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. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Crispy Treat Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Week!

It's the second day of Cookie Week here on Bake.Frost.Repeat and I'm sharing these Crispy Treat Cookies that are a play on, you guessed it, Rice Krispie Treats.

My family LOVES Rice Krispie Treats. My husband can make THE best ones. I know what you are thinking...they are not that hard to make and there are only 3 ingredients, but I'm telling you, his are the best. However, he knows that he makes awesome ones, so he has become a krispie treat snob. (Yes, that's a thing)

This cookie is originally from my husband's grandmother. Her Ranger Crisp Cookie recipe always intrigued me with its use of rice cereal in the dough. One day while I was making them for hubby to take on a business trip (yeah, he's spoiled), I thought they would be more like krispie treats with marshmallows throughout the cookie. I debated back and forth whether to use mini marshmallows or marshmallow bits. I went with mini marshmallows and I think they turned out just fine.

The cookies are really good and really taste like krispie treats, in my opinion. The one thing I did notice about them is that they are best the day they are made. This is not a cookie that gets better with age. They dry out very easily and become kind of crumbly and hard. So keep that in mind when you do your baking.

Store Home » Bakeware » <b>Silpats</b> » Silpat Baking Sheet 15&#39; X 19&quot;
Also, because of the sticky gooey goodness of the marshmallows, it is pretty imperative that you line your cookie sheets with parchment or a non-stick silicone baking mat. I own both but I always, always, always use my baking mat. Everything I bake just slides right off, plus it keeps my baking sheets from getting too icky and makes it a breeze to clean my pans. I own both Silpat sheets and other brands. I like both. Silpats come in few sizes to fit your different pans, such as a petite jelly roll pan, medium sized pan, and a half sheet pan. I have the half-sheet mats, which are 13"x18" and they fit my cookie sheet pans perfectly. I highly recommend the silicone baking mats. They are a must have in my kitchen.

Crispy Treat Cookies
Cookie base recipe is my husband's grandmother's Ranger Crisp recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rice cereal
1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mat.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Next add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined. 

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, rice cereal and mini marshmallows. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until it's all incorporated. The marshmallows may act like they do not want to be incorporated into the cookie dough, so you may have to use your hands to make the marshmallows cooperate, like I did. 

Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until a light golden color. Leave on the sheet for about 1-2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. 

This recipe made about 2 dozen cookies for me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

It's that time of year......Cookie Baking Time!!

I'm so excited about it that I'm going to be sharing a different cookie recipe all week long! I'll also be sharing some of my cookie tips and tricks that I use to bake up some super awesome cookies.

Did I say I was excited about cookie baking season?

Of course, I pretty much bake all year round, but I still celebrate the holiday season with a massive amount of cookie baking. I start planning months ahead (I'm a kind of a planner) by going over all my cookbooks and stalking Pinterest. I make numerous lists of what I want to make and to who they are going to. I also make sure that the cookies aren't too similar in flavor. (Yes, I know, I may have a problem).

I'm totally on a dried cranberry kick right now and I just knew that they would be rockin' in some oatmeal cookies. I was right! And with the addition of white chocolate chips, these cookies not only look festive, but are totally yummy. I took a test batch into work and the co-workers devoured them within an hour. That tells me they were pretty good.

So these Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies are definitely on my 2014 Christmas Cookie List. 

As for my cookie baking tip for today, I highly suggest that you get yourself some cookie scoops. I think it's great to have the small (2 teaspoon capacity) and medium (1.5 tablespoon capacity) sized scoops on hand. I have scoops from OXO. I wasn't paid or compensated in anyway by the company, I just think they make awesome stuff. You can find them pretty much anywhere (Target, Bed Bath & Body, Amazon, etc.) and I think they are reasonably priced. The great thing about these scoops is that you can be sure that all your cookies will be uniform in size and it's a lot quicker than scraping the dough off a tablespoon. Plus, most scoops should be dishwasher safe. If you don't have one of these, put them on your Christmas wish list for sure. :)

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe adapted from Crisco

3/4 cup butter flavor Crisco
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 3/4 cup white chocolate chips, divided
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment or a Silicone baking mat.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla extract until combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Beat into the shortening mixture at a low speed until all incorporated. Next, stir in the oats,1 cup of the white chocolate chips, and the dried cranberries. Drop by rounded tablespoons (I used my middle sized cookie scoop) 2 inches apart onto the lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Cool for 3-5 minutes of the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once completely cooled, take remaining white chocolate chips (3/4 cup) and microwave about 30 seconds in a microwave safe bowl. Stir the chips and then you may have to microwave another 20 seconds. (I have an old apartment microwave, so mine takes longer). Drizzle melted white chocolate over the cookies and let the chocolate cool completely.

This recipe made close to 2 dozen cookies for me.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

7-Up Biscuits

I'm a total bread kinda person. I LOVE IT!

I like to walk in the bread section of Fresh Market and pick up the artisan bread bags and smell the bread. I think I've actually hugged a loaf or two. Gah! Bread is soooo good!

But there are many a times when I just don't have the time (or energy) to make beautiful homemade breads and rolls. Thanksgiving is totally one of those times. I spend a bulk of my time baking up the desserts and focusing on sides. I usually end up just going out and buying a bag or skipping the rolls all together. 

Well, not this year.

I'm definitely making these 7-Up Biscuits for our Thanksgiving Day meal. They're quick, easy and so delicious. I mean, they bake up in a layer of melted butter. Yeah, I said melted butter! So you know they are gonna be good.

7-Up Biscuits
Recipe from Plain Chicken

2 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-Up soda
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cut the sour cream into the baking mix using a fork or a pastry blender. Next, pour in the 7-Up and stir to form a soft dough.  -- It will be very sticky.

Sprinkle some additional baking mix onto a board or clean surface and pat out the dough and then cut 9 squares out. 

Pour melted butter into a 9 inch baking pan and then place the cut biscuits on top of the melted butter. 

Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes or until they are nice and golden brown on top. 

Makes 9 nice sized biscuits. :)


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