Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies: The Revelation

You know how sometimes, you didn't know what it was you were looking for until you found it? These cookies are exactly what I want in a chocolate chip cookie, but never knew: soft, pillowy, chewy goodness. These cookies aren't going to satisfy everyone, as they don't have your conventional chocolate chip cookie texture. These are almost muffin like, very puffy, with no crunch. The secret ingredient? Applesauce!

1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
3/4  teaspoon  salt
1/2  cup  applesauce
1  cup  packed brown sugar
1/4  cup  butter, softened
1  tablespoon  vanilla extract
1  large egg
1  cup  (or more) semisweet chocolate chips

Yields approx. 2 dozen

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk.
3. Combine applesauce, sugar and butter; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes)*. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Fold in chips.
4. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray**. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.
*I didn't feel like breaking out my hand mixer, and just combined everything with a good ol' wooden spoon.
**These cookies are STICKY. They even stuck to my wonderful Silpat mats. Trust me, you need the cooking spray.

By request! A printable version of this recipe.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting

Guinness cupcakes are the perfect cupcakes if you don't like deserts that are overly sweet. The cupcakes are nice and moist, and chocolately without being cloyingly sugary. The frosting is probably my new favorite frosting - irish cream goes really well as a frosting flavor. It's similar to vanilla but with slightly more complex flavor.

For the cupcakes
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness stout
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for garnish
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
A pinch of salt

For the frosting
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups of powdered sugar (as needed)
3-4 tablespoons of Irish Cream (Baileys) and/or milk (as needed)
A pinch of salt
Yields: around 40 cupcakes (a lot!)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream. Feel free to sip on a spare Guinness.
3.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
4.  Line and grease your muffin tin and divide the batter among the muffin tins. I lay aluminum foil over my tin, then poke holes over the cups and then insert my liners, then spray. This keeps any batter that spills from baking onto my muffin tin.
I also like the use a ladle to distribute my mixture. Keeps things from getting too messy.

5.  Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

While your cupcakes are cooling, start on the frosting.

Cream your softened butter and irish cream, and gradually add the powdered sugar. I used about 3.5 cups, plus a splash or two of skim milk, to get the consistency I liked. I also recommend a pinch of salt - a little salt helps tone down the toothache sweetness of the frosting.

You should have enough frosting to cover all of your cupcakes generously - no need to skimp! If you want to mail them to a cute redheaded boy, I recommend the shoebox method. Refrigerate overnight so the frosting doesn't stick to everything, then mail.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sweets for my sweetie

I just made something really delicious for Colin. However, it is a surprise, so I can't reveal what I made yet. I'm mailing them to his office, so I should be able to post about it by the end of the week!

Care to take any guesses? Here's a few ingredients to get you started: sour cream, powdered sugar, and twelve ounces of Guinness!

Monday, February 1, 2010

And now, things to bake!

Here are the sweet treats I've bookmarked recently:

Homemade Peppermint Patties from Serious Eats

Chocolate Wacky Depression Cake from Savory Sweet Life

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites
from Savory Sweet Life

Chocolate Cake with Orange Chocolate Frosting from Bon Appetit via Epicurious

Mocha Silk Pie
from the Pioneer Woman
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sugar Cooking

S'mores Cupcakes
from Bakerella

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies
from Joy The Baker

Culinary Aspirations

I subscribe to many, many food blogs. Twenty-three, to be exact. This leads to a LOT of bookmarked recipes, all of which I swear I'll make one day. Here's a round-up of some of my recent favorites (that I've still yet to try):

Easy Sausage and Peppers from The Kitchn

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip from Closet Cooking

White Chicken Chili from Closet Cooking

Pear and Gorgonazola Omelette from Closet Cooking

Beer-Braised Beef and Onions from Gourmet Magazine, via Epicurious

Pretty much Marlboro Man's entire Birthday Dinner from Pioneer Woman