"Come with me, and we'll see if a cupcake can make the world a better place to be." -Unknown
It's almost Valentine's Day, and for my that means chocolate (well, just between us, that's my MO on any given day actually). And what could be better than a cream-filled chocolate glazed cupcake? Hand-held happiness right there!
Growing up, my aunt and uncle owned a little neighborhood corner store. Besides penny candy they also carried the whole line of Hostess goodies. In my opinion, the only one worth the time to unwrap was the two pack of hostess cupcakes, one for me , and well, the other one for um, me. We saw them several times a year and could eat our fill of all kinds of awful-ly wonderful stuff. But the Hostess cupcakes took the cake (pun intended).
Inevitably I grew up and evolved, taste buds included, and the packaged, highly processed delights of my childhood no longer delighted me (with the exception of an occasional vanilla Pop-Tart* and M&M's*, but I digress)., but the memory certainly did. Mock Hostess* cupcakes to the rescue. There are several steps, but don't be intimidated. They are all easy, can be broken down, made ahead and assembled later. Printable PDF of recipe below. Fill your hearts with love and your tummies with treats this Valentine's Day!
Mock Hostess Cupcakes- makes approximately 2 dozen
Prepared and cooled Chocolate cupcakes (the best recipe is here)
Marshmallow Cream Filling (recipe below)
Chocolate Glaze (recipe below)
specialty equipment needed - Wilton Bismark Piping Tip
Marshmallow Cream Filling:
3 Tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cold water
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin, such as Knox
4 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste OR seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 cups marshmallow cream
(adapted from Simply Sensational Desserts by Francois Payard)
6 ounces good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
small pinch instant espresso powder
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup such as Karo (not high fructose corn syrup)
1. Put water into a medium sized, microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly on top. Let sit 5 minutes to soften. Microwave mixture on high for 30-60 seconds, JUST until gelatin is melted and small bubbles appear at the edge. Remove.
2. Whisk in butter, salt and vanilla bean paste until smooth. This is a little messy but trust it will come together because it will.
3. Whisk in marshmallow cream. Again, it will come together. Patience and care. Cover mixture with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (can be made up to 3 days ahead at this point, cover and refrigerate until needed).
4. Meanwhile prepare chocolate glaze: In a medium sauce pan, combine cream, espresso powder and corn syrup, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate just until submerged in cream, cover and set aside for 3 minutes.
5. Remove cover and whisk glaze until smooth; set aside. (can be made up to 3 days ahead, cover and refrigerate. To use, gently reheat in microwave on half power at 30 second intervals, until smooth and fluid).
6. Insert tip into piping bag. Fill bag half-way with cold marshmallow cream mixture. Poking a hole through the bottom of the cupcake, pipe filling, applying pressure to the bag while simultaneously pulling it steadily back out as you pipe, finally releasing pressure right before removing tip,until you feel cupcake get slightly heavier. Do not over-fill or cupcake will pop open. This may take a few to get the hang of it, but you'll master it in no time!
7. Once all cupcakes are filled, dip the tops into chocolate glaze, twisting back and forth a couple of times to make sure it's well coated. As you remove the cupcake from the glaze, holding the cupcake close to the surface of the glaze, give it a little shake to allow excess to drip off. This is a gently motion. Immediately tip cupcake right side up and shower it gently with sprinkles of your choice.Repeat until all cupcakes are finished. Alternately, while glaze is still wet, you can pipe a design with melted white chocolate on top instead, more closely mimicking the whole Hostess thing.
Happy Valentine's Day to you, lovely reader. May your day be sweet and delicious! ♥
NOTE: Cupcakes are best eaten fresh, but may be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
* Hostess, Pop-Tarts and M&M's are registered trademarks and not affiliated with this recipe at all.
“I've never met a problem a proper cupcake couldn't fix." -Sarah Ockler
I'm thinking happy thoughts. They say the mind is so powerful if we can change our mind about something then we can change our lives. So happy it is. And what food could be happier than cupcakes, specifically, moist chocolate cupcakes? I mean, who wouldn't want essentially a mini cake all to him or herself? And let's face it, the ratio of frosting to cake is way better in a cupcake than in a slice of cake. We all know the frosting is the only reason to eat any cake anyway. So, all the more reason to love those little joy cakes. This recipe is super easy to make and you can frost it any way you please. My favorite ways are with a dense chocolate cream frosting (shown below) or a delicious , tangy cream cheese frosting. What's your favorite way?
Moist Chocolate Cupcakes - yields about 22 regular cupcakes
2 1/8 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon good quality cocoa powder such as Valrhona or Cocoa Barry
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable or melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup hot freshly brewed coffee or boiling water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners (22 of the 24 wells); set aside.
2. In bowl of stand mixer, sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, soda and cocoa powder. Place on mixer and turn on lowest speed.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla ( if using coconut oil, make sure milk and eggs are at room temp or slightly warm) until well blended. Add to flour mixture on low speed and mix for 1 minute on low. Scrape down bowl, increase to medium speed and and continue mixing for 2 minutes.
4. Off mixer, using a rubber spatula stir in boiling water or hot coffee by hand until fully combined.
5. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup , pour batter into each liner.* Bake at 350 F until cupcakes come out with moist crumbs attached, about 15-20 minutes. Do not over-bake!
6. Let cool completely then frost as desired. If using cream cheese or creamy chocolate icing, keep frosted cupcakes in refrigerator for storage.
Notes: If you live at high altitude (5000-ish ft above sea level like I do), make the following changes:
reduce both baking soda and powder to 1 1/8 tsp each, add in 2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce with liquid ingredients and increase flour to 1 3/4 cups PLUS 2 tablespoons and reduce sugar to 2 cups. Bake as directed.
"A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand." - unknown
October is just about over, so this is my last post commemorating National Cookie Month. I thought I'd end it with a no-bake cookie, so simple yet so unbelievably good. I tell you they are addicting! This is an adaptation of a recipe by the acclaimed British food writer/cookbook author/television personality Nigel Slater. I love how honest his food is. I am in love with his book Real Food, although he has 7 other titles to his name. I call these no bake cookies, Nigel's Fudge Crunchies. They have been a hit in my house for many years now. My kids love them! You may argue they are more confection than cookie, but that would just be superfluous (one of the only big words I know -lol!), Any way you call them they are delicious. I will admit they don't photograph as well as some, but you'll get a good idea nonetheless. Another (any) holiday favorite perhaps? If you want more cookie recipes, you can scroll through here.
Nigel's Fudge Crunchies- Makes about 21
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
teensy weensy pinch of sea salt
3 Tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup*
1/2 ounce Unsweetened chocolate, fienly chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-72%) **
2 1/2 cups corn flakes
colored non-pareils of your choice- optional, but recommended
1. In a medium saucepan over low heat stir together the butter, golden syrup, salt and chocolates until melted and smooth, stirring continuously.
2. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and gently stir in corn flakes with a rubber spatula until completely coated with chocolate.
3. Place 21 mini muffin cups on a sheet pan if you want to have a more polished presentation. Alternatively, line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie mixture into each mini muffin cup or straight onto lined baking sheet.
4. Sprinkle the tops with a small pinch of non-pareils or to taste.
5. Place tray in refrigerator to set up cookies. Best stored in refrigerator... if they last that long. ; )
* Lyle's Golden Syrup is a very unique tasting cane sugar product. It has the flavor of almost a caramelized, slightly burnt sugar. It is superb tasting. You will not get the same flavor substituting another liquid sugar syrup such as corn or rice syrup or honey, but you can feel free to experiment. Besides on-line you may find Lyle's Golden Syrup at specialty Food stores, international grocer's or if you live in the US, at Cost Plus World Market.
** Since this recipe relies on so few ingredients they all have to be top notch. Use the best chocolate you can afford here. This is not the place to use chocolate chips or candy bar chocolate. Some reliable quality brands are Valrhona, Callebaut, E Guittard, El Rey or Lindt.
"C is for Cookie. That's good enough for me." -Cookie Monster
National Cookie month continues! I posted a picture of this cookie a while back on my Facebook and Instagram feed and it was quickly voted the recipe most of my followers there wanted to see. It is worth their adoration, too. It is fudgy and minty and beautiful. I know it's only a little early to talk about this, but what a great addition to your holiday cookie trays this would be, am I right? They are super easy to make. Just make sure you use good quality chocolate like the mint infused Lindt chocolate bar here. Be sure to check out the interesting variations below. Also if mint and chocolate are your thing, check out these recipes here and here.
Mint Crinkle Cookies
2 cups (9 ounces)all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder *
1/8 teaspoons sea salt
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces ) unsalted butter, cubed
4 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
2 ounces mint infused chocolate such as Lindt
1/3 cup mini marshmallows (stale is even better)
1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of a mixer whisk together the eggs, granulated and brown sugars and extracts on medium speed until well combined and just slightly increased in volume
4. Stir in melted chocolate on low speed a. Scrape down bowl and then add in flour until almost fully combined.
5. By hand, using a rubber spatula, stir in chopped mint infused chocolate and mini marshmallows until well combined.
6. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over-night.
7. When you are ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350 Degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Remove dough from fridge and using an ice cream scoop, portion out dough into approximately 2 1/2 Tablespoon balls. Coat dough thoroughly in powdered sugar. Space 2" apart on prepared baking sheets.
9. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until tops are crackled and middle appears set and is no longer glossy. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several minute before transferring to a cooling rack.
* if baking at sea level (I am at high altitude) increase baking powder to 2 teaspoons.
These cookies freeze beautifully, wrapped air-tight for up to 2 months if you want to get a head start on your holiday baking.
Chocolate Orange Crinkles- Omit pepermint extract. Increase vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons, Stir in 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest with eggs and sugar. Omit mint chocolate and use 2 ounces Lindt Intense Orange instead.
Mocha Crinkles: Omit peppermint extract.Increase vanilla to 2 teaspoons Stir in 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder with vanilla. Omit mint chocolate and use finely chopped good quality milk chocolate instead.
Chocolate Chili Crinkles-Omit peppermint extract. Kee vanilla at 1 1/2 teaspoons. Add 1/4 teaspoon PURE chile powder (not a spice blend chili powder) to the dry ingredients. Omit Mint chocolate and use 2 ounces of Lindt Chili Chocolate instead.
Dark Fudge Crinkles: Omit peppermint extract. Increase vanilla to 2 teaspoons. Add a little pinch of instant espresso powder to dry ingredients. Omit mint chocolate and substitute mini chocolate chips or chopped up bittersweet chocolate instead.
“I want to take all our best moments, put them in a jar, and take them out like cookies and savor each one of them forever.” - Crystal Woods, Write Like No One is Reading
If you read my last post you know that here in the US, October is National Cookie Month. Unfortunately, with our Presidential election only weeks away, and all the attention directed toward that, the cookie has been over-looked. I know, it's truly a sad state affairs. For one, if both (which should read all) parties would just sit down with some cookies and commit to the greater good, I am certain things would go a lot smoother. Who writes the policy for that? In any case, here is my second entry for the month....the quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookie. It is buttery, brown sugary and so full of chocolate! I worked on this recipe for a long time and I may still tweak it here and there, but for now, it's better than good. I know everyone says their recipe is the best, but I really mean it! Just kidding....but hey why not try it and see what you think? The worst thing that will happen is that you will make somebody really happy when you pull them out of the oven! Or spread the love by bringing a plate to someone special just because! #cookiesandkindness
Chocolate Chip Cookies:-makes a lot*
16 1/2 ounces (2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces (approx. 1 3/4 cup lightly packed) light brown sugar
8 ounces (approx. 1 cup 2 Tablespoon) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
21 ounces ( approcimately 4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoon baking soda**
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound 12 ounces chocolate chips, chopped bittersweet chocolate or a combination of the two
1. With a whisk, mix together, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside
2. Cream butter and sugar on low speed of stand mixer until combined.
3. On low speed, add in eggs and vanilla. Raise speed to medium for about 20 seconds, to combine well. Reduce speed to low. Stir in flour mixture and mix until almost combined.
4. Stir in chocolate chips/chopped chocolate (I like to use different kinds mixed together just for fun and variation).
5. Wrap dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 24 -48 hours***
6. When ready to bake, remove dough from fridge about 2o-30 minutes before baking, line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Scoop out dough using an ice cream scoop that holds about 2 1/2 tablespoons. Place them 2" apart on lined baking sheets. Pat down the tops slightly.
8. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown and middles are set. Let cool a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack and/or devouring them. Hint: try eating them frozen- my personal favorite!!
* I like to make this really large batch, scoop out what I want for cookies then scoop out the rest of the dough balls onto a cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer the dough balls to a freezer bag and store in the freezer, as air-tight as possible, for up to 2 months. Then when you want cookies, simply remove some dough balls from freezer, let sit out 2o-30 minutes before baking and you get cookies with little to no effort!
** this recipe was developed at high altitude. If you live closer to sea level you may have to increase your baking soda to 1 1/2 teaspoons, maybe even 1 3/4. Baking powder is just to give it a little lift. Do not change.
*** if you chill the dough before baking, this gives all the ingredients time to really meld together and that in turn will give you more golden brown cookies with a more pronounced caramelization of the edges, which tastes so good. IF you can't stand to wait, baking them immediately after mixing will still be fine.
M&M chocolate chip cookies (my favorite): Reduce chocolate chips from 28 ounces to 24 ounces. Dip tops of dough balls into a bowl of your favorite plain M&M's (I love making them using all the seasonal M&M varieties-autumn colors shown here), Mini M&M's are also fun. Bake as directed.
Chocolate Chip with Walnuts: Reduce Chocolate chips from 28 ounces to 22 ounces. Stir in 1 1/2 cups lightly toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts along with chocolate chips. Bake as directed. (These remind me of my paternal grandma, Julia Byrnes). ♥
"Chocolate, I am sure, is the concrete manifestation of love. " -Geneen Roth
Yesterday was International Chocolate Day. I'm not sure who keeps the calendar of such things, but seems I'm always out of the loop until after the fact. Oh well... And anyways, when it comes to chocolate I'm more in the let's celebrate it often camp. Giving just one day to the original "food of the Gods" hardly seems adequate. So in the spirit of all things chocolate and seeing it was a rainy, chilly day around here yesterday, stirring up a pot of chocolate pudding (because it is delicious warm, too) seemed like just the right thing to do.
Divinely Delicious Chocolate Pudding- serves 2-6 (well, yeah)
2 1/4 cups whole or 2% milk*
3/4 cup whole or 2% milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder**
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Cornstarch (non-gmo preferably)
3/8 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
6 ounces high-quality chocolate (60-62% cocoa content is my preference), chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the 3/4 cup of milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a medium sized saucepan, bring the 2 1/4 cups milk to a simmer over medium heat.
3. Whisk in cocoa mixture and continue to cook, whisking constantly until mixture come to a boil and is thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
5. Immediately pour it into heat safe serving glasses, a serving bowl or even into a large graham cracker crust (it's so very yummy as a chocolate cream pie).
6. Refrigerate to firm up (a must if making a pie)***, or let it cool off a little bit and eat it warm. It's delicious either way.
7. Top with whipped cream and serve!
oh, man, was that ever good!
* I have never tried the recipe with dairy-alternative milks, so can't speak to the success that might have.
** Please seek out a really good cocoa powder. I love Valrhona and Cocoa Barry Extra Brute.
*** I LOVE pudding skin. If that's not for you, once you pour the pudding into its final resting place, press plastic wrap directly on top of pudding, piercing with a knife in a couple places to allow heat to escape, before refrigerating.
"Don't cry me a river. That's stupid! Cry me a milkshake." -unknown
When I was young, for several summers my family was invited up to an Adirondack lake called Follensby Clear Pond by some family friends. The family shared some of their family cabins on a small island with us. There was no electricity, we had to pump our water, bathe in the lake and use an outhouse among other wonderful adventures. We all fell instantly and permanently in love with the place. We swam, fished, water skied, fed the chipmunks peanuts, and every night, weather permitting, we had a campfire with singing, popcorn and our most favorite treat of all, "shutemuppers" (pronounced: shut 'em uppers). I had never heard of them before then and have never heard of them since. They were basically s'mores with the addition of a Kraft caramel square inside. I believe the adults coined the name "shutemuppers" as the children's mouths were too busy chewing through the gooey sticky layers to speak thus affording the adults a moment, maybe two, of quiet. Isn't that a great story? I have only the fondest , most beautiful memories of that very simple, wonderful time. So this shake is my nod to that campfire treat of long ago. But maybe now the Shutemupper part is that it is so tasty you will be speechless, if only for a moment! I hope you enjoy it as much as I treasure my memory. ; )
Shutemupper Shake -makes 2 large
2 ounces melted semisweet or bittersweet chocolate*
1/8 cup coarse graham cracker crumbs
2 cups chocolate ice cream
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
16 very well toasted marshmallows (I like Jet Puff better than store brands)**
2 double rectangles of Hershey's Milk Chocolate (or better)
2 tablespoons caramel sauce (see step #9 in recipe)
1. Dip the tops of your glasses into the melted chocolate and then into the graham cracker crumbs. Place in fridge to harden.
2. In jar of blender, pour in milk and scoop in both flavors of ice cream and 12 of the toasted marshmallows (i know....). Reserve the other 4 for garnish.
3. Right before blending shake, drizzle 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce down the sides of both glasses.
4. Blend the milkshakes well, according to your blender instructions, until thick and smooth. Pour into prepared glasses. Top with reserved toasted marshmallows and chocolate squares. Serve immediately!
* I melt the chocolate in a small bowl, just large enough for the rim of my glass to fit in so it is deep enough to coat about 1/2" of the rim.
** you want to have your marshmallows very well toasted for flavor, but not burnt. If your grill isn't available you can broil them carefully in your oven, but keep an eye on them. It can go from perfect to bad very quickly! A small kitchen torch could also be used, with care of course, to toast the marshmallows. Remember they will be hot, especially the molten center-handle with care!
DISCLAIMER: This is a total sugar bomb. I don't recommend indulging often. You can obviously scale down the portion to make 4-6 small ones. You can also reduce the sugar coma effect by omitting the marshmallows from the shake mixture and using them only for garnish. Enjoy in moderation as with all things! xo
“Baking and love go hand in hand, for as one bakes a tasty treat and fills the room with its sweet aroma, the true joy is to take what has been made and share it with another.” - Heather Wolf, Kipnuk has a Birthday
It's true, baking is no fun if the final result isn't going to be shared with anyone. Over the weekend we took a long road trip from our home in Colorado to visit our son who is at the University of Nebraska. He is playing club rugby for UNL and we hadn't had a chance to see him play yet. This past weekend was our opportunity, and we'd been looking forward to it for weeks. I'm firmly in the "food is love" camp, and so I wanted to bring him a treat that would survive the car ride, have a good shelf life and be conducive to sharing. Gooey Peanut Butter M&M Oat Bars fit the bill perfectly. This recipe is an adaptation of one I have been making for a long time. It originally appeared in a little cookbook I bought at a Southern Living at Home party years ago but called for regular Milk Chocolate M&M's. So feel free to make that substitution if you prefer. Each variation is pretty outrageously good!
Gooey Peanut Butter M&M Oat Bars- makes 1- 9x13" pan
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (you could use dry roasted unsalted peanuts, too) but I prefer pecans)
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (einkorn flour or gluten free flour may be substituted)
2 cups Old-Fashioned (Rolled) oats (use gluten free , if desired)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
12 ounces (approx a full 1 1/2 cups) Peanut Butter M&M's , divided (or a mixture of Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate, per your taste)
1- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter (I like Jif)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9x13" baking pan with aluminum foil; lightly grease or spray with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pecans, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and oats. Mix on low to combine.
3. On low speed stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. Press the remainder evenly into the prepared 9x13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
4. Meanwhile, place 8 ounces (approx 1 full cup) of Peanut Butter M&M's in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 30 second intervals, pressing on candies with back of wooden spoon to mash between intervals, until candies are pretty much all melted with pieces of the candy shell speckling the mix). Stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and peanut butter. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture over cooled base, leaving a small border around all sides.
5. Combine reserved crumb mixture with remaining 4 ounces (approximately a full 1/2 cup) M&M candies.
6. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over chocolate-peanut butter mixture. Press lightly to adhere. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until bars are set and nicely golden.
7. Let bars cool completely before cutting (to cut, remove bars from pan using foil ends. Peel off foil and cut bars into desired size). Bars keep well for 3-4 days, wrapped tightly in foil, at room temperature. They freeze beautifully, too, wrapped air-tight in foil and placed inside zip top freezer bags for up to 2 months.
* Note: if using Einkorn flour reduce butter to 7 ounces. Proceed as for bars above.
"It's like peanut butter and chocolate. Each is great, but they're better together." -Richard Whitehead
I'm dating myself, but anyone else remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial that had that line in it? In the end it was a good thing though! Chocolate and peanut butter together is a match made in heaven.
A while back there was a really nice magazine published (or at least I thought so) called Chocolatier. Are you familiar with it? Sadly it is no longer. As a pastry fan and pastry professional hopeful and then a working pastry professional, it was a magic door into pastry worlds I only dreamed of. I remember one recipe for a cookie I think was called Tiger Striped Cookies. It was a drop peanut butter cookie with chocolate streaks through it. Once it was baked it had a pretty striking appearance and a great flavor. I had the recipe for a long time and then through subsequent moves and whittling down my recipe collection it somehow disappeared. I was thinking about that recipe the other day and thought I'd just try to recreate it to the best of my memory. Here is the result for that cookie- super easy, super tasty. If you are in the chocolate-peanut butter lover's camp I bet you will love it. Let me know, won't you?
I used Einkorn flour for my gluten sensitive daughter but the recipe shows the ingredients for both all-purpose or Einkorn flour. For that matter you can also use a 1:1 ratio gluten free baking flour just as easily.
Peanut Butter "Tiger Stripe" Cookies- Yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies
2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed (14 ounces)
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
1 cup ( 8 ounces)unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (OR 10 3/4 ounces Einkorn Flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda*
1 teaspoon baking Powder*
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 ounces good-quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
* I am 5,o00 ft above sea level. I reduce baking soda to 1 1/8 teaspoon and baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon, in case you are baking at high altitude, too.
3. Cream together sugar, peanut butter, and butter on low speed of stand mixer until well -combined.
4. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well incorporated.
6. Reduce mixer to low speed and stir in flour mixture just until combined. Remove bowl from mixer.
7. Drizzle melted chocolate on top of dough in a random fashion
8. By hand, using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the melted chocolate into the dough, leaving distinct areas of peanut butter and chocolate dough. The idea isn't to make this a chocolate dough. It should look marbled, more or less like this:
9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a spring-loaded cookie (ice cream) scoop, dish out balls of dough onto baking sheet, spacing 2 " apart.
10. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 12-13minutes until done. Remove from oven and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough until all the dough is baked off.
11. Well now you have left to do is eat them (though sharing them would be a nice idea, too). ♥
“And when all of the flourless chocolate cakes & chocolate mousse or ganache cakes have come and gone, there will still be nothing like a fudgy brownie, dry & crackled on top, moist & dense within, with a glass of cold milk.” -Richard Sax
Did you try the brownies I featured last week (recipe here)? Well, if not, I bet today's post is going to have you running to preheat the oven! This recipe for Caramel Brownie Parfaits is so good! This recipe is a family favorite and we tend to make them for lots of our special occasion and holiday meals because they are, well, um... caramel and chocolatey , like together! There are a few steps, but all of them are quite simple. Also a little waiting is involved, so plan to start the recipe about 24 hours ahead, especially if you also need to make the brownies. In fact, this is a great make ahead dessert.. The caramel sauce can be made up to a week ahead, store in the refrigerator. The brownies can be made up to 3 days ahead, store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Make the caramel cream 24 hours in advance. Assemble parfaits up to 24 hours ahead of serving. Got your game plan ready?
The recipe makes about 6 , depending on the size glass you use. They would also be so, so darling (and less caloric) made in little mini portions for a crowd. Whatever size you choose to make them, these creamy, fudgy, gooey parfaits will have you licking the spoons and the inside of the glass for every last bit! So let's get started, shall we?
Caramel Brownie Parfaits
3 cups (approximately) of cubed (about 1/2") pre-made brownies
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup plus 10 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cups milk, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 2/3 cup heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
1 small pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Make Caramel Cream: In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks well. While whisking, sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar. Combine well. Whisk in cornstarch and lastly, whisk in 1/4 cup milk; set aside.
2. In a 1 1/2- quart saucepan, combine 7 Tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 Tablespoons water.
3. Cook sugar mixture over medium to medium heat, stirring. STOP stirring as soon as mixture begins to boil. Before mixture comes to a boil, brush down sides of pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush. Continue cooking sugar, swirling pan gently as needed to cook evenly, until mixture is a medium dark amber color.
4. Once desired color is achieved, remove pan from heat and immediately yet carefully pour in 1/2 cup of milk. Mixture is extremely hot and will rise up and sputter- exercise the utmost caution here.
5 Return pan to heat and cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously until caramel is melted and mixture is smooth.
6. Temper reserved egg yolk mixture by pouring about 1/3 of the hot milk-caramelized sugar mixture into egg yolks, while whisking constantly (you don't want scrambled eggs here). Return egg-milk mixture to pan and cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof rubber spatula, until mixture has come to a boil. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
7. Immediately strain mixture through a fine sieve into a clean heatproof bowl to remove any lumps then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
8. Cover mixture directly on the surface with plastic wrap, poking a hole in to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until very cold at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
9. Make Caramel Sauce: in 1 1/2 qt sauce pan, combine 3/4 cups granulated sugar with 3 Tablespoons water. Combine well. As with caramel cream recipe, cook sugar over medium to medium-high heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil (brush down sides occasionally with wet pastry brush).
10. Once mixture comes to a boil, STOP stirring. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally as need to cook evenly, until mixture comes to that same medium-dark amber color mentioned above.
11. Remove from heat and very carefully pour in 2/3 cup heavy cream (mixture is extremely hot and will sputter-exercise extreme caution).
12. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat until caramelized sugar has melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl or pitcher. Stir in butter, small pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine well. Allow to cool at room temperature, then cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.
13. Assemble Parfaits: Remove caramel cream from refrigerator. In a mixing bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with a hand held mixer until medium peaks form.
14. Whisk about 1/3 of cream into chilled caramel cream base, Fold remaining whipped cream into caramel cream; set aside.
15. Remove caramel sauce from refrigerator. Gradually and gently liquefy it at 15-20 second intervals in the microwave on defrost just to a drizzling consistency (you don't really want to heat it it as otherwise the hot caramel will melt your caramel cream.
16. Cut your brownies into cubes, if you have not done so already. Place 3 brownie cubes and 2 -3 teaspoons of caramel sauce in the bottom of each glass (adjust accordingly if you chose to make mini versions).
17. Top with approx. 1/4 cup of caramel cream. Continuing layering brownies, caramel sauce and cream, ending with brownie cubes and caramel sauce as shown.If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
18. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a small brownie cube, if desired.
19. Dig in! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Note: this parfait would also be great with a little added crunch. Try layering toasted chopped pecans or these praline pecans (divine!!) in the brownie layer. Feel free to leave a comment if you try this recipe. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Happy creating! ♥