Monday, November 24, 2014

Cream Filled Cupcakes


I am fairly certain that I was in college when I had my first hostess cupcake.  I had heard my friends talk about them as if they were a magnificently delicious treat but it wasn't something that my mom ever kept in the house so I didn't really have access to them until I moved away to college.  As it turned out - I really wasn't missing out on anything.  What I thought was going to be a tasty treat turned out to be a big disappointment. 


Even though I didn't like the hostess cupcake, I still like the idea of a moist, chocolaty cupcake filled with a pillowy, soft, buttery marshmallow cream.  (Who wouldn't?)  I found the idea for these cupcakes on Martha Stewart.com and I took her idea and ran with it.  I wanted to keep the frosting on these little treats to a minimum because really - most of the sweet frosting is in the middle of the cupcake.


Cream Filled Cupcakes
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 7 ounces marshmallow creme 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature



 
 
 
 
Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 6-cup (each with a 1-cup capacity) jumbo muffin pans; dust with cocoa powder to coat, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  
 
 
 
 
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light. 
 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On low speed, add half the flour mixture, followed by sour cream, ending with remaining flour mixture; mix just until incorporated (do not overmix). 
 
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.  
 
 
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool in pans, 5 minutes; remove cupcakes and cool, right side up, on a wire rack.
 
 
Meanwhile, prepare filling: In a medium bowl, whisk marshmallow creme and butter until smooth. Chill until slightly firm, 15 to 30 minutes. 
 



Transfer mixture to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, and seal; cut off one corner of the bag to make a 1/8-inch opening. Using a small melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake from the bottom, and reserve (you will use this to plug cupcake after filling). Hollow out each cupcake a bit more, discarding crumbs. 

 
Insert tip of plastic bag into each cavity, and squeeze to fill. 
 
 
Spread a layer of chocolate ganache on top of each cupcake.


 



Using remaining filling in plastic bag, decorate top of cupcakes
 

Even if you are a fan of the hostess cupcakes, I think that you will agree that these little gems are a step above the competition.   

Ciao!
 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies


Why oh why is the candy industry torturing me?  Now they are selling giant, regular size and mini versions of nearly every candy bar on the market.  My weakness - minis.  Mini - Bite Size - Bites - no matter what you call it - it all means the same thing to me - dangerous.  Seriously - I cannot seem to stop myself from popping these tiny nuggets of candy into my mouth. 


The only thing that seems to stop me from eating all of the delicious bites of chocolate is to bake them into a cupcake or a cookie.  (Yes, I realize that I would be better off eating them out of the bag but I'm in complete denial.)


So here it is - a creamy peanut butter cookie with a sprinkling of chopped butterfinger candy bar baked into the top.  What more could you ask for?  You really do need to try these. 

Butterfinger Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 (2.1 ounce) Butterfinger candy bars, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.



Add the egg whites and beat well.



Beat in the peanut butter and the vanilla, mixing until well combined.



3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and mix until just combined.



Using a medium cookie scoop (about 1 ½ tablespoons) shape dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle chopped candy bars on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.



 Remove cookies from oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.



Peanut butter butterfinger cookies - glorious.  That is all I can say about these cookies.


Ciao!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Snickerdoodles


What ever happened to the good old Christmas cookie exchange?  They seem to be a thing of the past - I never hear about them anymore. I hope that there are still people out there who are still hosting cookie exchanges.


It is still a great concept though - perfect and bake one or two of your favorite Christmas cookie recipes and share with your friends.  SHARE!

Instead of trying to master a lot of different cookie recipes - stick with the ones that you're great at and everyone benefits. 


Perfecting a cookie recipe? - that's my specialty.  I've made snickerdoodles for years and I'm always trying to improve on them.  I love the buttery flavor but I've had trouble keeping the pillowy soft texture of the cookie when I try and adjust my butter/shortening ratio.  Fortunately for me, I came across a recipe on mylitter.com that just might have solved my problem.  (A little brown sugar just might be the key to the perfect, buttery Snickerdoodle.)

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
For rolling
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high speed.


Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.









In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.






Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.



In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the cinnamon for the topping.  Scoop dough into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Let the dough rest for 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator.


Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes and no more. The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven. When the cookies have cooled they should be soft and chewy in the middle.

 Cool on wire racks.


If you host or attend and annual Christmas cookie exchange - I want to hear about it.  Send me a comment and let me know the logistics.  How is it organized?  How do you pack and transport your cookies, ect?


 Ciao!