Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

An old friend of mine who I grew up with posted this on my facebook wall:  

 These are hot chocolate cupcakes!  Crazy, right?  Thanks so much Elisa for give me my new baking project.  Below is the link so you can make your own.  Looks like I've got a bunch of baking and fondant making to do this weekend.  :) 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gimme S'more....

cupcakes!  I've got a big thing for cupcakes if you can't tell by now. Cupcakes are a perfect proportion for my every day sweet tooth cravings-a moist cake with just the right amount of frosting. I wish I could have a cupcake once a day but my blood sugar levels don't permit me and neither does my waistline.  I should be hitting the gym up more rather than hitting up my stand mixer. SIGH.  I usually bake a batch of cupcakes once or twice a week and share my yummy baked goods. I love baking and love my friends that much more so its a win win situation.  :) 

On the right hand side of my blog, you'll find my list of fellow food bloggers.  One of my absolute favorites is Annie's Eats and she's one I usually read up on the daily.  I don't know how she manages to update her blog, work as a physician, and take care of her two children (one of which is a newborn).  Kudos to her.  Annie, if you ever happen to read this, you are my IDOL.  

I was in a baking frenzy this weekend and my kitchen was a disaster area.  I really wish I had taken a picture of my kitchen while I was baking.  It was an absolute mess and an even bigger pain in the you know what to clean.  Ahh, the joys of baking.  I made s'mores cupcakes for my girl, Abi who threw her cousin a carnival themed baby shower.  Some of the menu items included adobo tacos, caramel apples, and white chocolate chex.  YUM. She initially wanted mini marshmallows in the shape of popcorn for her s'mores cupcakes but the cupcake liners didn't come in on time so we just stuck with a simple meringue frosting. 

I wasn't able to take a pic of the ones I actually made because I was too tired to think about it at the time.  I slept at 530 am Sunday morning and woke up at 8 to make these cupcakes.  :( This is actually a pic of a batch I made for my old roomie Joanne for her birthday earlier this year.  I love this recipe because of the graham cracker crust on the bottom and the decadent cake batter.  Its a great recipe and one that you should definitely try.  Enjoy.  

S'mores Cupcakes
taken from Annie's Eats

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the graham cracker crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the cake:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.  Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. (Note: I found the bottom of my squeeze bottle to be the perfect size to do this job neatly and quickly.) Sprinkle a small amount of the chopped chocolate on top of the graham cracker crusts.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
To make the cake batter, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed just to combine.  In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract; whisk together.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the boiling water and stir just to combine (batter will be thin).
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full.  Return the pans to the oven and bake about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. (Note: I just set my clean, dry mixer bowl over simmering water, to avoid dirtying two bowls.) Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.  Mix in the vanilla until combined.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.  Brown with a kitchen torch and garnish with chocolate and graham cracker segments (optional).

Monday, May 23, 2011

1st Communion Sugar Cookies

If you read my previous post, you know that I had quite a busy weekend.  On Friday, I had an order for 50 Super Mario themed cake pops, an order for 48 sugar cookies with royal icing for Enzo's 1st communion due on Saturday, and an order of 2 dozen smores cupcakes for Sunday.  I had a unexpected baking fiasco with the sugar cookie order.  Note to self:  always try out a new recipe before using it for an order!  Remember how I blogged about using the sugar cookie recipe I used for the homemade Samoas?  Well, that was a FAIL.  The cookies didn't hold after cooling so all that butter and sugar for that triple batch was thrown out and had to make a run to the store and buy more butter and start all over.  

This time I used my go to sugar cookie recipe by Cookie Craft.  See recipe below. I'm still improving my novice piping skills and I hope to get better by the time I'm done with my cake decorating class that I'm taking with the sissy.  Overall, I think the cookies came out well.  I packaged them in cellophane bags and finished it off with white curling ribbon.  God Bless you, Enzo!  :)

Rolled Sugar Cookies-taken from Cookie Craft

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla* or 1 teaspoon vanilla plus zest of 1 lemon
food coloring (if cookie design calls for it)

*Instead of vanilla, you can use other extracts such as almond or peppermint.

1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Using your mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla (and lemon zest, if you're using it) or your extract of choice and mix until well blended.

3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until the two are thoroughly blended.

4. If your cookie design calls for adding food coloring, do so now, and continue blending until desired color is reached and is evenly incorporated.

5. Turn out dough onto work surface and divide into two or three equal portions, Form each one into a rough disk.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. After you have rolled and cut the dough and the cookie shapes are on parchment-lined cookie sheets, bake them in the middle rack of the oven for 12-16 minutes or until the cookies start to turn slightly golden around the edges.

8. Cool cookies completely on a rack before icing or decorating.

2 1/2-inch cookies--about 30
3 1/2-inch cookies--about 16
4 1/2-inch cookies--about 12 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Busy, busy is what I am

I've got a full load this coming week.  This is what my schedule looks like:

Tuesday - purchase more baking supplies at Michaels and Sugar Spice for 3 orders this week, bake and decorate a marbled cake for my cake decorating class tomorrow

Wednesday - cake decorating class from 6 - 8 pm, prep oreo truffle mix for Super Mario themed cake pops due Friday

Thursday - trial run of popcorn cupcakes, make 50 Super Mario themed cake pops for Friday

Friday - work at Bliss Bar, make sugar cookies with royal icing for Enzo's 1st Communion

Saturday - work at Bliss Bar, make 2 dozen s'mores cupcakes for Carnival Themed Baby Shower

Sunday - SLEEP. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trial Run

I did a trial run of the homemade Samoas cookies for the bake sale this past  Thursday.  I( had a blog written and saved last week but I can't seem to find it!)  I brought these bad boys into work and had my coworkers critique them.  Most people thought they were perfect just they way they were but I think I might add less coconut and less chocolate on the bottom of the cookie so that I can fit more cookies  into the cookie bag.  I also didn't realize until after I drizzled the chocolate that I forgot about the hole in the middle.  This is how the first batchcame out:  

The butter cookie is perfect and is a great dough to work with.  Its really easy and requires no chilling whatsoever.  I've used a ton of butter cookie recipes in the past that require chilling but since I'm usually on a time crunch, this recipe is perfect.  I'm also not a big fan of coconut but the mixture is a perfect combo of salty and sweet that balances out the chocolate drizzle.  

I also spent a lot of time working on the cookie bag.  Instead of printing on kraft paper, I decided to print the design on a regular brown paper bag with my blog.  It was a very inexpensive way of advertising and would save me a ton of time in the end.  

Here's the final outcome of the changes to the cookie:
 I received an email late Saturday evening from the organizers of the bake sale.  We raised over $2400!  Thank you to all who came out to support our cause to ensure no child goes hungry. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Homemade Samoas Cookies

Back in March, I blogged about a bake sale I would be participating in.  Its taken me some time to figure out what I would be donating but I finally decided on homemade Samoas cookies.  I purchased about a dozen boxes (don't judge me...LOL) and only have one box left.  I'm surprised my stock has lasted me 2 1/2 months but I thought that these would be perfect for the bake sale and for my Samoas cookie cravings.   I found a recipe on Baking Bites and will test it out tonite and have the coworkers try em out.  I also thought I would put them in this adorable cookie bag with a homemade label.  

I'll also be taking a cake decorating class and baking those Samoas cookies tonite. Looks like I'll be up all night tonite.  Wish me luck. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Red Velvet Pancakes

The bf made brunch yesterday in honor of mother's day while I was out getting us coffee and a vanilla soy steamer for the little one at Starbucks.  To my surprise, he made red velvet pancakes complete with eggs over easy and bacon!  Yumm.  I love pancakes and love red velvet even more so these were a perfect way to start our morning.  This was his first time at making a batter of any kind (without my help) and I think he did a great job.  ;) The pancakes were light and fluffy, just the way I like em!  One thing I might add the next time I make these is homemade macadamia nut sauce.  If you've ever been to Hawaii and visited Boots and Kimos, you know that sauce is to die for.  Its one thing I wished we had here in the Bay but something I want to try and make.  Once I perfect the recipe, I'll post it on here.  

So, the next time you decide to make brunch or breakfast in bed for your loved ones, make sure to have red velvet pancakes on the menu.  Enjoy!  

Red Velvet Pancakes
taken from Baking Bites

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp red food coloring

Preheat a lightly greased or nonstick skillet on the stovetop.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add in egg, melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla and food coloring and whisk well until batter is smooth and very few lumps remain.
Drop the batter onto the hot skillet in heart shapes – with a spoon, a heart-shaped mold, or a wide-tipped pastry bag – and cook until edges just start to set and bottom is lightly browned. Turn once, and cook again until bottom is lightly browned.
Serve immediately with syrup, berries and/or whipped cream.
This batter makes fairly thick pancakes. If you like yours thinner, add an additional 2 tbsp buttermilk to the batter.

Friday, May 6, 2011


My boy sent me this link yesterday:  Let's Cupcake in San Francisco will be giving away free cupcakes on Tuesday, May 31st 2011.

Wanna Cupcake for FREE?

The Let's Cupcake Free Cupcake Day
Enjoy a free cupcake from 11am to 9pm

...Come join us on Tuesday, May 31st 2011 as Let's Cupcake celebrates a pre-opening to our grand-opening we want you to come by and try our SOON TO BE famous cupcakes for FREE. Come swing by the brand new "Let's Cupcake Cafe" in San Francisco and preview the cafe, the people, and of course the cupcakes.

Let's Cupcake
2255 Judah St.
San Francisco, CA

The Let's Cupcake Cafe and our mission:
To be everything you didn't expect at a cupcake cafe, bringing the community together through beautiful art, music, great coffee, and even better cupcakes. A place where people can eat, drink, study, sing, work, and play all at the same time. Where artist can express themselves through creative art and poetry, where starving musicians are no longer starving for a place to play, where a 21st century world doesn't have to have 19th century internet, where coffee is actually good and afforadble(spell check pls!) where a starving community can satisfy its hunger for delicious affordable cupcakes. 

Umm.  Hi.  I didn't know that I was giving away free cupcakes.  LOL.  I guess this means that I'll have to come up with an even better logo.  Sigh.  Any recommendations?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kid tested, mother approved Peanut Butter Cookies

If you took a peek in my pantry, you would find an excess amount of my baking necessities:  flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and PEANUT BUTTER.  I'm always on the lookout for a bargain at the grocery and stock up.  I know, I know.  I admit I can be a bit impulsive and overzealous at times, but considering all the baking I do, I need to keep my pantry stocked at all times.  LOL.  The bf organized our pantry last nite and we had a total of 3 containers of peanut butter, so I decided to whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies.  

This recipe is very simple to make and requires less ingredients than one would think.  These cookies are soft, chewy, and sinfully good.  Happy baking.  

Peanut Butter Cookies
taken from Brown Eyed Baker
(I use a ton of her recipes...and all for good reason! :)

1¾ all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
Granulated sugar, for rolling cookies

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat. (I use parchment paper).
2. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add the egg and beat just until blended. Reduce speed to low and add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture gradually, mixing just until combined.
4. Put the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoonful of dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Roll the dough into the sugar and place on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dip the tines of a fork into the sugar and make a crisscross patern on the cookies, flattening them slightly.
5. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack.
Storing: Store these cookies in an airtight container for about a week. You can also freeze these cookies in a freezer bag for approximately 3 months and thaw when you are ready to eat them.

 Be sure to keep the cookies spaced 2 inches apart.  They end up spreading out a bit as they bake. 
 Right out of the oven.

 My cute patootie pastry chef, Kylie.  She wanted to take a picture holding our cupcake cookie jar!  :)