12.29.2011

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies



If you keep up with my blog posts at all, you probably know that I'm a huge fan of Oreos. So when I saw these candy cane Oreos in Walmart, I had to have them.

I wasn't sure what I was going to use them for, but I knew something would come to me. Sure enough, I remembered a website my friend showed me months ago. It's called Serious Eats and my friend showed me this post about Cookie Stuffed Cookies.



Here's what you need:
Cookie dough and Oreos

You can make your own cookie dough if you want, but I made these for a Christmas party the week before final exams, so I didn't have time to make my own. My mom gave me some chocolate cookie dough with white chocolate chips that she bought from a friend at work and I bought some regular chocolate chip cookie dough at the store. If I did make my own, though, I would have used Nestle's recipe that's found on the back of their bags of chocolate chips. My mom and I always used that recipe when I was growing up.

They're pretty easy to make.
1. I pressed the dough out pretty flat with my hands into two circles.
2. Take one circle and fold it over one side of the Oreo.
3. Do the same to the other side.
4. Press the two circles together so there isn't really a seam.
Pretty simple. And delicious!

Keep in mind that the dough will spread out, so you don't want to use too much.



The Oreos will probably look like lumps after the chocolate chip cookie dough expands in the oven. I've seen some people use round cookie cutters to cut out the part with the Oreo, but I didn't have any so I just used a knife.

I think they looked pretty close to regular chocolate chips cookies because people seemed surprised when there was an Oreo inside. I used some regular Oreos with red cream along with the candy cane Oreos, but the candy cane ones were better by a looottt.


There are tons of possibilities when it comes to cookie-stuffed-cookies, and hopefully I'll be experimenting more with those soon!

PS!
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12.21.2011

Reese's Cake

After a super stressful semester, I'm finally at home for Christmas break! Thank goodness. I did a lot of baking at the end of the semester and I've had my pictures edited and ready to go for a little while, I just didn't have any time to post them. After all my Christmas shopping and laying around for a couple days, I decided I should probably get on it.


My friend Patrick, who is also my roommate's boyfriend (They've been dating for over two years! So cute!), had his 21st birthday at the end of November. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, and he said chocolate and covered in Reese's.

 


I got my inspiration from Bakerella's chocolate Reese's cake, which I immediately thought of when Patrick said "covered in Reese's". I already had a chocolate cake mix and I knew there was a chocolate peanut butter cake recipe in Betty Crocker's The Big Book of Cupcakes that I could use. I changed it up a little bit because I didn't want the cake to have too much peanut butter since there would be Reese's all over it too. The cake needed to have more chocolate to balance it out.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake:
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

The directions are pretty simple. Combine ingredients and mix for two minutes on medium speed. Bake at 350 and follow time instructions of the box mix.

For the frosting, I used the creamy chocolate frosting recipe in The Big Book of Cupcakes. It was the first time I made chocolate frosting from scratch and I think it turned out really well!

Creamy Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milk
+Mini Reese's for decoration


Mix butter and chocolate, add powdered sugar one cup at a time, add vanilla, and milk one tablespoon at a time until desired thickness.



I bought two bags of Reese's, but one bag probably would have been fine. I placed the candy around the top edges and added one in the center. Then I chopped up the rest and added them two the top. After that, I decided the sides could use come Reese's and added some around the bottom.

It was pretty easy to make and definitely one of my favorites so far, mainly because Reese's are my favorite candy. It also goes wonderfully with a big glass of milk.

12.02.2011

Butterbeer Cupcakes

Last semester, Creative Campus hosted an event called Quidditch on the Quad and it was a huge success. I'm so glad they decided to have another one this semester because I watched last year, and this time I played on a team. I ran around with a broom between my legs and threw dodge balls at my opponents in 30 degree weather, and it was fantastic.

I got my picture taken with Big Al dressed like a wizard! :)

A little background information:
Each team picks a country--we chose Djibouti because, you know, it's Djibouti--and makes uniforms and flags. Preliminary rounds were held on Thursday, November 9th and we won our first game against Russia.  We played again that night, but lost to Mexico, which wasn't that bad because we still got to go watch the rest of the matches on Sunday, November 12th. There were tables and tents set up around the quad that were supposed to be the different buildings on Diagon Alley so people can walk around and make little crafts or drink Butterbeer. And it all leads up to the final match, The World Cup!

While we were planning for quidditch, I decided I should make Butterbeer cupcakes! I had never had Butterbeer before, but I finally got to taste some on the main day of Quidditch on the Quad.



I never considered myself a fan of butterscotch before I made these cupcakes. My grandparents used to have a little bowl of butterscotch candies on their living room coffee table, and I remember being addicted to them, but not really to butterscotch.

And then I made these cupcakes. I think they turned out really well for kind of winging it.

I did some research and finally settled on this recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, and then tweaked it a little bit along the way.

My recipe ended up looking something like this:

For the Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup cream soda (mine was a ginger flavor, but I don't recommend that)
3 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup melted butterscotch chips

For the Frosting
1 stick of butter, softened
3 tablespoons of cream soda
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butterscotch ice cream topping
butterscotch chips for decoration

The cake was pretty simple. I added the mix, cream soda, eggs, melted butter, and melted chips in that order. Mix on medium speed for two minutes. Follow temperature and time directions on the box. I have to bake around 300 and for less time because my oven is old and senile.

To make the frosting, cream butter and cream soda. Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Then mix in butterscotch topping. You could probably cream the topping in with the butter and cream soda, I don't think the order really matters.


Being an amateur baker, I didn't know what kind of cream soda to buy. I should have gone to Walmart because they probably would have had a better selection, but I went to Target because it's closer. They didn't have much to choose from and then I noticed that one of the two shelves labeled "cream soda" was completely empty. So, apparently cream soda was really popular that weekend and everyone beat me to it. They only had flavors like tangerine and black berry and ginger. There wasn't any regular cream soda.  Ginger was the lightest color they had, so I just had to go with that one.

I was afraid the ginger flavor would cover up the butterscotch so I decided to melt some of the butterscotch chips and add it to the batter. That helped a lot and I could barely taste the ginger. There was a hint of it, but not too much.

The frosting was my favorite. I taste-tested it multiple times.


The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 DVD came out that same weekend, so I took these cupcakes over to my friend's apartment the night before Quidditch on the Quad and we had a movie night.

The only thing I would do differently with these cupcakes would be trying a different flavor of cream soda. I don't know a lot about cream soda, and all the recipes I've seen haven't called for a specific flavor, so I'm not really sure what I would change it to. I also think it would be really fun to make a cake with this recipe, so I might have to try that sometime in the near future ;)

11.10.2011

PIE-CEPTION CAKE

I have some friends that always come up with insane things for me to bake. Josh is one of these friends, and a week or so ago when I was thinking about what kind of cake to make for his birthday, I had the best idea. Seriously, the best idea.

The best part of this idea is that it was his idea. He said, "Beth, you should make a cake that has a pie between the two layers of cake instead of icing." But he told me about it way back at the beginning of the semester, so I didn't know if he would remember it or not.



It's kind of hard to see in this picture, partly because it's dark and partly because I put a chocolate pie between two chocolate layers of cake. You can kind of see it, though.

This cake really wasn't that hard to make. I've seen pictures of cakes with pies baked right into the layers, but I don't think my old oven could handle that.

All you have to do is make your favorite cake, either from scratch or a mix. It doesn't really matter. I haven't progressed into the making-cakes-from-scratch phase yet, but I think it could happen soon.

I chose a dark chocolate cake mix, an Edward's chocolate creme pie, and vanilla buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
(from Betty Crocker's The Big Book of Cupcakes)

6 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milk

Mix butter, vanilla, and milk in a bowl and add powdered sugar one cup at a time.



WARNING: you should probably set aside two days for this cake, the second day being the day you plan on eating it. Also, keep the pie in the freezer until you put it on the cake.

I started by taking one of the cake layers and putting the pie on top of it. Pretty simple.



I had some canned frosting left over from something else and I used the rest of it to fill in the top of the pie so the top layer of cake would lay flat. You don't want the top layer to sink in.



Then I put the second layer on top of the pie. I used a 9 inch pie and 9 inch cake pans, but the pie was still a little bit bigger than the layers of cake. You could probably trim the pie if you wanted to, but I wanted to be able to see the shape of the pie inside the cake.




Next, I covered the pie area with frosting to fill in the gaps.




Then I piped on the rest of the frosting. I decided just to use stars, that way I could cover up the pie easier.




I am terrible at piping words, so I just used mini-chocolate chips. One of my friends asked me if that took forever, but honestly, piping the stars took longer than the chocolate chips did.



Since I used a frozen pie, I put the cake in the fidge for a few minutes repeatedly throughout the decorating process. It turned out fine, but I was paranoid that it would start thawing and get mushy.

The birthday boy!
Before you watch this video, you should know that when I was taking it, I thought changing the camera angle half way through would be a good idea. But I didn't think about how it would look on the internet, so you might have to watch some of it sideways.


video

I wish I would have kept recording for another minute because I love their reactions! It's one of the things I love about baking crazy things.

Josh didn't remember that he gave me this idea and that made him freak out even more, which is kind of what I was going for.

The cake itself was really good. I'm really happy with how it turned out and I will definitely experiment with this sort of thing again sometime!

Happy Birthday again, Josh! I hope it was a good one!

11.03.2011

S'mores Cupcakes

College is keeping me sooo busy.  I've haven't posted in awhile because of midterm week, which was followed by fall break week. But I haven't had as much homework this week, and I've been wanting to post about these cupcakes ever since I made them last weekend.


S'more flavored cupcakes are pretty popular right now in the baking world. Most of the ones I've seen have some sort of toasted marshmallow frosting on the top. I decided to make my own version by making a marshmallow filling, mainly because I've always wanted to make cupcakes with some sort of secret filling inside.


I really like how these turned out! I had never used a dark chocolate cake mix before I made these. You don't have to make dark chocolate cupcakes, though. Your favorite chocolate cupcakes will do.


I used a sharp knife and slowly cut a circle in the tops of the cupcakes.


I've heard of a lot of different techniques for scooping out the middle of a cupcake, but I just used the knife and it worked fine.



Next is the filling! I thougt about using the same marshmallow frosting that I used to make my whoopie pie cupcakes, but I decided to try a different one. After searching the internet, I came across this one at Erin Cooks.




At this point, I took my dog outside for a quick walk and snapped a couple pictures of the pretty fall leaves. This one is my favorite.

So back to cupcakes.



I frosted the cupcakes with chocolate frosting and dipped it in crushed up graham crackers. Then I added a few mini chocolate chips for cuteness.



I also covered some of them in mini chocolate chips for the extreme chocolate lovers in my family, which would be my dad and me.

I've been wanting to make a cake version of this because I've seen so many of the cupcakes. I attempted to make a s'mores cake with a pumpkin shaped pan because it was Halloween weekend, but it didn't really turn out how I wanted it to.



It looks pretty cute, and it tasted pretty good, but I had such a hard time with this cake that I almost didn't take it back to school with me. One of the layers stuck to the pan, some of the frosting fell off over night, the top layer sort of fell apart by the left eye. But you win some and you lose some. This lost. But the cupcakes won for sure!

10.21.2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Cake

I don't really know what to call this.  A pie or a cake?


A few weeks after I moved into my apartment at the beginning of August, my mom cut this recipe out of the newspaper and mailed it to me. 

I've wanted to try it ever since and I finally decided to make it last weekend. It's so easy. So so so easy. You don't even have to bake anything! You will need to mix some stuff up though.

This recipe is from Stephanie Parker at www.plainchicken.com

INGREDIENTS
1 box of chocolate graham crackers
2 (3 1/2 ounce) boxes of vanilla pudding
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8 counce) container of Cool Whip, thawed
1 can of chocolate frosting

Mix the 2 boxes of vanilla pudding, milk, and peanut butter at medium speed for 2 minutes. Then mix in the cool whip.  That's it!

First, take a 9x13 in. pan (this will work with any size pan, you will just have a lot leftover if you use a smaller one) and coat it with non-stick spray. Then cover it with the graham crackers. I broke some up so I could cover the bottom of the pan as much as I could.


Pour half of the peanut butter mixture over the graham crackers and spread it out with a spatula.


Cover it with another layer of graham crackers and peanut butter mixture.



Then top this with a third layer of graham crackers.

Next you melt the frosting.  The recipe saysyou can warm it up in the microwave with the lid off, but I dumped it in a glass measuring bowl and warmed it up in the microwave in 30 second intervals.  Then pour it over the top layer of graham crackers.


I had some left over graham crackers, so I crushed them up and sprinkled them on the top.


Finally, let it sit in the fridge over night or for at least 12 hours. 

See, super easy! :)

10.13.2011

Peanut Butter Vanilla Wafer Cupcakes

Last weekend I made some cupcakes for my mom's birthday.  I didn't use all the batter, though.  I put the leftover batter in an air-tight container in the fridge.  The next day I decided to do some baking experiments.



I filled the bottom of the foil liners with one spoonful of batter. 
I wanted to put something in the cupcakes.  Like cookies.  And I had an unopened box of vanilla wafers in the pantry.

So I tried them out.


I wondered if vanilla wafers got softer after you bake them, like Oreos.
They do. :)

Then I got a crazy idea.


Vanilla wafers with peanut butter between them.  Little peanut butter sandwiches.


Then I covered them with batter until the cups were between 1/2 and 2/3 full.

The cookies floated to the tops of the cupcakes, so I suggest putting them on the bottom of the liners and then covering them with batter. 


They were very soft and peanut-buttery, though.  They were pretty good for something I made up on the spot.


I had fun decorating these.  I just practiced my piping.


I don't know if I'll make these again.  They were sort of just for fun.  I took some of these and some other cupcakes to one of my meetings just so I could get them out of my apartment and everyone there seemed to like them.


10.06.2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes



These peanut butter chocolate caupcakes are from Betty Crocker's The Big Book of Cupcakes and I've wanted to make them for a while now.  I love the peanute butter + chocolate combination.  Whoever originally thought to put chocolate and peanut butter together was a genius. 

I went home last weekend and some family came for a visit, and I decided to finally make these.  Up until now, I haven't really deviated from the standard vanilla and chocolate cakes.  So I was excited to try these and make something different.

I have one word for these cupcakes.  EASY.  So easy.



I love that The Big Book of Cupcakes tells you how to make all the recipes with a box mix and not just from scratch. 

Ingredients:
1 yellow cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 oil
3 eggs
3/4 creamy peanut butter



Frosting:
The recipe calls for 1 container of store bought chocolate frosting with 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter. I usually tend to run out of frosting so I bought two containers and just added a couple large spoonfuls of peanut butter.  The cupcakes smelled extremely peanut-buttery while they were baking and I didn't want the chocolate frosting to be too peanut-buttery too.  I wanted there to be an even balance of chocolate and peanut butter. 



 I've been waiting a while to use these paper liners too!  I have a set of them in a few different colors and I haven't really used any of them.  Unfortunately, I couldn't really see the design on it after the cupcakes were done baking.  They're still pretty cute, though.


For the topping, I crushed up some chocolate chips and some Reese's peanut butter chips and put them in a bowl.  After I piped some icing on the cupcakes, I dopped the frosting into the crushed up chips.  They went really well with the cupcakes!

I'm trying to work on my photography! :)

10.01.2011

Brownie Cupcakes & Bake Sales


At UA, I'm in the English Honor Society called Sigma Tau Delta. I learned after I was inducted that they do a lot of bake sales to raise money for the literary Journal, Dewpoint. Needless to say, I have been waiting for a bake sale all semester and we finally had one this past week!

I decided to make brownies because they would be easy to wrap up and carry in a bag across campus. But my brownie pan was dirty, so I used cupcake pans instead. Then they looked like cupcakes, so I made frosting too.


I don't usually make frosting for brownies because I really love the cracked and flakey look they have. But I came across a recipe on FoodGawker or Pinterst, I don't remember which one.  But it's from a blog called Heidi Bakes, so check it out!

Frosting:
1 stick butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup baking cocoa
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


The frosting might seem thin at first, but it gets thicker and is almost fudgey after it sits for a while. I like this frosting so much that I'll probably use it with all the brownies I make from now on.

For the brownies, I just used a box mix. Actually I used two box mixes and doubled the water, oil, and eggs.


The bake sale was really fun and I'm glad I got to meet some other people in Sigma Tau Delta because I only knew one person at the beginning of the semester. I can't wait until we have another one! I already know I'm going to make a couple different things. I wish I had some pictures of the other baked goods that were there, but I'll do that next time for sure!