Oreo Cupcakes

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So umm... can we not talk about these? Really, I'm not sure I want to. I'll maybe just so you some mediocre pictures and let them do the talking, kay?

Alright so I guess I'll say something. My good ole friend Maria came over to bake, yet again. Cupcakes were chosen. Of the Oreo variety. I mentioned I'd made an incredible Cookies N' Cream cupcake awhile ago, and would love to make them again since I only made four the first time (silly me!). A different recipe was chosen, however, since I had forgotten cake mix was involved in the recipe, and we don't really keep that around when you have a baker like me=) (However I will say those cupcakes I made using the cake mix were pretty bomb. Shh...)

A lovely article about Eclipse in the paper.

I'll cut to the chase here. Oreo Overload. Okay, so we used the whole box for these cupcakes. Not such a good idea. I mean, they were crazayzay oreo-d out. And the even bigger mistake............... I left them in too long. This is a first for me, well actually a second. I have a certain system with my cupcakes, which I cannot reveal because it is super top secret. But this day I screwed the system and got burnt, literally. Well, okay so they weren't burnt, or anywhere close, (well kinda), but they weren't my signature style. I really let myself down and was ashamed to give them to neighbors. But we had SO many leftovers that I was forced to.

Next time, HALF the amount of Oreos I used and pull them out at the correct time. No need to second guess yourself, Sherry... So I won't say I was crazy about these. Oh, but I did find them best eaten when they were chilled.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

from: Annie's Eats

Yield: 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo cookie halves

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.

Tender Shortcakes

Monday, June 28, 2010

I saw these a week or two back when Tuesday's with Dorie made them and was sold. I love shortcakes but can't think of the last time I've had one. From all the reviews, and by looking at the recipe, I could tell this was easy to make and produced great results. It was a laid back recipe, so if cutting in cold butter scares you or you wonder if you've reached "pea-sized pieces", then you're in luck. In the end it all comes together effortlessly.

These made incredible breakfast (or really anything) treats! I love whipped cream and fruit toppings for shortcakes, so I decided to put them together. Sometimes strawberries are too sweet for me, I'm not sure why, but they are, so I chose raspberry. My twist? I like to put my fruit into my whipped cream. I've done it once before and I really enjoyed the way it tasted. So I went for it again. After you've whipped your whipped cream enough, just add in the amount of fruit jam (or whatever really) that you want.

Ahh so good! I would go crazy with that topping. Don't be afraid to do one part short cake and two parts whipped berry topping! Haha but really those short cakes were oh so good. Okay I'll stop saying they were "so good" and just give you the recipe already!

In my first batch I accidentally had prominent finger marks from pressing down. Whoops!

Tender Shortcakes,
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

found on The Tortefeasor's blog

Makes about 10 shortcakes


4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

a jam of your choice (I used raspberry)

whipped cream


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.


Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces in between - and that's just right.

Pour the cream over the dry ingredients and toss and gently turn the ingredients with a fork until you've got a very soft dough. When the dough comes together, you'll probably still have dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl - just use a spatula or your hands to mix and knead the dough until it's evenly blended. Don't overdo it; it's better to have a few dry spots than an overworked dough. Even with all the flour mixed in, the dough will be soft and sticky.

Spoon out about 1/3 cup of dough for each shortcake onto the baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between the mounts of dough. Pat each mound down until is is between 3/4 and 1 inch high. (The shortcakes can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake with out defrosting - just add at least 5 more minutes to the oven time.)
If you have more dough, repeat, cooling the baking sheet first.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back at the midway point, until the shortcakes are puffed and give just a bit when prodded. Pull the sheet from the oven and transfer the shortcakes to a cooling rack.

The cakes are tender and really pretty fragile, so go easy with them. Use a serrated knife and not much pressure to cut each cake in half horizontally.

Various Wedding Cookies

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My cousin Lauren, who happens to have her own blog, got married this past weekend. I love weddings, but I can't honestly say I've been to a ton. Most of my cousins on my dad's side are a lot older than me. In fact, they are all practically married. Was I invited to their weddings or showers? No. Is 17 too young for these things? Thank goodness Lauren doesn't think so. She's from my mom's side and is the second one on that side to get married. So I have high hopes that all the others on my mom's side will invite me to theirs as well. Let's hope!

Back: Amy, Becky, Me, Michelle, Brian
Front: Josh, Louie, John, Teddy

I had such a good time at the wedding. I danced the night away with my family, even though th DJ was a nightmare! Just when everyone would be getting their Brick House or Super freak on, he'd throw in something completely bizarre. At the very end, Telephone did make its way in somehow.

I don't know how it is other places, but it's tradition in Pittsburgh (Western Pa, really) to have a cookie table at a wedding (and the shower). So everyone in the family made a type of cookie to bring in and they got set up all fancy like. Here's the catch of this post, my mom made all of the three cookie recipes I'm going to share with you. I helped in no way! She did a fabulous job and I loved all her cookies.

As a side note, the food at the wedding was really good. I never eat pasta, I'm not really a fan, but I had some penne noodles and sauce with tons of cheese which was great. But the potatoes, oh the potatoes! Super ah-may-zing. Anyway, on to the recipes!

My mom made these ones for the wedding shower. These thumb prints were a great cookie, but the frosting rocked! It was real buttery and creamy. I saw a few finished thumb prints as my mom was icing them, and I forced her to put on more icing. I'm always right;)

I can't find the recipe, my mom couldn't remember where she got it from. This greatly saddens me. Sorry!

These chocolate cookies were easy, according to my mom. I tried one to please, though we all know I am in no way a chocolate fan. I give it a thumbs up, but one was plenty for me.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) At this point beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the melted chocolate mixture.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to shape into balls (3-4 hours, or even overnight)..

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Place the confectioners sugar in a shallow bowl. With lightly greased hands, roll a small amount of chilled dough to form a 1 inch (2.54 cm) ball. Place the ball of dough into the confectioners sugar and roll the ball in the sugar until it is completely coated and no chocolate shows through. Gently lift the sugar-covered ball, tapping off excess sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue forming cookies, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the baking sheets. (If you find the dough getting too soft for rolling into balls, return to the refrigerator and let chill until firm.)

Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or just until the edges are slightly firm but the centers are still soft. (For moist chewy cookies do not over bake. Over baking these cookies will cause them to be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
These cookies are best eaten the day they are baked.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Oh goodness my mom searched for days for those candies in the center! Apparently these nonpareil candies are basically extinct? I don't really know, but it was quite the ordeal. I'm not really a fan of mint, (I know it seems like I have very select tastes, well I do) but I enjoyed quite a few of these. The sugar cookie base was really bomb and the mint paired well. Again, my mom said these were a breeze to make.

Mint Blossoms
from Land O'Lakes
Yield: 4 dozen cookies

1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
1 LAND O LAKES® All-Natural Egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
48 mint meltaway candies

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine 1 cup sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are very light golden brown. Remove from oven; immediately press 1 mint candy in center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets to wire cooling rack; cool completely.

Red (Purple) Velvet Cupcakes

Saturday, June 26, 2010

As my baking skills become more well known, it is both a gift and a curse. People are beginning to use me for my baked goods! I actually love it though;) My friend Maria loves when I send extra cupcakes her way and has been asking me when we can get together and bake. So real spur of the moment, we got together and made some cupcakes. This isn't the first time we've baked together. Remember the white velvet cake? The one that took three days to complete? If not, check it out.

When me and Maria bake, we like experimenting. We look at the recipe, then try and put at least a small twist on it. We scoured my beloved Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book, and landed on the red velvet cupcakes. The cream cheese frosting sold us! Our twist? Ehh we just tried to play with colors. We also halved the recipe. Nothing too crazy. The color actually turned out grossss. We were going for purple but... not so much hehe. So then we tried to bring them back to red.

So it made 12 cupcakes, and I got yelled at. After Maria and I let our families try them, they all kept saying, "Why didn't you make more?!?!?" My mom and sister were quite upset with me! I think that's a compliment? But yeah everyone really enjoyed them. So, try these!

Martha Stewart's Red Velvet Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
3. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
5. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.

This frosting was the "best I ever had". You wanna know why? I actually let my butter come to room temperature before beginning. Like it was super creamy and smooth. I adored it!

Happy Blogoversary! To me!

Friday, June 25, 2010
Friday (Today) is my blogoversary. Holy Crap. Like seriously? Did I really start a blog? A food blog? And one year ago? I'm seventeen. I was sixteen. I couldn't even drive.

Well I guess I did. Though I haven't achieved super stardom, or anything close, I've learned so many things since starting my blog. My food vocabulary has increased. I now know what a clafoutis is, though I've never made one. Things like galettes and meringues aren't new to me. I can even say I know what a pomegranate is and how it tastes. I've done a lot this past year, let's take a look:

My eyes were opened one day when I stumbled upon macaron recipes. And when I finally got around to making them, I tasted sweet victory.

Fudge? That stuff I would never touch? Yeah, it made its way in there some how.

I can't believe I made chocolate fudge. Who am I? But hey, chocolate chip cookie dough fudge is pretty bomb stuff.

I made my own lemon curd when I had a big lemon kick last summer. Pretty awesome.

However, the cake I made with it was a nightmare... I eventually got it right!

Oh, I apparently made the best red velvet cake ever. Or so says my family.

All I can say is: moist, wow, get bigger pants you will end up eating the whole thing, I love red velvet.

I joined a baking club. Not just any club, but the Martha Stewart's Cupcakes club! I have even gotten to pick two of the cupcakes so far! I learned I am obsessed with cupcakes. And that I am capable of eating five in one evening. Good cupcakes will do that to you. Here's just a few:

About halfway through the year, why it took me this long to find I'll never know, I found the Pioneer Woman's blog. I was able to join the obsession already held by many food bloggers.

Gahh! This was a glorious pizza. I am in love with this dough, hands down.

The maple coffee flavored icing was ridiculously good.

My obsession with dips grew, though I tried to hide it well... I may not have posted some of these, but I constantly make dips. I just love them! Check these dips out too.

Some great authentic guac.

Layered Taco dip (meatless)

Spinach and artichoke dip in a rye bread bowl= dip bliss.

Ahh sweet sweet brown sugar toffee dip...

Believe it or not, I like savory food too. (sometimes..)

This was fab but made me wish I had a food processor!

My daddy's awesome creation.

Nothing crazy. Just some darn good 'taters!

Finally getting some use out of an awesome cookbook with these turnovers.

A first attempt at cornbread. Not so good.. but the meat rocked.

Umm... so so so so good. Like amazing.

My mom's forte. Tuna cakes are where it's at. One of my all time fav's.

I also conquered some fears. And I'm so glad I did!

I MUST make these again. I loved the crap out of them and can't wait to make the cinnamon sugar variety of them.

Why can't Mardi Gras be more often? This was sinfully good!!!

Oh goodness. This took three days to complete and came from the Cake Bible. It was a ton of work but it turned out really great. It was my first attempt at a layer cake and I was really proud of the way it turned out.

So this was a pretty long post, but I still want to talk. I want to say thank you to all of the wonderful people who comment on my blogger or follow along with me. Thank you to all the bloggers out there who have created this amazing world of food. Thank you to my mom for supporting me through all this and being my number one taste tester. This has been one great year of blogging and I hope I can do it for many more years!