Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eye Candy

Classic White Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Cookies & Cream Cupcake

Classic White Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Mint Chocolate Cupcake

Pumpkin Cupcake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Over the years, I have searched high and low for the perfect bakery style chocolate chip muffin recipe. I have tried countless times to perfect it and ultimately failed. Sure, they were edible, and even a few were good, but they just weren't quite what I was looking for. I am not a fan of oil, and it seemed as though every recipe called for oil, which left the muffin dense and greasy. Who wants to eat a muffin and feel like you just replaced your mouthwash with oil??? Lo and behold, I think we are finally there. I married a couple different recipes that I liked and came up with this one. It's a beauty - every bite laden with chocolate, along with a moist cake-like muffin. Bring it on Fresh Market - I think you have met your match! :)

Chocolate Chip Muffins
Wildly adapted from this, that and the other
Makes 24 muffins

The best part of this recipe is that there is no mixer needed. Which, for some that are mixer happy, it will leave you with a ligher muffin that is not so tough. Be certain not to overmix as this is what causes a highly dense, heavy muffin. It's also a bonus when you are making these late at night and want to keep the littles from hearing it - however, their sniffers will let them know what Mama is up to in the kitchen.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners.

3 1/2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar (light or dark works fine - whatever your preference)
10 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. milk, room temperature
1 c. sour cream, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
12 oz. chocolate chips (dark, semi, or milk - again a matter of personal preference!)
Mini chocolate chips for sprinkling.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the sugars, butter, milk, sour cream, eggs and vanilla until combined. Pour into flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until moistened. Do not overmix! Batter will appear lumpy.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill liners. This will give you nice, rounded tops. Sprinkle each muffin with mini chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden and the muffin springs back when pressed. Cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fudge Brownie Cheesecake

I have always wanted to make a cheesecake. But I was scared, very scared. I can bake with the best of them, I can make tiramisu, cannoli, towering cupcakes, phenominal layer cakes, pies and souffles... However, the idea of a springform pan and this delecate, wobbly piece of delicious-ness coming out in one piece frightened the heck out of me. I finally mustered up enough courage to make one. Last month, we had a dinner party, and I of course, was to bring dessert. I wanted something fabulous that everyone would be wowed by. I was tired of cakes and cupcakes and pies. I needed something that would be elegant. This cheesecake was just it. I ventured out and purchased my first springform pan, and the poor pan is thinking, "leave me alone already." I have only made this cheesecake no less than 3 times in the last month. Unfortunately, my waistline is thinking the same thing as the pan! Let me just tell you however - I tried this cheesecake the day before the party, and I brought the first one I made. What in the world was I so afraid of?? And how could one go wrong? A chocolate crust, fudge brownies in every bite, and a lovely ganache glaze finish.  Good luck making this one last. There wasn't a morsel left after our dinner party!

Fudge Brownie Cheesecake
adapted in parts from Smitten Kitchen

First off, you must make a pan of brownies. If you are like me, a box will not do. My favorite fudge brownies are some that my mom has made for years. But of course, a box mix or your own favorite fudge brownie recipe will work just as well. Once the brownies are made and cooled, cut into 1 inch squares - you will need 2 cups worth for the cheesecake.

Chocolate Crust:

1 box of finely ground chocolate teddy grahams. (No, I am not delerious from spending the day with my 2 year old, they are seriously the best)
10 T. melted, unsalted butter
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt

Stir together everything in a medium bowl. Press into a 9 or 10 inch, buttered springform pan. (I would HIGHLY recommend the Calphalon Classic from BB&B if you need one!) Press on the bottom as well as an inch up the sides. Fill immediately.


3 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sugar
2 c. brownie cubes

Preheat oven to 350. Mix cream cheese until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, and proceed to add vanilla and sugar. Fold in the brownie cubes and pour into prepared pan. Place springform pan on a shallow baking sheet. Bake for 50-55 minutes until cheesecake is set 3 inches from the edge, but the center is still slightly wobbly. Your oven time may vary. Cool completely then top with ganache.


3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. butter
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. powdered sugar

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Scald the butter and the cream in the microwave in a pyrex dish. Pour over chocolate and let sit for a few minutes. Whisk together until smooth. Add vanilla and sugar and whisk again until smooth. Pour over cheesecake and refridgerate until ready to serve.