Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Neely's Cookies and Cream Cake

Mmmmm, this was so delicious! The recipe was adapted from the Neely's recipe. I changed the order in which the ingredients were mixed because the original directions were really odd. I love Oreos and they did wonders for an otherwise simple chocolate cake. I know I've expressed that I do not love chocolate in the past, but we sure make lots of chocolate desserts. I make it because Matt loves chocolate so much and it makes him happy. Plus, it's easy for me to resist it; unless the chocolate comes in the form of the flourless chocolate cookies. I hope ya'll enjoy this cake as much as we did! I used all my Oreo crumbs, but sprinkling some on top would make this cake even more beautiful!

On a serious note, please support Haiti and check out the cookbook that 27 foodie bloggers created as a fundraiser...how cool! You can go to the website by clicking here and can purchase a soft or hardbound cookbook!

Neely's Cookies and Cream Cake

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • .5 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 C unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1.5 C finely chopped Oreos
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat your cake pans w/shortening. Cut out a piece of wax or parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom of your cake pan, and press down; it will stick to the shortening. I usually trace the bottom of the cake pan onto my wax paper and then cut it out. No fear of your cake sticking anymore!!
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolk, and butter milk; mix until the eggs are blended. In a small bowl combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the melted butter to the egg and buttermilk mixture. Beat until smoth, about 3 minutes. Add the crumbled cookies and beat until incorporated.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool, on a rack, in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a rack and let cool completely. When cooled, frost with the cookies and cream cheese frosting!
Cookies and Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 (8 oz.) pacakges cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 C confectioners' sugar
  • 1.5 C finely crumbed Oreos
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla; blend. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 C at a time, until smooth. Beat in the crumbled cookies. Frost the cookie cake and enjoy!

Brown Sig

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

Well, here I am again with one of the recipes I mentioned in the Snicker Cupcake entry. These are called Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops and they're the best flour-in chocolate cookies I've ever had. These were so chocolately and delicious! You'll see in the recipe where it calls for malted milk powder. I used chocolate malted milk powder, which gave the cookies a super chocolately flavor but cut down on the malted flavor. You choose how you want to make them....

This recipe is courtesy of Dorie Greenspan's Baking cookbook.
1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup malted milk powder (here's where I killed the malt flavor but boosted the chocolate flavor)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
11 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp good vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups Whoppers, coarsely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I use Ghirardelli bars)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Sift together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. Mix in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Mix in the malted milk balls and chopped chocolate with a spatula.
Drop the dough by rounded Tbspoonfuls onto the sheets with about 2 inches between each spoonful. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at 6 minutes. When done the cookies will be puffed and set but slightly soft to the touch. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Brown Sig

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is my absolute favorite dip...mmmm good! It's spicy with a great blend of cheeses and oh so creamy. Unfortunately I do not have any ooey gooey good pictures because our camera decided this would be an excellent time for the battery to die. Of course our back-up battery was also dead. Trust me when I say this is an amazing dip even though the pictures we have do it no justice.

In case I have not mentioned this little tidbit before, I do not like spicy food. I love the taste, but I'm a huge wimp and cannot handle the heat. However, I can handle this dip and I calm it down by eating my dip with celery as my delivery vessel. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 C shredded chicken (I use rotisserie chicken which makes this super simple)
2 - 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese*
1 C GOOD ranch*
1 C buffalo wing sauce (I prefer Texas Pete)
1- 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar

* I used light cream cheese and light ranch, and it turned out just as wonderful as the full-fat version!
  • Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in the cream cheese and ranch dressing; cook, stirring until well blended and warm.
  • Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer mixture to a 2 qt. Crock pot. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low until bubbly!
  • Serve with celery, tortilla chips, corn chips, or whatever your preferred dipper is.

In the crockpot waiting to get all bubbly warm and ready for dippers!

Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”- Earl Shoaf

Brown Sig

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Snickers Cupcakes

So, I'm not really sure why, but I got bit by the bug this weekend and ended up baking and cooking a whole bunch of things. Oh yeah, this is Matt by the way. I started with Snickers Cupcakes, courtesy of Food Network Magazine, continued with some tasty Chocolate Malt Cookies, and just finished the weekend with some homemade Carolina BBQ sauce. So, here is the deal for the Snickers Cupcakes. I have to say that parts of them are phenomenal, but with a couple tweaks, they'll be perfect. So, let's go....

For the cupcakes:

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups chopped salted roasted peanuts (we'll talk about this later.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Separately, beat the eggs and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the melted butter and vanilla. With the mixer on low, add half the dry ingredients, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Fold in the peanuts, but do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups, filling each about halfway. Bake 20 to 22* minutes (I disagree) until a toothpick comes out clean.

*Salted nuts tend to dry out a batter drastically, which causes the cupcakes to end up a lot drier than I like. I would start checking the cakes at about 17 to 18 minutes to ensure they do not get dry. If you would prefer, you can omit the nuts and bake them as directed, but the nuts really
added a yummy texture to the cakes.

For the frosting:

6 ounces chopped milk chocolate
4 ounces chopped semi sweet chocolate
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Put both chocolates in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir and continue to microwave until melted. Add the sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth and creamy.

*This frosting really is the star of this recipe. It is chocolately, smooth, and delicious with the whole milk. Use good quality chocolate for this one. I used bars of Ghirardelli, which is really my favorite baking chocolate.

For the nougat:

2-13 ounce jars marshmallow creme
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Pinch of salt

*The nougat is very good too! The leftover frosting and nougat are in our fridge being eaten on the end of a spoon whenever we need a sugary pick me up!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

I am not a chocolate fan...I mean it's okay, but not my favorite. I'd prefer a fruit pie or a vanilla cupcake with white frosting....or a deep fried pickle. However, Matt loves chocolate, so I'm always trying to satsify his "chocolate" tooth. I came upon this recipe in an amazing chocolate cookbook by Francois Payard called Chocolate Epiphany. I have made these cookies several times and fall in love with each new bite. They melt in your mouth and you want to eat them until your tummy hurts. If these were the only cookies I'd ever get to eat again for the rest of my life, I would be content. These cookies have turned a corner for me...a chocolate corner. I hope you love them as much as I do.

1/2 C plus 3 T (68g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 C (350g) confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt
2 - 3/4 C pecans (the original recipe called for walnuts...go the pecan route and you won't be disappointed), *toasted and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 T (15g) pure vanilla extract

  • Place a rack in the upper and bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  • Combine the cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, salt, and pecans in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until the mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix it, or the egg whites will thicken too much. (pay very close attention...I did this once).
  • With a 2-ounce cookie, ice-cream scoop or a generous tablespoon, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, to make cookies that are 4 inches in diameter. Scoop 5 cookies on each pan, about 3 inches apart so that they don't stick when they spread.

  • **Put the cookies in the oven, and immediately lower the temperature to 320 degrees F. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until small cracks appear on the surface of the cookies. Switch pans halfway through baking.

  • Pull the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before removing cookies from the papter. Store in an airtight container for up to two days.
*To toast the pecans spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer; place on the middle rack in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Watch carefully and shake during baking several times. Nuts burn easily and you can smell when they are toasted perfectly. Let the nuts cool and coarsely chop - I use a knife b/c the toasting softens the nuts and my knife easily runs through them.
**I have never followed these steps and my cookies have turned out wonderful; except that one time I overmixed the batter.
This batter was so very yummy when I licked the spoon! Mmmmm!!!
The cookies turn out very beautiful. They'd be great wrapped up in some clear cell0phane with a cute ribbon and given as a gift.
This picture is a little blurry, but I love it. It really makes me wish I had a cookie in my hand right now!

Brown Sig

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jalapeno Popper Dip

This is one of my most requested recipes, and is very adaptable with the "heat"! I love to serve this with Frito scoops, but Matt loves to use the bagel chips. Is the delivery aparatus really as important as what is being delivered? I think not. I do not have an excellent picture of this, and plan on taking a better one next time I make it. I have over a dozen recipes I need to post...I need to get better at keeping this updated. ;)

2 - 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese at room temp
1 C Helman's Mayo
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar (I prefer sharp)
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1 - 7 oz. can chopped green chiles
2 - 4 oz. cans sliced jalapenos (for mild use two mild, medium use one mild and one hot, for hot use two hot cans)

1 C panko bread crumbs (you can also use regular bread crumbs, but I've never tried that way)
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted

In a food processor combine the cream cheese and mayo until smooth. Add in the chopped green chiles and jalapenos and pulse until the little bits of green are distributed throughout. Then add in the cheddar and parmesan cheese. Pour into a 2 quart greased cassrole dish. In a seperate bowl mix the panko crumbs, grated parm, and melted butter; sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees until the top is brown and the edges are bubbly! ENJOY!

Reflection for the Day:

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they are right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."

Brown Sig