German Chocolate Cupcakes

Image

My boyfriend’s mother recently disclosed that her favorite cake growing up was German chocolate cake. Unfortunately, as most of her family (my boyfriend included) do not like coconut, she had not had this delectable cake in years! I decided to surprise her for her birthday and make German chocolate cupcakes. This way, I could frost half of the cakes with traditional German chocolate cake frosting and the other half with the chocolate frosting that my boyfriend and his dad could eat.

I found a fabulous recipe (Barefoot Contessa) and did a test run the week before the big day. They turned out AWESOME! This truly is a great recipe. I will definitely be using the base chocolate cake recipe for future chocolate cakes of all kinds.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly brewed (cooled) coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cake Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Line cupcake pan with paper liners

3) In a large mixing bowl or bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high for approximately 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

Image

4) Scrape bowl. Lower the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time.

5) Add the vanilla and mix well.

6) In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee.

7) In a third bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Image

8) With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk and flour mixtures (alternately in thirds) to the butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture. Begin adding with the buttermilk mix and end with the flour mix. Don’t over mix! Once all ingredients are combined, use a rubber spatula to fold the batter a few times.

Image

9) Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. I use a little less than 1/4 cup per cupcake.

Image

10) Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

11) Cool for 5-10 minutes, remove from pans, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Image

Coconut Frosting Ingredients:

  • 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Coconut Frosting Directions:

1) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

2) Whisk in the evaporated milk, brown sugar, and egg yolks.

3) Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for approximately 15 minutes (until slightly thickened). If the mixture starts to look chunky/curdled, reduce heat and beat vigorously with a whisk.

4) Remove mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla, almond extract, coconut, pecans, and salt.

5) Allow the frosting to cool for at least 1 hour before frosting the cupcakes.

I had a lot of extra frosting, so I put it in a plastic container in the fridge. It is excellent on pretzels- or on a spoon!

Image

Yield: Approximately 20 cupcakes

 

Happy Baking!

“Instant” Pancakes

Image

Hello all!

I apologize for the length of time between posts as of late. End of the school year craziness definitely set in! Now that school is out, I will definitely be cooking- and posting- more often.

I recently took a trip to Philadelphia and stayed with a friend who makes her pancake batter from scratch. Let me tell you, there is a HUGE difference between homemade batter and the boxed instant stuff. I am now officially addicted to “real” homemade pancakes. This past weekend I decided to look for some different recipes for pancake batter and stumbled upon this “instant” recipe from Alton Brown. I was definitely not disappointed, and these pancakes were a huge hit with my family!

This recipe made a very large batch of the instant/dry mix, to which you simply have to add eggs, buttermilk, and butter each time you make your pancakes. The pancakes themselves are fluffy and delicious!

Dry Instant Mix Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.
  • Use the mix within 3 months.

INSTANT PANCAKES

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups Dry Instant Mix (see above for directions)
  • butter for greasing pan
  • fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, or other optional goodies of your choice!

DIRECTIONS:

1) Heat electric griddle or frying pan

2) Whisk together egg whites and buttermilk in a small bowl

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks and melted butter

4) Combine the egg white mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.

5) Pour the liquid mixture on top of the dry mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together (you don’t need to work all of the lumps out).

6) Lightly butter your pan/griddle.

7) Pour pancake batter onto the griddle (I used roughly 1/4 cup per pancake and this worked great!). Drop in any fruit or additional ingredients (I used chocolate chips and banana slices).

8) When bubbles begin to form around the edges, flip the pancakes. They will cook approximately 2-3 more minutes on this side. Enjoy immediately!

Yield: Approximately 10 pancakes

Happy baking!

Oatmeal Lemon Cream Bars

This is an extremely quick, easy, cookie bar recipe. I made this around Christmas and it was a huge hit! There are two different ways to make this recipe: 1) the “short-cut”: using a package of Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix as the base, and 2) the “from scratch”: making your own oatmeal base from scratch. I prefer the “from scratch” method (mainly because it is cheaper and I can control the amount of sugar), but the “short-cut” is still delicious if you are pressed for time. This is an excellent recipe if you’re looking for a different variation of the classic lemon bar.

Short-Cut Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1 egg- substitute with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce!
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)

 

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8X11 pan.

2) In a large bowl, cut the cold butter into the cookie mix with a fork.

3) Stir in the egg or applesauce until the mixture is crumbly.

4) Press a little over half of the oat mixture into pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.

5) In a small bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest until thick and combined.

6) Spread lemon mixture evenly on top of the oat mixture in the pan. Top with the remaining oat mixture.

7) Bake another 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool and refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars and refrigerate.

 

***From scratch Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 egg- substitute with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

 

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8X11 pan.

2) In a large bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar until they are well combined. Add egg/applesauce.

3) In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

4) Add oats and dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix to combine.

5) Press a little over half of the oat mixture into pan.

6) In a small bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread evenly on top of the oat mixture in the pan. Top with the remaining oat mixture.

7) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool and refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars and refrigerate.

Lemon Pan-Fried Chicken

This is a super easy chicken recipe that tastes like it took a lot of work! Definitely a go-to recipe for a quick and delicious week night dinner!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour- 1 cup
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • McCormick “Perfect Pinch” to taste (or other salt-free seasoning combination)
  • 1 pound thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets, approximately 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Season 2 cups flour with salt, pepper, and Perfect Pinch (or other seasonings). Coat chicken cutlets in seasoned flour, shaking off excess, then dip in beaten egg.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pan-fry chicken until golden brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  3. Melt butter in the same skillet; cook and stir remaining 2 tablespoons flour in butter for 5 minutes, then add chicken broth and lemon juice. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to the skillet. Continue simmering until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 15 more minutes.
  5. Serve chicken with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges.

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Hello all! It has been far too long since my last post. My oven has finally been repaired and I am back in business!
For Christmas, I received a fabulous new springform pan from my brother-in-law. Somehow, in the post-Christmas lull, I managed to forget all about it. As soon as my oven was fixed, I was determined to break in the new pan. I chose a flourless chocolate cake for the first recipe. I had very little experience with spring form pans before now, and I definitely learned a few things through trial and error (major error!).
While making the batter was pretty easy, the act of actually baking the cake- specifically the part about wrapping it in foil to prevent leaking- proved to be much more difficult! This cake bakes in a water bath in order to ensure that it cooks evenly. I had read a few articles/blogs stating that no springform pan is truly water-tight, and my dad had used spring form pans before, so I knew that I couldn’t just float the pan in the water bath without some serious leaking. So, I wrapped the outside of the cake pan in heavy duty foil. Unfortunately, this was still not enough. I am not sure whether the foil was not high enough on the pan, or if I somehow tore a tiny hole in it, but I definitely ended up with a somewhat soggy cake. Major bummer! I took the issue to my dad- my kitchen guru- and he suggested overlapping two sheets of the heavy duty foil when wrapping the cake pan. In his experience, this eliminates any leaking and ensures a successful cake!

Here is the recipe and directions for this cake. I will try again soon, hopefully with more success! If you have any experience with springform pans or flourless cakes, please share!

Ingredients:

  • 8 large eggs, cold
  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (using chips works, too!)
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee or liqueur (optional)
  • confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder for decoration

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom of 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease pan sides. Cover pan underneath and along sides with two overlapping sheets of heavy-duty foil. Set the wrapped cake pan in a large roasting pan. Bring a kettle of water to boil (you might need to also boil a second pot. I would suggest doing so, just in case!)

2. Beat eggs with hand-held mixer at high speed for about 5 minutes, until the volume doubles (approximately 1 quart). If you have a stand mixer, use wire whip attachment at medium speed for about 5 minutes to achieve the same result. The egg should appear very foamy when you are finished!

3. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and butter (adding coffee or liqueur) in a large double boiler, until smooth and very warm (approximately 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), stirring occasionally. This should take approximately 4-6 minutes.

4. Fold 1/3 of the egg foam into the chocolate mixture, using a rubber spatula, until only a few egg streaks show. Then fold in half of the remaining foam, then the last of the foam, until no egg streaks are visible.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the surface using the rubber spatula. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan (around the springform pan) until water comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Carefully place the entire roasting pan (full of water and cake pan) in the oven– be VERY careful not to splash the water up over the sides of the cake pan! Bake until cake has risen slightly, edfes are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust has formed (kind of like a brownie), and an instant-read thermometer inserted halfway through the center of the cake registers 140 degrees. Approximately 22-25 minutes.

6. Remove cake pan from water bath and set on wire rack; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight to mellow (if time allows). This cake can be refrigerated for up to 4 days!

7. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the sides from the springform pan, invert the cake on a sheet of waxed paper, peel off parchment paper, and turn cake right side up on serving platter. Immediately before serving, sprinkle the cake with cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar.

To try: Instead of simply sprinkling the top of the cake, place a lacy doily (large enough to cover the entire cake, if possible) over the cake right before serving. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar over the doily, then remove the doily. When the doily is lifted, a lace pattern in confectioner’s sugar should be left on top of the cake! I have not yet tried this, but I will definitely attempt it when I re-try this recipe. I have heard that this works shockingly well and looks amazing!

I will try this again soon and post pictures!

Happy baking!

Oh no!

Well, my oven is out of commission until further notice. While baking a batch of cookies, the heating element in our oven burnt out. I didn’t even know that was possible! Hopefully we will be able to replace the part soon and I can resume my baking!

I am traveling for a graduate school interview this weekend and had planned to make a loaf of the honey oat bread to take for my host, but the current oven situation seemed to squash that idea. However, I have a wonderful boyfriend who is more than willing to let me use his oven! I think he just likes having the smell of fresh baked bread in his apartment. Plus, there is always the hope that I will make a second loaf for him (which I will 😀 ). I will try to take pictures of each step this time!

While my oven is down, I will be posting some past recipes that have been a big hit in my house. Keep an eye out for chocolate souffle, lemon cream oatmeal bars, pan fried lemon chicken, pasta e fagioli, potato pancakes, “Red Lobster” biscuits, and more!

Happy Baking!

Honey Oat Bread

Image

I had the day off of work yesterday, which obviously meant that I was going to try out a new recipe. I decided on this simple honey oat bread recipe that I found on Pinterest (of course) and it did not disappoint! This recipe takes considerably less time (beginning to end) than the crusty bread recipe, but it is WAY MESSIER!!! Even with the mess, the finished product is worth it!

Honey Oat Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups oats (I old fashioned)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk (almond or soy milk for vegan/dairy free)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey (agave for vegan)

3-4 tbsp (1/4 cup) honey (or agave), warmed
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons oats

1) In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt.

2) In a small bowl, warm the milk so that it’s hot enough to melt the butter  (but not boiling!!). Add the butter and stir until melted. Then stir in the water and honey.

3) Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. The original recipe calls for a dough hook, but I don’t have one, so I used a large spoon. Next, you need to knead the bread.

  • If you have a mixer and dough hook: Knead in the mixer, with the dough hook attachment, for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • If you’re kneading by hand: FLOUR YOUR HANDS!!!! This dough is EXTREMELY sticky. I heavily floured my kitchen table and hands, and kept flour and a tablespoon nearby. You will need to knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to soften it up.

4) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl (I used a small amount of veggie oil) and cover with saran wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).

5) While the dough is rising, prepare your bread pan. You will need a 9x5ish pan (mine is 9.25×5.25 and it works beautifully). This dough is very sticky, so line the pan with parchment paper if you have it.

6) Prepare/flour your work surface again. Once the dough is doubled, place it on your prepared work surface. Again, FLOUR YOUR HANDS! With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough, tucking the ends as needed, into a loaf.

7) Place the shaped dough into your lined 9×5-inch loaf pan and cover with a clean dry towel. Again, allow the dough to rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

8) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

9) When the loaf is done rising, brush the top with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the oats.

  • I put the oats in a plastic baggie and break them up a bit before I sprinkle them onto the dough- otherwise, you have huge pieces of oatmeal (I use old fashioned).

10) Place the bread in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown.

11) Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

I don’t have pictures of each step, but the original recipe page has step by step photos. Pay special attention to the photo of how to line your bread pan with parchment paper!

http://www.bakingdom.com/2011/09/homemade-honey-oat-bread.html

Now that this page is up and running, I will be taking photos of each step of my baking adventures from now on. Hopefully that will help answer any questions you may have!

Happy Baking!