Wednesday, June 26, 2013

S'more Bars


I made these bars almost a year ago, and I have no idea why I've been keeping them to myself for so long. If I remember correctly, they were quite share-worthy.

S'mores are one of my favorite things ever, but for some reason I only make them during the summer. Considering the fact that every s'more I've made in recent memory has included a marshmallow that was toasted over a scented candle, I'm not sure why I haven't adopted s'more making as a year-round endeavor.

But since it is supposedly summer again (living in the Seattle area, it can sometimes be hard to tell), I'd say it's about time these bars had their moment in the sun. Zing!

S'more Bars
Adapted from Sugarcrafter

1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
7 ounces marshmallow creme
3-4 Hershey's milk chocolate bars

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray. Allow the foil to hang over the sides of the pan a bit so you can use the foil to remove the bars from the pan later.

2. Combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and continue creaming about 1 minute more. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until incorporated.

4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the dry ingredients. Mix at low speed until the dough comes together.

5. Press half of the prepared dough into an even layer in the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Spread the marshmallow creme evenly over the dough. Break up the Hershey bars and arrange them in a layer on top of the marshmallow creme. Scatter the second half of the dough over the top of the chocolate bars in little clumps, leaving space between them so the marshmallow and chocolate can show through.

6. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Let the bars cool completely (ha!) and then use the foil to lift the bars from the pan and cut them into squares.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Nutella-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream



Is it possible that this is my first Nutella recipe? If so, I guess that would be because I'm really more of a chocolate + peanut butter person. Like, really. No, really.

My sister, however, is a big fan of all things chocolate hazelnut, so I knew these cupcakes would be perfect for her birthday! And by perfect, I mean that this recipe uses two full jars of Nutella.

For me, the shining star of these cupcakes is the cake itself. It is the most chocolate-y, brownie-like, moist chocolate cake I've ever had. It's definitely going to be my new standby!

P.S. Does my six-month absence require explanation? To be honest, I just didn't want my hobby to start feeling like a chore, so I took a little break. But it's time to start getting back in the game... high baking season starts in just 11 short weeks!

Nutella-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream

For the cupcakes:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (3/4 oz) cocoa powder
1 & 1/4 cups boiling water
3/4 cup (3 & 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 oz) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 & 1/2 cups (10 & 1/2 oz) brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

one 13-ounce jar of Nutella

For the Nutella buttercream:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
one 13-ounce jar of Nutella
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
24 ounces powdered sugar
6-8 tablespoons milk

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

2. Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium-high speed for about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, and continue beating for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the speed to medium, and add the sour cream and vanilla. Mix until combined, then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

5. With the mixer running on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Once all the ingredients are added, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix for about 15 seconds more, or until totally combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give the batter a final stir by hand.

6. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

7. To make the frosting: Cream the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the Nutella and continue creaming for about 1 minute more. Add the salt and half of the powdered sugar, and mix at low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Add 6 tablespoons of milk and continue mixing at low speed until all of the milk is incorporated. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, and continue mixing until all of the sugar is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes. Check the consistency of the frosting. If it's too stiff, add more milk one tablespoon at a time; if it's too soft, add more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time.

8. To assemble the cupcakes: Use an apple corer (or something similar) to remove the center of each cupcake. Transfer one jar of Nutella to a pastry bag and use it to fill the center of each cupcake. Frost with Nutella buttercream and top with a Ferrero Rocher, if desired.

Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Molasses Spice Cookies


I've been meaning to make these cookies for quite some time, and I finally found an excuse this year when I decided to participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

Each participant sends one dozen cookies to three other food bloggers and receives cookies from three different food bloggers in return! As someone whose mailbox is normally full of bills, junk, and other people's mail (much to my annoyance)... I couldn't have been more excited to anxiously await three boxes of cookies!

(I usually check my mail about twice a month, but for the past two weeks I've been checking it every day!)

My cookies traveled to Sara of Sensibly Sara, Kristen of The Slender Kitchen, and Rebekah of The Cooking Vent. I hope they enjoyed them as much as I did!

Molasses Spice Cookies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated

2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar + additional for rolling
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter for about one minute at medium speed. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar, and continue creaming for about two minutes more.

4. Reduce the speed to low, and add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then increase the speed to medium and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low, and add the molasses. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then increase the speed to medium and mix until combined.

5. Reduce the speed to stir and add the dry ingredients. Mix just until all of the flour is incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and stir any remaining streaks of flour in by hand.

6. Divide the dough into tablespoon-sized portions and roll into balls with your hands. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about two inches apart.

7. Bake until the cookies are browned but still puffy, about 8-11 minutes.The centers should still be soft and the edges will have just begun to set. Don't worry if they look slightly underbaked; they will continue to bake on the baking sheet after you remove it from the oven. If you overbake them, they will be crispy instead of chewy once they cool. Note: It's best to bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven; if you bake two trays at a time, the cookies closer to the bottom of the oven won't look "crackly."

8. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November via iPhone

It's not christmas without red cups!
(The fact that this photo was taken on November 1st is neither here nor there.)

 Target + Christmas? Be still my heart.

Christmas flair in my car! (on November 8th, no less)

 Picky Palate's salted pumpkin chocolate chunk cookies. It had to happen!

 Don't tell me you're surprised. 

Christmas tree up on November 14th! (I'm starting a revolution)

 Turkey cookies for Thanksgiving. Gobble gobble!

Homemade snowglobe! fa la la la la!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram if you'd like to see more evidence of my childlike obsession with the holiday season! (And, really, who wouldn't?)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall! Fall! Fall! + Spiced M&M Brown Sugar Cookies









Spiced M&M Brown Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 & 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup m&m's

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for about 1 minute at medium speed. Add the brown sugar, and cream for 1-2 minutes more, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the egg and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until thoroughly combined.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, and mix at low speed just until the dough comes together. Add the m&m's, and continue mixing until they are evenly distributed. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, and arrange the balls on cookie sheets about two inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.