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Chocolate Wasted Cupcakes

Chocolate Wasted Cupcakes| Licious FoodIt’s that time again … yep, I am talking about my birthday. Another year older and all that jazz. Happy to be alive and such but the getting older not so much. Father Time and I have a love/hate relationship.

I know it shouldn’t be about gifts but I do love them so! Hi, my name is Jennifer and I love gifts, lots and lots of gifts. Big surprise. My birthday was a couple Fridays ago and I spent it going to a second job interview while also doing nothing.  On the positive, I did not cry hysterically and mope in the bed. I’m known to do that. This year hasn’t been what I expected but when does life ever go according to plan? Seriously.

Let me tell you what did go according to plan, these cupcakes. In my Dave Chappelle voice, “It’s rich, bitch!” Can you tell I watch alot of tv? I do, I totally do. I own it.

The cake portion is dark chocolate and moist, great flavor. When coffee is added to chocolate you know it’s going to be a great thing. The next step in this “wasted” glory is dark chocolate cheesecake filling – thanks Kraft Philadelphia Dark Chocolate Indulgence! Finally topped with a Caramel Chocolate Ganache. Oh. Em. GEEEEEEE. This Ganache is the Holy Grail of Goodness and possibly “diabeetus”.

Cooking Fail alert!  The caramel the first time was cooked too long so when I added the cream it turned into a “hard crack”. I lost a good whisk to the Hard Crack Tragedy of 2012. RIP.  Cooking on electric sucks at times. Feels like Goldilocks trying out the three bears’ porridge; “It’s too hot”, “It’s too cold”, and sometimes I get “it’s just right.”

Chocolate Wasted Cupcake is worth all the trouble and then some since the taste had me talking in tongues and exclaiming to myself, “damn, I’m good!” Modest Mouse that’s me. :)

So to all my fellow Virgos, “Happy Birthday!”

siggy

Chocolate Wasted Cupcakes
Makes 12

Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Sweetapolita Classic One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Birds Custard Powder (if no custard powder, cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon brewed coffee, hot
3 tablespoons vegetable Oil
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350. Melt your unsweetened chocolate in microwave. Line your cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners, set aside. I typically set my microwave to power level 5 aka 50% and start with 1 minute and 30 seconds and increase by 10 seconds until melted. Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl or your stand mixer bowl(Flour to Salt). Add all wet ingredients to dry mix and mix/blend with your mixer until incorporated, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Place batter into the cupcake liners; fill the batter half way. Bake cupcakes approximately 14 to 17 minutes. Once you start smelling Chocolate goodness check them to see if they are ready. I use the toothpick trick to test my cupcakes. Let the cupcakes cool; approximately one hour to one-half hour.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Recipe from The Boy Who Bakes

Ingredients
8 ounces of dark chocolate (60-70% Cocoa Content), chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup unsalted butter, chopped/cubed

Directions:  In a large glass or metal bowl (heatproof) place chopped chocolate and set aside. In a small saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook until it starts to bubble or registers 350F on candy thermometer (5 to 8 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool for one minute. While stirring the sugar syrup mixture add the whipping cream and stir for additional two minutes. Pour caramel cream mixture over the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt; approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Stir caramel and chocolate together until mixed well. Using either your hand mixer or stand mixer whip butter into the chocolate caramel. It should resemble mousse; a light and airy texture. If you can’t get that airy texture place the ganache creation to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and then try whipping it to get that mousse like texture.

Assembly of Cupcakes
1. Core the center of cupcakes out. Keep the cored pieces to either use as garnish (cake crumbles) or just add it back to the cupcake once you pipe the cheesecake filling into the cupcake.

2. Take the Philadelphia Dark Chocolate Indulgence and place into a sandwich bag. Snip off a corner and pipe the cheesecake filling into the cupcake.

3. In a large pastry bag with your favorite tip add the whipped ganache and pipe onto the cupcakes. Voila! Serve promptly or refrigerate until ready to eat. These cupcakes will need to be refrigerated!

Notes: Room temperature sour cream. I simply take out the measured sour cream and set on counter 30 minutes prior to baking. Room temperature egg – I place egg in hot tap water for five minutes prior to baking.

Drop Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

As promised, my first Halloween-esque post! The good thing about this treat is that it can be made anytime not just Autumn/Halloween and believe me I make these quite often.

My Mom and youngest nephew, Jordan, are Sugar Cookie-aholics – seriously. When they see me it is their requested item. They don’t understand that sometimes you don’t feel like baking or that you don’t always have the ingredients in the house but since I love them dearly and I don’t see them as often as I should; I bake them sugar cookies. Guilt is a very powerful feeling and if sugar cookies make them happy then why not!

This is a very simple cookie to make. It only takes the very basic ingredients to make these cookies and as soon as you mix up the dough they can go in the oven to bake and then eat (cool them first to avoid the burning the roof of your mouth). These sugar cookies are soft morsels with just the right amount of sweetness to sooth anyone’s sweet tooth. You’ll never buy store bought sugar cookies again, I promise you!

In case you were wondering, the dough is quite sticky so this recipe will not make a good roll out and use cookie cutter type sugar cookie as I remembered that after mixing the dough. There went my idea of pumpkin cut sugar cookies – darn-it!

Until Next Time when I’ll be back with another Autumn/Halloween treat!

Jennifer

Drop Sugar Cookies

Adapted from America’s Test kitchen Holiday Cookie’s Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar

1 teaspoon Custard Powder or cornstarch*

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick of salted butter, softened

1/2 cup of Vegetable Shortening

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup of sanding sugar (your choice in color)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees, Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, cream of tartar, custard powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using your mixer cream butter and shortening together, approximately two minutes. Mix in sugar until incorporated. Add lemon and vanilla extract, mix. Add one egg at a time to the creamed mixture; mix for approximately 2 minutes each per egg. Finally add the dry ingredients (make sure mixer is on low) to the wet and mix until fully incorporated.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out dough balls dipping in sanding sugar before setting the dough on the baking sheet. Space out the balls to allow them to spread during baking.

Place cookie sheet with cookie dough in the oven, bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Let cool and eat!

*custard powder/cornstarch can be omitted, it’s optional. Not sure it even makes a difference but I simply like to use it.

 

 

 

Nothing left but “Crumbs”

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I am journeying back to New York City in my mind to collect my thoughts about the best damn cupcakes I ever had the pleasure to taste minus my own (yup that’s me, modest mouse).

Crumbs Bake Shop was not even in the plans for my NYC trip it was just serendipity, plain and simple. Can I say when I walked into the store and saw the case, I truly wanted one of everything … it all looked so delicious and fantabulous! If I was a Billionaire and hung with the likes of Ophree or the Queen I would have bought all the cupcakes since that would be how I would roll.

It took awhile to decide what cupcakes would have the pleasure of leaving with me. Cookie Dough was looking good and so was Mama Mia, Milkshake, Red Velvet, Half Baked, Happy Birthday …. Happily, I did reach a decision and it was chocolate all the way with these two beauties:

Cupcakes from Crumbs

I like to think I made the right decision.

I was going to try and wait to eat my cupcakes when I returned home to Virginia but I did not have that much restraint, I had to sample one or both before the trip back home. I only sampled one; Devil’s Food was my poison and it was de-frickin-licious! It was perfectly chocolately with a surprise (to me) creamy center and Vanilla Buttercream. The cupcake was not one note like some chocolate cupcakes or cakes can be at times. Oh, did I mention the size of the cupcakes? They are ginormous – seriously, GINORMOUS. You get your money’s worth when you buy cupcakes from them

I should also mention that Crumb’s cupcakes freeze beautifully. I froze my cupcakes so they would have a chance to remain fresh until I arrived back home. Using the freezing and refrigeration technique I was able to enjoy Devil’s Food and the Blackout cupcake upon returning back home.

The Blackout Cupcake is a chocolate lovers dream … if you love chocolate, plus more chocolate, and then some more – then this cupcake is for you (and me). It’s moist and rich and I could not eat it in one sitting, it actually took me a few days.

So, if you are going to New York City or California, Washington DC, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey or Virginia you need to find Crumbs Bake Shop and indulge – you only live once unless you believe in re-incarnation.

Until Next Time,
Jennifer

One last look …

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Crumbs Bake Shop – 43 West 42nd St (5/6th Ave) – New York, NY 10036 – 212/221-1500

Apple Turnovers

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Apple Turnovers

Happy April!

Spring has sprung and then Winter came back to have the last laugh. Ha Ha. Since Winter came back to have it’s last laugh I decided that I had a chance to do one last hearty dessert hence Apple Turnovers. This is a quick and easy dessert.

If you have puff pastry, apple pie filling, and confectioners sugar then you have everything needed to make these yum-ables. Now if you have some raisins and dulce de leche you can kick this dessert up another notch … BAM! I couldn’t resist that Emeril-ism.

This creation was an excuse to use puff pastry, plain and simple. I know what puff pastry is and I know that the Pepperidge Farms Apple Turnovers that I love to buy from time to time features puff pastry yet I have never bought or used puff pastry on my own. Now that can of worms have been opened, I have a plethora of ideas I want to try with puff pastry including making my own puff pastry.

Did you know by making my own Apple Turnovers I get more bang for my buck? For the cost of four turnovers I was able to make EIGHT TURNOVERS and I still have a sheet of puff pastry dough left! How you like me now?!

If you like your desserts with an outer crunch, warm fruity center, and a sweet glaze on top then this is your dish! Apple Turnovers is a favorite of my Roomie and I. It’s our snack of choice when we would have lazy weekend movie marathons.

Riddle me this what is your movie of choice if you were to have a movie marathon?


Until Next Time,
Jennifer

Apple Turnovers
This is not a recipe per say; more like some steps to make your own Apple Turnovers.
Preheat oven to 425F.
1. One puff pastry sheet thawed.
2. One can of Apple Pie Filling; separate the apples from the sauce and dice apples.
3. Return diced apples to the sauce and season according to your taste. (I used
cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, allspice.)
4. Add 1/4 cup raisins to the apple filling and stir. Set Aside.
5. Cut Puff Pastry into eight triangular pieces. (To achieve the eight pieces I first cut a
left diagonal, right diagonal, a middle vertical cut, and finally a middle horizontal cut)
6. On each piece of puff pastry spoon approximately a Tablespoon of filling in the center
and fold over the dough using your fingertips to seal. Set on either a greased or lined
baking sheet.
7. After oven preheats reset temperature to 400 F and bake turnovers for approximately
20 to 25 minutes; pastry should rise and brown.
8. While baking mix up glaze by adding one and half cups of confectioners sugar, one
tablespoon light corn syrup, two teaspoons of water and mix until it resembles the
consistency of liquid glue. If too thick continue to add water by the teaspoon. To
make a Dulce de Leche glaze substitute the corn syrup for one tablespoon of Dulce de
Leche. Set aside.
9. Remove turnovers from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Taking a fork;
dip fork into the glaze and go across turnovers in a left to right motion – should create
some “artistic” lines. Let the glaze set at least five minutes before serving.

Nice & Naughty Dulce De Leche Cupcakes

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Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Do food bloggers share the same mind?  I am inclined to think so when I saw a posting from one of my favorite food bloggers, Joy the Baker, earlier this week for Dulce de Leche Cupcakes.

It was like I read her mind (perhaps she was thinking loudly) and I say I read her mind since I am sure she probably has her posts planned in advance while I am a spur of the moment blogger and Dulce de Leche popped in my head on  late Saturday night early Sunday morning.

Perhaps it was just kismet or it’s just one of those unexplainable things.  I just thought it was one of life’s funny things.  *shrugs*

There is no real great inspiration for these cupcakes, I needed to send some bake goodies out to a friend whose birthday was on February 14th … yeah, I know I am majorly late.   It’s the thought, right?

The cupcakes are moist and delicious with hints of cinnamon and caramel.  It’s a simple Martha Stewart recipe, yes I wrote “simple” and “Martha Stewart” in the same sentence, with a few adaptations by me.

The Dulce de Leche buttercream is the naughty; it’s so naughty that your thighs will be repenting once you have a taste.  It’s rich and oh so good!

This recipe is “guinea” approved.

P.S.  You might want to have a glass of milk to chase this nice yet sinful cupcake.

Until Next Time,

Jennifer

Cinnamon Cake
Makes 24 cupcakes or 2- 8 inch rounds
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Versatile Vanilla Cake

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks

2 teaspoon of Vanilla Paste

4 tablespoons Hershey’s Caramel Syrup

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl mix buttermilk and caramel syrup; set aside.  Sift all dry ingredients together in a bowl; set aside.  In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture; incorporating well.  Add vanilla paste and cinnamon and mix.   Alternate adding sifted dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture to wet batter; mix until combined.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins bake for approximately 23-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Dulce De Leche Buttercream
Makes 6 cups
Adapted from Wilton’s Buttercream

Ingredients
2 cups (4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Dulce de Leche
8 cups of sifted confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons of milk
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt

Directions
In a mixing bowl whip butter and dulce de leche together for approximately 5 minutes.  Add confectioners sugar two cups at a time to the blended and continue whipping; after confectioners sugar has been added should be extremely stiff.  Add milk, lemon juice and salt and whip once again.  The frosting should be thick yet manageable if too thick continue to add 1 teaspoon of milk until you get the consistency desired.

Finally, use a pastry bag and a large tip and pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and serve.

 

*If you don’t have the caramel syrup simply omit.

Nutella Chocolate Toffee Cookies


Nutella Chocolate Toffee Cookies

… and I return.

I had this elaborate plan back in January to do at least two posts a week and well I did fantastic the first week and then …

I am great at time management when I am managing others’ time yet when it comes down to myself I suck. Would you believe I have been sucked up in a soap opera? It’s the sad actual truth. Long story short my favorite character on Y&R (The Young and the Restless) was shot and killed on the soap and I (think I) am grieving and campaigning.

I have a total nerdy part of my life that I try to keep secret but sometimes it escapes and seeps into my real life. *head falls to chest*

However, this post is not about my secret soapy life it is about cookies … rich, chocolatey, nutty, toffee laden cookies. Perfect for your Valentine or in my case a Anti- Valentine’s Day celebration.

These cookies were going to be my submittal to Dessert Wars January Challenge – Nutella. Then with my time issues, soap opera tragedies, and lack of sun it did not happen.

I am still a novice when it comes to this photo taking so I don’t have ego lights, tripod, or anything else the more professional photographer might have; I am a woman with a camera and the sun is my light. When my light decides to go in hiding for long periods of time then that can be problematic (another reason to move to California).

These cookies would be great with a large glass of milk, your favorite hot or cold coffee drink, or better yet a nice glass of cold water. Yes, these cookies can help you get in your daily requirement of water. I am only thinking about you. ;)

If you want to show your love through baking then this is your recipe! You know what they say, chocolate is an aphrodisiac. *eyebrow wiggle*

Until Next Time!

Jennifer

Nutella Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Adapted from Bon Appetit‘s Giant Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Ingredients:
½ cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4  teaspoon salt

1/2  cup of Nutella

1 bag of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate (11.5 oz)

¼ cup of butter (½ stick)

1 3/4  cups brown sugar (packed)

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

5 regular sized Toffee Bars (I used Heath), roughly chopped

1 cup of toasted chopped hazelnuts

Directions:

In a microwave safe bowl combine butter and chocolate and melt at 50% power for approx 2:30 in the microwave (every microwave is different so my suggestion is to start at 1:00 and continue until ingredients have melted.) Once melted stir in Nutella and set aside to let cool.
In a small bowl add flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until blended.

Using your mixer (stand or hand) cream the sugar and eggs together; add the eggs one at a time. After sugar and eggs have been combined then mix in vanilla along with the melted Nutella chocolate mixture; mix well.

Stir in flour, toffee, and nuts. Refrigerate batter from 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line your large baking sheet with parchment paper and using a medium size scooper or large spoon drop dough onto the baking sheets. Be sure to allow sufficient space between the cookies.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Cookies should be crackly and dry while the inside will be nice and soft.

Red Velvet Cupcakes v1

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yes, version one (v1).

Like any new blog entry this came about with the thought of “let me try making this.” I tried making Red Velvet Cupcakes and was not impressed with the outcome so I will keep trying until I have a Red Velvet that can give Duncan Hines a run their money!

The only saving grace for these v1 cupcakes was the buttercream – it covered a multitude of sins in my “great” opinion.

I like Red Velvet but it will never take the place of a good chocolate anything. Red Velvet contains cocoa powder just not enough to give me my chocolate high that I need and crave. I know Red Velvet has southern roots yet until watching “Steel Magnolias” I had never heard of it.

Red Velvet v1 was no bueno for the following reason – I thought they were dry, perhaps even a little crumbly. The taste was uninspiring – was not good or bad, just blah. Red Velvet v1 was unremarkable; quickly forgotten after being eaten. The saving grace of this cupcake was the icing. The icing was a buttercream that had hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and cheesecake (thanks to the help of cheesecake flavored oil).

A traditional cream cheese icing would have been the icing if I had not been mailing these “treasures”. I try to avoid making others sick with my food; it tends to make them not want to eat any of my creations afterward. Just a common courtesy I like to extend.

There are several different recipes for Red Velvet in my recipe binders that I am ready to try … try try another day, another blog posting.

Version 1 was a modification on Chocklit’s Red Velvet Cupcakes.

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Chockylit’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 10 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup Cake flour
1/8 c Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 cup of Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla bean paste
1/8 ounce Red food coloring paste
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Sift all your dry ingredients except sugar (flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) into a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla bean paste, and red food coloring paste together in a bowl; set aside.

Cream sugar and butter together until fluffy; add egg and mayonnaise until incorporated.

Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the wet ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix together. Add the remaining dry and wet ingredients to the creamed mixture and incorporate until mixed.

Add batter to the cupcake liners (that are of course in your cupcake/muffin pan); fill the liners 3/4ths full.

Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for approximately 17-20 minutes; middle should be “springy”.

Cool for approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and a half.

“Cheesecake” Buttercream Icing
Adapted from Wilton’s Buttercream Icing
Makes 3 Cups of Icing

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 drops of Cheesecake Flavored Oil
1 teaspoon butter vanilla flavoring
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons half and half

Cream shortening and butter in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly incorporated, approx 3-5 minutes. Add cinnamon, cheesecake flavored oil, and butter vanilla flavoring to creamed mixture and blend. Next add powdered sugar to the blended mixture 1 cup at a time until all has mixed together, will be stiff. Add half and half to mixture and beat until light and fluffy, if still thick continue to add half and half by the teaspoon until you achieve the light and fluffy texture needed.

Icing the cupcakes
You can use what ever method you would like to ice your cupcakes.
1. Frost your cupcakes the old fashioned way with a knife/ small spatula.
2. Add icing to a pastry bag and snip a large hole off at the end of the bag and pipe buttercream onto the cupcakes.
3. Add icing to a pastry bag with a large tip (such as the French Tip) and pipe buttercream onto the cupcakes.

Remember if shortening makes you leery, you can always substitute it with butter; however if your cupcakes are going to be traveling (especially in the summer months) the shortening may not be a bad idea!

Until Next Time,
Jennifer

Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

A few weekends ago the age old question of – “What should I make?” struck me.  After perusing through my cabinets and with holiday season upon us … I decided to make a Sweet Potato Bread.  Of course, I could have gone with the ever popular Pumpkin Bread. Since, I don’t like Pumpkin anything, I nixed that idea.

It seems that Pumpkin and Butternut Squash are the most popular items for autumn. I don’t care for either. Picky eater table of one!

I love Sweet Potatoes — okay I love Sweet Potato Pie and Candied Sweet Potatoes. I chose to see this bread making experiment as a challenge – step out my comfortable box and try something different.

It’s great to stretch one’s boundaries from time to time. It’s even better when it’s a success.

This particular Sweet Potato Bread is more like a sweet/spicy bread with undertones of Sweet Potato.  Moist like the Banana Bread and finished off with a crumb topping.   Dare I say if you were doing homemade gifts this would be a great gift to give!

This year I am going to do homemade/ quasi homemade gifts for my family, except for my youngest nephew – I don’t have a way of making a homemade or even semi-homemade iPod.

I hope you will also enjoy this recipe as much as my office guinea pigs did!

Sweet Potato Bread
Adapted from My Kitchen Café’s Buttermilk Banana Bread
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ cup baked & mashed sweet potatoes or 1 large sweet potato baked and mashed
4 tablespoons buttermilk
½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon of robust molasses
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
½ teaspoon of allspice
¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
1 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

In a bowl cream butter and sugar together; add eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Add in the following: mashed sweet potatoes, buttermilk, vanilla bean paste, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger; mix all together.

Add the dry sifted ingredients into the wet mixture; mix until combined.

Pour mixture into a large greased loaf pan (9 ¼ x 5 ¼ inch) and bake for 55 -60 minutes.

Let cool for approximately an hour before serving.

Note: You can top the batter before baking with either an evenly coating of brown sugar or a crumb topping for some extra razzle dazzle!


Until next time!
Jennifer

Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Cheesecake v3

I have been waiting until Autumn to try my hand at Cheesecake. Cheesecake is a fantastic, rich, and yummy dessert – a dessert meant for cooler months.  Maybe it is just me – in the Spring/Summer I want light things like salad and sorbet and in the Fall/Winter I want soup and cheesecake.  There are (of course) exceptions to my rules – Jen’s prerogative.

I haven’t made a Cheesecake from scratch in some time, and when I did it cracked or was somewhat gelatinous in the middle (uck!) – typical rookie Cheesecake mistakes (from what I have read online).  This time I was ready – I studied all the tips in regards to Cheesecake baking – I will not be outsmarted by a Cheesecake (at least that is what I told myself)!

Perusing the cheesecake recipes that I had in my binders – I have binders of recipes that I have collected over a long period time – deciding to keep it simple I chose Chocolate Cheesecake. I love all things Chocolate – have not met a piece of Chocolate that I haven’t liked. Even with my Mom telling me Chocolate was the source of my acne problems during the teen years and few adult years, I refuse to give up the chocolate.  Quite simply, chocolate makes me happy and that is always a good thing!

Truly this is a simple recipe and I attempted to make it lower in calories by substituting Neufchâtel cheese for Cream Cheese and Reduced Fat Sour Cream for regular sour cream and that’s where the substitutions ended.  These changes do not compromise the taste in my honest opinion; just makes me feel a little less guilty for indulging.   The end result should be a creamy dense chocolate concoction that you may or may not want to share! There is always Cheesecake Pops with what you can’t finish!

Until Next Time,

Jennifer

Chocolate Cheesecake

Adapted from Nabisco World’s Oreo Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients
38 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided

5 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

5 ounces of Bittersweet Chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate)

1 package – 8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese

½ cup of sugar

½ cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder

½ teaspoon of espresso *

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325F (300F if using a dark nonstick Springform pan).  Wrap aluminum foil around the bottom of the Springform pan.

Crush 24 cookies, finely with a food processor. Mix the crushed cookies and butter together and press into a 9 inch springform pan.  Stand the remainder cookies around the inside edge of the springform pan, press them firmly into the cookie crust; set aside.

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds on 50% Power; since every microwave is different adjust accordingly. Set melted chocolate aside.

Beat Neufchâtel cheese and sugar until blended well.  Add sour cream, eggs, vanilla, cocoa powder, and espresso to the mixture and mix well.  Add melted chocolate to mixture and mix well.

Pour mixture over the crust, you will then set the Springform pan with unbaked cheesecake in a larger baking pan/dish.  Place cheesecake in the oven and before closing pour hot water in the baking pan/dish so it surrounds the cheesecake.  Bake cheesecake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Cool Cheesecake until its cool; approximately 1 hour and a half.  Refrigerate cheesecake for at least 4 hours.  Garnish with your favorite accoutrements – whip cream, chocolate curls, chocolate drizzle, fresh berries, mint … and serve!

* Espresso ~ ½  teaspoon of instant Espresso powder and ½ teaspoon of hot water; mixed.  Coffee is also suitable. *

Birthday and Cupcakes

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Today is the day that I am a little bit older but apparently not wiser since I just realized why my mixer was being a pain in the tuchus, it was set on the wrong bowl setting! I have had this mixer for over a year and never did it occur that the bowl setting was the problem. Since I have corrected my problem it creams, mixes, and whips like a dream!

My single requirement for this day is that I am off, no work allowed on my day. Thought being, why should I be stressed on my day ?? So it has been a great day and I have received many birthday wishes from family and friends and that means the world to me! Of course with birthdays having cake (or cupcakes) is an important thing. I began thinking on what to make … whattomakewhattomakewhattomake???

A great idea came to me last night – Brown Sugar Cupcakes and Chocolate Chip Buttercream!!!! I have dubbed this brizillant creation “Chocolate Chip Cookie” Cupcakes. Genius! This treat takes all the fabulous components of a Chocolate Chip Cookie yet in a cupcake form. The cupcakes are moist and the chocolate chip buttercream sweet. When I ravaged (yes, ravaged) my cupcake it reminded me of the rich “Dinky Doozie” from Great American Cookie Company, a favorite indulgence for me when I happen to venture into a mall (so twice a year).

Having a great birthday is always a good thing – this cupcake is pure sinful rich exquisite icing on my birthday. LOL

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

The Brown Sugar Cupcake recipe is from the book Demolition Desserts by Elizabeth Falkner (I have added this book to my wish list) which I located from fellow food bloggerMolly’s Menu; so with that being said, I am simply posting the link so you can get the recipe for yourself. I did not make any changes to recipe; I followed it to the letter. Don’t forget to let the cupcakes cool!

Chocolate Chip Buttercream

1 stick of room temperature butter

1/4 cup of vegetable shortening (Crisco)**

4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

4 Tablespoons milk

2/3cup Mini Chocolate Chips

In a mixing bowl cream softened butter and shortening. Add 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar and mix. Add remaining 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar. (Should resemble thick paste) Add Vanilla Bean Paste and milk. Mix until you achieve smoothness and consistency. (If mixture is too thick continue to add milk 1 Tablespoon at a time) Fold chocolate chips into buttercream until incorporated.

** I used Crisco Shortening “sticks”, they make for easy measurement and worth extra pennies to have in my opinion. You can omit the shortening, and subsitute with additional butter.  I find that the shortening gives me the little bit of stiffness I am in need of especially when shipping cupcakes or transporting cupcakes in the summer time.

Icing the cupcakes

Like before, you can either do the old fashion icing of the cupcakes – using a spatula or knife to ice the cupcakes or you can get all fancy with it and look like you just ran to your favorite Cupcake shop by using a pastry bag (tip or no tip – you decide!) and pipe the icing on the cupcake.  Today I chose to extra fancy and pipe the icing with a tip.

Until Next Time!

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