Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Creamy Milk Chocolate Pudding Pie

Moving is NOT fun.

The level of exhaustion that I am currently at is borderline dangerous. The past several weeks have been pretty busy for me from being insanely ill with a viral infection and gastritis, to going to Disney World for a food blog conference (which was awesome btw), and packing up an apartment all by myself and then physically moving. Whew. I could definitely use a break.

While taking said break, I would love to have this Creamy Milk Chocolate Pudding Pie right in front of me. I made this pie over Thanksgiving and everyone raved on and on about it. No instant pudding here!! You make the pudding from scratch, but I will say, it is definitely worth the extra work.

Creamy Milk Chocolate Pudding Pie
Recipe from Hershey's 

2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Hershey's Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk (I used whole milk)
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars (1.55 oz each), broken into pieces
1 packaged chocolate crumb crust (6 oz)
Cool whip or homemade whipped cream for topping

Stir together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in a saucepan. combine the milk and egg yolks in a bowl. Gradually blend milk mixture into the sugar mixture.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Add the chocolate bar pieces and stir until melted and mixture is well blended. Pour into crumb crust. Next, press plastic wrap onto the filling. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled and firm. Remove the plastic wrap and garnish with whipped cream or cool whip.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Pie serves 6-8.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosted Cupcakes

These chocolate chip cookie dough frosted cupcakes I made for a party a couple of months ago were a huge hit. I made several different kinds, one of them being vanilla bean salted caramel cupcakes and another flavor I have yet to share.

I found the frosting recipe on I am baker, which is one of my favorite blogs, btw ;) I didn't make the frosting as creamy as the original recipe because I thought it needed to be stiffer in order to hold up to the all night party I made them for. While I liked the stiffer consistency of the cookie dough frosting, the next time I made these cupcakes, I'm definitely trying the creamier version. I mean, it's cookie dough flavor, either way it's gonna be good. :)

Honestly, I didn't think these cupcakes would be the first ones gone and I almost didn't make them. I thought the cookie dough would be too "kiddy" and probably not appreciated at a 40 year old's birthday party.

I was wrong.

I guess chocolate chip cookie dough is loved by us all, no matter what age.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosted Cupcakes
Cupcake recipe from Kevin & Amanda
Frosting recipe from I Am Baker

For the cupcakes:
1 box Devils Food Cake Mix
1 small box Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 C. milk
1 C. sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350.

Line the cupcake pans with cupcakes liners and set aside.  Into a large bowl, put the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, milk, and sour cream and beat until combined. Spoon batter into prepared cupcake pans about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester is inserted into the middle of a cupcake and comes out clean. Once cupcakes are done, set them on a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup room temperature butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
10-16 tablespoons milk
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the brown sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Next, add in the flour, extract and salt and beat until combined.  You will now add the milk into the mixture one tablespoon at a time, until you get the desired consistency. I wanted my frosting a little bit thicker, so I used less milk.  Add the mini chocolate chips and stir by hand until well combined.

This made 24 cupcakes for me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine Peanut Butter Blossoms

Valentine's Day always sneaks up on me. I love all the pink and red decorations and plan on doing lots of cutesy things, but then I look at the calendar and it's the second week of February.

Really? Time does fly.

It doesn't help that I'm stressed to the max this month. We are moving (again) ((yay!)) and I'm the one that had to stay behind and pack up the whole place. So even though we really don't celebrate Valentine's, my husband better recognize and get me something!  ;)

I'm more stressed with the move especially because now Lady H is in Kindergarten and she has to move to a new school. She's all excited about it.....I'm the one that's having the anxiety. She will have no problem making new friends and adjusting. She's an only child so she has no problem approaching other kids and asking if they want to play or be friends. I'm not worried about her. It's all the paperwork and forms that I have to complete. Since we are moving to another state, there are more forms and things that have to be done. Top that with all the packing and finishing up at my job, I'm already stressed just thinking about it.

And what's good for stress? Uh, yeah, chocolate is good for stress. Mix that with peanut butter and that's a double stress reducer. I make these peanut butter blossoms all the time, but thought I could Valentine's these up with some Hershey's chocolate hearts. I think they turned out pretty cute.

Valentine Peanut Butter Blossoms
Recipe from Pillsbury

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar + addition for rolling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
20-24 Hershey's chocolate hearts

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with either parchment or silicone baking sheet. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and brown sugar. Mix until combined. Then add baking soda, salt, shortening, peanut butter, milk, vanilla extract, and egg.   Mix again until combined until a stiff dough forms.

Next, shape the dough into 1-1/2 -2 inch balls and then roll balls in extra sugar. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown. Once removed from the oven, quickly top each cookie with a chocolate heart and press down, gentle but firmly so the cookie cracks around the edge. Carefully remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.

This recipe made about 2 dozen cookies for me.

*Note - make sure that the cookie is completely cooled before stacking them for storage or transport. The chocolate heart will be soft from the hot cookie so you will need to be careful and allow plenty of time for the chocolate to set back up.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream


I'm totally not following along with the first of the new year trend of posting low-fat, low-cal treats.

Me? Bad influence? Yes, I know.

Honestly, I made these cupcakes a couple of months ago for a friend's birthday and just now getting around to posting them. The holidays had me busy busy busy. Of course, I say every year I'm not going to get stressed out and create tons of work for myself, but every year I do. I guess it wouldn't be the holidays unless I run myself into a total chaotic frenzy. Even as I'm typing this and thinking about the holidays, it's getting me a little stressed. 

I could definitely use one of the those cupcakes, like NOW!!  I'm telling you, that salted caramel buttercream can definitely cure some stress, if only for a little while. :)

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
Frosting recipe from The Novice Chef

1 box white cake mix (only the mix - do not use the instructions on the box)
4 egg whites
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 vanilla bean, scraped 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and beat at medium speed for about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared cupcake pans (about 2/3 of the cupcake liner) and bake for 18-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool in the pan for about 2-3 minutes and then take cupcakes out and let them cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once completely cooled, top with Salted Caramel Buttercream.

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-5 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping, plus a little bit more for drizzling on top of cupcakes, if desired
1 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of an electric or stand mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, salt and caramel syrup and blend until well combined.
Begin adding the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix thoroughly after each addition. If you want a thicker frosting, you can gradually add more sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

This recipe made 2 dozen cupcakes for me.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Peppermint Brownie Bites

Cookie Week concludes with these Peppermint Brownie Bites. Maybe not so much a cookie, these bite-sized brownies topped with white chocolate peppermint frosting should definitely be part of every Christmas party dessert tray.

Since becoming a Mom, I'm all about shortcuts. Boxed brownie mix is my BFF. 

For realz.

Brownies are so easy to make. No mixer needed. Just a bowl and a wooden spoon. Plus, there's not that much to clean up afterwards. That's two things that are a plus for me. And how cute are little brownie bites? Right? Cute, I know. Just by using a mini muffin pan, you can create these little, pop-able, bite-sized brownies perfect for your Christmas party. 

The frosting is pretty awesome too. Incorporating white chocolate with the peppermint makes a wonderfully sweet and minty topping. Sprinkling some crushed up candy canes on top makes them festive. These do not disappoint.


Peppermint Brownie Bites
Recipe for topping from Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies!

1 box of your favorite brownie mix + the ingredients needed to make the brownies

For the Frosting:
2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
Crushed candy canes or peppermint bits

Spray the cups of a mini muffin pan with Pam or other non-stick spray and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix brownies according to directions on the box and drop teaspoonfuls of batter into the wells of the mini muffin pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. (Actually having a little batter on it doesn't hurt in my opinion since I think they are a bit better slightly under-baked). Remove from the muffin pan and set on wire rack to cool completely.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Whisk in the butter and peppermint extract and then whisk in the melted white chocolate until smooth. Frost each brownie bite with  the frosting and then sprinkle with peppermint candy bits or crushed candy canes. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature up to 3 days.

This recipe make around 48 brownie bites for me. May differ slightly for you.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Christmas M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies are just a festive version of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. 

Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookie and I love how you can just Christmas these cookies up with the simple of addition of festive colored M&Ms. They are also easy to make and incredibly delicious.

Are you cookied out yet? I think I am. I get so worked up this time of year, planning and preparing and chopping and mixing and stirring and rolling and baking........I could go on. And while all this work exhausts me (it seems to be getting worse every year......thanks a lot, 40!), I love doing it and will continue doing it for as long as I can. It's just what I do.

So if you are already exhausted by just thinking about making something for the holidays, make these M&M Chocolate Chip cookies. People will think you were in the kitchen all day long.

M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from Crisco
3/4 cup (3/4 stick) butter flavor Crisco
1 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup mini M&M candies (I used the Christmas ones)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine Crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture. Combine salt, flour, and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and mini M&M candies.

Bake one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Candy Cane Oreo Chocolate Pudding Cookies

Cookie Week continues!!

Today we have a cookie with a classic Holiday flavor - Peppermint! And while my household is not a fan of peppermint, when combined with chocolate, I don't see how anyone could pass this cookie up.

I bought a box of the Mini Candy Cane Oreos because I had a coupon, but mainly I bought them because they were cute and festive. But having a box of Oreos in the house is not a good thing for me, so I have to find ways to use them up. I've seen tons of cookies-n-cream cookies on Pinterest and I thought what a perfect way to use up these cute little sandwich cookies.

If you've never made pudding cookies, you're kind of missing out. The pudding mix gives the cookies a soft texture that is quite nice. Even hubby, who doesn't really care for peppermint, said that he enjoyed the cookie. I think the key to these cookies, as with any cookie really, is to not over-bake them. I think a lot of people over-bake cookies because they don't look "done" when the timer goes off. Personally, I think a cookie is way better slightly under-baked. Plus, the cookies continue to bake somewhat even while they are out of the oven on the cookie sheet. When trying a new recipe, I always take my cookies out at the least amount of time it states. Like when a recipe says bake 8-10 minutes, I take the cookies out at 8 minutes. Of course, all ovens are different, so it's best to start paying close attention at 8 minutes and then if they are no where near being done, put the cookies back in for another minute and keep a close eye on them.

Candy Cane Oreo Chocolate Pudding Cookies
Recipe adapted from Chef In Training

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 (3.9 oz) pkg of instant chocolate pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
1 cup Mini Candy Cane Oreos

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until well combined. Next, beat in the pudding mix and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs and peppermint extract and continue beating until combined. Next, add the baking soda and flour and mix until all incorporated. Stir in the peppermint chips and mini Oreos. Using a small (or medium) sized cookie scoop, or you can use a tablespoon, drop cookies onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, making sure not to over-bake. 

This recipe made about 2 dozen cookies for me. 
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