Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grownup "Dirt" Layered Dessert

What do you get when you combine pulverized Oreo cookies, sweetened cream cheese, fresh sliced bananas, homemade chocolate pudding, and cool whip?


Rich, chocolatey bliss.

Growing up, I always loved "Dirt": A chocolate pudding dessert with ground Oreos on top. The really yummy ones always had a gummy worm or two coming out of the pudding. Why did the gummy worms make it taste better? This dessert is similar, but just a bit fancier. Maybe a little healthier, too. I did mention there are bananas in the middle, right?
Do kids still love it? Assuming they like pudding, it's a win. (My girls aren't really big on pudding.) You can even throw a gummy worm in, add a little extra dirt on the top and you'll be their hero.

No need to make your own pudding. Instant pudding is actually used in the original recipe. But, if you want a super decadent chocolate pudding (with the added bonus of being gelatin-free), the recipe below is a winner.

The recipe actually fills a 9"x13" pan (and would cut beautifully), but I halved it and made about 6 (large) individual servings. But if you're making it to bring to a Memorial Cookout (hint, hint), the 9"x13" would be perfect.

Grownup "Dirt": No Bake Oreo Pudding Dessert
  • 30 (or about 2-1/2 cups) Oreo cookies, finely crushed
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. cold milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip, thawed, divided
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • *2 (3.9 oz.) pkg. chocolate instant pudding
  • *3-1/4 cups cold milk
  • 2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
*Omit these ingredients if making pudding from scratch. See recipe below.

Mix cookie crumbs and butter, press onto the bottom of a 9"x13" dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and 2 Tbsp. milk in medium bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip and spread over crust. (I found starting in the middle and working out to the edges helped keep the crust crumbs in place.) Top with bananas.

Beat pudding mixes and 3-1/4 cups milk with a whisk for 2 minutes. Spread over bananas. Let stand 5 minutes or until thickened. Cover with remaining cool whip. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Top with chocolate syrup just before serving.

Source: Kraft Food and Family Magazine

Chocolate Pudding
Yield: 8 servings
  • 4 c. whole milk
  • 1 c. sugar, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c. Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. cornstarch
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (65%-75%), finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, ½ c. sugar, and the salt, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ c. of sugar, the cocoa powder, and the cornstarch. Sprinkle this slowly into the milk, whisking constantly. Return to the heat and whisk constantly until thick and bubbling. Remove from the heat, make sure the mixture isn't boiling, and one at a time, whisk in the egg yolks, then the chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk constantly until the chocolate has dissolved. Return to low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens again, being careful that it does not boil, then immediately remove from the heat and strain into a bowl.

Spoon into desired serving bowls, and cover with plastic. If you don't want a skin to form on the pudding, place the plastic directly on top of the pudding. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Source: slightly adapted from New Classic Family Dinners

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roasted Gobi Aloo (Cauliflower and Potatoes)

I've shared with you all my love of roasted cauliflower, and I also love roasted potatoes, so imagine my delight when I saw that they were the star of this popular vegetarian Indian dish!

Having never heard of Gobi Aloo before, I didn't know what to expect, but the finished product did not disappoint. Roasting the potatoes and cauliflower was sheer genius as it automatically elevated both of these ingredients. The spice blend added a nice flavor to the dish without making it "spicy". Nate actually felt that it could use a little more heat so I may add in some of our spicy paprika (thanks Laura and Paco!) or a teaspoon or two of hot curry powder just to kick it up a bit. The peas I could have taken or left, but Nate and I both agreed that the sprinkling of cilantro over the top was the perfect finish to this dish.

The original recipe calls for something called asafetida (which I do not have), so a quick Google search provided me with an easy substitution which I've provided below. We served it on naan, a flatbread that I picked up from the freezer section of Trader Joe's, but it can also be served in roti or a tortilla, or even over rice. If you're in the mood to make your own naan, here's a well reviewed recipe from Homemade Naan.  आनंद लें! (Enjoy!)

Roasted Gobi Aloo (Cauliflower and Potatoes)
Yield: 3-4 Main Dish Servings
  • 1 head cauliflower (medium to small), cut into medium pieces
  • 2 large russet potatoes, cut into medium-sized pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 2-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of asafetida (Or substitute 1/3 c. finely diced onion and one clove minced garlic)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 medium or 1 large tomato, diced (seeds and juice reserved)
  • ½ c. frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 ½ tsp. crushed ginger
  • 2–3 Tbsp. low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • ½ tsp. Garam Masala (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ c. chopped cilantro, to garnish
Clean and the cut cauliflower into medium size pieces, being careful to not cut them too small. Peel, clean, and dice potatoes roughly the same size as the cauliflower. Line 1 half sheet pan or 2 baking sheets with foil. Place the cauliflower on one side (or one pan) and the potatoes on the other half/pan. Drizzle the cauliflower and potatoes with extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 tsp. of salt.  Toss gently to get oil on all the vegetables. Roast at 450°F for about 30 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. Vegetables are done when they are tender and golden brown.

While the vegetables are roasting, start on the seasoning. In a 12" pan or skillet, heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat until it is hot.

*If you are not using the asafetida, add the finely minced onion to the pan, and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and saute an additional 30 seconds, then move the sauteed onion/garlic to one side of the pan, or remove from pan entirely. Add extra oil to pan to equal about 1 tsp. if needed.

Add the cumin seeds. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until seeds splutter, then add asafetida (if using). Add the tomatoes (and seeds/juice), ginger, turmeric, red chili powder, Garam Masala, and coriander powder. Cover and cook until oil separates, or about 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Once the vegetables are done roasting, add 1-2 Tbsp. water to the pan to thin the mixture slightly. Add the sour cream or yogurt and stir to combine. Cook over low heat just until everything is combined well, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook this mixture. If it still appears too thick, add another 1-2 Tbsp. of water to the pan.

If using peas, heat peas with some water in a microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds. Drain and add to pan.

Add cauliflower and potatoes to the pan and mix well.   Almost all the liquid will be absorbed by vegetables.

Serve with naan, tortillas, flatbread, or over rice. Scatter fresh cilantro over the top.

Source: Jolly Vindaloo

Thursday, May 19, 2011

White Sangria

Some nights just call for sangria. My favorite is the classic red sangria (full of strawberries, apples, oranges, lemons, grapes and peaches), but without any red wine in the house, I had to search for an alternative.

Enter White Sangria: Crisp, fruity, citrus-y, chilled deliciousness. It took just shy of 15 minutes to put together, then 2 hours in the fridge to allow the flavors to develop. We removed the lemon and orange rinds when we put the leftovers in the fridge overnight, and it tasted even better the next day.

Want something bubbly? Add some club soda. Want more fruit? Throw in some fresh pineapple or peaches. This is a great alternative to the traditional red sangria and one we'll be enjoying throughout the summer. Cheers!
White Sangria
Serves: 4
  • 2 large oranges, 1 cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, the other 1 juiced
  • 1 large lemon, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier (or other orange-flavored liquor, i.e. Triple Sec or Cointreau)
  • 1 (750-mL) bottle white wine (Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, preferably), chilled
  • 1 apple, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 6 to 8 ice cubes
Add orange and lemon slices and sugar to a large pitcher; mash gently with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and the fruit releases some juice but is not completely crushed, about 1 minute. Stir in orange juice, liquor, apples, and wine. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (no more than 8 hours unless the rinds are removed).

Before serving, add ice cubes and stir briskly to redistribute settled fruit and pulp; serve immediately.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Growing up, Stouffer's was our family's pot pie of choice. Then a number of years ago, our good friends Jo and Eric introduced us to the possibility of delicious, homemade pot pies made with extreme amounts of butter. This recipe, while different, is definitely not lacking in flavor or butter. Underneath the flaky, but tender crust is a creamy sauce loaded with chicken and veggies.

While it takes a bit of time to put together, it blows boxed pot pie out of the water. The recipe makes a lot of pot pies, and that's a great thing because they can be frozen and reheated for an easy dinner at a later date. They would also make a great dinner for new parents, or a freezer meal for someone who has lost a loved one. And who doesn't love a flaky crust??

Some notes about the recipe:
  • We doubled the filling and sauce, but only had to one-and-a-half times the crust.
  • I reduced the amount of flour in the sauce based on some reviews I read, but I won't do that again next time as the sauce thinned out while in the oven. The recipe below has the correct measurements.
  • I omitted the chopped red bell pepper from the filling.
  • Annie didn't include salt and pepper measurements, so I had to add to taste. Don't be afraid... you can do it without a measurement too. :)
  • For the crust, either use frozen unsalted butter, or cut the butter as the recipe indicates, but then place in the freezer to keep it super chilled. It helps make a really nice, flaky crust.
Chicken Pot Pie
Yield: 6-8 pot pies (depending on the size of the dishes you use)
For the filling:
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large russett potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (I omitted this)
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 purchased rotisserie chicken, or 3 c. chopped / shredded chicken
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas and carrots
For the sauce:
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the crust:
  • 16 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 oz. cream cheese, chilled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  •  I lg. egg (for egg wash)
To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and potato to the pan, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms, and cook for about 15 minutes more, until the potatoes are tender. While the vegetables are cooking, remove the skin from the chicken, pull the meat off the bones and shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once the vegetables are finished cooking, turn off the heat and mix in the chicken and the frozen peas and carrots. Stir in the red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and cook over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Mix in the cream (if using), the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken and veggie mixture and stir to combine well. Spoon the mixture into 6-8 individual oven-safe dishes (such as ramekins).

Preheat the oven to 375° F. To make the crust, cut the butter into 16 pieces. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt and pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut out dough rounds to be about 1½ inches larger than the diameter of your pot pie dishes. Lay the dough rounds on top of the individual dishes. Beat the egg with a whisk, and brush the tops of the dough rounds lightly with the beaten egg.

Place the pot pie dishes on a baking sheet for easy transfer in and out of the oven. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

The finished pies can be frozen after baking, and taste just as good as fresh. Simply thaw in the refrigerator during the day and then reheat in the the oven at 350° F for 30-40 minutes. If baking straight from the freezer, bake at 400˚ F for 45-60 minutes.

Source: Annie's Eats

Saturday, May 14, 2011


So bacon doesn't really need a recipe, right?! But then again, if you have only ever pan-fried bacon, I'm about to rock your world.

I present you with the easiest, fastest, and even most versatile way to prepare bacon... Oven Roasted Bacon.

There are a number of ways to oven roast bacon, and I've tried just about all of them. Here's what I've found works the best...
Preheat the oven to 400°.

For thick cut bacon, place directly on baking sheet in a single layer without overlapping bacon. We use foil to make the clean-up a bit easier. A half pound fits on one half sheet pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and serve warm.

For thin cut bacon, place the bacon on non-stick foil in a single layer without overlapping bacon. Thin cut bacon can (and will) stick and crumble even on a non-stick baking sheet. A half pound fits on one half sheet pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and serve warm.

For maple bacon, follow the either of the above methods depending on your bacon type, but just as bacon is beginning to brown (12-15 min.), brush the bacon with 1-2 Tbsp. real maple syrup and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until bacon is golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and serve warm.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

French Onion Soup

I've wanted to share this recipe with you for several months now, but all the soup kept getting eaten before I could photograph it. To be honest, even the pictures I took don't do it any justice.

This French Onion Soup rocks. I don't say that lightly. All those who have tried it have commented on how delicious it is and it's one that we've made three times since January which also says a lot as we don't have a ton of repeat recipes 'round these parts.

I know soup season is just about (or completely) over, but please make an exception for this one. It tastes divine and would be perfect with a yummy spring salad and a piece of crusty farm market bread.
French Onion Soup
Servings: 4 Main Dish
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 (48 fluid ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 thick slices French or Italian bread
  • 8 slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese slices, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago or mozzarella cheese, room temperature
  • 4 pinches paprika
Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in salt, red onions and sweet onions. Cook 35 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized and almost syrupy.

Mix chicken broth, beef broth, red wine and Worcestershire sauce into pot. Bundle the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf with twine and place in pot. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the herbs. Reduce the heat to low, mix in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep over low heat to stay hot while you prepare the bread. (The soup can be cooled and frozen at this point. It reheats beautifully!)

Preheat oven broiler. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and broil 3 minutes, turning once, until well toasted on both sides. Remove from heat; do not turn off broiler.

Arrange 4 large oven safe bowls or crocks on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill each bowl 2/3 full with hot soup. Top each bowl with 1 slice toasted bread, 2 slice Gruyere cheese and 1/4 of the Asiago or mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle a little bit of paprika over the top of each one.

Broil 5 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. As it softens, the cheese will cascade over the sides of the crock and form a beautifully melted crusty seal. Serve immediately!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kentucky Derby Pie

Most foodies love any opportunity to make a themed recipe. I happen to fall into this camp. But while most good food bloggers prepare in advance to share these recipes before said-themed events, I am not quite there yet.

Take this pie for example: The Kentucky Derby has come and gone already for 2011, and while I considered putting this post in the archive and publishing it prior to Derby weekend next year, I couldn't bring myself to do it. This pie should not be confined to a single, solitary weekend each year. If you've tried Derby pie before, I would imagine you would agree with me. If you have never tried it before, you are the reason I'm sharing this recipe now rather than waiting until 2012.

What makes it so good? It tastes a bit like a chocolate chip pecan cookie poured into a pie crust. Yum.

It is also delicious warm with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream. Yum again.

My good friend Jo actually made the pie pictured above and is who first introduced us to the Derby pie. We owe her big time. ;) Stay tuned for another better-late-than-never Derby post soon!

Kentucky Derby Pie
Yield: 1 pie
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ c. flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ c. salted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 c. broken pecans
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ c. Kentucky Bourbon (optional)
  • 1 Pie Crust
Mix sugar and flour together. Add the eggs and remaining ingredients. Pour into crust. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour.

Source: Jo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Homemade Fruit Leather

Let's talk about fruit roll-ups for just a minute. Growing up, there was just something special about opening that shiny wrapper, slowly peeling that slightly-sticky fruit leather off, and savoring each bite (as well as those bits that always stuck in my teeth afterward!).

What's not so special is the lack of nutritional benefit to that tasty snack. Nutritionally, the fruit roll-up just doesn't hold a candle to a piece of fruit. Even the newer "Simply Fruit Fruit Roll-ups" list Apple Juice Concentrate as the first ingredient, which, let's be real, is just another way of saying sugar.

So how do you still give your kiddos that experience and flavor, but make it healthier? Make your own!

Here's how: (Click the picture to view a larger image)
The leather bakes at an incredibly low temp. (150°-170°) for around 7-12 hours, depending on how thick your fruit leather is. If your fruit leather becomes brittle at any point, just brush on a thin layer of water to re-hydrate it. I actually did this several times throughout the drying process.

After almost 6 hours, I pulled the fruit leather off and flipped it over. I brushed it with water, placed it back in the oven and it was done after an additional hour.
What I'll do different next time:
  • I used 4 c. of chopped fruit to make two trays of fruit leather. Next time I'll use 6 c. to make the fruit leather a bit thicker. (Or 3 c. for just one baking sheet.)
  • I will not attempt to just flip the fruit leather over and back onto the same mat. It stuck to itself a bit and made it difficult. Next time I'll flip it onto some parchment paper to ease the process.
  • I may dust a little cornstarch on top next time if the bars feel sticky before wrapping them up.
I actually cut the fruit leather into a number of different sizes, but no size was big enough for my girls. They LOVED them. We actually ate almost an entire pan in one night, and I'm pretty sure they would've munched their way through the second pan if I had let them.

If you are able to resist eating all the fruit leather in one sitting and you want to give it that fun roll-up feel, roll it up in wax paper. Here's how:
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Feel good about giving your kids something healthy, fun, and delicious.
Homemade Fruit Leather

  • 4-6 c. strawberries or other fresh fruit, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ c. sugar (optional, depending on the sweetness of your fruit)

Preheat the oven to 150 -170 degrees F.

Place the fruit in a medium saucepan with the water and lemon juice. Simmer on medium heat, mostly covered, until they are very soft and mushy. Stewing the fruit helps it retain its color.

Transfer the fruit pulp mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. If it is a fruit with seeds, a food mill will remove the seeds more easily than a food processor and strainer. Taste the fruit at this point, and add the sugar if it is not sweet enough. Keep in mind that as the fruit leather dries, it will concentrate the natural sugars in the fruit and become sweeter on its own. Add a small amount of water to the mixture if necessary so that it has a pourable consistency.
Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking pad. If using parchment paper, spray the parchment with the cooking spray, then spread the fruit puree onto the parchment with an offset spatula or knife to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. Place it in the oven for 5 -7 hours. If the fruit leather becomes too brittle at any point, simply brush on water with a pastry brush to rehydrate it. Make sure there is air circulating to prevent scorching. Alternatively place it in the sun for 6-8 hours.

Invert the fruit leather onto another baking sheet that has been covered in oiled parchment or a silicon baking pad, and remove the first lining. Place back in the oven or sun for another at least another 1-3 hours, or until the fruit leather is dry.

Cool the sheet trays and cut the fruit leather into desired sizes. Dust with corn starch to prevent sticking (optional), cover in plastic or roll in wax paper and store in a cool place in a sealed container.

For other helpful pics, check out Tasty Kitchen and/or Georgia Pellegrini's blog.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guinness and Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcakes

My sister-in-law and I baked up a storm last weekend making cupcakes for her friend's bridal shower and these were my absolute favorites. It starts with a Guinness chocolate cupcake that is perfectly moist (so much so that it's hard to believe the cupcake is made from scratch), then filled with a rich, velvety smooth chocolate ganache that's spiked with a little bit Bailey's Irish Cream. Then the whole thing is finished off with a Bailey's buttercream and chocolate shavings.
 Yes. I said Bailey's buttercream.
Let's recap: Moist chocolatey cupcake. Rich chocolate ganache. Velvety smooth Bailey's buttercream. Chocolate shavings. Absolute heaven. Make these. They really are as good as they sound.

Guinness and Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcakes
Yield: 24 Cupcakes
For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:
  • 1 cup stout (Guinness)
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
For the Bailey’s ganache filling:
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. Bailey’s Irish cream
For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (We used closer to 5 c.)
  • 4-8 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream, to taste (We probably almost doubled this amount to really taste the Bailey's in the buttercream, but had to add more powdered sugar to get it the right consistency.)
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend.  Add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to ¾ full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate.  Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth.  If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds).  Add the butter and Bailey’s and stir until combined.

Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped.  (Our ganache took about 20 minutes to get to the perfect temperature for piping. You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling.)

Meanwhile, cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method (a small paring knife works best for this).  Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe it into the cupcakes.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated.  Mix in the Bailey’s until smooth.  Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading.  Frost the cupcakes as desired.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

It takes a certain kind of genius to come up with a cupcake that tastes just like a chocolate chip cookie.
The cake portion of the cupcake has chocolate chips interspersed throughout, is semi-dense (giving it that cookie feel) and is filled with an egg-less cookie dough truffle. As if that's not enough, it is then topped with a cookie dough flavored buttercream, and decorated with tiny chocolate chips and a mini cookie.

Cookie dough perfection in cupcake form. How fun (and tasty!) is that?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)
For the filling:
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
For the frosting:
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 2½ tsp. vanilla extract
For decoration:
  • Tiny chocolate chip cookies (We used tiny ones sold at Trader Joe's, but you could certainly make your favorite recipe)
  • Mini chocolate chips
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. (We used two scoops of a standard cookie dough-sized scoop in each liner.) Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the flour, pinch of salt, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake.  Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.

Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips soon after frosting. Top with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration prior to serving.

Source: Annie's Eats