Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wish I tried these.
 

This is another recipe from the cookie exchange I hosted.  These cookies were brought by my friend Monica (the same friend that I did these wedding cupcakes).  These are actually the cookies that  I wish I tried the most.  Zack would not stop raving about these cookies.  He has continuously told me that he is not a fan of mint, but after his rave reviews of these cookies and his love of my Mint Chocolate Delights, I am starting to have my doubts.  He keeps asking me to make these and I may just mix up a batch tomorrow.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from Betty Crocker

pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
6 to 8 drops green food color
1 egg
1 cup creme de menthe baking chips or chopped Andes Mints (approximately 40 mints)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks 

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in creme de menthe baking chips (or andes Mints) and chocolate chunks  Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Parisian Cream Wafers

My friend Ellen made these:
                                 
I hope you have been enjoying my daily posts.  Here is another cookie recipe to share with you.  As I mentioned earlier, I had a cookie exchange party this December which was tons of fun.  One of the guests at the party was my friend Ellen, who I have mentioned a few times on this blog before.  Ellen contributed two cookies to the party, these Parisian Cream Wafers and her signature Orange and Cardamom Sugar cookies.  unfortunately I did not get a change to eat either of the cookies this year since I flew out that night for travel, but I did get a chance to try these Parisian Cream Wafers last year.  They are quite the delicate cookie in flavor and texture.  Just sweet enough and very light.  Instead of posting the recipe here, I have linked to her blog where she posted the recipe.  Click on the link below for the recipe:

Ellen's Parisian Cream Wafers





Monday, December 19, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cookies


I love cinnamon.

So it should be no surprise to you that when I saw saw these cookies online I new I had to make them.  I saw this recipe on "In Katrina's Kitchen".  The original recipe calls for a glaze and I really wish I did not skip it.  I was in a time crunch and was not able to make it, but I really think it would have kicked it up a notch.  The original recipe also suggests using sugar cookie mix.  I decided to make my homemade sugar cookie dough (which added to my time crunch), but think you could really use any recipe.  These cookies would be great with tea or left for Santa.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
recipe adapted from In Katrina's Kitchen

Sugar Cookie Dough (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 2 hours or overnight.

Filling and Icing
 
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. milk

Divide the dough into two halves. On a floured surface, roll each half of dough to about ¼-inch thickness. Brush with melted butter. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over dough. Begin to roll up dough, starting at the long side. Wrap in plastic wrap and put dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes (until firm – not hard).
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take dough out of freezer and begin cutting into 3/4 inch slices. Place slices about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown.
Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely.

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies (making sure you have aluminum foil or waxed paper underneath cooling racks to catch excess icing).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting

Festive and Delicious.























These cupcakes are delicious and adorably cute.  If you can't tell,  I was going for a candy cane look and I think it turned out pretty well.  I decided to go with a chocolate cupcake because I think chocolate and peppermint go together so well.  You could definitely try a mocha cupcake to recreate the popular seasonal drink at all the coffee shops right now.  I didn't want the peppermint to be over-powering so it is very mild and really pairs perfectly with these cupcakes.I think these would be a great addition at any holiday party. 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting
Chocolate Cupcakes recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com
 
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water 
2 cups chocolate chips (dark chocolate or semi-sweet), dusted in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and espresso dissolved in water.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Peppermint Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection 
 
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 -4 tablespoons milk

Beat butter and peppermint extract  until creamy, add salt. Slowly add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.  Frost as desired.
 
To achieve the peppermint look:  Dip a toothpick in red food coloring and slowly drag the toothpick along the inside of your piping bag to create a long red line.  Repeat until you have 4-6 lines.  Carefully add the frosting into the piping bag trying to not disturb the lines too much.  Pipe normally and it will come out like a candy cane.
 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast and Overnight Eggnog French Toast

This is tradition in our house.

 





















Two years ago we started a tradition on our house.  A tradition of french toast on New Years day.  The first we we had several friends staying with us.  I was sick in bed with a bad cold so Zack and our dear friend Nick manned the stove and made french toast for everybody.  It was delicious, but very time consuming.  Last year we decided to change it up a bit with an overnight french toast and it was amazing!  We threw it together before we went to bed and popped it in the oven in the morning.  We were all able to sit down together and eat at the same time to a DELICIOUS meal.  On New Year's Day last year we actually had an overnight Eggnog French Toast.  Zack and I decided to make a variation of it with some fresh Gingerbread we picked up at a local grocery store (Harris Teeter) and it did not disappoint.  I have left both recipes here for you.  I think either would be perfect for Christmas morning when everybody is opening presents.  Jut pop it in the oven before you open gifts and when you are done, it will be ready.


Overnight French Toast (Eggnog and Gingerbread)
recipe from Baked Perfection

Eggnog French Toast

1 loaf hearty white bread (Italian, Challah, Brioche)
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups eggnog
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Gingerbread French Toast 

1 loaf Gingerbread
5 large eggs
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Generously butter the sides and bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan. Slice the loaf into 1 inch slices and arrange them in the pan, overlapping.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the eggnog (if using), milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until combined. Pour the mixture over the bread slices. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Flip bread and rearrange in the pan, making sure to coat the entire surface with the liquid.  Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until the French toast is golden brown and puffy.
Set aside to cool slightly, serve warm with maple syrup and butter.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Candy Cane Blossoms II

Back by popular demand.























The cookies have by far become the most popular post on Baked Perfection.  I made them last year and they became an overnight hit on Pinterest.  Therefore I decided to make them again for you.  This time I rolled a third of the cookies in Christmas colored non-sprinkles to make them extra festive.   These cookies are really delicious and you should definitely try to make them!

Note:  A couple people commented on my last post that these cookies came out flat for them.  A couple tips, don't roll them too large and make sure your butter is not too soft or warm.  If your dough is too sticky, just add up to 1/2 cup more flour.

recipe from Hershey's

1 bag Hershey;s Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 - 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies. 



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Cookie Dough Truffles

Just as delicious as the first time.























I have posted these before, but they are so cute and delicious I had to share them again.  Who doesn't love cookie dough?  These can be made far in advance and frozen for months!  If you are thinking of homemade gifts I highly suggest you mix up a batch this weekend and then save them for Christmas.  You won't be disappointed.

Cookie Dough Truffles
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened (it is even okay if it is melting a little)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 - 2 tablespoons water

Assorted candy melts

In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add water if mixture is too dry to form into balls. Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper (Should make approximately 20). Chill for several hours or freeze for 15-20 minutes until firm.

Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on package (30 sec intervals, stirring in between). Gently dip the cookie dough ball into the candy coating. Once covered remove and let the excess chocolate fall off. Place back on wax paper to dry.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place melted chocolate in a plastic sandwich bag. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smaller the drizzle. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the cookie dough truffle until you reach the desired look.



Mocha Toffee Cookies

I can't get enough of this flavor combination!























I always like to make something for my friends birthday.  One of my close friends had a birthday right before Thanksgiving.   I did not have time to plan something for her, but wanted to come up with something delicious.  I came up with this recipe at 8PM on the Thursday night before I wanted to deliver them.  They came out even better than I expected and my friend loved them.  The cookies have a definitely mocha flavor with little bits of toffee.  They capture the chewiness of  a brownie are very addictive.  I think they would be perfect with a little milk for Santa since he will need the caffeine to fly around the world :)

Mocha Toffee Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3
cup baking cocoa
1 1.4 oz package of instant chocolate pudding Mix
1
teaspoon baking soda
1/2
teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant espresso
1
cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3
cup granulated sugar
2/3
cup packed brown sugar
1
teaspoon vanilla extract
2
large eggs
1 cup toffee bits, frozen
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine flour, cocoa, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, and instant espresso in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in toffee and morsels. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

A classic combination.






















I feel really bad that I have not been posting much for you guys.  This is by far the busiest December I have had in years.  I am having a cookie exchange part at my house this weekend and plan to collect recipes from all my guests to share with you.  Of course I will also share what I am making and am evening thinking about posting a few of the appetizer recipes since they may come in handy for any holiday parties you are having.  To help get you though the week here is a simple, classic, and delicious cupcake.
  

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com
 
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water 
2 cups chocolate chips (dark chocolate or semi-sweet), dusted in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and espresso dissolved in water.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips

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


Very Vanilla Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

2 sticks of butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 -4 tablespoons milk

Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency


Monday, November 28, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Yum!






















I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving.  Mine was wonderful just like it is every year.  Zack and I spent time in West Virginia with his family.  This was my seventh Thanksgiving with his family and boy am I thankful for them.  Zack's mom is an amazing cook and we stuffed out bellies.  My favorites this year were the cranberry sauce, the dressing, and the sweet potatoes.  Believe it or now I would not eat any of those dishes growing up unless it was cranberry jelly from a can.  You can ask my mom, I used to love that canned stuff! Since this is a baking blog, I bet you are wondering what we had for dessert.  I brought the pies this year which consisted of 2 Pecan Pies, 1 Pumpkin Pie, and a Cranberry Apple Pie.  The Pecan is my favorite, which is also a pie I would not eat growing up.  This post is probably shocking my mom.  I suppose I had to grow up eventually.

The Pecan Pie is also the favorite of my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my niece.  My niece told me that she never liked Pecan Pie until she had mine which is quite the compliment from an almost 14 year old. Since it is getting closer to the holidays and just about everybody will be looking for cookie and bar recipes I thought I would share a delicious recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie bars with you. These bars completely embody Pecan Pie.   I think they were great with the addition of the chocolate chips, but if you are more of a traditionalist you can definitely leave them out.


Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
recipe slightly adapted from Glorious Treats

Crust

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1-2 Tablespoons cold water

Filling

3 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line the bottom and sides of a 9"x13" baking pan with aluminum foil.

(For the crust)  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter, brown sugar and salt until smooth and creamy.  Add flour, and beat until coarse crumbs form.  While the mixer is running, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water, as needed to help form dough.  Press dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan.  Prick the dough with a fork several times, randomly around the pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.

(For the filling)  In a large bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt with a whisk until well blended.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.  Pour filling into baked crust.  Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and filling is set.  Cool completely before cutting.  


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes

Sorry for the terrible photo, it is from my phone.


I know this photo  is pretty bad, but these cupcakes are delicious so I wanted to share them with you.  I had a rough morning Thursday (which included falling down the stairs) and forgot to take a photo before I brought them to work,  I made these cupcakes Wednesday night for a coworker.  She went out of her way to help me so I wanted to do something nice for her.  I asked her what she liked and like most people she gave the "Oh, I like everything" response.  A week earlier she happened to bring in some dark chocolate pomegranate candies which were addictively delicious. I immediately went to BJ's to pick some if the candies up (they topped the cupcakes) and they inspired these cupcakes.  Now I must tell you that people seriously loved these cupcakes at work.  Several people commented that they are better than Georgetown Cupcake and other DC cupcake shops.  Three people even asked me if I can do parties for them.  I think they would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving or Christmas Dessert Table.

Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes
from Baked Perfection

Makes 24 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water 
2 cups chocolate chips (dark chocolate or semi-sweet), dusted in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and espresso dissolved in water.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips

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

Pomegranate Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 cup pomegranate juice
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan bring the pomegranate juice to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue to cook until sauce has thickened and reduce to 1/3 cup.  Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture. Add the cooled pomegranate juice, salt, and vanilla.  Slowly add the powdered sugar  and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium, with the mixer running, add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Half and Half Cookies

Two worlds collide.



Two very delicious worlds that is.  Chocolate and peanut butter go together like they were never meant to be apart.  I love the combination and am pretty sure that it is on most peoples favorite lists.  Of course there are those people who say they don't like chocolate, or peanut butter, or the combination.  I put those people in the same group as people who claim to not like macaroni and cheese.  Honestly, who does not like macaroni and cheese?!?!  

Anyway, back to these cookies.  These little cookies are addictive!  I came up with the idea to make them after seeing another recipe of chocolate chip cookies sandwiched with a chocolate chocolate cookies. I these delectable treats on vacation with two of my friends and I am ashamed to admit that we polished them off in one night.  In fact, we may have eaten all but one before we even landed at our destination!  I want to share these with you now because I know it is cookie making season with the Holidays coming up.  These cookies will definitely be a hit with anybody you share them with.   

Chocolate Peanut Butter Half and Half Cookies
recipe by Baked Perfection

makes approximately 5 - 6 dozen

Chocolate Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3
 cup baking cocoa
1 1.4 oz package of instant chocolate pudding Mix
1
 teaspoon baking soda
1/2
 teaspoon salt
1
 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3
 cup granulated sugar
2/3
 cup packed brown sugar
1
 teaspoon vanilla extract
2
 large eggs
1 2/3
 cups peanut butter morsels

Combine flour, cocoa, pudding mix, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large  bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. 

Peanut Butter Dough

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine 1/2 tablespoon of each dough and roll into a ball.  Place onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cream Cheese Swirl Halloween Brownies and we have a winner!

Festive and delicious!























These brownies really did not take much creativity on my part.  I used the recipe for the Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies I made last November, but instead of adding red food coloring to the brownie base I added orange food coloring to the cream cheese part.  I think they are super adorable for Halloween and the coloring could be changed up for any Holiday.  I also added some black food coloring to the brownie part, but clearly did not add enough as it turned out dark brown.  Still works for Halloween either way.

Now for the winner of the fabulous Shabby Apple Dress I posted on my Pumpkin Snickerdoodle post:

Natalie, who said -

"I can't wait to make pumpkin snickerdoodles. Great giveaway. Shabby Apple has a fantastic line."


Halloween Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Brownie  Layer:1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Orange Food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan, and set aside.

Brownie layer: Add melted butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt,  warm water, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix. Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.

Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, and food coloring in a medium bowl. Gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.

 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Orange Cranberry Muffins...and don't forget my Giveaway

Yum!























For those of you who know me well, you know I love cereal and am a creature of habit.  I eat Honey Nut Cheerios mixed with Smart Bran and Cinnamon every single morning for breakfast.  I stock up on extra boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios so I never run out.  If there is ever a morning when I do happen to run out I am typically not a happy camper...unless there is a tasty replacement around such as these muffins.  These are the perfect Fall or Winter muffin.  I made these last winter and have been patiently waiting to share them with you.   Fresh cranberries are going to start popping up at the grocery stores and I wanted you to be armed with this tasty muffin recipe.  Of course frozen cranberries are also an option. These muffins are the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  Definitely perfect for the season.

In other news, don't forget to enter my Giveaway and for those of you who are counting this is my 200th post!


Orange Cranberry Muffins
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 12 muffins

Muffins:

2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest of two oranges
1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups cranberries, dusted in flour

Topping:

1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and orange zest. In a large bowl beat together eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture (be sure not to over-mix, batter will be lumpy). Gently fold in cranberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups so they are 2/3 of the way full.

To make the topping: mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Crumble with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles and a Giveaway

These cookies are getting around lately.























I made these cookies a couple weeks ago and clearly I am not the only blogger to make them this Fall.  I was inspired by the post on Sweet Pea's Kitchen who was inspired by Recipe Girl, barley adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, February, 2005.  In the past week though I have seen them pop up on at least three sites.  There is very good reason for this....these cookies are delicious!  If you like pumpkin and you like snickerdoodles then you should seriously go make these cookies right now.  You can easily polish off four or five before you know it.  I am not saying that happened to me, but it most likely did.  These are the perfect Fall cookie and they don't have too strong a pumpkin flavor for those folks who claim to not like pumpkin.

For those of you are here for the give away, skip to the bottom of the post.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles 
recipe slightly adapted from  Sweet Pea's Kitchen who was inspired by Recipe Girl, barley adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

makes approximately 4 dozen

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons cream of tartar 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided 
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 
1 large egg 
3/4 cup pumpkin puree 
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda,  salt and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin puree and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. 

Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon for rolling in a shallow bowl. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball, roll the ball in the sugar mixture, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart 

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 5 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.


Giveaway

In other news, the adorable clothing company Shabby Apple has decided to pair up with Baked Perfection to offer you, my readers a great giveaway and a coupon for 10% off.   They have such adorable clothes and want to give one of you this dress (Click on the picture to go to the webpage).

 

















I had quite a bit of fun sorting through their website today picking out things I want.  If you want to use the coupon all you have to do is use the offer code: bakedperfection10 at checkout.  To enter the give away all you have to do is leave a comment before midnight on Friday, October 28th.  I will announce the winner on the 29th.  Be sure to leave your email address with the comment so I can contact you to get your dress size.  In the meantime, happy shopping! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Another seasonal cupcake for you.























If you follow me on facebook then you know I was making cakes for a friend's wedding yesterday.  one of the flavors she chose was Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  This is the cupcake I served her when I had her over for a tasting.  I love these cupcakes with both the Caramel Buttercream and Cream Cheese Frosting.  The Caramel Buttercream is rich and sweet and the Cream Cheese Frosting is smooth and tangy.  If those two frostings aren't enough for you, perhaps try Peanut Butter Frosting.  I have to admit that I never actually thought to pair this Apple Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, but it makes perfect sense.  I had another set of friends over for a cake tasting and the Apple Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting (which was their idea) ended up being their favorite.  Just reminds me sometimes I need to open my eyes a little wider.  Either way, this is a delicious cake that should definitely be included in your Fall recipes.

I have included the recipe to the Caramel Buttercream below.  Here are links to my Cream Cheese Frosting and Peanut Butter Frosting

Apple Cupcakes
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 24 cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated apples**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until creamy. Beat in the the orange juice, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Slowly add the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in the grated apples. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely before frosting.

**Bakers Note - I prefer to use a mix of sweet and sour apples.  For my latest batch I used a mix of Granny Smith and Macintosh.

Caramel Buttercream
recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until caramel is dark amber. Immediately remove from heat, and slowly add cream, salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool.

Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add beaten butter, cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla.   Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add caramel, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

**Bakers Note -  When I made the caramel I doubled the recipe and used the leftover to drizzle caramel over the cupcakes.  You will still have some leftover which is great on ice cream!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Orance Spice Cupcakes...with and without Raisins

Cupcakes to welcome my favorite season.























I love Fall.  It is far an away my favorite season.  I anxiously await every year for the heat of summer to break and the leaves to change.  For the record, summer is my least favorite season.   It appears Fall has finally arrived in the DC area.  The air has a cool crispness and the leaves are starting to get their first hint of orange.  I love it.  These cupcakes are the perfect addition to welcome in my favorite season.  They are not pumpkin, which is very traditional for Fall, but include the warm spices and make your house smell incredible!  I promise to post some pumpkin recipes this Fall but in the meantime you should really give these a try.  I made half with raisins and half without...as you know if you have been following this blog for a while that I am definitely not a fan of raisins in my food.  The raisins add additional sweetness and actually change the flavor profile of the cupcakes.  I took a poll and people seemed to love both so it is really personal preference.

Orange Spice Cupcakes
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes approximately 15 cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Zest of  large orange
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fill cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

In a small sauce pan bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Place raisins in boiling water and reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 3 - 5 minutes and drain.  Set raisins aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and orange zest.    In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, beaten eggs, and vanilla extra.  In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar.  Slowly add the flour and milk mixtures alternating between the two until just combined.  Gently fold in the raisins.  Pour batter into prepared cupcake tin.  Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Beat butter and cream cheese with until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Add salt, cinnamon, and vanilla; beat until smooth.