One day was all it took. (I ate 12. Oh my god.. I ate 12!!)

I wanted to switch gears and share a "savory" cupcake recipe. Everyone knows I love to make cupcakes and I have had several friends request I try a savory one. Finding a good recipe for this was harder than I thought. When I found this one on Eat Drink Pretty, the recipe seemed pretty easy to tackle and it was!

It's a cheddar herb bread topped with a little goat cheese "frosting". I tweaked the recipe just a tad and added oregano to the herb roster. Rosemary and parsley are two of my favorite herbs to cook with so I knew this bread would be a winner. These would be a great companion to a soup or chili you're having for dinner. Just warn people they're NOT sweet before they bite into it :)

Since I made these, I have come up with several savory cupcake recipes I hope to try soon. Be on the look out!

Cheddar Herb Bread "cupcakes"

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp rosemary
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter (cold)
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

The How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a mini muffin pan with liners. Mix the first seven ingredients (flour through salt) in a bowl.

With a pastry blender (or using your hands), cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cheddar cheese. In a bowl combine 3/4 cup milk and 1 egg, slightly beaten. Add to crumb mixture all at once. Stir quickly with a fork to moisten. Drop a tablespoon of the dough into the prepared mini muffin pan.

Bake 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes (really watch the baking time, you don't want them to dry out!)

Goat Cheese "Frosting"

1 contained goat cheese crumbles (room temp)
1 teaspoon parsley
2 tbsp milk
1 green onion or scallion (optional)

Let the goat cheese crumbles come to room temperature. In a bowl, mix the goat cheese, parsley and milk until smooth consistency, add more milk if too thick. Put the goat cheese in a ziplock bag and snip the corner with a scissors. Pipe the goat cheese onto the fully cooled cupcake and top with a slice of scallion.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cookies and Cream Cookies

Meet my new best friend. The Cookies and Cream cookie.

I am completely obsessed with anything Oreo. You may remember my deliciously addictive Oreo Balls. Well, these are just as addictive and just as easy to make. I'm a huge fan of any recipe that takes minimal effort but doesn't sacrifice taste. The combination of chocolate chips, the creamy Oreo filling and the crunch of the chocolate cookie makes such a special treat. You won't be able to eat just one and they are sure to please any crowd you're entertaining.

Cookies and Cream Cookies
(recipe from Lovin' From the Oven)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons white sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
11 broken pieces of Oreo Cookies (i used Double Stuffed and left cookies in pretty large chunks)
1 cup milk chocolate chips

The How To:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter and both sugars together until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.
3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to sugar mixture.
4. Stir in Oreo pieces and chocolate chips into batter until just combined.
5. With a cookie scoop, scoop onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. (Cookie should still be soft)
6. Cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes.

Happy Baking! :)

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Savory and Sweet: French Toast, Maple and Bacon Cupcakes

I am a firm believer that everything is better with bacon.

Is your morning toast bland? Fry up some bacon and zing up that breakfast! Feeling bored by that dull cheeseburger you're having for dinner? Slap some bacon on that sucker to jazz it up! Down in the dumps from a rough week? Roll around in some bacon! (well not really,  but I think I've made my point!)

If you're a lover of this porky cured meat like myself then you gotta try this cupcake. Hubs kind of looked at me crazy-like when I said I was making these. I admit, when I first came across the idea I thought it was a little out in left field.  But think about it.. Bacon... French Toast... and Maple.  All three of those things are usually on a breakfast plate together and seem to be harmonious, so why wouldn't it work on a cupcake? The answer is simple. IT DOES.

It's the perfect marriage of salty and sweet. The bacon is crispy, the frosting is smooth and maple-y. You will want to eat it for breakfast. (And it just might be acceptable this time!)

Treat yourself to this recipe and you're sure to impress people with your creativity and baking skills.

French Toast Cupcakes
(recipe adapted from Mama B)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, at room temp
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs

The How To:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
2. Fry or bake up some bacon slices and cool completely. Crumble strips into small bits for garnish. Set aside.
3. In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon together. Set aside.
5. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated.
6. Add half of the flour mix, then the milk and then the other half of the flour mix.
7. Divide batter evenly in tins and bake for  25-27 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.
8. Cool completely before frosting.

Maple Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of heavy cream, at room temp
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (you could use maple extract)

Mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and sprinkle bacon bits over frosting generously for a savory garnish.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes: A Sweet Ending to Twenty Eleven.

It's amazing how quickly a year will fly by. So many wonderful things have happened this year! My husband and I were married, a day that will exceed any other moment in my lifetime. After 3 years of being in a miserable job, I finally landed a new one that I couldn't be happier about.  I made strides in my goals to become a healthier me (despite all the sugar i consumed!) Needless to say, I'm thankful for 2011 and what it brought me and taught me. I'm eager to see what 2012 has in store. I wish you and yours all the best for the upcoming year!

To close out the end of a very inspiring and successful baking year, I wanted to share a champagne cupcake I made to celebrate the new year that has rolled in. I'm a huge fan of the bubbly and I thought it would be great to try in a cupcake. I chose a slightly sweeter champagne and went with strawberry.  The cake is light and airy from only using folded egg whites in the batter, it reminded me of wedding cake. And I love wedding cake. I finished it with a strawberry champagne buttercream that was the perfect combination of tangy and sweet. The cupcake was delightfully delicious and the perfect way to ring in the New Year! (or ANY celebration!)

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 + 1 tbsp cup champagne (I opted for Andre' Strawberry but you can use any kind)
6 egg whites

The How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (3-4 minutes)

In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt together, and then blend into sugar mixture alternating it with the champagne. (flour, bubbly, flour, bubbly, flour!)

Beat egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold the remaining egg whites into the batter. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes.

Strawberry Champagne Buttercream Frosting

3 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temp

With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended and then on medium for about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and champagne,  beating on medium for another minutes. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

I added some hot pink food coloring gel to make the icing a light pink to match the color the actual champagne was. (took about 2 small squeezes to get it the color I wanted.) I sprinkled some white cupcake pearls to make them purrrttty.

The resolutions I made for the new year were simple: Do good. Seek peace. Be kind. Kick booty. Less sugar. (We'll see how the last one pans out!)

Happy 2012 Everyone! :)

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