Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My version of Monster Cookies

This was for Dave:


My co-worker Dave has been talking about Monster Cookies for months. I decided I would finally make some for him. If you are not familiar with Monster Cookies they are a peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip, M&M Cookies. Most monster cookies have little or no flour, but since I am a fan of chewy non-flat cookies. These cookies will please most people since they have so much in them. They are really versatile so you could swap in our out anything you please. I know Dave loved these cookies, so I hope you do too!
Monster Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

3 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup M&M's
1 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Slowly mix in the baking soda, oatmeal, and flour. Stir in the M&M's and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Butterfly Cupcakes

Perfect for spring:


If you read my last post you know that my friend Sarah and I recently hosted a baby shower for our dear friend Leslie. For dessert at the party I made lime bars (top of the picture), two types of butterfly cupcakes, and cookie dough truffles (bottom of picture). I used my stand-by chocolate cupcake recipe and a new pink velvet cupcake recipe which is essentially the same as a red velvet cupcake with less cocoa powder and pink food coloring. I used a classic cream cheese frosting recipe on both and then sprinkled them with colored sugar and topping them with a hand-piped white chocolate butterfly. People were blown away by the cupcakes. If you have not yet read "Hello Cupcake" then you need to go check it out. It gives detailed instructions on how to make these butterflies and they are really not that tough. I am not going to give step by step instructions on making the butterflies since I want to give the authors of the book full credit, but Annie over at Annie's Eats gives a great tutorial.

Chocolate Cupcakes
recipe from allrecipes.com

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dust these in flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into 24 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.


Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pink gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar, oil, and butter 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. 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. 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. Decorate as desired.
Classic Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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, add vanilla; mix until smooth.



p.s. Hi Jontasia!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Baby Shower Cookies

So Cute!


Two of my wonderful friends, Leslie and John, are having a baby girl. To celebrate this great occasion, my friend Sarah and I hosted a baby shower for Leslie. Sarah and I made a ton delicious food, hung adorable decorations, served tasty drinks, and hosted a wonderful shower. No baby shower is complete without dessert, so expect to see more posts in the next couple weeks. I wanted to make something to give as a favor and came up with these adorable cookies. The baby's name starts with an "A", hence the "A" on the onesies. Unfortunately, I put these cookies in the little bags I was packaging them in a little too earlier and all the icing smeared and slid off. My tip to you if you make these....make sure they dry completely before you package them up! In case any of you are interested, I have included our menu from the shower and a few pictures of the food at the end of the post. Just shoot me an email if you want an of the recipes.

Classic Sugar Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 almond extract
2 eggs

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until fully absorbed. Separate dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a clean floured surface, roll out one disk of dough at a time to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Decorate as desired.

Sugar Cookie Icing
recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
assorted food coloring

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick add more milk, if too thin add more sugar.


Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Decorate as desired.

Afternoon Baby Shower Menu

Snacks:
* Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers
*Caprese Salad Bites
*Melon wrapped in prosciutto
*Tea sandwiches
- BLT's
- Chicken Salad
- Goat Cheese and Watercress
*Caramelized Onion Dip
*Spinach Dip
*Fresh-made Hummus
*Assorted Veggies and Fruit
*Chicken Satay w/ peanut sauce
*Sausage Wonton Cups
*Tomato Bacon Cups
*Apple and Gorganzola Flatbread
*Pretzel Bites

Desserts:
*Lime Bars
*Cookie Dough Truffles
*Double Chocolate Cupakes w/ Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
*Pink Velvet Cupcakes w/
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Drinks:
*Sparkeling Peach Sangria
* Cider Sipping Sangria



Sunday, March 7, 2010

Creamsicle Cookies (a.k.a Orangebursts)

Tastes like summer.


I am back. Sorry for the delay in posts, as you know I have been extremely busy. I am happy to report that my one client has filed with the SEC and we met all our deadlines. In other news I am leaving for Atlanta tomorrow to spend three weeks there to work on another client's year-end.

Before I leave, I want to share these cookies with you. I am ready for spring and I bet most of you are as well. It seems like it is right around the corner and these cookies are perfect to celebrate its arrival. In my opinion these cookies taste very similar to creamsicles. I used to LOVE creamsicles when I was small. For the first six years of my life I lived in California outside of Los Angeles. One of my fond memories from California was hearing the chime of ice cream man. Of course my brother, sister, and I would go running the minute we heard that sweet song. As a creature of habit, I would always pick the strawberry shortcake or the creamsicle. This cookies brings back all the memories of the creamsicle I would eat on the curb with my brother and sister. The sweet vanilla and tangy orange are the perfect combination. I suppose now it is time for me to make a strawberry shortcake cookie.

Creamsicle Cookies (a.k.a Orangebursts)
recipe adapted from Guittard

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 cups Guitard Choc-Au-Lait Vanilla Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.