Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Buttercream Frosting

Holy butter Paula Deen! These cupcakes are not for the weak at heart.  No, seriously.  If you are watching your cholesterol, do not read further.  I repeat, close this page now or you'll regret it later.

I came across this recipe some time ago and I knew that I had to make them.  But I had to be strategic about it too.  I would only make them when I knew there would be a crowd to eat them.  The last thing I needed was a plate full of cupcakes sitting on my counter.  So I we (Kaitlin mostly) made them a few weekend ago.  I definitely have some alterations I would make next time, but for the first time we followed the recipe.  Oh, and ah, the only pictures I took are from the first step - cookie dough.  So, here it is.
To see more pictures, as they're supposed to look, you need to visit KevinandAmanda.com's site, and really you just need to check out the recipe.  Ok, on with the recipe....

For the Cookie Dough:
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tbs milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Cupcakes:
3 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
3 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the Cookie Dough:  
Combine the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffly (about 2 minutes).  Beat in milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Using a 1.5 tbs scoop, shape the dough into balls or tubes.  Freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet overnight.

To make the Cupcakes:  
Preheat the oven to 350F.  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.

Using a 3 tbs scoop, fill the prepared cupcake liners 2/3 full with the cupcake batter.  Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.

Bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes.

To make the Frosting:  
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powder sugar until smooth.  Beat in the salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

  • My 1.5 tsp dough balls were too big.  We ended up having to take some dough off each ball.
  • Honestly here, I wasn't a fan of the cupcake batter.  It kinda had a cornbread flavor.  Next time, I'm just gonna use a vanilla cake mix from a box.  Plus that'll shave 3 sticks of butter off the recipe...
  • They took longer than 18 minutes to bake.  And it was hard to tell when they were done because of the raw cookie dough in the middle.
  • The frosting was really good, but it was a little grainy from the brown sugar.  Not sure how to make that go away without dissolving it first.
So if you counted, there were 8 total sticks of butter in this recipe.  Coleman was so kind to do the math and calculate that that is 1/4 stick per cupcake.  Yea, I'm definitely going to have to find ways to shave that down some if I want to make them again. 

Oh man were these good!

recipe from KevinandAmanda.com

Witchy Worm Cookies

Ok, I really am not fond of the "halloween" name for these cookies, but I couldn't think of anything else to call them.  So I'm using the name from the site that I found them.


2 pkg chocolate chips, 12 oz ea
1 pkg peanut butter chips, 10-12 oz
1 can peanuts, 12 oz
3 oz. Rice/Chow Mein Noodles

  1. Melt the buzzard eyes and snails over low heat.  Take off the heat and stir in the spider eggs and fried worms; mix thoroughly.
  2. Drop by the spoonful onto wax paper lined cookie sheets.  Freeze until set.  Store in the refrigerator.  (Makes about 40 pieces.)

I ended up using the whole 5 oz. container of chow mein noodles. 
I'm thinking of adding some rice krispies next time too.  :)

adapted from Bake at 350

Friday, October 1, 2010

Panzanella and Sausage Salad

adapted from Rachael Ray's Everyday magazine

I love panzanella salad.  It's carbs and veggies and cheese and full of flavor.  So when I came across this recipe I knew I had to make it.  So I did, last night for dinner.  Bonus, this meal boasts at being $10 (or less) total!

Four 3/4" thick slices of italian bread
1/4 c EVOO
2 plum/roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
5 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
4 italian sausage links (about 1 lb)

  1. Preheat a grill to medium.  Brush the bread slices with 2 tbs EVOO.  In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion and garlic; season with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Add the vinegar and remaining 2 tbs EVOO.
  2. Meanwhile, arrange the bread on the grill and toast on one side, about 2 minutes.  Flip and top with half of the cheese; cover and grill for 2 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then cut into cubes and add to the tomato mixture.  Stir in the basil.
  3. Pierce the sausage with a fork, arrange on the grill, cover and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Thickly slice the sausage and add to the bread salad.  Divide among 4 plants and top with the remaining cheese.
  • I used tomatoes and basil from mom's garden, onion from mom's house, and left over garlic bread from catering.  The only thing I had to purchase was the sausage.
  • Being as I used left over bread that was already cooked/grilled, I made croutons for the salad.
  • Instead of salt and pepper, I sprinkled with Santa Maria seasoning.
  • I topped each plate with a little shredded parm, not grated.  Only because 1) I like shredded better, and 2) I didn't read the word grated on the recipe at first.  Oops.
  • To make this salad a little healthier, I used hot italian turkey sausage.  It was good, and a lot less fat.  Oh, and I didn't grill it, I cooked them on the stove top.
  • Next time, I think I won't "finely chop" the tomato and onion though.  It was hard to stab little pieces of veggies.

Beecher's 'World's Best' Mac & Cheese - and it is!

While in Seattle last month I made it a point to stop at Beecher's cheese shop...twice.  They make my favorite cheese (bonus they have 2 more new favorite cheeses of mine!), so I was excited to see where it was made and to eat lunch there.  I've had it before, and I'll eat it again, but they make the best mac and cheese EVER!  No joke, you'll never find any better.  Now imagine my shock and excitement, a week after getting back the recipe was in some newspaper insert (think Parade but with recipes).  So, since I know everyone can't go to Seattle and visit their shop I thought I'd share the recipe (but please do find or order their cheese to use!).  Plus, it's up here now so I can't lose it.  :)

Beecher's 'World's Best' Mac & Cheese
If you can't find Beecher's cheese locally, use an aged sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.  This recipe can be made ahead and frozen - use a freezer-to-oven-safe pan and increase the baking time to 50 minutes.

2 tbs unsalted butter
3 1/2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c whole milk
7 oz Beecher's Flagship cheese, grated (about 1 3/4 c)
1 oz Beecher's Just Jack cheese, grated (about 1/4 c)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

6 oz penne pasta (about 3 1/4 c)
1 oz (1/4 c) Beecher's Flagship cheese, grated
1 oz (1/4 c) Beecher's Just Jack cheese, grated
1/4 to 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

  1. To prepare sauce, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour.  Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly.  Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.
  3. Add cheese, salt, chili powder, and garlic powder.  Stir until cheese melts, about 3 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. To prepare pasta, cook pasta 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven).  Rinse pasta in cold water and drain well.
  6. Combine pasta and sauce in a medium bowl; mix thoroughly.  (The mixture will seem soupy, but some of the liquid will be absorbed during baking.)  Transfer to an 8" square baking dish.  Sprinkle top with cheese and chili powder.
  7. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4
Nutrition per serving: 560 calories, 32g fat, 100mg chol., 27g protein, 42g carbs, 1g fiber, 720mg sodium

Now, go visit Beecher's!  There are also 2 other options for this mac & cheese:  1) order the kit online which includes the cheese, or 2) you can buy it premade online.  Your call.  But it's Sooooo good!  If you are going to order Beecher's cheese to use, get yourself a block of their 4 year aged Flagship and a block of the Smoked Flagship.  Yea, I brought a little of each of those home with me.  :)

Top Banana Bread

(adapted from Hungry Girl)

Hey, how has a bunch (bad pun, sorry) of banana in the freezer?  I do, I do.  Time to once again use some up and try a new banana bread recipe.  This time I tried a recipe out of Hungry Girl's 200 Under 200 cookbook, but I had to make a few adjustments, and next time I would make a few more.

1 1/4 c whole-wheat flour
1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (instead of Splenda like the recipe called for)
1 1/2 c mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/2 c fat-free liquid egg substitute
1/2 c no-sugar-added applesauce
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine both types of flour, sugar (splenda), baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix well.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, egg substitute, applesauce and vanilla extract.  Add the wet mixture to the bowl containing the dry ingredients and stir until just blended.
  4. Spoon batter into a large loaf pan (about 9 inches by 5 inches) sprayed with nonstick spray.  Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Allow the loaf to cool slightly, then cut into eight slices.  
Serves 8

Per serving (with splenda): 140 calories, 0.5g fat, 267mg sodium, 31g carbs, 3.75g fiber, 7g sugar, 5g protein

  • I don't have baking Splenda in my house.  It's too expensive.  Plus I don't like how Splenda tastes.  So I used regular sugar.
  • I also used whole wheat flour for all of the flour.  Next time I wouldn't do that.  I'd honestly probably only 1/2 WW and 1/2 AP flours.  It was too...whole wheaty for me.