Thursday, September 27, 2012

Deep Dish Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookie

Hello friends,

Today is one of the most aggravating days known to man. The dark, dreary, rainy yet still warm Thursday that suddenly breaks into sunshine. This is after I've officially dressed like the laziest college student ever in my big baggy Rutgers sweats. Ugh.

But I have a treat that will get you through these kind of days, or any day for that matter,' where you crave something cozy, gooey, chewy, and deliciously sweet.

And fear not my college companions! Are you armed with only a microwave? This recipe is dedicated to you:

Meet the Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie for One

(gasps, ooohs, aaahs)

I know, I KNOW. How could we have not all stumbled upon this sooner? It's so freaking easy I almost didn't include step-by-step photos. Almost.

But I love you all so much, I wanted you to see that this recipe is tried, true, and totally addicting.

Here is all you need in terms of "equipment". You'll also want tablespoonfuls of butter, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, an egg yolk, a few drops of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Oh and a healthy portion of chocolate chips.

Melt butter.

Stir in sugars, vanilla, egg yolk and salt.

Stir in flour. Stir or just plain old cover with chocolate chips.

Microwave for 60 seconds.


I think I could get used to weather like this with a cookie like that.

Enjoy plain or with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Happy Baking!

Deep Dish Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookie
via MyHappyPlace

1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 drops vanilla
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) flour
2 tbsp chocolate chips

1. Stir melted butter, sugars, vanilla and salt in a small ramekin or mug
2. Stir in flour and then chocolate chips
3. Microwave for 40-60 seconds

Serve Warm

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies


I have big news!!

I met someone who knew me from my blog!!

He came to baking club last Friday and after introducing himself, said to me "Hey, you're that girl who writes On Sugar Mountain right?"

I almost died of excitement right there. I thought perhaps someone had mentioned to him that I blog, but then my VP told me he had been in the back baking cupcakes and talking about my Red Lobster Biscuits and had no idea I was the head of the club.

Life is good.

So I believe it's time to celebrate, and I see no other way than to whip up these comforting Chai Spiced Cookies and scarfing down as many of them as possible, with or without a Chai Tea Latte.

Whether you've had a bad day and need a pick me up OR have had a great day and believe you deserve something awesome (which you totally do, good day or bad day) these cookies will definitely hit the spot.

I have to admit I was a little concerned about adding black pepper to the range of spices, but the cookies come out wonderfully warm and spicy without any trace of just "pepper" flavor.

Other than pepper you've got ground ginger, allspice, and once again my vietnamese cinnamon. I can never find cardamom so I just threw in equal parts of the other spices to make up for it and no harm done.

I loved how this recipe incorporates the spices into the cookies. Instead of just rolling the cookies in a sugar spice mixture, you first mix all of the spices and all of the sugar for the recipe in one bowl, and reserve a smidge for rolling, and then beat the rest of the sugary spicy mixture with the butter. I find that it really incorporated the flavors into every bite of the cookie.

Mmmmm cookies.

These cookies are best eaten the day of when they are still pillowy soft and warm from the oven, but if you keep them in a tupperware they will stay for a few days.

You know, in case you aren't like me and can't eat dozens of cookies in one day.

I hope you are all have fantastic weeks as well! If not, spend some time in the kitchen with these Chai Cookies. You can use your hands to mix the dough, and I find kneading cookie dough to be one of the best stress relievers out there.

Right after eating said cookie dough instead of baking it.

Happy Baking!

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies Via MyBakingAddiction

1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom (or just more of the other spices if you can't find it)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and black pepper until evenly incorporated. Reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture in a small bowl for rolling the cookies.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. Cream butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy, then beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing until well incorporated. (use clean hands if necessary!)
5. Scoop out about 2 tsp of dough, roll into ball, and roll in reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1/12 inches between cookies for spreading
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. They will look undercooked - take them out anyway and let them cool for 2 minutes on the sheet before removing to wire rack.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Hello all,

I think we've established here on Sugar Mountain that I have a bit of a muffin obsession. I'm sure you are thinking "Totally understandable - muffins are freaking amazing" but in case you are one of the few who still doubts the delectable delight that is the muffin, I bring you these Snickerdoodle Muffins as proof.

Of course, you could also check out Strawberries & Cream Muffins, Lemon Streusel Coffee Cake Muffins, Red Velvet Muffins, or any other muffin lovin' recipe on my Recipe Index Page.

We will make a believer out of you.

Besides their deliciousness, I also love muffins because they are simple. If I have a bake-o-phobic friend who wants to learn how to whip up something sweet, I always point to a muffin recipe. They are so forgiving and so much fun; once you start you will quickly end up with millions of muffins in your kitchen.

Though, to be fair, these muffins were a tad more like cupcakes in preparation. Creaming butter and sugar are usually not on my "To-Do" when I'm making muffins, but the photos on EatmeDelicious were absolutely mouthwatering and I could not resist trying them. I also love any excuse to break out my Vietnamese Cinnamon. :D But even if you are a new baker or inexperienced, do not shy away from these!

Different does not always mean difficult.

Say hello to the thickest muffin batter known to man. You will need (or have after this!) some serious arm muscles to work that thing into shape.

Using an ice cream scoop, you measure out the batter and drop it into a cinnamon sugar mixture, and it holds its shape. Weird.

Roll it around real quick and plop it into a heavily greased muffin pan. They may look a little humble now, but oh, just wait. The smell alone that fills your house (or my tiny college apartment) is enough to get anyone craving a snickerdoodle. Be prepared for the masses to come running.

Not only were these fun to make (and eat of course!) they also ensured my hopes that Fall is on it's way. The crisp, cool air in the morning, the slow incorporation of cardigans and sweaters into people's wardrobes,   Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks, and now Snickerdoodle Muffins.

My life is complete, for now anyway.

Check back next Tuesday for more Fall-weather Favorites and Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies!

Happy Baking!

Snickerdoodle Muffins Via EatMeDelicious

2 sticks unsalted butter, softenend
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/4 cup flour

1 tbsp cinnamon + 1/2 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and heavily grease muffin pans with cooking spray or butter. In a small bowl,  combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
4. Add flour mixture and sour cream to egg mixture in an alternating fashion, starting and ending with the flour. Stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
5. Using an ice cream scoop, measure out muffins one at a time, and drop the batter into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Roll around in mixture, being sure to cover completely, then place muffin in greased muffin pan. Repeat until you run out of muffin batter.
6. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Let cool in pan 10-15 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

makes approximately 12-16 muffins

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt

Hello friends!

With being back at school, work, running two blogs and the baking club, I find myself more and more intrigued by simply prepared yet superbly delicious recipes. Though this could be in part due to the Brownie Banana Bread Cupcake Blunder of last week (I have mentioned I have a fragile ego have I not?).

So today I am happy to share with you this gem of a recipe from CookinCanuck for Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt.

Fudge is one of those wonderful treats that sounds like it's too much work when in reality you can have the whole batch done and in the fridge in less than twenty minutes. It's a crowd-pleaser every time and you get the satisfaction of hearing everyone go "mmmm" while mentally patting yourself on the back for a job well done with minimal effort and time.

First trick though that is crucial to successful, stress-free fudge: lining your pan with parchment paper. The key is to have the paper longer than the pan, so that after you pour the fudge in and let it cool, you can easily grab the excess paper to lift the fudge out of the pan in one piece.

One of the best bits of knowledge ever that I picked up while roaming through fudge recipes online.

And here's your main lineup for the fudge. Note that I don't have the actual "Nutella-brand" Nutella. The ShopRite brand tastes exactly like it and is half the price. College Savings FTW. Now take these plus a tad bit of butter...

and melt 'em all down in a big pot. Technically you should use a double boiler system, but that would take away the whole minimal-effort deal I am trying to achieve here. If you have a double boiler, then super. If not, no worries.

Keep the heat low and stir the mixture constantly so that the chocolate doesn't burn. It doesn't take very long for everything to melt anyway, so if you keep it low and slow, you should be good. I did it this way and my fudge came out fabulous.

Once you pour it into your pan, wait a minute or two before sprinkling on your sea salt. I found that some of it melts if you apply it too soon, and though it still tastes great, it won't look quite as neat if all your salt melts into the chocolate.

Then into the fridge it goes for 2-3 hours, or overnight if you are want to do this the night before a party or event.

See? Parchment paper is a god-send in these situations. I like clean, straight edges on my fudge (I'm a little type-A I know) and it makes it so much easier to cut when you haven't spent the last half hour fighting to get it out of the pan.

Yum! How pretty are these? Simple, Sweet, Satisfying.

There are so many good fudge recipes out there too so don't shy away if you're not a fan of sea salt or Nutella. For some inspiration check out my Pinterest Board on Fudge, Brownies and Bars.

That's all for now my friends. I hope you are all having a wonderful week and, as always,

Happy Baking!

Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt Via CookinCanuck

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz dark chocolate (I used milk chocolate chips)
1 cup Nutella
3 tbsp butter, softened, cut into slices

sea salt, for sprinkling

1. Spray a 8x8 in pan with cooking spray, and then line the pan with parchemnt paper, being sure to leave extra hanging off the pan (to pull the fudge out later)
2. Combine all ingredients except sea salt in a deep-rimmed pan set over low/medium heat. Heat until everything melts, stirring constantly, and consistency is smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top with spatula. Wait a minute or two and then sprinkle sea salt (as much as you like) over the top of the fudge, pressing down slightly if needed to secure the salt.
4. Place in fridge for 2-3 hours or until firm, or overnight.
5. Remove fudge from pan by grabbing parchment paper and lifting gently. Using a long sharp knife, cut fudge into small squares. Keep in airtight container in fridge.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Brownie Banana Bread Cupcake Blunder

Hello friends,

Let's get straight to it shall we? I am sad. Just when I thought I was getting into a groove, life decided to throw me a sucker punch in the form of this tantalizing recipe for Brownie Banana Bread Cupcakes.

My bananas were getting ripe. Too ripe. But I had read somewhere on the good old Internet that you can freeze black bananas until you are ready to bake with them.

Ask me if I remembered to thaw the bananas ahead of time.


Did I remember to take butter out of the freezer?


But I did not let any of this deter me, even though I probably should have just taken the hint. Fate was trying, most likely, to help me out; but stubborn little me really really wanted to try one of these cupcakes. I managed to get the skin off of the bananas, much like peeling a carrot, but then thought to microwave them to get them a little less, well, frozen.

I finally manage to get everything into the cupcake pans and it's so late that I think "just not frosting them would leave me with sweet muffins. No one will know the difference". But frosting would not have saved these sad, naked cakes. The added moisture from the microwaved bananas made me increase the cooking time, to the point where the brownie became non existent, dry, and crumbly, and there still were mushy sections of cake.

It's never a good sign when one must wrestle with the cupcake wrapper to get at the actual cake. Ugh.

I guess I am still trying to get my head in the game so to speak for my senior year of college. Coming back is always exciting, but it also tends to feel a bit like a slap in the face. Reading, studying, homework, part time job, running a student organization and blogging. What have I gotten myself into?

Well, next week there will be fudge. Fudge makes everything better, right?


So until next week,

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Salted Caramel Kiss Cookies

Hello friends!

So I survived the first week of classes; I cannot tell you how glad I am that is over. Slowly but surely I am getting back into the groove here at Rutgers, and for those moments when a long hot shower won't cut it in terms of stress-relief, there are always these cookies to fall back on....

Salted. Caramel. Cookies.

Seriously.  Do not be intimidated by the whole "browning butter" deal. I waited far too long to attempt a recipe that included this step, and I now regret it. It is simple yet oh so satisfying and, of course, you can impress all your friends. ;)

See? If I can manage to brown butter without turning it into a black, burnt-out mess, so can you. The key is to stir constantly once all of the butter has melted to keep it from burning on the bottom. Oh and the smell? Slightly nutty, slightly caramel-y, all delicious.

Once it cools you mix in some brown sugar, eggs, and the typical flour and baking soda/powder elements. The dough is a tad soft so you may want to store it in the fridge for 30 minutes, unless you like your cookies thinner. If you like the look of mine, 30 minutes is perfect.

Another simple way that this recipe steps it up? By rolling the cookie dough in a brown sugar/white sugar mixture. Pure genius. The molasses flavor in the brown sugar really brings out the browned butter in the dough. Add a caramel-filled kiss in the center and a few flecks of sea salt, and you have one cookie that is sure to take away the stress of the day in every bite.

Impressively adorable, yet simple to make. Not to mention sharing them with my co-workers brightened up everyone's day.

I think this is going to be the new mantra of "On Sugar Mountain". The semester is going to be full of exciting, yet often stressful moments, and I am determined to show how just a little bit of love and effort in the kitchen can really pay off. Stress-reducing is not the only thing these cookies are great for; perhaps you're a freshman and want to make some friends? Or a transfer student? Or maybe you just want to make people smile? There is no better way to make friends than by sharing food, especially if it's food you made. The thought makes people smile, and it's a great way to get your "foot in the door" so to speak. New acquaintances will have something to remember you by, and who knows, maybe they will make something in return. I have said it before and I'll say it again: world peace can be achieved through cookies. Or cake. If we all take a moment to think of making others, as well as ourselves happy, we can do a lot of good with just a little bit of sweetness.

I shall go now, before I wax sentimental (though I think I already have!) but check back soon for more deliciously inspiring sweets to make, bake, and share with your friends!

Happy Baking!

 Salted Caramel Kiss Cookies Via Cookies&Cups

14 tbsp butter, preferably salted, cut into slices
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
roughly 24 Caramel Kisses, or caramel filled chocolate candies

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Put butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Let butter melt and then stir constantly until butter turns a caramel/brown color. Let cool 15 minutes.
3. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in bowl. Set aside.
4. Pour cooled butter into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add 1 3/4 cup brown sugar. Mix with hand mixer until no lumps remain. Then beat in egg, yolk and vanilla.
5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until dough comes together. At this point you can let the dough chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or just continue making cookies.
6. Mix together white sugar and brown sugar in small bowl. Roll dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls and then roll ball in sugar mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving room for spreading.
7. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. DO NOT overbake.
8. As soon as cookies come out of oven, place a caramel kiss in the center, pushing down slightly. Dust cookies with sea salt. Then let cool on wire rack.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nutella Stuffed Muffins

Why hello there!

It's been AGES I know, but I am so happy to be back to blogging and back at good old Rutgers University. True, the bus system is still horrendous and for some reason air conditioning only reaches certain classrooms in certain buildings. but nonetheless I am moved back into my apartment and ready for the new semester.

I am also super excited to be writing this post from the brand new Barnes and Noble on campus! It's three stories of nerdy awesomeness, and TED ALLEN will be showing up here in roughly twenty minutes for a book signing! Needless to say I have staked out a nice spot to (hopefully) snap a quick picture of him to share with you all, so fingers crossed!

Now back to the title of this post: stuffed muffins. Yes, we have done stuffed cookies here On Sugar Mountain, and stuffed cupcakes, but now all boundaries are broken with the help of our old friend Nutella.

So this starts out as your run-of-the-mill muffin recipe; mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, and stir until just combined. But then things get interesting once you begin to fill your muffin pans...

Fill the cavities a tad less than halfway with muffin batter, then go ahead and put a big ole' dollop of Nutella in the center. Of course, Nutella naturally fights to stay on the spoon instead of off of it, so two spoons may be necessary at this point.

Then cover with more muffin batter and bake until scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and Nutella fill your kitchen. What a stress-relieving aroma let me tell you.

These are cute and delicious on their own, but why stop here? What could make a Nutella-stuffed muffin even more gratifying? Oh I don't about dipping it in melted butter and cinnamon sugar?

I thought so.

Whether you're starting a new semester, feeling frazzled or just in the mood for some seriously comforting sweet treats, these muffins are absolutely, positively the way to go.

Oh and just a bit of shameless self-promotion before I go, the new blog The Foodie Files has begun! Click here for my first post and check over there tomorrow for an out-of-this-world recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup.

Until next time,

Happy Baking!

Nutella Stuffed Muffins Via DamnDelicious
makes roughly 16 muffins

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
16 tsp nutella

cinnamon sugar topping:
6 tbsp melted butter
4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together vegetable oil, milk eggs, and vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
5. Scoop a small amount of batter (half of what you would normally use, maybe 2 tbsp) into the bottom of each muffin cavity. Then, drop a teaspoon of nutella in the center of each. Cover nutella with more muffin batter.
6. Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 13-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

7. For cinnamon sugar topping: stir together cinnamon and sugar until well incorporated.
8. Grab muffin from bottom and gently dip top into the melted butter and then quickly into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.