Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monster Cookie Cupcakes, Happy 2nd Birthday Frustrated Baker!


A few days ago, this blog hit its 2 year birthday and what better way to celebrate than with a ridiculously indulgent cupcake recipe?!  After all, that is kind of what I am all about.  These cupcakes were actually a special request from my boss at Starbucks.  He found the picture and I hunted down a recipe.  I even brought them in as a treat on my last day!

I don't know if any of you are familiar with monster cookies, I know I wasn't...I lived a sheltered childhood apparently!  That's okay though, these cupcakes more than make up for a lifetime without monster cookies, though after seeing some recipes for those I think they may make an appearance at our house very very soon!  These cupcakes are essentially peanut butter chocolate chip cupcakes, which pretty much makes them perfect, then to make it even more amazing, you top them with a "cookie dough" made of peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips and m&m's!  (I say "cookie dough" because it isn't really cookie dough...there isn't anything in there that would need to be cooked for little ones to eat it.)

So if you are looking for a way to celebrate, oh say maybe the return of everyone's sanity now that the kiddos are going back to school (cue resounding cheers from every parent across America) you should consider making these, guaranteed they will make everyone smile even if they are crying inside at the thought of homework again. : D


Our ingredients for the cupcakes


Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl and then stir in the peanut butter


...until nice and smooth.  Add the eggs,


milk and vanilla.


In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.


Add the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture.  Bake in a 350F oven for 17-20 minutes.


For the "frosting", beat together the butter and peanut butter in a mixer.


Add in the flour and mix until incorporated.


It will come out nice and smooth like this.


Add in the brown sugar.


Then the oats and powdered sugar.


Stir in the m&m's and chocolate chips.


Doesn't that look amazing?!


Scoop onto our cooled cupcakes


Enjoy!


Monster Cookie Cupcakes
Makes 16-18 cupcakes, recipe adapted from Something Swanky

cupcakes:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare 2 cupcake pans with liners and set aside until later.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and then stir in the peanut butter until smooth.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the vanilla, milk and eggs to the peanut butter mixture and stir until smooth.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture and whisk until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Scoop into cupcake liners, filling about 3/4 full.  Bake at 350F for 17-20 minutes.

monster "cookie dough" frosting:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cups oats
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 regular size package of m&m's

In a mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter until smooth.  Add in the flour and mix until incorporated then do the same with the brown sugar.  Next beat in the oats, followed by the powdered sugar, salt and adding in as much milk as you need to bring the "frosting" together.  Stir in the chocolate chips and m&m's.  Scoop onto the cooled cupcakes using a small ice cream scoop and enjoy!



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Zucchini Corn Fritters


This is the time of year that many who are into gardening are harvesting what they are hoping is the last of the goodies from their garden, particularly those who have planted more than one zucchini plant!  These crazy people have often put friendships on the line in the name of getting rid of what almost always turns out to be an overabundance of huge zucchinis.  Case in point, my in-laws last year.  I think they still have zucchini in every form you can imagine in their deep freeze...needless to say I am pretty sure they skipped out on that particular plant this season.  

Anyway, for those of you who have tons of the stuff hanging around and whose neighbors are now slamming the door in your face screaming "No More!!!", I have a new recipe for you to try, zucchini corn fritters.  I found this recipe in Food Network Magazine last summer and have brought them to a few parties and dinners and they have always been a hit.  The zucchini taste kind of hides behind the corn too, so you can probably convince the kiddos that there is just corn in there.  Now you get rid of more zucchini and they are tricked into eating something I'm sure they've sworn they would never touch!


Our ingredients...


Sweat out the shredded zucchini with salt...


Cook the onions and garlic for 4 minutes and then add in the corn.  Cook an additional 3 minutes.


Whisk together our dry ingredients...


In a separate bowl, whisk together our buttermilk and egg.


Once whisked, mix in the corn and onion mixture, then the zucchini that has had the water squeezed out.


Finally, stir in the cornmeal mixture, just until incorporated.


Hooray!  Fritter mix! 


Scoop by 1/4 cup full scoops into a nonstick pan...please forgive my use of the old pan... :)


Cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides, then place on a paper towel to drain until serving.


Enjoy!  They are creamy, crunchy and super duper delicious!



Zucchini Corn Fritters
Serves 6-8 comfortably, Recipe from Food Network Magazine, Sept. 2011

2 medium zucchini (or one big one), shredded
kosher salt
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ears corn, kernels cut off
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
ground pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, large
vegetable oil, for frying

In a medium bowl, toss zucchini with 1/2 tsp. salt; let stand 10 minutes and then place zucchini in a paper towel.  Squeeze to remove the excess water, place to the side until later.

Heat the butter in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add in the onions and garlic, cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.  Add in the corn and cook another 3-4 minutes.

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg; add in the corn mixture and then the cornmeal mixture.  Stir until combined.

Heat 1/8 of an inch of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Using an ice cream scoop, or a large spoon, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter at a time into the heated oil.  Use the back of the scoop to flatten the batter slightly into a thick pancake type shape.  Cook until golden brown and crispy, 3-4 minutes per side.  They can brown very quickly after a few pans full, so check them often and don't walk away!  When finished, drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt.  

These fritters can be made ahead and reheated at 375F.  (I also froze some and will edit this post at a later date to let you know how those turn out.)


Monday, June 4, 2012

Battle of the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, part 2


So, hopefully by now you have all checked out my last blog entry with the best peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies I'd ever had.  Notice the past tense there...they were the best ones I had ever had until I made one little addition!  Any guesses?!  Bacon! (It was my hubby's idea, he claims bacon is the "duct tape of food", it makes everything better...)

The basic recipe is the same, the only difference is that I mixed in eight pieces of chopped bacon, cooked until crispy.  Honestly, it sounds weird.  Trust me, I know...I've had pretty much every single one of my coworkers look at me like I was crazy since I first baked these cookies...that is until the tasted them.  I don't think I know a single person that was not converted after trying these little gems!  The crispy bacon adds a more interesting texture and a little bit of salty crunch.  I don't think I will ever go back, chocolate + peanut butter = amazing...chocolate + peanut butter + BACON = best cookie I've ever eaten!


Our new line up of ingredients


While you are mixing you ingredients, get that bacon going...I have to start mine off in the oven


Then crisp everything up on the stove...while all my windows and doors are open...


My smoke detector (yup that's my view from the stove...) goes off pretty much every time I make bacon.  Apparently my smoke detectors are super sensitive and I don't get good enough ventilation for bacon...


Anyway...moving along!!  In a stand mixer, beat together the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla


...until smooth.


Add in the egg and mix just until blended.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.


Add the dry ingredients a bit at a time, and mix until combined.


Like this!


Add in the chocolate chunks...


And the BACON!!


Using an ice cream scoop, place on a non-stick or greased baking sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake 7-9 minutes.


Until just golden brown and delicious...man I think I need to go make more of these!!


Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Crisco's peanut butter cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup peanut butter, use whatever kind you prefer
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. milk, whatever you have on hand is fine
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 bag chocolate chunks
8 pieces bacon, chopped and cooked until crispy (about a cup)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar , milk and vanilla in a bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add in the egg and beat just until mixed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mixing well in between additions.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the chocolate chunks and bacon pieces.  Beat on low speed just until the chucks are mixed in.

Using a small ice cream scoop(or a spoon), drop onto a cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  (If using a spoon, drop about a heaping tsp. of dough for each cookie.)  Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until just set and lightly browned.  Allow to cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Battle of the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, part 1


I don't know about you all, but I have two things that I do when I am down.  One is clean, which I usually reserve for super serious cases, and two is bake.  After receiving yet more bad news in my quest for my dream job, I felt the urge to create something delicious.  Yummy food always cheers me up, especially if it combines the two best ingredients ever, peanut butter and chocolate!  These cookies are seriously one of my comfort foods.  I think of peanut butter and chocolate as God's gift to the food world...all sweet and salty and creamy and deliciousness!  Nothing makes me feel better than these two together.  Plus I had this delicious new roasted honey nut peanut butter I've been dying to try in a batch of cookies!  So why is this blog post called a "battle" you ask?  Mainly that while I find these cookies perfection in themselves...my hubby thinks that there is one way they could be improved...but we will get to that in part 2!

These cookies are seriously simple, great to make on a day where you have a bunch of little things you need to get done in the kitchen.  They only take 7-8 minutes in the oven too, so there isn't much cooking time involved.  So if you don't have much time, these are great.  I started them about an hour before my hubby had to leave for work and I had them all out in time for him to take a couple dozen with him.


Our ingredient line up!


Yummiest peanut butter EVER!!!


Add peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla to your mixing bowl.


Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.


Add in the egg...and beat until just incorporated.



Whisk together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.


Add your dry ingredients a little bit at a time to your wet ingredients.


Beat until just combined.


Add in some chocolate chunks...


And some more...just add the whole bag! 


Beat on low till the chips are mixed in.  Yum!!


Scoop onto a baking sheet.


Bake for 7-8 minutes or until just set and golden brown!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Crisco's peanut butter cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup peanut butter, use whatever kind you prefer
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. milk, whatever you have on hand is fine
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 bag chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar , milk and vanilla in a bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add in the egg and beat just until mixed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mixing well in between additions.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the chocolate chunks.  Beat on low speed just until the chucks are mixed in.

Using a small ice cream scoop(or a spoon), drop onto a cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  (If using a spoon, drop about a heaping tsp. of dough for each cookie.)  Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until just set and lightly browned.  Allow to cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.