Thursday, 17 April 2014

Red Wine Cupcakes

I have been busy (or lazy?) lately, and have not been baking or blogging as much as usual.

I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and I was intrigued.  The result was interesting.  Maybe I didn't add enough cocoa, or maybe not enough red wine.  It didn't really taste like chocolate...what did it taste like?  It was unique.   My husband and I couldn't quite put our finger on it.  It grew on us though, and I would make these again, maybe with more cocoa and/or more red wine, and maybe with some oil or buttermilk to moisten it up a bit.  They were a tad dry, and continued to dry out over a couple of days.

Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes
slightly adapted from 'Red Wine Chocolate Cake' by Smitten Kitchen

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup red wine (I  used Shiraz).
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup cocoa
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and yolk, beat well.  Mix in vanilla. Add the red wine (It's okay to take a sip first).  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa.   Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture until well combined.
Spoon into lined cupcake pan, about 2/3 full.   Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle cupcake comes out clean.  I topped mine with a dollop of vanilla buttercream.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes (take two)

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, take two.  For some reason, I tried a different recipe this year. Well, I thought I was using the same one, but realized once I got started that no, this was not the same one.... so here we are, with round two.  Take One from last year turned out better - they were richer tasting and moist. That being said, every last one of these disappeared....

Add some stout to your favourite chocolate icing recipe, for some added festivity.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
from Chatelaine

11/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
11/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dark stout beer

Sift flour with cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt into a medium bowl. Stir to mix. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar for 3 min. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after additions. Beat in vanilla. Stir about one-third of flour mixture into butter mixture. Add half the beer. Repeat additions, ending with flour. Stir just until evenly mixed. Pour batter into a lined cupcake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees until a cake tester inserted in the centre cupcake comes out clean, approximately 20-23 minutes.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chocolate Chunk Kahlua Cupcakes (with Pink Buttercream Icing for Lucy!)

Oops.  It's been a while.   I have been baking, just not blog-worthy stuff.  Good stuff, like these peanut butter oatmeal bars, and this banana bread.  And some failures.  Well, not exactly failures, just not complete successes.  You know?  Oh yeah, and these....

Warning - this is post 1 of 3 on boozy chocolate desserts.  What's better than chocolate (besides peanut butter and chocolate, of course, which is the winner for all-time)?  Booze and chocolate.

I was a little nervous pouring in this kahlua, to be honest.  It seemed like a lot. It smelled quite strong. And the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup!  My first impression from a still hot, fresh from the oven, sans icing cupcake was - ooopsie, too much kahlua.  But....then I had one the next day and it was fabulous! The chocolate chunks are a must - it enhances the flavour of the kahlua and takes the edge off.  I will be making these again, and again, and again.  Total winner.   Unless you don't like kahlua...

The pink icing was inspired by my brand new niece, Lucy. It's so much fun to have a baby girl in the family!

Chocolate Chunk Kahlua Cupcakes
from How Sweet it is

1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup kahlua
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate (chips, chunks, chopped - your choice).

Melt butter over low heat.  Let cool slightly.  Mix egg and sugar together until well combined, and pour in melted butter and mix together with vanilla.
In a medium sized bowl, combine sifted flour and cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter and sugar mixture, add kahlua and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chunks.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until cake tester inserted in middle cupcake comes out clean.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Chocolate Kiss Cookies

As a romantic, I have always been a big fan of Valentines Day.  A day wholly dedicated to the celebration of love and chocolate?  Yes, please.  This year marks the 11th anniversary of our first date.  My husband-to-be made dinner (even bought wine glasses for the occasion) and for the grand finale, he baked heart-shaped shortbread cookies.  Hook, line, and sinker.  Lovey-dovey cards, sparkling wine, chocolate, cinnamon hearts and a chick flick - it's the second best day of the year (after my birthday, of course).

If that is not enough, Valentines is the perfect excuse to bake pretty pink sugar cookies with chocolate kisses stuffed inside : )

Happy Valentines Day!

Chocolate Kiss Cookies
adapted from Love and Olive Oil 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
25-30 Chocolate Kisses
coloured granulated sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Mix sugar, cream cheese, and melted butter in a large bowl. Add oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract and whisk until mixture is smooth. Fold in flour mixture and mix until well combined.

Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate it for 1-2 hours (I left mine overnight).
Scoop out about 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp of dough, create a small indent in the centre and stick the pointy end of the chocolate kiss inside, wrapping the dough around it in a ball.  Press some granulated sugar on top (I tried rolling the cookie in the sugar, but it didn't adhere very well).  Place dough balls on baking sheet, leaving space in between for cookie expansion.  Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes about 25-30 cookies (I made 28).  My cookie balls were on the large side, and with the kiss inside it took a little longer to bake.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Maple Butter Brown Sugar Muffins

Snowed In.  Well, not really.  We have just received more snow in the past few days than in living memory. Well, I suppose that is not entirely accurate either.  At any rate, it's a LOT of SNOW.   When you have this much snow, you expend more energy, right?  Energy shovelling the dang blasted driveway, energy plowing through snow drifts walking the dog, energy getting anywhere while walking in 4 inches of slush.

With all this extra energy being consumed, it's important to ensure that a good stock of energy is in store. Energy out requires energy in.  It's as simple as that.  Enter Maple Butter Brown Sugar Muffins.

I made these with maple butter (which is really just maple syrup in a smooth spreadable format) which can easily be substituted for maple syrup.  The brown sugar is added to the flour mixture and not the butter and egg mixture on purpose - it creates little lumps of flour coated sugar which will turn into little brown sugar pockets in the muffin.

Maple Butter Brown Sugar Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup maple butter
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.

Mix together milk, melted butter, yogurt, egg, vanilla and maple butter in a separate bowl, then add to the flour mixture.

Spoon into paper lined muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Makes 12 muffins.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Boozy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This has been my comfort food for the past 2 weeks. My husband and I have been sniffling, coughing, and sneezing through January - and this heartening (definition: cheerfully encouraging) banana bread is aiding our recuperation, along with the most amazing lotion-enfused tissues (whoever invented these is my hero), gallons of tea, buckets of water and litres of orange juice.   We'll get there, one bite at a time.

I add 2 tbsp of dark rum to my bread, and I can discern a gentle rum flavour and scent.  The original recipe calls for 3 tbsp of booze (bourbon, to be exact).  Why not?  It's for medicinal purposes, after all.

Boozy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup plus one handful semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Set aside.
Blend butter and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth.   Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add in sugar, mashed bananas, and rum (or bourbon, or canadian rye - whatever floats your boat).  Continue to mix with hand-mixer until well combined.  Add flour mixture - mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated, and finally add 1 cup of chocolate chips (after eating a handful, naturally).  

Pour into a well greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

We are (hopefully) nearing the end of yet another cold snap here in South Western Ontario - bring on the snow, I enjoy snow - but this bone chilling cold is defeating.  It's too cold for skiing and outdoor skating, too cold for little puppy dogs to go for walks, too cold to do anything - definitely hibernation time.

I was just waiting for this kind of inspiration to come along, but it had to be the type of inspiration that didn't require a trip to the store - because it is just too dang cold to leave the house unless it's absolutely necessary.  And for those of you that know me, you know it's cold when even I won't go to elaborate lengths to satisfy a peanut butter and chocolate craving.

These peanut butter oatmeal bars have a soft centre and a crispy top - bake for a few minutes longer if you want a crisper bar.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
slightly adapted from Love and Olive Oil 

1 1/8 cups flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups oats
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 plus 1/8 cups unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup M&M's or chocolate chips

Grease a 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan. 
Melt butter on stovetop or in microwave.  Set aside to cool slightly. 
Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
Mix together sugar, peanut butter, cooled butter in a large bowl.  Beat in egg.  Add vanilla. 
Mix in the flour mixture and M&Ms or chocolate chips. Turn into the pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.   Let cool before removing from pan. 

Check out Lindsay's blog for more delicious recipe ideas: