Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chocolate Chip Mint Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes are my most requested. Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake used to be my go-to recipe for chocolate cupcakes until I found this vegan recipe from Martha Stewart. It comes out perfect every time. It produces a tender and fluffy cupcake with a deep chocolate flavor. I've made numerous different icings to top these cupcakes, and for a recent birthday outing, a friend asked for chocolate chip mint frosting. I used my basic vanilla buttercream recipe, subbed peppermint extract for vanilla, and added mini chocolate chips and a few drops of green food coloring. The icing was excellent and perfectly complemented the chocolate cake. Even our waitress at dinner could not resist snagging one for herself. The only problem is that I would not recommend piping this icing because of the chocolate chips. 

Chocolate Chip Mint Icing

2–4 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
4–6 tablespoons water (or any other liquid of choice)
a few drops of green food coloring

Cream butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 3 to 5 minutes until smooth and whipped. With the mixer on low, add peppermint extract, food coloring, powdered sugar one cup at a time, and water (or any other liquid) one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat well until combined.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

I love the flavors of chocolate and peppermint together, so you can imagine my excitement when I scored a bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch chips at the store! I could not wait to use them in a chocolate cookie recipe. My husband requested double chocolate chip cookies, but I decided on these cookies instead. I found a recipe for chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips and peppermint crunch chips and decided to add semi-sweet chocolate chips for extra chocolate flavor. I was worried when I mixed this dough since it was very sticky and grainy. But it baked up perfect cookies, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The deep chocolate flavor was highlighted by the peppermint extract and crunch of the peppermint chips.  

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies
Source: Slightly adapted from Barbara Bakes

1 and 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cups cocoa powder
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy on medium-high speed.
Add eggs and peppermint extract and mix until well combined.

Mix in flour mixture on low until just combined.
Stir in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and Peppermint Crunch chips.
Roll dough into balls or drop mounds of dough onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Cookies will still be soft in the middle.
Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Want to Marry You Cookies

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it right away. These cookies are supposedly so good that the men who eat them proclaim to their lovers, "I Want To Marry You!" The method of this recipe intrigued me more than the back story. I liked the idea of not getting out my mixer and letting the ingredients chill to meld the flavors. I had one major issue, however, with baking these. The first batch took forever to brown, and I ended up overbaking them. They didn't burn, but they hardened as they cooled instead of staying chewy. I decided to turn the oven up to 350 degrees for the next batch, and they came out perfect! (I remedied the first batch by storing them in an air-tight container with a slice of bread, which made them soft and chewy again.) The cookies were delicious and tasted like toffee-flavored chocolate chip cookies. I will definitely be adding these to my Christmas cookie list!

I Want to Marry You Cookies
Source: Adapted from Cooking Channel

2 sticks of butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar (I used light.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup uncooked rolled oats (I used quick oats.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the sugars and stir until incorporated and smooth. Chill the butter/sugar mixture in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. 

Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. 

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chips and chocolate chips. 

Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. 

Roll by hand into medium-size balls and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Who doesn't love cookies? I honestly have never met a cookie I didn't enjoy. And this is my favorite time of year to test recipes, so I can decide on which cookies to bake for Christmas. Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors, so when I saw bags of cinnamon chips at the store, I had to grab them! I was originally going to try them in snickerdoodles, but I saw this oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from Hershey and decided to give it a try instead. The chips gave the oatmeal raisin cookies an extra cinnamon punch.

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Source: Hershey
Yields: 4 dozen cookies

2 sticks butter (softened)
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 and 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 and 2/3 cups cinnamon chips
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. 
In another bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat well.
Stir in oats, cinnamon chips, and raisins.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I rolled dough into balls.)
Bake 10–12 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheets and remove to a wire rack to cool.