Tag Archives: dessert

Muffin Remix

I haven’t been posting much these days, but I promise I’ve been in the kitchen! Even though I’m done with classes for the semester, a new project has taken it’s place – wedding planning! Obviously, I’ve been planning the wedding for quite some time now seeing as that we got engaged back in January 2010, but with the wedding a mere three months away, I’m in wedding overdrive.

Having taken off two weeks from running to try and rest my achey and less than perfect legs, I set out for a two mile jaunt sans music and GPS, just to get myself back in the swing of things. It was hot (85 degrees with 70% humidity), so of course it felt much worse than it actually was. Either way, it was nice to be back out there. I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with yoga, and I can already see some extra definition in my arms, but running is still my favorite.

After the run and a much needed shower, I decided to make some muffins. I basically took the same recipe from my Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins, and made them Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins… YUM! I left out sugar simply because I wasn’t paying attention. So, if you want your muffins sweeter, I would suggest adding 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the mix. Whoops!

I love muffins for one simple reason – you can eat them at any time of day as an acceptable snack. Sure you typically associate a muffin with breakfast, but you really can eat it at any time of day without breaking eating rules. We all know I’m not one for following rules, especially when it comes to eating, but you get my point.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
–  makes 12 muffins –

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including coconut)
3. Heat butter, and stir in milk and the egg. Add that mixture into the dry mixture, to combine, finally adding in the chocolate chips.
4. Spoon mixture into greased cupcake/muffin tin, and bake for 15 minutes.

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Cookie Cupcakes

As with every occasion I’m a part of, some type of baked good (usually in the form of cupcakes) are made. My fiancé’s birthday on Friday was no exception to the rule. I had planned to make these amazing looking rootbeer cupcakes from the always delicious How Sweet It Is blog. Unfortunately, the recipe called for rootbeer extract, and I just couldn’t find any; I wound up going to four different grocery stores on Monday afternoon, and after finally feeling defeated resolved myself to needing to figure out something different.

After spending some time thinking about what my fiancé likes and doesn’t like, and looking at a few different recipes, I settled on Cookies & Cream Cupcakes. I hadn’t decided if I wanted to do a whipped cream or buttercream frosting, but I figured I could make that decision last minute. We thankfully had the necessary ingredients for either frosting, so I didn’t have to make any extra trips.

My fiancé’s birthday and party was on Friday, but because Friday night parties are always so hectic with it being a workday, I made the cupcakes on Thursday night and stored them at room temperature in my cupcake carrier until I was ready to frost on Friday. Aside from the smashing of the cookies, they were easy to make. I cheated a little and just used a regular boxed white cake mix, as my inspiration for the recipe came from How to Eat a Cupcake’s post. I usually find that any cookies or candy pieces that I put into a cake tend to sink to the bottom. These cookies pieces stayed exactly in place, I think thanks to the use of sour cream. They were perfectly dense, but not too heavy, and definitely would work with either a whipped cream or buttercream frosting.

I had originally decided to make whipped cream frosting, but the cream never whipped; I have a feeling I was just impatient as the time before the party was slowly ticking. So instead, I decided to use a typical vanilla buttercream frosting and I threw some extra crushed Oreo pieces on top of the finished cupcakes, instead of mixed into the frosting itself. Thankfully they were still delicious and everyone was a fan!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
– makes 18 cupcakes –

Cake:
Ingredients
:

30 Oreo cookies
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake baking sheet with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
2. Count out 8 Oreos and separate the top and bottom wafers. Make sure each has some of the icing on it. Place one wafer, icing side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Set them aside. Place the remaining Oreos in a large, closed zipper-lock bag and crush them by rolling over them with a rolling pin. Set these crumbs aside.
3. Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend together. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the crushed Oreos and fold these into the batter until well incorporated. Set aside the remaining crushed Oreos for the frosting. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cup­cake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. Place the pans in the oven.
4. Bake the cupcakes until they are lightly golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.

Frosting:
Ingredients:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup buter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp whipping/heavy cream

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

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Muffin Love

Desserts are one of my favorite things. During the week, though, I rarely have time to make anything dessert related. So, while I was making dinner on Tuesday night, I had a great idea – oatmeal muffins! Conveniently, the oven was already pre-heated to the temperature I needed to cook them since I was roasting veggies. It was as though the baking stars had aligned, and I just had to bring my dreams of coconut chocolate chip oatmeal muffins to life.

I haven’t had oatmeal in awhile, and we have giant container of oats in our pantry. So while at work, I was trying to think of ways to put them to good use aside from a typical oatmeal cookie or overnight oats. I’ve never made muffins before, but since I’m a huge cupcake fanatic I thought it might be a nice change of pace. Plus, I’m obsessed with coconut and chocolate, and when they’re combined, it’s like kryptonite.

You really only  need about 20 minutes start to finish to whip up a batch of these badboys. This was some nice prep work for the cupcakes I’m planning to make for the fiance’s birthday! I have visions of slathering these with almond butter for breakfast, or with a spoonfull of vanilla ice cream for dessert…

Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
–  makes 12 muffins –

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
2/3 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including coconut)
3. Heat butter, and stir in milk and the egg. Add that mixture into the dry mixture, to combine, finally adding in the chocolate chips.
4. Spoon mixture into greased cupcake/muffin tin, and bake for 15 minutes.

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A Wedded Weekend

On Saturday, my fiancé and I set out to conquer more to-dos on our wedding list. With my mom in toe, we headed up to a florist near our venue to discuss flowers. This is the second florist we’ve met with, and we’re meeting with one more before making a final decision. It’s really hard, because I’m not super picky when it comes to flowers; I don’t have a favorite flower, for example, and I’m really clueless about them too. So, I’m really looking for someone that can use their creativity and the little bit of input I have to make something gorgeous. All I know is that I want bright beautiful green and yellow in my bouquet, with more muted colors for my girls since they’ll be in green. As for centerpieces, I just want something low, and bright. Maybe like this…

After meeting with the florist, we headed to the hotel where we’ll be booking a block of rooms for ourselves and our guests. By booking with that hotel, we also get a deal on transportation for all of our guests to and from the venue, which was extremely important to us. We’re also in the process of finalizing our invitations… Things are starting to come together!

On Sunday, we spent the morning trying to clean up our townhouse, since I have my bridesmaids coming next Saturday for their dress fitting! After that we headed out for a run. We still have it on our heads that we’ll be “running” the half marathon April 17th, and I think my fiancé finally realized that it’s something we’ll be doing together, slowly. On Thursday after my 4-miler, I noticed that when I accidentally hit my shin, I felt pain. Pain very similar to my shin splints in December. Low and behold, I’m definitely on the road to get shin splints again. This time, though, I’m not ignoring it and I’m icing, compressing, rolling, and not increasing my mileage like crazy. I was supposed to run 6 miles Sunday, but kept it at 4 just to be safe. I’ll try and tackle 6 on Tuesday, followed by 2 on Thursday. I can’t seem to catch a break with these injuries!

Since we’re back to running, I’ve welcomed yummy desserts back into our routine. On Sunday evening, I decided to make How Sweet Eats’ Triple Layer Cookies & Cream Crunch Bars. Ohh yes – they were absolutely amazing. Of course, they didn’t look quite like Jessica’s, but they tasted awesome! Everything she puts on her blog looks so scrumptious; I wish I could be that creative in the kitchen. And checkout the sweet plate – these awesome Maleficent (from Cinderella) plates were on sale at Target for 75 cents! So I scored four!

This week’s kitchen adventures were first squashed when, again, the avocados at ShopRite were nowhere near ripe. I’m hoping they’ll be ready sometime this week to use in other recipes, but the homemade sushi I was planning on making Sunday night was a no-go. Maybe next week. But, I’ll be making some veggie burgers and sweet potato fries, falafel, and finally the huevos rancheros I wanted to make last week. Maybe I’ll even bake something else!

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Coconut Oil and No Bake Goodies

After seeing Foodie Fresh’s awesome month of coconut giveaways from Tropical Traditions, I decided to head over to their site to check everything out – I was totally intrigued by their coconut peanut butter. I stumbled upon a section where you could sign up to review a product of theirs, and I jumped at the potential offer. I love coconut, and seriously would have been happy with anything they sent. So, when I received an e-mail that I was selected and would be receiving a 32oz. jar of their Virgin Coconut Oil, I was psyched.

This recipe comes from Oh She Glows, and it looked absolutely amazing. When I first saw it, I didn’t have coconut oil, so I was a bit disappointed I wouldn’t be able to make it, since she explicitly noted that other oils might change the flavor. As soon as I got the Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions, though, I knew I could make these delicious coconut macaroons.

The coconut oil is delicious. Like I said, I’m a huge coconut fan, and even though I’ve never knowingly had anything with coconut oil in it, it really adds a nice hint of coconut flavor. As soon as I opened the jar I could smell coconut, and couldn’t wait to get it into liquid form (only needed about 20 seconds in the microwave) to devour it. I’m so excited I have such a large jar, because I’m definitely going to use it in more baked goods in the future!

And the best part about this recipe? The whole thing took me about 5 minutes, and they were ready. If I didn’t have the little bit of self-control I do possess, they would have been devoured even faster. The only change up I did was instead of using almond milk, I went with coconut milk for added flavor, and also that it was the only milk in the house. I wonder if I could somehow turn these into peanut butter, coconut, and chocolate macaroons…

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Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

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Filed under Food Review, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Easy Chocolate Truffles

On Saturday, after doing homework and some yoga, I decided to get myself in the kitchen. We were planning to go out to dinner for my mom’s birthday that was on Tuesday, so in addition to the gifts I bought her, I wanted to make her a treat. I attempted a giant cupcake for my fiancé for Valentine’s Day, but it wound up being a disaster. So, with that ego bruiser fresh in my mind, I decided to make some chocolate truffles for my mom.

We didn’t have any heavy cream in the house, and I had no desire to go to the store to get some. So, I got creative. I had caramel macchiato coffee creamer, and coconut milk. After taking a poll via Twitter and thinking about it some more, I decided to go with the creamer. I thought the caramel would be a nice addition to the chocolate. It’s a pretty easy process, and they’re really delicious. Since this is just the base and I coated mine in just some cocoa powder, you can really get creative with what you want to cover it in… yum!

Easy Chocolate Truffles
– makes about 12 truffles –

Ingredients:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coffee creamer (flavor of your choice)
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions:
1. In a double boiler (I just used a glass bowl atop a pot of boiling water), heat and melt chocolate, combined with coffee creamer.
2. Once fully melted and combined, chill for about 2 hours, until semi-hard.
3. Once chilled, use a small spoon to scoop out chocolate and roll into a ball.
4. In a separate bowl, roll the truffle in the chocolate powder

 

 

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A Cake Ball Attempt

I’ve been following Bakerella’s blog for about a year and a half, and have finally gotten around to trying my hand at cake balls. She seriously makes the cutest edible designs on sticks I’ve ever seen! Since my decoration abilities are nearly nonexistent, I decided to keep it simple for my first try. I let the fiancé pick out the flavors, and then got to work.

The actual making of the cake balls themselves is really easy. It’s when you try and get snazzy and decorate them that you actually need some skill. The fiancé decided on a white funfetti cake, with chocolate fudge icing. I was a little skeptical at first with the combination, but it came out really yummy, a little like a marble cake with some extra fudge. I ran into my first problem when it was time to prepare the ingredients to coat them, though.

I thought I had plenty of chocolate chips at home, but it turns out I didn’t. So, I wound up only being able to coat about 8 of them with chocolate. My second issue was actually coating them. I need to do some more research on Bakerella’s blog for some tips and techniques, because this was a disaster! I couldn’t fully coat them (probably because there really wasn’t enough chocolate), so it kind of became a mess. But that’s okay, because they were just for my fiancé and I to enjoy ourselves.

They tasted like really gooey munchkins, if I had to compare them to something. And let me tell you, they’re delicious! I’ve been looking around the past few days to maybe get some proper tools to make some of the adorable cake balls I’ve seen. I did buy that $20 for $10 on Amazon deal from Living Social last week that I think everyone got, and of course it’s burning a hole in my pocket!

So even if you’re like me and aren’t exactly cake decorating savvy, I would suggest making these just to eat as-is because they are awesome. But, if you’re creative I’d suggest checking out Bakerella and trying some of her adorable designs! I’m going to leave out any decoration instructions, just because I’m still working on trying to make that a success. But you can simply melt some chocolate and coat them. I’ll keep you posted on my next attempt!

Cake Balls
– makes about 30-40 balls, depending on how big you make them –

Ingredients:
1 box of cake mix and ingredients to make (any flavor – I used yellow funfetti)
1 container of frosting (any flavor – I used chocolate fudge)

Directions:
1. Bake cake according to box directions
2. Let cake cool completely, then crumble into a big bowl
3. Add icing to crumbled cake, coating completely
4. Form cake and icing mixture into balls (I rolled them, similar to how you’d form a meatball) and place on parchment paper, or sprayed foil on a baking sheet
5. Place in the freezer to harden about 1-2 hours

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A Festivus for the rest of us!

On Saturday, my fiancé and I hosted our second annual (he’s been throwing one for years) Festivus party! If you’re unfamiliar with the origins of Festivus, Google it, and hopefully a clip of the Seinfeld episode is on YouTube. I grew up watching Seinfeld with my parents, and they to this day watch the re-runs after work while preparing dinner. Most people I’ve come across either love or hate Seinfield, but both my family and my fiancé’s family are fans.

Last year was unfortunately kind of a flop, as the first snow storm of the year rolled in, and we wound up only having two guests! This year, with no reports of potential snow, I knew I needed to make sure we had enough goodies. The party was more than just a Festivus celebration, it was also the first time most of our friends were seeing our new place! Needless to say, the pressure was on.

I always make some type of cupcakes. This time, instead of making full sized, I realized they would likely go faster if I made mini’s instead. I like to make them seasonal, or at the very least boozy. While I left out the booze this time, you could definitely add it in if you want, since I made eggnog cupcakes, courtesy of Southern Living! Based on the recipe I used, I wound up with 60 mini cupcakes. Plenty for all of the party-goers, and enough to bring into work on Monday as well. In addition to the cupcakes, I wanted to make something savory. I had a bunch of recipes to choose from, but wound up settling on Brown Eyed Baker’s Italian Gougeres, coming in a later post.

But back to the cupcakes – the cake was perfectly moist and just the right amount of eggnog. I actually tasted eggnog for the very first time after I mixed it into the batter. There was some leftover, so I decided to take a swig. I guess it’s a good thing I liked it, since I was already committed to 60 mini cupcakes with it. The frosting, though, was a bit runny. Even though it had cream cheese, butter, and confectioner’s sugar, I couldn’t get it thick enough to allow me to really do any decorating (I added A LOT of extra sugar). It wound up almost drying on the cakes though with a nice sheen, so they looked okay. But I would have liked to do something a little more snazzy!

I definitely think you could add some dark rum to the cake and/or frosting mixture to give it that boozy kick that I’m such a fan of. Nothing quite like a festive drink in cupcake form!

Eggnog Cupcakes via Southern Living
– makes 60 mini cupcakes, or about 24 regular cupcakes –

Cake Ingredients:
1 (16oz.) package pound cake mix
1 1/4 cups eggnog
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat all ingredients together at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Increase speed to medium, and beat 2 minutes. Pour into lined cupcake pan, filling about 3/4 .
2. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, about 10-15 minutes.

Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:
1. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with eggnog, beginning and ending with sugar and beating at low speed. Add freshly grated nutmeg and vanilla extract; beat until smooth.
3. Spread over cupcakes.

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Gluttony: Brownie Peanut Butter Parfait

Happy Thanksgiving! As everyone is preparing to get their eat-on, here’s some additional gluttony for you to enjoy!

I’ve always been a fan of a good parfait. Not only does the word amuse me, but I’m yet to meet a parfait I didn’t like. Sure, granola and yogurt parfaits are good, but we all know that those with whipped cream, pudding, and anything else remotely unhealthy tastes even better! My boss actually made this when she had us over for dinner a few weeks ago, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. She got the recipe from a friend, and it’s so decadent and easy to make I just had to share it with you. I mean, if you’re not running to the store to make this after reading the ingredients and seeing the picture, I question your sanity (no offense).

This particular recipe makes A LOT, so it’s best used for a party or big group of people. You can make it the night before, too, so everything really settles together for maximum flavor potential. If you’re looking for a quick and easy non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert, this comes highly recommended. If my mom wasn’t bringing both an apple and pumpkin pie already, this would definitely be a part of our Thanksgiving. Maybe next year!

I warn you, though. This is seriously addictive despite how heavy it is, so pace yourself!

Brownie Peanut Butter Parfait

Ingredients:
2 boxes of brownie mix
½ cup peanut butter
2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
2 16 oz containers of Cool Whip (you’ll have a little left over)
1 bag of mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Directions:
1. Prepare brownies per the box instructions, set aside to cool.
2. Prepare vanilla pudding per the box instructions.
3. Melt peanut butter in the microwave till it has a slightly liquid consistency. Slowly pour peanut butter into pudding, while stirring. *You can add more peanut butter to up the pb flavor
4. Chop Reese’s peanut butter cups
5. Layer – brownies, pudding, cool whip, a few peanut butter cups. Repeat until all ingredients have been used (top with peanut butter cups).

Parfait

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Candy Stuffed Cupcakes

The idea of putting a little surprise inside a cupcake gets me giddy. Cupcakes are awesome on their own. Throw in something extra in the center, and you have my full and undivided attention. I think that’s why I gravitate towards bakeshops like Crumbs, where most of their cupcakes have some type of delicious filling. Since I don’t [yet] have the proper tools to stuff my cupcakes with ganache, buttercream, or things of that nature, I decided to take it the easier route – shove some Halloween candy into cupcakes!

For whatever reason the trick-or-treaters were sparse this year, especially at our new place. We actually only had two sets of vistors. We did go out to dinner between about 6p and 8p, so I’m assuming we missed some others, but the overall feeling in the office the next day was that there just weren’t a lot of trick-or-treaters out and about. Fiance and I had spent quite some time in the candy asile at Target earlier that week, trying to pick out the perfect combination of candy – we wanted to make sure as the new neighbors the kids were impressed. Now, though, we just have two bowls full of leftovers. We’ve been taking a few pieces to work every day (to have 2-3 each), but at this rate, we’ll have candy until the new year. That’s when I realized I needed to bake with them!

I had found a recipe for deep-fried candy, but unfortunately I just don’t have the proper tools. Since hot oil is seriously dangerous, I figured it’d be best to wait until I have things like a deep fryer [hello wedding registry!] and other important and safety related items. I haven’t baked in awhile because of packing and moving, so I thought that would be a nice treat. Initially I wasn’t sure as to what flavor cake to go with, or even what type of frosting. Since I was using chocolate candy, I decided to go with a simple vanilla cake, and let the candy do the rest of the work. As for the frosting, I still battle with buttercream, and am still slightly afraid of cream cheese frosting. So, sour cream chocolate it was! The cake recipe came from Ming Makes Cupcakes and the frosting recipe came from AllRecipes.

The frosting was okay – It wasn’t nearly as thick as I had hoped the first time around. After eating a cupcake each I put the rest of the frosting in the fridge. When I went back for number two, I added a little more confectioner’s sugar, and since it was cold, the consistency was much better. The cake was delicious, I really enjoyed the surprise center. I would suggest popping any leftovers you have in the microwave for a few seconds to warm up the center, since the melty chocolate was one of the best parts. I stuffed my cupcakes with pieces of Kit-Kat, Twix, Almond Joy, Take 5, and Snickers.

Candy Stuffed Cupcakes
– Makes 12 – 15 cupcakes –

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
5 of your favorite “fun-sized” chocolate candy bars, broken into pieces

Cake Directions:
1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in butter gradually. Beat in sugar and mix thoroughly. Beat in eggs, then vanilla and milk. Beat till mixed.
2. Pour into lined cupcake pan. Place a piece of the broken candy into the middle of each cupcake, placing it mid-way down in the pan.
3. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean.

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Frosting Directions:
1. Melt chocolate and the butter together. Let cool and blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt.
2. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar until the frosting is of spreading consistency, beat well.

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