National Chocolate Cupcake Day

So it’s National Chocolate Cupcake Day.  I don’t want you to miss the boat.  So here are some options to consider…

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling and Peanut Butter Butter Cream

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Filling, Cream Cheese Frosting and Sea Salt Candied Nuts

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Fried Plantains

 

Moral of the story: Eat a cupcake today.

Almond Joy Biscotti: Almond-Coconut Biscotti Dipped in Chocolate

Sometimes I have random cravings like a pregnant woman.  No, I’m not pregnant.  Trust me.  I’m not, but my sister is pregnant so this is my point of comparison.  At times, I think I crave things as often as she does.

Tonight, I really wanted crunchy, raw cabbage with lemon lime and salt.  It was wonderful (and pretty random, right?).

Last week, I wanted biscotti.

Also totally random right?  Except for that fact that biscotti is delicious, and really I can’t think of a time I wouldn’t want to enjoy some biscotti with a cup of coffee.

But this biscotti:

This biscotti is crazy-delicious.  Hard to believe but true.  So go ahead.  Write down the recipe and get in the kitchen….

Almond Joy Biscotti

adapted from All Recipes

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups chocolate chips
1-2 tbsp oil

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in one egg at a time then vanilla.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt, until not quite combined.  Fold in almonds and coconut.

Line two baking sheets (or 1 large one) with parchment paper.  Flour your hands then take half the dough and drop it onto a baking sheet and try to mold it into a log-shape, more or less 3 inches wide and 12 inches long.  I say more or less because the dough will be very sticky and hard to handle but don’t worry it’ll all turn out fine once baked.  Do the same with the other half.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once the logs have cooled, using a serrated bread cut slightly slanted into 1/2-3/4 inch thick cookies.

Turn oven down to 275F.  Lay on another parchment paper-lined baking sheets, bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden on the bottom.  Flip each cookie and bake another 5-10 minutes.  Keep a close eye on them you don’t want to burn them!

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once the cookies have cooled.  Place chocolate chips in a bowl, microwave 30 seconds, then stir.  Microwave another 30 seconds, then stir.  Repeat until chocolate is melted.  Stir in 1-2 tbsp oil until the chocolate is slightly runny.

Dip one side of each cookie (Note: this makes about 40 cookies) in chocolate and lay on parchment paper.  Drizzle any remaining chocolate on top of cookies.  Refrigerate half an hour until chocolate sets.

Make a pot of coffee, serve and enjoy!

The good thing is if you’re not craving biscotti at this very moment, they stay good for about a week in an air-tight container.

So go ahead and preemptively give in to your cravings.

Make these, then snap a photo and send it to me!  No really, do it!

Milk Chocolate Brownie Pie with Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Crust

Remember when I told you to look forward to pies?  Well I didn’t make you wait long.  Here it is.



And let’s be honest about this.  Not all pies are pretty, but even if they’re not pretty they can still be tasty.  Let’s call it functional, not beautiful.  I’m pretty certain this pie won’t get as many pins as other ones.

You know what makes this even more functional: it’s easy.  Not that other pies are hard to make but with this one, you don’t have to deal with rolling a crust, peeling or chopping fruit, making a topping or even pulling out the hand mixer.

This pie is essentially chocolate chess pie.  However, no one seems to know what that is (not even me really…).  So my original intention was to call this Chocolate Milk Pie, because to me, it tastes like chocolate milk in a pie form.  But when I took it to work everyone kept calling it brownie pie.  I guess that might be a more accurate descriptions.

Hence…

Milk Chocolate Brownie Pie with Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Crust

adapted from Chocolate Chess Pie

For Crust:

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup powdered sugar

For Filling:

4 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
5 oz evaporated milk (you can buy 5 oz cans)

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Prepare the crust.  Melt butter and peanut butter together in a bowl.  Add sugar and graham cracker crumbs.  Combine and press into a 9inch pie dish.  Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Mix all the ingredients.  Pour filling into the pie dish.  Place use a pie shield or line the edges with aluminum foil (this really is crucial).  Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until the top is cracked but the inside still looks gooey.

Allow to cool completely and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream (optional).

The inside will be ooey, gooey and lovely.  I can guarantee you’ll love it, even if it’s not the most visually appealing.

But you know what is totally appealing (aside from this pie of course)? Birthday countdowns.

Boyfriend’s birthday in 1 week. My birthday in 2 weeks.  That means lots of pie/cake-making is on the way.

FYI, I’m totally okay with making a birthday cake/pie for myself.  Is that weird?

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the blogs I read.  There are some I read strictly for photo or recipe purposes and others for the content.  More often than not, the blogs I read for content are based on someone’s life.  Apparently, I’m nosey.

So I started thinking about my own blog.  Is it one of those look at the photos and recipe blogs or more of a read the content and know the person type blog?

Once upon a time I wrote about my life, my semi-obsession with health and fitness, and school.  I had a different boyfriend, I was in grad school and I didn’t eat meat.  That was years ago.  Somewhere along the way, that stopped.

Nowadays, I don’t really tell you about things like wine and painting with my sister and my friend.

I don’t usually talk about the fact that last week I signed up for 24 Hour Fitness and was stared at for being the sweatiest person in the room.  I firmly believe if you still look cute after your workout you weren’t working hard enough.  True Story.

Or that I went to the Artisan Food and Arts Festival with my sister, brother-in-law, and this guy, who I have yet to give a blog nickname (not that I can’t just call him by his name, Jesse, like I do in real life):

and ate some amazing food from Kogi.

Recently, my blog has been all about the fatty and delicious recipes that are more fun to write about and photograph than sharing the healthy meals I try to consume on a regular basis, but sometimes I miss documenting the healthy, tasty things I make.

So lately, it’s been a lot of recipes like this

Because chocolate and peanut butter are winners, and because sometimes I like reading blogs just for the recipes.

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

inspired by Epicurious

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar + more for rolling
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup oats

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl combine butter, peanut butter, sugar and egg.  Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, and stir until just combined.  The dough will be pretty dry.  Add chocolate chips and oats and knead it all together until combined.  Form dough into about 30 tbsp sized balls, roll in sugar and lay onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Press dough down to flatten.  Bake about 8 minutes or until the edges are cooked but the center is still soft.

They key to these is to make sure they’re not over-baked.  If they’re over-baked, they’ll be hard and dry.  If slightly under-baked, they’ll be chewy and rich.  In other words, delicious.

Delicious is right, and I hope my blog stays that way, but it might go in a different direction too.  So maybe my blog will have to be both.  A little bit of Karla and a lot of food.  All mixed together.

Let’s just hope that as I approach my 400th post, I don’t decide to share 400 things about myself like I did on the 100th

What do you think?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling and Peanut Butter Butter Cream

I think this title has the record for the number of times “butter” is in a blog title.  I’m totally cool with that.

I’m also cool with this

Peanut Butter and Chocolate is pretty much one of the most amazing combinations on the planet.  My mother would disagree, but I think 90% of America would think these cupcakes are amazing.  Fact.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling and Peanut Butter Butter Cream

using Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I used almond milk and it was a-okay!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 + 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Once it’s just about combine, stir in cup of boiling water.  Pour 1/4 cup batter into about each lined cupcake pan (makes about 30).  Bake 15-18 minutes (depending on your oven) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from cupcake pan immediately and place to cool on a wire rack.  Allow to cool completely.

Make mousse filling.  Using a hand (or stand) mixer, whip heavy cream.  Gradually add in 1/4 cup powdered sugar as it starts to form soft peaks.  Beat until stiff, careful not to overwhip.  In another bowl, beat together cream cheese and 1/4 cup of peanut butter until smooth.  Fold in whipped cream.  Chill for about half an hour (you can put it in the freezer to speed this up).

Next make peanut butter butter cream.  Beat together peanut butter and butter.  Add in powdered sugar (and some vanilla if you’d like) until it reaches a thick enough consistency for frosting, add milk if necessary.  If you’d like you can also add some cream cheese to the frosting.  It turns out great!

Using a sharp pointed knife, cut out a small circle from each cupcake.  Transfer mousse to a ziploc bag and cut off an end to make a sort of piping bag (or put it in a piping bag if you’re fancy pants like that).  Pipe some mousse into each cupcake.  Next frost as desired (pipe or spread).

Keep them in the fridge until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate is a sure-fire crowd please-r.   I took them to an office party.  They were a hit.  Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter surprise?

Bird’s Nest Cupcakes

Easter is right around the corner.  For some reason unknown to me, Easter = eggs.  I’m sure there’s a reason, but I don’t quite get it.  I’ll go with it anyway.

I’m generally a pie girl, but sometimes the occasion calls for cupcakes, and I can think of two good occasions to make a cupcake.  These cupcakes really:

Easter and a Baby Shower.

I made these for a bird’s nest themed baby shower, but now that I was looking at the photos I realized they’d be perfect for Easter as well.

Although I’ll be honest, they’re so tasty that they’re really appropriate at any time of the year.

Egg Nest Cupcakes

1 recipe for your favorite chocolate cupcakes (I like Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake)
1 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
Few cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded coconut
1 package Cadbury Mini Eggs

Bake cupcakes and allow to cool completely.  Make frosting by blending together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar gradually until you get the consistency and sweetness you like (I added about 2 cups).   Using the oven or a toaster oven, toast coconut by placing it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Stir every few minutes and keep a close eye on it, it burns easily.  Allow to cool completely.

Frost cupcakes, press toasted coconut onto top of cupcakes, place a few mini eggs in the center.  Ta da!  That’s it!  Super cute and easy!

They were adorable for the bird’s nest themed shower, I promise they’re so tasty that anyone will love them.

I mean really who doesn’t love cupcakes AND those little chocolate eggs?

What Easter treat are you looking forward to?

Flourless Chocolate Bourbon Cake… in a Jar

I’m coming to terms with the fact that a lot of people like to wrongly think I’m a hipster.

I get it.

I have bangs and long hair that I don’t always brush.  I wear dresses.  I like bourbon and mason jars. I own too many things from Anthropologie.

Little do they know… I love Beyonce and Romeo Santos/Aventura and generally shop at Food 4 Less. Oh and I bathe daily and don’t think I’m any better than you.

Not very hipster-like if you ask me.

But just for fun, let’s keep up appearances.  I present to you a hipster dessert.

If you’re looking to impress a hipster, make this.  It’s sure to impress. Feel free to serve it with some PBR on a vintage plate while listening to some unknown band.

Flourless Chocolate Bourbon Cake in a Jar

from Babble

12 (4 oz) mason jars
1 stick butter
8 oz chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Bourbon (I used Jim Beam) or other whiskey
Whipped Cream for Serving

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a saucepan, melt together butter and chocolate on low heat, set aside to cool slightly.  In a separate bowl, combine white sugar and brown sugar.  Add melted chocolate to sugars and stir to combine.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beat until well combined.  Add baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir.  Stir in Bourbon/Whiskey.  Pour mixture into 12 greased 4oz mason jars.  Place on a baking sheet, bake for 20-30 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.

They’ll rise but big but don’t worry they’ll shrink again.

This might not be the prettiest dessert, but that’s okay.  Hipsters don’t care about pretty.  It tastes like bourbon and chocolate.  That’s all that matters to them.

Refrigerate until ready to eat.  I recommend eating them the next day with whipped cream.  The texture is better after chilled, and the whipped cream works wonders (that is if you have any left over from Valentine’s Day…).

So go ahead, make this for the hipster or in your life.  Or just a boy.  Or yourself.  Or anyone really.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

Who doesn’t love a surprise?  Especially around the holidays.

Okay so the surprise is caramel.  I gave it away.  I’m terrible at keeping secrets.  And let’s be honest sometimes it’s not even a surprise but a gooey caramel mess.  You can’t really go wrong.  Either way, I’ll keep calling them a surprise cookie.  I sounds more enticing that way.

Caramel in a sweet and salty cookie.  I know, it’s exciting. Definitely surprise-worthy.

You’re probably going to want to make these for your next Holiday gathering and/or potluck.  They work for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa; clearly, they’re really equal opportunity cookies.

Did I mention they’re fun to make? And more importantly fun to eat.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp heavy cream, room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pretzel pieces

First make the caramel filling.  Put 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan.  Turn heat on to medium and wait til the sugar starts to melt.  Carefully keep stirring until all the sugar is melted.  If you get clumps, smash them with your wooden spoon.  Push them to edges, they’ll melt faster.  Once your sugar is a light brown color, remove from the heat and quickly stir in the butter.  Once the butter is incorporated, add the pinch of salt and stream in the cream and you stir.  Keep whisking/stirring until it’s one thick, uniform texture.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Next add try ingredients  (including chocolate chips and pretzels).  The key is to work the dough as little as possible.  It’ll be a little sticky but that’s okay.

By now, your caramel should be pretty cool.  If it’s not then hang out for a few minutes until it’s cool enough to put in a ziploc bag.  Once you can, put it in a ziploc bag and cut off a bottom corner so you have a make-shift piping bag.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and get ready to assemble your cookies (note: the dough will be pretty sticky!  This is sort of a messy cookie making extravaganza, but get into it!  It’s fun!).

Grab a small amount of dough and sort of flatten it into a disk shape.  Using your finger, make a small well.  Pipe about a tsp of caramel into the well. Then fold the edges around to cover the caramel.  Put some more dough on top to make sure the caramel is completely coated with cookie (you might have to use bits of dough to patch up holes).  Repeat until you have 36 dough balls (depending on how big you make them) or you run out of dough.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

Then surprise your fella, co-workers, siblings with these cookies.  They’ll appreciate them.  Mine did.  I can almost guarantee yours will too.

Who doesn’t love surprises?  Especially ones that involve chocolate, pretzels and caramel.

That’s what I thought.  Get to the kitchen!

200 Cookies and Some Tips

Want to know what 200 cookies looks like?

That’s what.

Tip #1: When you’re baking for a crowd, don’t experiment.  Use tried and true recipes.  Like these…

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tip #2:  It’s okay to make small changes to recipes.  But only if they’re idiot-proof.  Example: those Peanut Butter cookies.  I used the same recipe for Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, replaced almond butter with peanut butter and voila! Whole new cookie!  No brainer, can’t really mess that up.

Regular Chocolate Chip and Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

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(Oh hey, imagine pretty cookies here because I totally forgot to take pictures of these)
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Tip #3: Don’t over-mix your cookie dough.  It yields flat cookies.  True story.

Tip #4: Cookies keep well for a long time (or at least a few days).  Store them in air tight containers or zip loc bags.

It’s cookie season.  So get baking!

Caramel Pretzel Brownies

I have a tendency to under-cook things.  It’s a bad habit, but to me, over-cooked anything is disgusting.

Who likes a soggy vegetable? (Other than Italians who seem to overcook ALL their vegetables… or maybe that was just FAO)  I like mine to have a bit of a crunch still.

Overcook your Thanksgiving turkey… Not delicious.

Steak well-done.  My dad likes to say it’s like the sole of a shoe.

Brownies are really no different.

I am of the firm belief that all brownies should always be a little undercooked.  If you’re in the brownie’s fully cooked camp.  We can’t be friends.  Sorry.

I really would like to find a middle ground, but no.  I can’t.  Slightly undercooked brownies are amazing.

Want to know what’s even better?

Slightly undercooked brownies with caramel in the middle and pretzels on top.


No words.


Caramel Pretzel Brownies

For Brownies:
4 Squares Bakers Unsweetend Chocolate
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
handful of pretzel sticks

For Caramel:

1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

While the oven heats, make the caramel.  Heat the sugar in a saucepan until the sugar melts and turns golden.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and add pinch of salt, once butter is incorporated, stream in cream while stirring.  Once well combined, set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, make the brownie batter.  In a pan, melt together butter and chocolate.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs.  Once the butter and chocolate have melted together, stream into sugar/egg combo while stirring.  Stir in flour until just combined.

Pour half the batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish (or line with parchment paper, which is what I did, and I used 2 9×9-inch pans).  Then drizzle caramel over first half of the batter.  If your caramel cooled too much and got sorta firm, you can reheat it a tiny bit.  Then pour the rest of the batter over the caramel.  Arrange pretzels on top.  Bake approximately 30 minutes or until it no longer jiggles in the center (it might take a little longer, but not sure).  But remember, the goal is a slightly undercooked center.

This will yield, amazingly fudgy, dense, delicious brownies.  They’re not super thick, but trust me, they more than make up for it in flavor.

So actually when I made these, I made two kinds.  Caramel and Peanut Butter.


So if you’d like, you can use peanut butter instead of caramel.

Both are delicious, the caramel was just extra delicious.

See the caramel in there? (hint: look to the left!)

Divine.

They’re gooey, sweet, salty,  and most importantly slightly undercooked all in one perfect little square.

I’m pretty sure that means they’ll make the perfect treat any time.