Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Hope you had a wonderful time with your family and friends.!
Working in retail, my Thanksgiving was cut short. I had to be at work at 10pm that night.
I wanted to bake something to bring for my co-workers and I found the recipe and had to try them.
I know, I know, another chocolate raspberry cupcake?
But let me tell you, when I tell you that these were good, they were good!
The frosting is made with fresh raspberries and tastes so good, I couldn't stop snacking on the leftovers. I got a super sugar high.
The cupcakes are slightly dry and the frosting was slightly liquid-y but the two together was the perfect combination.
If you love a chocolate-raspberry combo, like you all know I do, these are a must try.
I used dark chocolate coco powder instead of the coco powder that the recipe calls for and used Ghirardelli chocolate. I also used about a half cup- to a full cup more of powdered sugar to try to get a thicker consistency of the frosting, it was still a little watery but I actually ran out of powdered sugar. The last difference in my cupcakes versus the original recipe by Two Peas & Their Pod  was that I didn't have a fine sieve to get the raspberry seeds out of the frosting, but I didn't really think it made that much of a difference.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
makes 1 dozen cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, (cubed)
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, (finely chopped)
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

For the Frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, (softened)
2 cups powdered sugar
1cup fresh raspberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
Place butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heat proof bowl.
Microwave in 30 second spurts on 50% power, stirring in between, until the butter and chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth.
Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
Set aside.
In your mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the sugar, vanilla, and salt, whisking until well combined.
Add the chocolate mixture and continue to whisk until combined.
Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl and when that's combined, add the Greek yogurt.
Sift the rest of the dry ingredients and combine, the batter will be thick.
Divide the batter evenly among the paper liners in your prepared muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pan a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the raspberry buttercream frosting.
In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberries.
Pour the raspberries through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on the solids, to remove the seeds.
Place butter, half of the powdered sugar, and raspberry puree into a mixing bowl.
Beat over low speed until well mixed.
Add the other half of the sugar, increase speed to medium.
Mix until light and fluffy.
Frost cooled cupcakes with the raspberry buttercream and top with a fresh raspberry, if desired.

Pecan Pie Cookies

Happy early Thanksgiving everyone!
I've always had a hard time with Thanksgiving desserts, being a picky eater. I don't like pumpkin, pies, cranberries, or pecans. I know, right? It's okay. I'm more of a carb person anyway and between the rolls and the mashed potatoes, I'm never left unsatisfied with a Thanksgiving meal. Go ahead splurge on the sweets and leave the real good stuff to me. However when planning what I was going to bring to this Thanksgiving feast, (I'm going to a friend's house), I decided that even though I don't enjoy the dessert portion of this day, I do love baking and everyone else loves pecans. I must say I tried a little bit of the filling, sans the pecans, and it was pretty delish, but you really can't go wrong with brown sugar and vanilla.
I did whoever take a few cookies to some of my co-workers for a trial run before the big day and everyone loved them. They said that they're really moist and taste almost like a pecan pie.
These cookies are really good and really easy to make so there's still time to make them for Thanksgiving if you need something different to please your guests or hostesses.
I got this recipe from The Beantown Baker. Very slightly adapted.

Pecan Pie Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

For the cookies:
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, (softened)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the filling:
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all the cookie ingredients except flour and baking powder in your mixing bowl.
Beat at medium speed until creamy.
Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking powder.
Beat until well mixed.
Chill the dough in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all filling ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined.
Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Make indentation in each cookie with your thumb and rotate to hollow out slightly.
Fill each cookie with one teaspoon of filling.
Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool 1 minute before removing to cooling racks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

7th Place Ribs

Every July my parents have a rib cook-off. It's a big deal with all their friends because everyone wants to win and are super competitive, it's also really fun.
This past summer I was able to be there so I decided to make ribs for the first time. Ever.
I picked this recipe because I didn't know really what flavor to go for, some people like lots of barbecue, some like lots of spices, or beer, or sweet, or just smokey. This recipe had spices, brown sugar, and beer, which was different from what I've seen before. It's actually pretty easy too, all the men were giving me a hard time about not starting my ribs days in advance and letting the spices and flavor soak in the ribs for a long period of time. Until they tasted them that is. Overall, my ribs get 7th out of about 20 entries, but i think the real test is how soon they're all gone. Mine were around the third to run out and everyone was saying how good they were. The ribs are juicy, full of flavor and cooked just right. and really what more can you ask for?
By the way I used Bud Light for the beer, but you can use whatever your personal preference is.
I had a missing summer moment and decided to make them again, see if they were as good as I remember, I have to say that they were and I was quite happy with the results.
Now, when I originally found these ribs they were off a blog online and i printed it out and only saved the page that i printed so i don't have the original site i got the recipe from, so if you know where its from, let me know so i can give them credit.
If you try these or any of my other posts make sure you leave a comment and tell me how it went or what you thought!


The rub
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

The Ribs
pork spareribs, prepped
1 cup dark brown sugar
12 ounces beer, (your favorite) 

Prep your slow cooker of choice for 250 degrees F indirect, adding smoke wood as directed by the manufacturer.
Prep your ribs if needed, using a paper towel to get all the crud off.
REserve 1 tablespoon of rub and coat the ribs with the rest., using twice as much on the meaty side as the back side.
Next, coat the meaty side with a layer of brown sugar and let it rest n the counter until the sugar dissolves, about 30-45 minutes.
Sprinkle the reserved rub over the dissolved sugar and cook for 3.5 hours.
When times up, remove the ribs to a sheet of foil.
For every pound of meat, drizzle 1 ounce of beer.
Wrap the ribs up completely in the foil and return to the grill for another 1.5 hours.
remove from grill and consume with the rest of the beer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Strawberry White Chocolate Brownies

This may shock you, but I'm really not much of a dessert person. Eating too much chocolate or sugar either gives me headaches or just makes me sick. So, when I really like a dessert you know it's good.
This is another reason I love mixing fresh fruit with my baked goods, they add a bit of tangy that balances out the sweetness and a different flavor other than chocolate.
These white chocolate brownies were very delicious and like the raspberry crumb bars I love to make, they were quite addictive. They were soft and moist. They'll be a hit with whomever you sever them to.
They're kind of summery, but I like to be a little unconventional and keep summer around year-round, and I live in Florida so summer is here year-round anyway. Even if you don't live in the sunshine state, dare to be a little unconventional sometimes. These would be a nice change from the typical Thanksgiving desert and much less heavy and filling. (hint, hint)
Sorry about the lack of more pictures. By the time I decided I needed more, it was a little too late.
This recipe is from The Way The Cookie Crumbles.

Strawberry White Chocolate Brownies

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
5 ounces white chocolate
5 tablespoons butter, (cubed)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
4 ounces strawberries, (hulled and quartered)

Adjust a rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan containing one inch of simmering water.
Add the chocolate and butter; stir frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth, them remove from heat.
Whisk in the sugar, (the mixture will appear curdled), the add the vanilla and eggs one at a time, whisking constantly.
Switch to a rubber spatula and add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
Gently fold in the strawberries.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it into an even layer.
Bake brownies for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted near the center cones out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and cut into 2-inch squares.