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Archive for March, 2011

You are so beautiful to me. Can't you see?

I’m back on a cupcake kick. I really do have an obsession with cupcakes that is incurable. There is no help for me, and I have accepted that fate. Not that it took a lot of effort for me to accept it. I really didn’t have a problem with it in the first place.

I figure that I should stop baking other things and just bake cupcakes. I’ll make them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s probably a savory cupcake that I could make. Is it even considered a cupcake if it isn’t sweet? Wouldn’t is simply be a savory muffin? I feel like I should know these things, but I don’t. To be quite honest, it doesn’t make one bit of difference to me.

One thing that I’ve always loved baking is my brownie cupcakes. I made my first batch for my friend Ashley’s birthday. However, those were mini-cupcakes and had a peanut butter cup on the inside. Those were quite the hit. Since then, I have expanded my brownie cupcakes, and also made them quite larger. They were actually what my Mom requested for her 50th birthday. She’s going to kill me once she sees that I announced how old she was on the Internet. Whoops. If I never blog again, just know that I love you.

Maybe these rants are pointless. Goodness. I really need to stop, but blogs are the ULTIMATE place to be self-centered. It wouldn’t be a blog if you didn’t talk about yourself, right? Well, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

For now.

Back to the brownies. I started with a brownie batter. Some people will probably want to use a box batter, which is perfectly acceptable. I’ve tried using those before, and they turn out very nicely as well. They also make the perfect amount of batter for 12 cupcakes.

My Mom is secretly a hand model.

When the cupcakes finally cooled, I simply melted about 1 cup of white chocolate chips in the microwave, filled up my Dessert Decorator (see below), and used the filling tip to insert said white chocolate into the cupcakes. I wish I would have added a little bit more to the center, but I will work on that next time (because there will certainly be a next time).

Isn't she beautiful?

I just got the Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus yesterday. Normally, I would say that this is a cop-out, but it is the best thing that I’ve ever bought. Parchment bags and other decorating bags give me a lot of trouble. A lot of that probably has to do with my lack of technique and training. And patience. Definitely patience. My Mom and I went to look at some of the cake decorating supplies they had yesterday, and we looked at this minuscule section for almost an hour. We pondered the pros and cons of this decorator vs. decorating bags. The decorating bags had a longer list of cons than pros. The decorator had a longer list of pros than cons. It was only like $12, and I felt like I had won the lottery.

But my life only got better once I actually used it. It was a really close call. I thought that I was going to start crying tears of joy. I settled for a yelp. My Mom thought I was being attacked, but she wanted to wait until she was done doing whatever she was doing. Once she came out, she was like, “I assumed nothing was wrong because I didn’t hear any screams following the first one.” Cute.

The icing came out so nicely. I really do have bad luck with decorating bags. This was a great purchase for me because I can start with these, and work my way up to the decorating bags. Decorating bags seem to be more versatile due to the large range of tips, but I want to work on that later.

I used to star tip for these, and I got a really nice swirl on the icing. I was going to use the round tip and go for more of a dollop, but I was feeling adventurous, and it paid off. I do, however, plan on using the round tip for my Easter-themed cupcakes that I’m planning on doing.

White Chocolate-Filled Brownie Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter.
  • 11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped.
  • 3 large eggs.
  • 1 cup sugar.
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa.
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Nonstick cooking spray.
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips (depends on how much filling you want).
  • Chocolate icing (I used a pre-made kind because I’m feeling lazy).
  • Filling tip and star tip.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-count muffin tin with cupcake liners, and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and 8 ounces of chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Stir in the melted chocolate until combined. Stir in remaining 3 ounces of chocolate.
  4. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake until a firm crust forms on the cupcakes, about 20-25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and continue to cool on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).
  5. Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler, and insert into decorator (I guess this would be difficult with decorating bags). Add on the filling tip. Poke a hole into the middle of the cupcakes, and insert the white chocolate.
  6. Add a star-tip to the decorator/decorating bag and insert the chocolate icing into the decorator/decorating bag. Ice the cupcakes generously.

Time Spent: 60 minutes spent shopping for supplies, 30 minutes prepping, 25 minutes cooking, 45 minutes cooling, 25 minutes spent icing/filling 30 minutes for blogging ~ 3.5 hours spent.

Dang, I really need to work on speeding things up a little bit.

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If there is one thing I love in this world, it is mint-flavored anything. Mint cookies, mint cake, mint candies, mint drinks. I’m legitimately obsessed with mint. I’m sure there is a Mint-Lovers Anonymous, and I’m sure that I need to join it. However, in my mint-bliss, I ignore the fact that I do  have a problem. 

But these cookies were amazing. I was having a craving for something minty, something simple, and something relatively quick. I sat and stared at my oven until these were done cooking.

I really enjoyed making these because I was completely alone in my house, it was raining, and I was singing Arcade Fire at the top of my lungs. It was the best part of the whole adventure, actually.

It’s times like these that make me remember why it’s probably a good thing that I’m not left by myself for long periods of time. I like listening to my music at an earsplitting volume, and I also neglect my homework. Maybe I’m not that great at multi-tasking. Just maybe. Well, I can multi-task, but I just can’t scream and do homework at the same time. For the most part, I just end up writing down lyrics for answers.  There are countless papers that have had Sufjan Stevens lyrics inserted into them. Good thing I proofread.

But I digress. These cookies were wonderful. I have a thing for chewy cookies, so I was very impressed with these. If a cookie isn’t chewy, I’m not interested. If you have ever purchased a cookie that has a dent in the middle, it’s probably my fault. I’m that person who goes around, poking the middle of cookies, and seeing if they’re soft. It’s a terrible habit, but I have no desire to purchase a cookie that feels like a brick.

A lot of mint products have an overwhelming mint taste, but these (for me) were the perfect balance. Not too much. Not too little. It was absolute bliss.

Have I ever mentioned that my counter is always COVERED in flour after I’m done? It always looks like the flour fairy went nuts. I try my best to be neat and organized, but it never works out that way. Everything ends up being unorganized and messy. Needless to say, my OCD always goes absolutely bonkers when I’m done. If I wasn’t getting some sweet goodness afterwards, I wouldn’t put myself through this torture.

But I’m pretty sure that these cookies were worth the pain that they caused. Maybe I should just stop being so anal about it. Maybe that would get rid of all of my problems. But where’s the fun in that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Make 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
  • 1/2 (or 1 stick) of unsalted butter.
  • 1 cup of sugar.
  • 1 large egg, beaten.
  • 2 tablespoons of milk.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract.
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips.
  • 1 cup of mint chips (I used Andes)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add in egg, milk, and vanilla with butter and sugar.
  5. Add in the flour, salt, and baking powder mixture.
  6. Add in mint extract, chocolate chips, and mint chips; stir until well blended (I suggest using your hands for this).
  7. Form cookie rounds (I never measure this, but I made them rather large).
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes and wait for it to cool.

Time Spent: 30 minute for prep, 10 minutes for cooking, 30 minutes for cooling, 1 hour for blogging~1.7 hours.

I’m really slow, you guys. My prep takes much longer than it should, but I’m working on it.

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