March 25, 2012

Extreme Peanut Butter Brownies

These brownies are perhaps the greatest thing since sliced bread. Since Easter is upon us, you’re bound to have some Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs around. So chop them up and prepare to be amazed by the extreme peanut butter chocolate experience of these brownies!

Thank you Brown Eyed Baker


1 batch of your favorite brownie recipe for a 9×13-inch pan (Let’s be real…you can use a mix. which if made with yogurt as described here, practically qualifies as healthy in my book)

About 8 Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
1½ cups milk chocolate chips (or a combination of milk and semi sweet)
1½ cups creamy peanut butter (try natural peanut butter…again, HEALTHY! Hello mono-unsaturated fats)
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal

1.   Prepare the brownies but bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.

2.   In the mean time, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the cereal to evenly coat.

3.   Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly spread the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Refrigerate for 2 hours before attempting to cut, or you’ll have a peanut buttery chocolately mess on your hands…but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.


March 24, 2012

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches

Well I had a craving for carrot cake. This wasn't entirely my fault, but then instead of making a lame old carrot cake (although, I do have one in the oven right now...) I made these carrot cakes turned whoopie pies turned ice cream sandwiches

The cream cheese frosting is inside a-la-ice cream sandwich and then in the same theme, I rolled these guys in toasted walnuts instead of putting them into the cookies themselves. Also did I mention that they're MINI!??!? AND the cookies are super super cakey and thus super super reminiscent of the original carrot cake inspiration. These were soooo good. I definitely found myself in front of my refrigerator first thing every morning as they because the sole reason I got out of bed. Are these the ramblings of a food addict? I think so.

I was also supposed to save some for a visiting friend. Guess whether or not I was able to save them  (nope). 

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches
Adapted from: Craving Chonicles

3/4 cup golden raisins
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
pinch of cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 + 3 tablespoons cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely grated carrots
1 cup walnuts (3 ounces), chopped

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350F. 

In one bowl, mix together your flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter with your sugars. Add in your egg and vanilla and mix well. Finally stir in your carrots and walnuts if you would like the nuts to be in the cake. Don't add the nuts here if you want to roll them like I did here. Slowly add in your flour and spice mixture and mix. Drop them onto a cookie sheet in little teaspoon amounts for the mini cookies. Feel free to make them bigger, but then remember that you will have to increase the baking time

Bake for 8-10 minutes and then let cool. Don't over bake, remember these are supposed to be like cake - not like wafers. Feel free to taste test one of them while you're doing this. 

Prepare the frosting by again blending in the cream cheese with the butter. Slowly add in your powdered sugar and vanilla. 

Once your cookies have cooled, dollop a large drop on the bottom of one cookie and sandwich the other one on top. To have an even nicer side view - you can pipe the icing into the middle but I didn't do this part. Finally, roll them in chopped walnuts and refrigerate until ready to eat. They are phenomenal!!! 


March 17, 2012

Pot-Of-Gold Cakes for the Ronald McDonald House

Hello Readers!!

It's St. Patty's day and this post is going to be a little bit different - there will be no recipe, just a decorating post with lots of pictures! For this holiday, we brought along a friend of ours and went to the Ronald McDonald House and baked St. Patty's day cupcakes for the kids and families staying there while getting treatment at our medical center. 

We were looking for a cute St. Patty's day recipe that would allow the kids to be interactive and this  is what we found! How adorable? The rainbow is made from twizzler pull and peels, which we pulled-and-peeled into thirds - otherwise there would have been too much spring in the rainbows.

The original ideas had rolos at the end as the pot of gold but we saw gold wrapped kisses and decided to use those instead. After all, who doesn't like a little love on St. Patrick's Day?

Furthermore, we made our own frosting - just a simple buttercream with non-fat milk - because all of the frostings at the stores have trans-fats (ahhhh!). ALL of them have 1.5 g/serving. That's a lot of trans fats to be giving to these families. So we whipped up a beautiful batch of frosting and tinted it green for the holiday. A few kids stopped by and made their own pot of gold cupcakes, making this whole experience a fantastic St. Patrick's day.
                                                                                                      Sam & Elyse

March 11, 2012

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Well, to be fair - they're more like vanilla cupcakes with dulce de leche frosting....but I mean, hey. yum.

So this is my first batch of test cupcakes for the upcoming wedding. The fiance has asked for dulce de leche cupcakes since I will be making the cupcake tower in lieu of a catered cake (definitely my favorite part of this wedding). When I saw this recipe I immediately book marked it and finally got around to making them this weekend!

I love the little candy pearls - gives them a fancier look. The best part of this is the cream cheese frosting infused with dulce de leche. As my brother, the lucky taste tester put it with cupcake in mouth and eyes as big as they could get, "these cupcakes are the best because the frosting isn't too sweet" - a YAY in my book since dulce de leche can tip over the sweet scale.

 These cupcakes are a keeper, albeit the next time they will be on display with proper cupcake liners and little bows all around the liners...I'm thinking gold liners. But really, these cupcakes are absolutely delicious. The frosting is ....I was floored. Cupcake #1 for the cupcake wedding tower, complete!!

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
Adapted from: joy the baker
yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Whisk together your flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda. Finally throw in your salt. Put aside

In another bowl cream the sugars with your butter and add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time. Then, slowly add your flour mixture into your wet ingredients, incorporating your buttermilk as you go along. Be careful not to over mix or you'll end up with tough cupcakes!

Fill your cupcake liners half full and bake for 15-18 minutes - keep a careful eye on them, there's nothing worse than a crispy cupcake top.

For the frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup dulce de leche & extra for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons of milk/buttermilk

Cream together your butter and cream cheese with an electric beater. Add in your dulce de leche and salt. Slowly add in 2-3 cups powdered sugar and some milk, adjusting for consistency. If too thick, add in some milk. If too thin, add in some sugar.

Pipe all over your cupcakes with a fancy piping tip or with the ziploc bag technique!

optional: warm some dulce de leche over low heat and drizzle onto the cupcakes. make sure your dulce de leche isnt boiling hot or you'll melt off the frosting - just heat the dulce de leche until juuuusttt pourable. If you'd like, you can also sprinkle on some sea salt (for that yummy sweet and salty flavor combo) or any other decorative garnish