Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nutter Butter Surprise Cupcakes!

Chocolate and peanut butter is one of my very favorite combinations, so when my sister found this recipe, I just knew these would be the cupcakes for me! The original recipe is from Inside BruCrew Life. You can find it here if you want to make the exact recipe. They are super easy, and super tasty! Here's how I made them...

Step 1: Make the Nutter Butter Suprise

4 Basic Steps for this part:
  1. Crush up 1/2 a package of Nutter Butter cookies in a bowl.
  2. Put in a blob (about 1/2 a cup of each) of peanut butter and cream cheese, and a tsp. vanilla extract. 
  3. Mix it all together.
  4. Roll the mixture into small balls and put them in the fridge for about an hour. I didn't know how small was small, so mine turned out like this:

FYI: Next time I would make them a little smaller.

Step 2: Make the Brownies

This is the easiest step - Just buy a box of your favorite brownie mix. {Mine happens to be the Ghirardelli with chocolate chips in the mix.} Mix it up according to the directions on the box.

Step 3: Puttin' It All Together

This is where it gets a little more complicated.... 
  1. Put cupcake papers into a cupcake tray (about 12). Cover the bottom of each paper with about 2 tsp. of brownie batter.
  2. Place a Nutter Butter ball into each cupcake. Don't smoosh it all the way down.
  3. Cover up the Nutter Butter ball with more brownie batter.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

*This is why I would make the balls smaller next time. Mine were so big that it was hard to get them covered all the way with batter. My other idea would be to make them flat discs instead of balls next time.

Step 4: Frosting!

While the cupcakes are baking, make your frosting. This frosting turned out so good that I need to give you the recipe...

Mix together 1 stick butter, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 2 Tbs. milk, and a pinch of salt. Add about 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar and 1/4 c. dark cocoa powder. If it's too thick, add a little more milk. If it's not thick enough, add a little more powdered sugar.

Let your cupcakes cool, then frost them up with this. Delicious!

P.S. I also had a bunch of left over Nutter Butter balls, so I decided to dip them in chocolate (like cake balls) and they turned out pretty tasty, too

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Even More Whoopies!

Whoopies of the Week: S'mores Whoopie Pies

My roommate said these were the best ones yet, and I think she's probably right! This idea also came from my new favorite whoopie pie book (find it here).

You start with a graham cracker pie. The secret is to use graham flour, which I didn't even know existed until I looked at this recipe. It's funny, because the pie part actually did taste a little bit like a graham cracker. They even kind of look like (round) graham crackers, too!

Then you make the frostings - 2 kinds - marshmallow and chocolate ganache. 

Another first: I never knew how to make ganache before this baking adventure. Turns out it's super easy - just heat up 1/2 a cup of whipping cream on the stove, then pour it over a whole bag of chocolate chips. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then mix until it's smooth.  

Get it?
Graham cracker (pies) + marshmallow (frosting) + chocolate (ganache) = S'mores!

Now that we've got all of our ingredients assembled, it's time for the fun part of putting the whoopies together (and then eating them)! Here goes...


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Whoopie Pies 2.0

Whoopie!! It's time for more whoopie pies...

This week I pulled out my new whoopie pie recipe book (find it here) to see how I could improve on the boxed mix whoopies from last week. Wow - there are so many great ideas in there! It was hard to choose just one, but in the end, I decided to go with what I guess is the "classic" whoopie pie - chocolate cake with marshmallow filling. Yum!

{Note: I don't really know what the rules are about posting a recipe from an actual book here, so I'm just giving you the general idea. I guess if you want the whole recipe, I'll let you borrow the book. If anyone knows the rules about these things, let me know!}

First I gathered up and mixed together all of my dry ingredients. I was super excited to be using my fair trade cocoa powder again. I also used 1/2 regular white flour and 1/2 whole wheat white flour.

The bowl of dry ingredients got put to the side while I mixed together the brown sugar, butter, and crisco. Yep, crisco. I'm so glad it comes in sticks now (like butter) instead of just in the jar where you have to scoop it out! 

The directions said to mix these together until the mixture was "light and fluffy". Those kinds of directions always confuse me just a little bit, because how am I really supposed to know if it's light or fluffy?
Anyway, here's my (hopefully) "light and fluffy" mixture...

Last step for the pies was to combine all of the dry ingredients with this mixture, then add the wet ingredients.

Since the pies turned out so GIANT last time, I put way less batter into the whoopie pie pan for each one. They really turned out much better. I'm pretty sure this is much more the size they are supposed to be.

While those were baking, I gathered up my ingredients to make the frosting. And since something always has to wrong with these whoopie pies, I discovered that I hadn't bought enough marshmallow fluff for the full recipe. I had gotten the small size jar thinking it would be plenty. It turns out it was too much for a 1/2 recipe, but not enough for the full. So I used the whole jar and just a little bit less of the rest of the ingredients. I also ended up adding a little bit of milk because that marshmallow fluff is really thick and really sticky! The frosting process went somthing like this...

 Last step, put the pies together - just spread some frosting in between two of the pies. Next time I will be sure to make the full frosting recipe because I think lots of frosting is the key to delicious whoopie pies. I also sprinkled some of the edges with red sprinkles. Cute and Tasty!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The One Where I Make Whoopie {Pies}

One of my favorite baking-related Christmas presents (thanks, Aunt Sal) was this cute little set with a whoopie pie pan, recipe book, and mix.

I had been waiting and waiting for the perfect time to use it. Well, wait no more because Thursday combined all sorts of special occasions - Snow Day/Make-Up Groundhog Day/Soup Night at Aunt Sal's!

I gathered up all of my ingredients - not too tricky, since it was a boxed mix. But I discovered that we were almost out of milk. This being a snow day, I did not feel inspired to run right out to the store for more. So I included the half-and-half as a back-up plan.

The recipe on the back of the box didn't say anything about how full to fill the whoopie pie pan. It just said that the mix would make 24 mini pies (whoopies? What is the shorter way to say whoopie pie? Is there one?). So I thought, ok I'll just fill up my pie pan with all of this batter and make 12 bigger ones. (I forgot that for each pie, you need 2 halves, so I was really only making 6). The mixture was for red velvet cake, and wow! It really was red. I started feeling very Southern, y'all!

While the whoopies were baking, I started in on the frosting (also a mix included in the box). Happily, it turned out the milk was just enough to make the pies and the frosting.

When the pies came out of the oven, I realized that I had filled them just a little too full, because they looked more like cupcakes than whoopie pies!

Even though they were gigantic, and there were only 6, I didn't have any milk (or eggs) left, so these were really the only option! I frosted one half, then stuck the other half on top. They kind of looked like two cupcakes stuck together with frosting in the middle - maybe a new baking sensation - Cupwiches!?

And then I just couldn't resist sticking a groundhog in the top of one. Since Portillo's was closed because of the snow on the real Groundhog Day, we had to use the whoopie pies as a chocoloate cake substitute!

Here's what I learned from my first try making whoopie pies. Next time I will... 
  1. Try a recipe from the whoopie pie cookbook - this cake was a little dry, and the frosting was very sweet.
  2. Fill the pie pan much less full - perhaps measuring it out would make things better!
  3. Less cake, more frosting!
Stay tuned for Whoopie Pies 2.0, coming soon!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Soup NIght Edition #3: Mexican Chicken Lime Soup

Mmm, If you were at the second soup night, you probably know how GOOD this soup is! I asked Lauren for the recipe, and here's what she gave me...
Mexican Chicken Lime Soup:

{picture credit: here}

Ingredients needed:
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 2 TBS of adobo sauce (I don't add all of this, add according to your spice tolerance)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt and pepper
  • avocado
  • tortilla chips
  1. In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook till onions begin to brown.
  3. Add the chicken. Cook till chicken is fully cooked.
  4. Add the peppers and adobo sauce and chicken broth.
  5. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 15 min. If there is any foam that comes to the top, scoop it off.
  6. A few min. before you serve, add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and cilantro. Once you serve put avocado and chips on top.
Now doesn't that sound like the perfect way to warm up on this freezing cold, post-blizzard day? Enjoy!