Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Red Velvet Muffins

Hello all!

I know it's been almost a week since I last posted but I have been busily preparing for a VACATION! Now I know what you're thinking: "Isn't she already on summer vacation?" Technically, yes, but this is a vacation I have been looking forward to for years since the last time I traveled. I get to journey with my boyfriend and his family up to Maine for Memorial Day weekend...

and oh, did I mention we are staying on an island off the coast of Maine? My boyfriend's family has owned a home on Great Diamond Island for generations, where the homes have names instead of numbers (which is awesome in and of itself). Beautiful, quiet, serene: this is my kind of island. Not to mention I fell in love with the city of Portland last time I visited there; great food, cute shops, movies for $5...and of course the best lobster around.

The only negative is that his grandparents' home (which is where we are staying) does not have internet access, so I will be posting all of the lovely vacation photos once I return after Memorial Day. With that said, let me share with you one of my newest creations in my quest for baking fame. Hopefully these will hold you over until I return.

I give you....

The Red Velvet Muffin

Now I'm sure I am not the first one to think up a red-velvet-inspired muffin, but I have to say I am pretty darn impressed with how these came out. Bits of white chocolate midst a perfect scarlet hue, and a cake-like texture with just a slight hint of cocoa flavor; I am lovin' these muffins. True, I love almost all muffins, but there is just something purely wonderful about seeing your own idea transform into a successful sweet treat.

I hope these inspire you to create one of your own decadently delicious muffins, or to just test these out to share with friends. These are definitely the way to go if a full slice of red velvet cake seems over-the-top.

Well, I am off to the lovely coast of Maine; enjoy your Memorial Day and I will be back before you know it!

Happy Baking!

Red Velvet Muffins Via Yours Truly

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vinegar
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one 12 cup muffin pan with cooing spray
2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and white chocolate chips in a medium bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, beat together egg, oil, buttermilk and vinegar. Quickly pour wet ingredient mixture into dry ingredient mixture and stir with large wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix.
4. Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full with batter and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
3. In a separate bowl

Friday, May 18, 2012

White Chocolate Filled Snickerdoodles

Hello all,

I couldn't imagine a more gloomy past couple of days. Rainy, dreary, and making me sleepy to be quite honest. But what better way to beat a rainy day then with a fresh batch of cookies?

I saw this pin on Pinterest for White Chocolate Filled Snickerdoodles and I almost shouted out loud with excitement until I realized I was working in the computer lab and would most likely be seen as a bit off my rocker.

I was so excited that I even broke out the real cinnamon for the occasion. No cassia for these cookies - pure Siagon Cinnamon my friends.

So my whole kitchen smells divinely spicy right now, but I did run into one small issue...why did I think white chocolate chips would melt like regular white chocolate? I can't tell you what happened inside my brain at the moment where I thought I could sub them, but sadly, as in all other chip cookies, they did not melt.

BUT the cookies are so out of this world that I don't even care. I know the real cinnamon is a bit pricier and harder to acquire than the grocery store type, but I am telling you it is worth every penny. Well, mine was given to me for free from my friend's dad (score!) but still. Worth. Every. Penny.

And in case your curious what I've been doing with myself now that my entire junior year of college is over...

I'm learning to cook! A girl can't live on cookies and brownies forever you know (though I'd love to try). So far I've succeeded in the following: Penne Alla Vodka, Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes, Spaghetti with Capers, Olives & Tomatoes, and even Stuffed Peppers! I did learn, however, that it is a bad idea to let me try and use my camera while attempting to cook. After almost dropping it in the vodka sauce, I decided learning was more important than photographing.

Slowly, but surely, I will learn to be as brave in the savory kitchen as I am in the sweet. Hopefully.

That's all for now; I'm off to scour the internet for a newly inspiring sweet treat to make and share with you all.

Happy Baking!

White Chocolate Filled Snickerdoodles 
Via Cookies&Cups

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
24 white chocolate candies, such as Hersey Bliss etc.

1. In medium bowl sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl beat together butter and shortening before adding sugar. Beat until well combined.
3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
4. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture until dough forms. Store dough in refrigerator for an hour to set up before baking.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, then make small indentation with your thumb in the center of each. Place one white chocolate candy in the center and roll dough back into a ball, covering the candy completely.
7. Mix together 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp sugar in small bowl. Roll filled dough-balls in cinnamon sugar, then place on cookie sheet.
8. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until they just start to brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on pan before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Luscious Lemon Loaves

I know I've been so good about avoiding alliterations (oh there I go again) but sometimes I just can't help myself. But now that you've read luscious lemon loaves, aren't you intrigued to know more?

At any rate I hope so because that's what I am focusing on today. This past Sunday we celebrated Mother's Day, my boyfriend's 21st birthday, and his brother's confirmation all in one shot. I baked these loaves and they turned out to be a  huge hit: one standard-sized loaf for my boyfriend's mother, and a baby loaf for the rest of the guests.

Making smaller loaves also aided me in feeling less guilty about the sheer decadence of this recipe. I know pound cake received its name from the ingredient list of a pound of each sugar, eggs, flour, and butter, but wow did I feel guilty when I dropped the contents of a 1 lb box of butter and 8 whole eggs into my mixing bowl.

Oh and did I mention that it gets a coating of lemon syrup and lemon glaze? 

Hence the term luscious. The syrup seals in the moisture and the glaze sets it right over the top. With a dozen fresh lemons, tons of butter and sugar, how could these have possibly turned out badly?

I'd love to try this out with the substitution of fresh strawberries or blueberries, or any fresh fruit for that matter. Fruit and cake, as long as it's not fruitcake always receive an A+ in my recipe book.

At this point you may be asking yourself "how do you top luscious lemon loaves?"

Answer: White. Chocolate. Filled. Snickerdoodles.

Keep an eye out for them and more coming up On Sugar Mountain!

Happy Baking!

 Luscious Lemon Loaves Via Glorious Treats
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1/4 cup grated lemon zest (4 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups melted butter, cooled
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

lemon syrup:

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

lemon glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup +1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and thoroughly grease 2 9x5 loaf pans (or mini pans) with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, lemon zest and juice. Beat in sour cream and vanilla until just incorporated.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
4. Use a large spoon or spatula to fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, rotate pans, then at 325 for an additional 30 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let cakes cool while preparing syrup and glaze.

7. Lemon Syrup: Add lemon juice and sugar to small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil for three minutes. Remove from heat until ready to use.

**While cakes are still slightly warm, poke tops and sides with a toothpick. Brush liberally with lemon syrup.**

8. Lemon Glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until thick syrup forms, using a little more juice if needed to adjust consistency.

**After cakes have soaked in syrup, drizzle glaze over top**

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cookie Dough Topped Brownies

Hello all,

I am positively giddy with excitement as I right this post. Would you like to know why?


I made it into FoodBuzz's Top9 today with my Birthday Cake Fudge!

Because of this honor, for the first time ever, I had over 1000 hits today on the blog. It has made my day and I just want to thank each and every person that voted me into the Top9.

If I could, I'd thank you all with a batch of these Cookie Dough Topped Brownies!

Alas, I could never make that many brownies in so short a time, so I will have to be satisfied with sharing the recipe with you all and letting you know that there are, in fact, my new favorite brownies. End of story.

Seriously, who ever thought of egg-less cookie dough is a genius. I now want to use it in every cake, cupcake, brownie and sweet treat that comes out of my kitchen. I even saw a recipe for cookie dough stuffed whoopie pies - which I will let you all know right now I'm so going to test out ASAP.

It is a bit on the sweet side, but I promise you one bite will not be enough. Once you start, it is a sweet slippery slope into cookie-dough-brownie bliss.

Speaking of bliss, between these brownies and making Top9 I am spent! I hope you test these brownies out for yourselves and share them (or not) with your friends. I'm off to make some delicious lemon loaves for Mother's Day this weekend, but I'll be sure to share the sweet success with you all on Monday!

Happy Baking!

Cookie Dough Topped Brownies Via RecipeGirl

for the brownies:
1 cup melted, salted butter
4 oz chopped unsweetened chocolate
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

for the cookie dough:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup salted butter, room temp
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
2 cups chocolate chips (mini if you have them)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
2. Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals until smooth. Let cool slightly.
3. Whisk together melted butter and brown sugar, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly stir in flour, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Spread brownie batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes, or until just set in the center. Let cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, make the cookie dough. Use a hand/stand mixer to beat together butter and both sugars, then beat in milk, vanilla and flour. Stir in chocolate chips.

6. Press cookie dough over top of cooled brownies. Stick in fridge for a few hours to set up, then cut into squares and serve!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Birthday Cake Fudge

Hello all,

I told you I had to satisfy all the craving that have built up since I hurt my leg, and I have to amdit that after all of the sweets at Rutgers Day, I was regretting not taking any fudge home at the end.

I mean seriously, who doesn't love a giant piece of fudge?

Rutgers Student Bakers' favorite fudge is a cookies 'n cream recipe, but I wanted to try one I've had pinned on my Pinterest boards for months: birthday cake flavored. Yum.

So I finally got myself to stop drooling over my keyboard and get to work. I even had this great idea to use one of these pans:

to make equally-sized, easy-to-make fudge pieces. It's actually a silicone brownie pan from Wilton but I'm sure they won't mind if I MacGuyver it to my own delicious purposes.

I have to admit though, I do wish I had tried this one out with the baking club, or at least with a buddy, When she writes to "move quickly", she's not kidding. This fudge started to harden as soon as I turned off the heat. Attempting to turn half of it blue was a bit too much for me, but I managed to get it all into the pan and covered with, what else, rainbow sprinkles.

Phew. Now the good news is that my idea worked and the little bits of fudge came out perfectly from the silicone pan, and are adorable. The bad news? What the kitchen looked like minutes after I got all of it into the fridge to cool.

I've never seen so many dirty pots/pans/silverware. Sigh. It's times like these when I wonder what I would give to have a dishwasher up at college.

But after I salvaged the kitchen I rewarded myself with a taste, and it was like smooth, creamy, sugary perfection. I could've used even more cake mix in the recipe but really, these are quite addicting as is.

These would be a fabulous birthday gift for anyone with a sweet tooth. Or, you know, for's someone's birthday somewhere out there...

Happy Baking!

Birthday Cake Fudge Via Mrs. Bettie Rocker

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter/margarine
1 (5oz) can evaporated milk
1 (7oz) jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 (12oz) bag white chocolate chips
1/4 cup yellow cake mix powder
1 tsp vanilla
blue food coloring (optional)
rainbow sprinkles (optional)

1. Grease/foil one 8in or 9in square baking pan, or use a silicone baking pan greased with cooking spray.
2. Add margarine, sugar, and evaporated milk to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil for a full 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Add fluff, white chocolate, cake mix, and vanilla, and stir continuously until all the chocolate has melted and the consistency is uniform.
4. Moving quickly, pour half of the fudge into a heatproof bowl and dye it blue (or whatever color you want).
5. Fill pan with blue fudge first, then the remaining white fudge on top, pulling a knife through to marble (if you want, I always like layers.) 
6. Cover top of fudge with sprinkles and let cool to room temp before storing in fridge for 2 hours to harden.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Red Velvet Cake Donuts

Hello friends!

I am finally back in the kitchen whipping up sweet treats to share with you. It took so much self-control to stay off my leg when I had some serious cravings last week, but now I plan to satisfy all of those cravings in the next few posts.

First, a few thoughts on my month of cupcakes challenge. I have learned that, quite honestly, doing an entire month of one type of baked good is not my thing. I am pretty much cupcake-d out...Forever. Or at least for a few weeks.

So with that in mind, naturally the craving I had for red velvet cake was not going to happen if it came out of my kitchen. One week later though, I found myself in the kitchen baking up red velvet...


You really didn't think it was going to be another cupcake, did you?

Oh how I love donuts, especially the baked kind which leave me less guilty than their (in my opinion) more delicious yet more terrible for you fried counterparts. Trust me, I'd go for a Krispy Kreme over a baked-cake donut if given the chance, but I can eat more of these delectable donuts without feeling quite so bad about eating them.

These came out absolutely wonderful and right on par with the red velvet flavor I was craving so badly. Think of these as red velvet cake on-the-go! Add some fresh vanilla frosting and you are set.

Happy Baking!

Red Velvet Cake Donuts slightly adapted from Taste&Tell

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
3-4 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
red food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease donut pan(s) with cooking spray. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, beat together egg and sugar until light and smooth.
3. Beat in melted butter and chocolate chips, then slowly beat in buttermilk.
4. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring until just combined.
5. Fill donut pan cavities 2/3 full with batter (will be very thick, piping it in might be easiest) and bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes or until they spring back lightly when touched.

Vanilla Frosting:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, cooled slightly
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 tbsp warm water

1. Add butter and vanilla to medium bowl. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar.
2. Use tablespoonfuls of warm water to achieve desired consistency.
3. Dip donuts in frosting, then pick up, allowing excess to drip off. Cover with sprinkles or smooth out with spatula.