Monday, February 14, 2011

Winter is the time for peppermint, and coffee!

I'm always looking for a reason to bake and my co-workers are always happy for a treat waiting in the break room. I've never made cupcakes from scratch before, so I decided to make them my guinea pigs for my first batch. These cupcakes sounded so good, I loved my last experience baking with mint and coffee baked goods are always delish! Nevertheless, I was super nervous! My parents and boyfriend always try everything first, and they told me that the cupcakes were really good! Even better, everyone at work loved them too! I had to improvise with the ingredients a little, and they seemed to take forever to make, and I admit, I cheated with the frosting (don't stone me!),  but from what everyone said, the cupcakes are totally worth it! Pure & Yummy posted this recipe before me and here it is:
Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
makes 35 cupcakes
2 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 tsp. espresso powder (I couldn't find this so I used my dads instant decaf coffee)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 sticks unsalted butter- at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and like your cupcake pans with your paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir together.
In a another medium sized bowl, combine the milk, coffee and peppermint extract.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy, 2-3 minuets, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the eggs one at a time.
Mix in the dry and liquid ingredients alternating between the two. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into the cupcake liners; about 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. let cool for 5-10 minuets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

after all that work, I wasn't in the mood to make the peppermint frosting. Knowing myself ahead of time I bought a container of buttercream frosting. I don't usually like to not make something from scratch, but I gave myself a break, being the first time making cupcakes.
I put all the frosting in a bowl and added a dash of the peppermint extract and red food coloring and mixed it together, adding more food coloring until I got the color I liked.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Bliss

My freshman year in college my friend Adriana brought a white chocolate raspberry scone from the student center pretty much everyday to psychology and would give me a pice and I was so in love with them, but for some reason, they stopped having them. So, when I found this recipe made by Hot Polka Dot I was so excited to make them that I made them for christmas, and they were almost everyones favorites. I've had a couple of people ask me for the recipe before I even started this blog so I wanted to make sure that I posted this as one of my firsts. These cookies are delicious and super easy to make, minus the "marbling" which after a few times of making these I still haven't mastered. Did I mention that these were my boyfriends favorite cookies, too? So good luck, and enjoy!
White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
makes 3 dozen
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put a rack in the center of the oven.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flower, baking soda, and salt, then blend the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Finally, mix in the white chocolate chips.
Scoop a heaping tsp of dough onto the baking sheet for each cookie then round and smooth it with your fingertips.
Spoon about 1/2-1 tsp of raspberry jam onto each cookie (my boyfriend say the more jam the better). Then, using a small paring knife, marble the jam into the dough.
Bake 10-11 minuets until the edges are golden brown.
Let cool for a few minuets and the put on a cooling rack.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Does apples mean healthy?

I've been wanting to make these cookies for about a month, and so I made my excuse Valentines day. Carmel has been a favorite of mine and my mothers for quite a long time, so I love making cookies with them. I got this recipe from Hot Polka Dot, who is a genius and made this one up, and the biscuits from my last post. I know they look delicious, but these cookies were harder to make than chocolate chip cookies (and a lot messier!). I used Fiji Apples, because they were the cheapest but the original recipe didn't specify. I used like two and a quarter apples and I think that was too much, so only use to and less is defiantly more with the apple in these.

Caramel Apple Surprise Cookies
makes 20-36 cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup apple, skinned and chopped
3 dozen caramels, slightly flattened. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Then add the eggs and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg*. Then stir it in with the large bowl.
Gently mix in the chopped and skinned apples.
Put the dough in the freezer for 30 min - an hour and preheat the oven to 350 degrees, also line your cookies sheets with parchment paper.
When the dough is stiff, scoop a tablespoon and take a flattened carmel, put the carmel in the middle and then cover it with the dough. Make sure the carmel is completely covered and that none is sticking out. Put the scoop onto your cookie sheet.
I had 6 cookies per cookie sheet. Once, yours is full, put the cookies in the oven for 10-11 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. let them sit for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

*This is from the original recipe, it's not on the list of ingredients and i wrote the author of hot polka dot and asked about it, i put a few sprinkles of nutmeg in my dough but I think that it will be fine without the nutmeg.

My cookies turned out really big so if you're going to make these try to make your scoops really small, its really hard with the apple and the carmel but trust me, if you can do it it'll be worth it!
They turned out delicious and I think this recipe is going to be a keeper for me!