Archive | April, 2012

The Sugar Cookie Goes Dark – Thanks To Cocoa!

28 Apr

It is no secret that I love making (and eating) Sugar Cookie Cutouts. It is also no secret that I love chocolate (I mean really, what girl doesn’t?)

So when I first had one of these chocolate sugar cookies,I thought that I had died and gone to heaven! Not only was the thought of a chocolate sugar cookie exciting and new, but the best part was, my husband made them for me! That’s right, I didn’t even have to make them myself, and we all know that things taste better when they are made with love by someone else!
I was having a bad day, so to cheer me up, he made me these cookies. Not only are they cookies, not only are they chocolate, and not only did he make them for me, but to top it all off, he made them in my absolute favorite shape using our Mickey Mouse cookie cutter (there’s just something about Mickey Shaped Foods that I love, I can’t help it).

He pretty much wins the best husband ever award for this one

Oh, and yeah, they were delicious too. We will definitely be making these again (I am thinking possible cookie sandwiches with various frosting fillings…hmm….)

 

Best Ever Chocolate Cutout Cookies (Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com)
Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup butter, softened
• 1 1/4 cups white sugar
• 1 egg
Directions
1. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients to form a soft dough. Divide dough into 2 pieces, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Dough is sticky so be sure to add more flour to the rolling surface as needed. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Chips – You Can Put Them In Anything! Even Banana Bread?

21 Apr

I had heard of chocolate chip banana bread, but had never made or eaten it before (which is surprising, considering how much I love chocolate!)

So when my BFF texted me a picture of some ripe bananas with the caption of “These reminded me how delicious banana bread with chocolate chips would be. I’m sure Andrew would agree!”. My husband Andrew DID in fact agree, and I’ll admit I didn’t take much convincing either.

I used this basic banana bread recipe from allrecipes.com (it had over 6700 reviews and was rated 4.5 out of 5 stars, so I figured it must be at least halfway decent!)

Banana Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

The recipe itself was easy and as far as banana breads go, this one was extra banana-y. Most recipes call for around 3 or so bananas, this one took 7 – 2 1/3 cups is a LOT of banana! The only addition I made to the recipe was the always delicious chocolate chips – I used about 6 oz of semisweet chips (about half of a regular 12 oz size bag).

My only gripe is that it took a LOT longer than 60 minutes to cook, probably closer to 80 before the toothpick came out clean, which might have been due to the addition of the chocolate? I covered the top loosely with foil after about 50 minutes, as it was starting to get brown and I didn’t want it to burn

The end result? A BIG, banana-y loaf

It tasted really good, had a strong banana flavor, and the chocolate chips made a great addition

 

….needless to say, it was gone within a day.

 

 

Chocolate + Bananas = Delicious.

Those are words to live by.

Red Velvet Cake Transforms Into A Delicious Cookie

6 Apr

Ok, so we know I love Funfetti cookies, which are basically a cake mix turned cookie, so when I finally tried red velvet cake on a cruise we took last summer, I got to thinking that it would make a delicious cookie as well…

So I got myself a box of Red Velvet cake mix (incidentally, my grocery store only had one kind, the Duncan Hines mix, which worked well!), and set out to make some cookies…

Ingredients:
1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Powdered sugar (optional)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine one (1) box of Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix, two (2) eggs and one-third (1/3) cup vegetable oil using a hand blender or wire whisk.
3. Form teaspoon size balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet or baking pan about one inch (1″) apart. Sligtly pat down the top of each ball.
4. Cook for 8-10 minutes (the top of the cookie will crack).
5. While hot, lightly sprinkle the top of the cookie with powdered sugar (optional)

 

As you can see, I didn’t bother with the powdered sugar, mostly because I knew I was going to turn it into a cookie sandwich with a delicious cream cheese frosting in the middle.

For my cream cheese frosting, I kept it *really* simple, I mixed about 1/2 cup cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla together until it was spreadable, then I smeared it on the cookies and man was it good!

The cookies were also good non-sandwiched with no frosting, and as I was munching on these, I realized, you can really apply the Funfetti cookie/Red Velvet cookie recipe to any boxed cake mix….chocolate, lemon, vanilla, whatever you want. Cake cookies are seriously delicious, and they are seriously easy to make so I suggest you get in the kitchen and whip some up, you’ll be glad you did!

Make-Your-Own Cupcake Bar – So Many Delicious Options, So Little Time

3 Apr

As you know from my post about Frosted sugar cookies, I love making cookie decorating into an event I can enjoy with friends and family. So when my friend and I decided to host a dinner party, I wanted to do something like cookie decorating, and since my friend is really into baking cupcakes, I thought why not decorate your own cupcakes, and then I had an even more brilliant thought – the Make Your Own Cupcake Bar – where you can fill, frost, and decorate your cupcake however you wanted from a bunch of really yummy options!

 
Now, we did have some reservations about doing this, mainly that it would be too complicated or messy, but it really wasn’t, it was easy, and very delicious!

 
We started out with a batch of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, nothing fancy just one batch of each baked per the box directions. Then we cut divets out of each one (so that people would be able to fill them as they pleased)


Then for the fillings, we decided on hot fudge, caramel, and raspberry pie filling. The hot fudge and caramel came in convenient squeeze bottles, and the pie filling we put in a bowl with a spoon for filling in the cupcake divet


My favorite part is next…the FROSTINGS. We had decided on vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and peanut butter frostings, all made from scratch. When it comes to frosting, I would MUCH rather make it from scratch than buy it in a jar, it doesn’t take that much work and the results are 1000 times yummier than store bough frosting!


As for our frosting recipes, they are all pretty basic, we just combined the ingredients below and beat them until they were the perfect frosting consistency:
Vanilla: 1 cup Crisco, 1 lb confectioners sugar, 1 T clear vanilla flavoring, 1 T butter flavoring, 3-4 T milk (as needed to make the texture more creamy)
Chocolate: 1 cup butter, 4 cups confectioners sugar, 1 T vanilla, 4 T cocoa powder (more if a deeper chocolate taste is desired), and 3-4 T milk (as needed)
Strawberry: 1 cup butter, 6 cups confectioners sugar, ½ cup frozen strawberries
Peanut Butter: 1 stick butter, ½ cup peanut butter, 4 cups confectioners sugar, 1 T vanilla, and 3-4 T milk (as needed)

 
The above recipes make for a great variety for your cupcake bar, not to mention they are all super delicious!

 
Then came the toppings – we kept it pretty simple – sprinkles, crushed oreos, mini m and m’s, toffee bits, and peanuts

Then we let everyone go to town!

The results? Aside from delicious, everyone seemed to really enjoy that they could pick and customize their own cupcake with the different filling, frosting, and topping options
This would be a great idea for a kid’s birthday party…or even for an adults birthday party, or really for any occasion at all! You can change any of the items to customize your likes or party theme, and it really was pretty easy to put together, since a lot of the items were pre made

I am thinking I may have one of these for my birthday…hmm…maybe with red velvet? The possibilities are endless!