26 May 2010

Easy Bake cOven : Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Please excuse the crappy lighting in my office - but I DID take this with my phone (5mp!)

That's right - cookie dough + cupcakes.

I make all the birthday treats for my office. Each of my coworkers gives me a list of things they love and hate in a birthday dessert, and I surprise them. May saw 3 birthdays in our office - carrot cake for the first, Mexican chocolate ice cream with homemade graham crackers for the second, and I made these chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes for the final birthday of May. This coworker told me that she loves cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies, so when I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats, I knew it was meant to be. Plus, Annie described it as life changing, so I just HAD to make it. (The life changing may or may not be in regards to your cholesterol or blood sugar levels after consuming these cupcakes, but sweet Moses they are worth it!)

The eggless cookie dough filling is really a thing of beauty. Mix, refrigerate, and you've got tasty cookie dough. The filling could definitely be used in a cookie dough ice cream, and since I've got leftovers, that's likely what will happen (it's in the freezer awaiting further adaptation).

I skipped the mini cookie decoration. Had it been for a full-on party, with more time to prepare, I may have gone for it. But I am proud of myself for using my giant decorating tip for the frosting. That inspiration came from the lovely Laura of Oh For Heaven Cakes! (Although I could still use some help in that department...)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Yield:24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips 

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake.  Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.  

For the frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract 

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.

For decoration:
Tiny chocolate chip cookies
Mini chocolate chips

Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips and topping with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration.

Recipe from Annie's Eats

Also - if you haven't checked out Annie's blog, you must. First, she is a wonder woman - doctor, wife, mother, who makes tasty food and blogs about it EVERY DAY. Second, tasty food. Seriously tasty food.

Carrot cake from earlier in the month

12 May 2010

Easy Bake cOven : Strawberry Clafoutis

Underwhelmed. That's how my clafoutis left me feeling. Despite its composition full of things I love - strawberries, crepe-like batter - it just didn't have much to it.

Now, I've never made or eaten a clafoutis, so it's quite possible that I did something incorrectly. Maybe it was underbaked? Maybe I let my batter sit in the food processor too long while I ate dinner? Maybe I was expecting something more like Nigella Lawson's Rhubarb Grunt? I was going to send the larger pan with Don to his office, but we both decided it's not fit for public consumption. I'm going to see if a few more minutes in the oven tonight renders a more favorable result.

I should have made the tart!

Update: a bit more time in the oven did improve the clafoutis. But I don't know that I'll try it again...

Easy Bake cOven : Croissants!

Butter and I are the best of friends. Thus, you can imagine why I like croissants oh so much. Flakey. Buttery. Yes please.

Although a bit intimidating at first, I was really excited that The Maiden Metallurgist chose this recipe. I also acquired two new pastry tools, which made this endeavor extra exciting (I love accessories) - a marble pastry board and a new rolling pin. The fabulous Don made the rolling pin and scored the marble board for free from a stone supplier!

I first set out to make these in the middle of the month, but realized that I wouldn't have enough time. So I had to wait until the next weekend. Even though the process was lengthy, I really, really, really enjoyed making croissants. There's something about having the opportunity to fold and rework the dough several times that is almost calming for me. I can't quite describe it.

I made half the dough into croissants, and saved half to use to make a chicken & broccoli braid to take to work for lunch. (My coworkers must not realize that the process took 20 hours, because they didn't seem very impressed when I told them I made the dough from scratch. Or they're just getting used to me telling them that.)

Next time I make this recipe, I will plan out my timing a little better. They would actually work well to make the night before and the finish up in the morning for a brunch.

inside a chocolate croissant. yum!

Easy Bake cOven : Lemon bars

I love lemon desserts. Of all kinds. 2 years ago, when I went to visit the Lovely Lady Baker, I was on a mission to try something tasty from the legendary Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. I chose the lemon tart. I loved the lemon tart. So you can imagine my thrill when this recipe was posted.

You might also be able to imagine my thrill when I realized that I now live some place where one could acquire Meyer lemons for making the lemon custard. (No? You can't imagine that?) For years, Martha Stewart has been telling me I need to use Meyer lemons in lemon desserts and I've never been able to find them in Kansas. Thank goodness for Whole Foods. I finally had those elusive Meyer lemons and was ready to make some lemon bars!

I'm also pretty picky about the flavor of my lemon curd/lemon custard. Sometimes it just has the wrong mix of acid and egg yolk flavor - you know? I was pleased to find that this recipe was just right. At least with the Meyer lemons it was. The crust was exactly like the Tartine crust, but a bit too hard and crunchy for my taste. When I make this again I will probably make a slightly softer crust.

You'll have to forgive me for not getting better pictures of this dish. Don and I were so excited that we promptly cut and ate as much as possible. They were delicious!

Update: Don made this recipe for my office birthday treat. Since I've started making all the treats for my coworkers, he thought he'd relieve me of that responsibility for my own birthday. He even did a pretty good job.