Desserts

All posts in the Desserts category

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Wedding Reception Recap

Published October 16, 2013 by jenmatteson

As many of you know, we recently celebrated our marriage with a big party at my parent’s house.  Okay, yes, it was almost a month ago, but hey, at least I’m telling you about it!  The party was a lot of work, and everything was put together with the huge help of my family.  My poor husby was sick for several weeks (with bronchitis – though we didn’t know it until after the party), so we had to work extra hard to pull it all off.  And just so you know…the hubs and I made that cupcake stand.  Pretty bad ass, right!?

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

The day before the event was pretty crazy and I was putting everyone to work, including my 2-year-old niece and 5-year-old nephew.  Here’s a quick peek at everyone:

The most adorable niece, Grace, and my big brother, Matt.

Matt and Grace

THE BEST dad and coolest nephew, Carter.

Grandpa and Carter

The cupcake czar and insanely great decorator, my sister-in-law, Colleen.

Cupcake Master!

My poor sick hubs, Nate.

Nate

And by far, my right hand woman, the boss, flower artist, and so much more, my wonderful mom!

My momma!

The party was in my parents’ front yard and was held as an open house, so people could come and go as they please.  We provided a taco bar, a chip and salsa bar, beverages, and cupcakes for dessert.  I made toffee as favors, which was a HUGE hit.  Everyone seemed to love it.  And if they didn’t, they didn’t tell me about it 😛

IMG_7918_001

Toffee Favors

Because they have an enormous amount of land, we invited our friends to camp and stay late with us.  This led to a tournament of flip cup, which I must say, I’m pretty good.  Though, I have to admit, it did take a while to settle in, but once I got the hang of it, Team Doily, aka, Lace Gangstas, were unstoppable!

Late night flip cup

I made the cupcakes for dessert – two kinds of cake with two kinds of frosting.  Both the chocolate cake and frosting was a no-brainer, as I love this chocolate cupcake with caramel ganache frosting.  Being a chocolate freak, the vanilla was not as easy.  These cupcakes took a few practice batches, but they were perfectly moist and bouncy (I’m not really sure if that’s a proper food description word, but it was bouncy and springy, like you’d want a cake to be).

The frosting on the other hand was a chore.  The first recipe I tried was an Italian meringue buttercream.  I liked it because it was not too sweet, but most others who tried it weren’t big fans.  So I enlisted the direction of my sister-in-law, who rocks at baking!  She suggested using the Wilton buttercream recipe, so I tried it out.  The original recipe was far too sweet for me, but seemed to please others.  I ended up going with it, but reduced the sugar by a skosh, so it wasn’t overly sweet.  The result was excellence!  I cannot at all take credit for frosting these pictured cupcakes – my aforementioned sister-in-law graciously frosted all 12 dozen cupcakes for our party.  I couldn’t have done it without her!

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine and Wilton
Servings: Makes 12 cupcakes, about 3 cups of frosting

Ingredients:

For the buttercream:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp milk

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk, room temperature

Directions:

1. Make the buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together shortening and butter.  Add vanilla and gradually add sugar one cup at a time on a low speed.  Scrape down sides to incorporate all sugar.  Icing will appear dry at this point.  Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

2. Keep bowl covered with damp cloth until ready to use.  Icing can also be refrigerated in an airtight container and stored for up to 2 weeks.

3. Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.

5. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, cream together sugar, eggs and vanilla until smoothed and slightly thickened.  Add butter and oil and mix until well combined.  Add dry ingredients and milk in three alternating batches, beating well inbetween additions.  Pour batter into muffin liners, filling about 2/3 full.

6. Bake cupcakes on center rack for 18-20 minutes.  Mine took exactly 18, but every oven is different.  Let the muffins cool slightly in the muffin tins, about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

7.  Frost cupcakes with chilled buttercream.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies – Gluten Free!

Published October 13, 2013 by jenmatteson

This weekend we helped one of our good friend’s parents rebuild their deck.  Well, Nate helped.  I helped the ladies supervise and delegate (and drink wine) 😉  Knowing that it was going to be an all day event, I wanted to bring something to share.  We were told food and beer would be provided, but I couldn’t bring myself to show up empty-handed, so I brought these insanely indulgent GF brownies, as well as Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps (substituting Tamari – a GF product – for soy sauce).

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

My girlfriend has recently been eating gluten-free, which has made me much more conscious of what I make for her.  It’s really surprising how many substitutes and alternatives there are out there for products that contain gluten, and you don’t even need to spend a fortune or visit your closest Whole Foods!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

My Food and Wine magazine arrived just In time!  There was a small section dedicated to Tu-Lu’s Bakery, which specializes on gluten-free and vegan products.  This recipe was tried over and over again to get them exactly perfect, densely chocolaty but not too fudgy.  I must say that I agree.  These brownies were amazing, and I especially love the peanut butter chips!  While this is gluten-free recipe, it is by no means healthy.  No wonder they are so delicious!  A quick tip – use the biggest mixing bowl you have to mix the batter – mine was filled to the rim and I could barely mix all the ingredients without spilling on the counter.  More batter for me, I guess 😛

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes 24 brownies

Ingredients:

3 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 lb dark chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp white rice flour
3/4 tapioca flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 large eggs
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. Place butter in top of double boiler filled with water, simmer over medium-low heat.  Melt butter, stirring occasionally.  Add dark chocolate and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the rice flour, tapioca flour and salt.  In a large bowl (your very largest mixing bowl – trust me), whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until blended.  Fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated, then fold in the peanut butter and semisweet chocolate chips.  Fold in the melted chocolate until all ingredients are well combined.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

4. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the brownies are slightly puffed and a tester comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Published August 16, 2013 by jenmatteson

I love peanut butter cookies, and I wanted to bring something sweet to share over the weekend while camping, so I thought, what a perfect chance for me to make a batch!  I loved my Grammie’s cookies growing up, but they were always hard, and I prefer my cookies soft and chewy.  I went in search of a tried and true recipe on my trusty cooking board, and then I was now stuck in the position of choosing which recipe to make.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I decided to go with Jessica’s recipe from Sunny Side Up.  I’ve never made anything from her blog before, so I was happy to once again, find some new ideas!  The reason I settled on these cookies was more because of the story that went with them.  These cookies were in her husband’s top 5 recipes that she makes.  That’s saying a lot, so I thought it was the perfect recipe to try out.  I especially loved the addition of the chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I only had egg whites on hand, so I think that may have affected the consistency of my dough.  It was too sticky for me to roll and dip into sugar, so I basically just spooned it onto the prepared baking sheet.  That said, I couldn’t really press a fork into them either, so after trying the first batch to come out of the oven, I decided to just forego the fork thing.  I assumed they will still taste the same, just not look quite as pretty 😉

The cookies, while quite thin, turned out delicious.  They even made a great substitute for graham crackers in s’mores!  Note to self, bring everything you can think of if you go on a camping trip that Leah’s husband packed for.  The cookie wasn’t too crispy, but not so soft that they just seemed under-baked.  The addition of the chocolate chips was wonderful, because who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate in holy matrimony?  Certainly not me.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: Adapted from Sunny Side Up
Servings: Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup peanut butter (I used half chunky and half creamy)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two baking sheets with foil and cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and peanut butter together.  Add sugars and continue to mix until light and fluffy.  Add egg, milk and vanilla extract until combined.  Slowly add in dry ingredients until everything is incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Roll a rounded tablespoon of dough into a ball, dip top into sugar, and place on baking sheet.  Press tines of a fork twice (crosswise) into each cookie lightly.  Continue until baking sheet is full (I omitted this step as my dough was too sticky).  Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.  Mine took exactly 11 minutes, but every oven varies, so keep a close eye on them.  Remove from oven, let cool on pan for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Blueberry Peach Popsicles

Published July 2, 2013 by jenmatteson

Like my mango pineapple popsicles, these are insanely refreshing on a hot summer day.  The best part is that you know exactly what went in them, and it was pure deliciousness.  I used frozen peach slices for this recipe, but you could use fresh.  I thought for the price, it was totally worth pealed a pitted peaches.  I used fresh blueberries, but frozen would work just fine as well.

Blueberry Peach Popsicles

Add a little of your favorite booze (I used vodka) and make it a party snack.  These will be sure to go like hot (cold?) potatoes!

Blueberry Peach Popsicle

Blueberry Peach Popsicles

Source: Adapted from Thug Kitchen
Servings: Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen peaches
3/4 cup real fruit juice (I used apple), divided
3/4 cup yogurt (I used Light and Fit Vanilla, but use what you like), divided
2 tsp lemon juice, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup vodka, divided (optional)

Directions:

1. In a blender, combine peaches, 1/2 cup fruit juice, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup vodka.  Blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl and rinse blender.

2. In the blender, combine blueberries and remaining fruit juice, yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla and vodka.  Blend until smooth.

3. Layer peach and blueberry mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid, at least 8 hours.

Mango Pineapple Popsicles

Published July 2, 2013 by jenmatteson

It is truly finally summertime, which means it’s hot out there.  We had a beautiful weekend, and spent all of Sunday outside staining the railings of our new deck.  It’ll take a few weekends of staining, but it’s almost completely done.  The problem has been waiting until we had a dry span of days to do it, as we’ve had a slew of not just rain, but severe storms.  But alas, I think we’ve earned the right to get some gorgeous days and warm weather.

Making the mix

I made these popsicles last week and was really looking forward to eating them on a hot day.  We definitely worked hard, so they were a nice and refreshing treat to take a break with. Better yet, they are slightly boozy!  I hesitated to put too much vodka in them because I wanted to be sure they froze, but next time, I think I’ll be adding just a skosh more.

Mango Pineapple Popsicle

The great thing about these popsicles is that you know exactly what went into them, and it’s not some weird cousin of sugar that you can’t quite pronounce.  I went to the store the very morning I saw this recipe posted on Thug Kitchen.  I actually got ingredients to make both the mango pineapple popsicles and the blueberry peach popsicles.  After already adding the vodka, I thought that coconut rum would have been a better addition in these.  Oh well, next time.

But wait, I sort of had that opportunity!  I didn’t have enough popsicle molds to use up all the mix and I had about 1 cup left.  Nate was planning to make us daiquiris for dessert on Sunday, so instead of using a mix, we just used the leftover popsicle mix, added a few more pineapple slices, Malibu rum, and ice.  Hit blend on the Ninja for a few seconds, and you have yourself a lovely pineapple daiquiri.  There’s no end to our creativity!

Mango Pineapple Daiquiri

Bartender behind the daquiris

The popsicles would be a super fun treat to serve your friends after they’ve helped you do some horrid job that only your good friends (or family) would volunteer to help with.  I suppose they’d be good for a summer party, too, but make sure your guests work for them.  They’re worth it!

Mango Pineapple Popsicle

Mango Pineapple Popsicles

Source: Adapted from Thug Kitchen
Servings: Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:

2 ripe mangos, skinned and cut into chunks
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup yogurt (I used Light and Fit Vanilla, but you can use your favorite)
2 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2  cup vodka or rum (optional)

Directions:

1. Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust any ingredients as desired.

2. Pour mixture into your molds and let freeze until solid, at least 8 hours.  As stated on Thug Kitchen, don’t give up if you don’t have popsicle molds.  You can use paper cups and popsicle sticks, or even fill up your ice-cube tray and use toothpicks.  You might need to freeze for an hour or so before putting in the popsicle sticks or toothpicks so they stand up straight.  If you have leftover mix, feel free to blend yourself up a daiquiri!

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

Published June 20, 2013 by jenmatteson

You probably couldn’t have guessed it from the sweet treats I’ve posted recently, but Nate and I are really trying to eat better.  Even his cupcake hording has subsided; I didn’t even hear one fuss when giving away extra chocolate cupcakes with mint chocolate chip frosting to our parents.  However, I truly do not believe in diets.  I don’t think they work, and I don’t think it’s realistic to restrict your eating for your entire life.  What I do think is possible is being conscious of what you put in your body, everything in moderation, and taste everything, but eat nothing.

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

The purpose behind this dessert was two-fold.  We had both our parents over for Father’s Day, and we wanted to serve a light dessert since we’d be sitting outside, it was hot and we were grilling.  Secondly, because we were grilling dinner, I wanted to do a dessert on the grill, but quick and easy as I didn’t want to spend a lot of time putzing around.  Bobby Flay does it, why can’t I?  I thought of doing grilled strawberry shortcake, and as always, while I think I have a fantastic brainiac idea, alas, someone else has already thought of it.  But the upside to not being the first to think of it is that it’s usually already perfected, so there isn’t a lot of trial and error.

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

This was my dad helping me with the photos.

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

I found this recipe at Sugar Mama, a blog I’ve never visited before.  It was quick, simple and light, just what I was looking for.  The key to this dessert was the sweetened condensed milk.  That adds an extra sweetness to the angel food cake and the strawberries.  Sugar Mama suggests brushing just the angel food cake, but I did both.  And by brush, I mean drizzle, because that light and fluffy cake makes it hard to brush on anything, especially sticky, thick sweetened condensed milk.  Overall, everyone seemed quite impressed and liked the fun idea of the grilled shortcake kabobs.  This would be a great idea for your summer grilling parties, and especially for kids and little paws.  The cake gets a slight crisp on the outside, but stays soft and fluffy on the inside.  The strawberries soften up just a bit, but not so much to be mushy.  Add a dollop of Cool Whip, and you’re good to go!

Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

Source: Adapted from Sugar Mama
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 pint strawberries, stems removed and washed
1/2 store-bought angel food cake (I made mine from a box for a little less and used half)
3 tbsp fat-free sweetened condensed milk
Cool Whip

Directions:

1. If you are using wooden skewers, soak in water for about 15 minutes.  Heat grill to medium.

2. Cut angel food cake into large pieces, about 1 1/2 inch cubes.  Thread skewers, alternating strawberries and angel food cake cubes.  Place on a large baking sheet.  Drizzle skewers with sweetened condensed milk, flip and drizzle again to get both sides.

3. Place skewers on hot grill, turning every minute or so.  This will depend on how hot your grill is, but once you see the angel food cake begin to brown or get grill marks, it’s time to turn.  Don’t walk away, it goes very quickly.

4. Serve with Cool Whip for dipping.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Published June 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

I just made chocolate cupcakes, I know.  But they went over so well, I thought I’d make them again.  Plus, I had this recipe waiting on my list, calling my name.  Also, we spent another evening with my parents, a fire, cocktails and puppies.  Yep.  You heard right. Puppies!  Their dog, Molly, had puppies on Memorial Day, so they were almost two weeks old when we saw them on Friday.  They’re tri-color pure bread English springer spaniels; gorgeous dogs!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

I saw this recipe on Eva Bakes and saved it right away.  I’m not a mint lover, but I do like it.  And you know I love me some chocolate, so I was ready to get down on these cupcakes.  Eva said the cupcake part was a little drier than she had hoped, so I decided to go with a base I’d used before and absolutely loved.  But the frosting is definitely from her site.

The frosting was perfect!  My only gripe is that I couldn’t pipe it on because the chocolate chips clogged up the tip.  Oh well, they’re not beautiful, but they are certainly delicious!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Source: Adapted from Eva Bakes
Servings: Makes about 20 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2-3 drops green food coloring
2/3 cups mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine buttermilk and water in a measuring cup.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the buttermilk.

3. Spoon batter into paper liners, filling them 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

3. To make frosting, beat butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.  Reduce mixer speed to low and add 3 cups powdered sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract and food coloring.  Once the sugar is combined, turn the mixer to high and beat for 3 minutes.  Adjust to desired taste and consistency.  If its runny, add powdered sugar.  If its thick, add more cream.  If it’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt.  Mix in chocolate chips by hand and frost cooled cupcakes.

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