Monday, July 29, 2013

Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Salted caramel cream cheese frosting:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature (soft - but not super soft)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 10oz salted caramel, divided
  • fleur de sel or sea salt
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter, mixing on medium speed until just smooth and combined. Add the vanilla and sugar, and mix on low speed until combined. Add almost all of the the salted caramel - reserve about 2 oz for drizzling (you may have to heat it up to make sure it's viscous enough to pour into the frosting mixture). Mix on medium until the caramel is fully incorporated into the frosting. Don't overmix - you want a thick, creamy consistency for easy spreading/piping.

Coconut Filling

I used this to fill chocolate cupcakes, topped them with salted caramel frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut. I should have taken a picture... mmmm

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups coconut

Mix first 5 ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir consistently until thickened. (about 10 minutes)

Remove from heat, stir in coconut

Let cool before filling. Filled 24 cupcakes with leftovers :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Best Chocolate Cupcakes EVER

Trust me: You want to make these. I've made these with several different frostings/fillings and Oh My Goodness!
Part of this post (sans pictures) is so that I don't lose this recipe. Seriously. So. Good.

Best Ever Chocolate Cupcakes!
½ C + 1 TBSP Cocoa Powder
½ C + 1 TBSP Hot Water
2 ¼ C flour
¾ tsp soda
¾ tsp powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup + 1 T Butter @ Room Temp
1-2/3 C Sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
¾ c sour cream

1: Combine butter and sugar in saucepan on medium heat till the butter is melted. Pour in mixer bowl and beat for 4-5 minutes.
2: add eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla
3: Whisk together cocoa and water, add to the mix
4: whisk together in a separate bowl; flour, soda, baking powder and salt
5: alternate dry ingredients and sour cream mixing just till incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, bake at 350* for 18-20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes

Ganache: (for filling, dipping, etc)
1 ½ c chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 t vanilla
Mix all together, microwave 1 minute on medium high, mix till smooth, reheating as necessary.

Assembly for SAMOA GIRL SCOUT COOKIE inspired cupcakes!
I filled the cupcakes with coconut filling, replaced the caps, dipped them in warm ganache. When the ganache set, I piped them with salted caramel cream cheese frosting , drizzled with salted caramel and then sprinkled with toasted coconut.

You're welcome. :) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Black Bean Brownies

I really love this recipe and I thought I would share it from my blog...
I got this recipe from Melissa D'Arabian (here) and I LOVE them. They add some extra nutrition to an otherwise empty calorie treat. I added my changes/notes to the recipe at the end.

Butter, for greasing pan
3/4 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup flour*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.

In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Here are the changes I made to the recipe.
1. I used canned beans and you must rinse the heck out of them if you use a canned bean.
2. I omitted the coffee, not on principle, but because I didn't have any.
3. *Since I'm high elevation I added an extra 2 TBL flour and did a scant 1/2 tea baking powder
4. Cook longer than 20 minutes! I did 20 minutes and they were definitely under done in the middle.

I had Brenan try them before I told him there were beans in it and he really liked them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

For your Halloween Safety: Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

Oh EM Goodness!

I saw this recipe pop up on my reader and I knew it was in my future. I happened to have some cream in my fridge with which to make it. YUM!

Beware: there are 3 heads of roasted garlic (no, that wasn't a typo- 3 heads of roasted garlic!) Luckily for me I have no boyfriend, so I won't be doing any kissing...

Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup
by Oven Love, via Martha Stewart Recipesserves 10-12
This recipe is for a crowd (think holidays)- but can be easily halved and it's freezable, too.

  • 3 heads garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 white onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 heads cauliflower, 3 cored and thinly sliced and 1 broken into florets
  • 8 sprigs thyme, tied with twine, plus one tablespoon chopped (you can sub. 1T dried thyme)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups chicken stock, plus more to thin, if desired
  • 2 cups heavy cream, plus more to thin, if desired
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I just used 1 1/2 cups, what was in the bag)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (and I didn't have any of this)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut off the tops of garlic heads. Place each on a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap tightly in foil, and bake until garlic is very soft, about an hour. Let cool. Squeeze garlic from peel; set aside. Increase oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft but not browned. Stir in sliced cauliflower, thyme and wine. Simmer until wine is reduced by half. Add stock, bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove cover and simmer until cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

3. Remove thyme bundle and stir in cream and 2 1/2 cups Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic. Puree with a stick blender or in batches until smooth (One reason a stick blender is on my Christmas list!). Thin with more stock or cream, if desired. Return to pot; keep warm on low heat.

4. Heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over high heat in a saute pan until almost smoking. Add cauliflower florets, stirring until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pan to oven and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. (DON'T GRAB THE PAN HANDLE WITH YOUR BARE HAND! OUCH!)  Stir in thyme, parsley and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan. To serve; ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cauliflower florets.

I'll update with pictures later, but oh my YUM!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Heaven in a paper liner: Triple Chocolate Cupcakes.

Let's talk about the look in my eyes. What caused that?
Photo: Magical! 

Maybe I've been single too long. 
Maybe Grad school has made me crazy.
Maybe since I only ever hang out with girls (there are only 2 guys in my program, one married, one engaged)
Maybe it's because there is no cocoa bean, no sweet tooth fairy, no sprinkles, no creme de la creme. There's just me and my oven that cooks 25* hot... 

But I think the look in my eyes is because that cupcake I'm gazing at lovingly is likely the best thing that has passed through my lips since daddy took me to Brio, and even that's comparing apples and oranges. 

I shared these with people in my program, the local sister missionaries, and all of my professors... who has brownie cupcake points. This girl!!

Direct quotes:
"Zimmerman, I've had cupcakes from big fancy cupcake places, including Sprinkle's cupcakes, yours could stand up to any of them" -Wilkerson (who I later found out is diabetic... oops!)
"I tried to steal Wilkerson's before he realized what he had been given"- Wendy, the dept secretary
"I don't even like chocolate cake and that was the best cupcake I have ever eaten"-- Swift, department head

A real conversation:
Me, bearing cupcakes: "Happy International Chocolate Cupcake Day!"
Swift: "Ohh, we like Zimmerman."
Weems (graduate school dean): "But we didn't realize how much till just now"

So yeah. These are AMAZING. AND! I can't find the link for the recipe!! But! Never fear. In order to make them without getting my computer dirty, I wrote out the recipe! Unfortunately it means I can't site my source. But whoever you are. My mouth (and half of the population of Portales) thanks you!

Without Further Ado:

Milk Chocolate Cupcakes:

2/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 c sour cream
1 cup milk (I forgot to put this in the recipe and when I was making these for to impress someone I couldn't figure out why the batter was so darn thick!) 
1 1/4 c cocoa powder
1 1/4 c flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and brown sugar, add eggs and sour cream, and milk; mix till smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix till just combined. 
Fill 24 lined cupcake tins. (I know sizes/how full you like them varries, I ended up with 24 cupcakes and glass ramekins filled with deliciousness). 
Bake at 350* for 17-19 minutes. I've quit poking my cupcakes to check for doneness, I just tap the tops, if they stay depressed, not quite done. If they spring back up, perfect! 
Let the cupcakes cool COMPLETELY. (I made them before I went to institute for an hour and a half or so. They were cool when I got home)

Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling
(yup, you read that right. Don't let that Ganache word scare you-- it's easy peasy!)

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream 
1 t vanilla

Mix all in a microwaveable bowl. Heat in microwave for about a minute on medium-high power, then mix it until it is smooth. At this point I let it sit for a few minutes to thicken to make it easier to work with. 

See what I mean! Easy. 
CHECK OUT THAT GANACHE! MMMMMMM. And also the cake texture. Perfect!

White Chocolate Butter-cream Frosting

Look close at the frosting! It's PERFECT. Light. Airy. Delicious!

1 cup white chocolate chips
2 sticks (1 cup) butter at room temp
6 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla
2-4 Tbsp milk

Melt chips completely in microwave. (Heat on 50% power for a minute, stir. If not melted, put back in the microwave for 30 second increments on 50% power). 
Beat the white chocolate chips in with the butter till nice and creamy. 
Add powdered sugar and vanilla.
Slowly add just enough milk to get the right consistency. 


Take a serrated knife and cut a hole in the tops of the cupcakes (for me this wasn't a precise science, I just tried to make a hole that would allow enough ganache to make it worth while, you know?) Some bakers put tops over their filling, but why? It's going to be covered in frosting anyway... Use the tops for... snacking? Cakeballs? Feeding the ducks? 

Spoon the slightly thickened ganache into the hole made in your cupcake. 

You can always frost with a knife, but I like easy... so I put the frosting in a disposable piping bag, cut the tip off of it and piped an easy swirl on top of all 27 cupcakes! 

I put on chocolate sprinkles just for fun. 

Use these cupcakes to win friends and influence people. 

Or as a substitute for a love life... who needs men when you can have cupcakes.... (oh dear, but seriously)

Photo: Magical!

Also, for easy transportation/mess fee use short clear Dixie cups. They're perfect size! You could even cover them, if you are ambitious. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crock Pot Crazy Part 2: White Chicken Chili

On Friday night, the sister missionaries called me and asked if I was willing to make lunch for General Conference at the church between sessions on Sunday. I knew what I wanted to make! I've had this recipe in various permutations, and this one was pretty delicious. 

White Chicken Chili

2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
2 med onion chopped 
3 tsp garlic powder or 4 cloves fresh garlic minced
4 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
24 oz chicken broth
4-6 cans chopped green chilies
2-4 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cup sour cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese 

In a slow cooker (mine is 7 quarts) place chicken breasts (fresh or frozen) add chopped onion, garlic, beans, green chilies  chicken broth and all spices. Do not add sour cream or whipping cream. Stir the mixture around a bit to incorporate dry spices. Cook on low for 5-7 hours. Remove chicken to cutting board and shred into bite size pieces. Stir back into slow cooker. In small bowl whisk together sour cream and whipping cream until smooth. Whisk the cream mixture into the crock pot with other ingredients. Let the soup cook until heated through. Right before serving stir in shredded cheese. 

This is YUMMY (Probably partially because of the cream, let's be honest here). But it was great! I stuck it in the crock pot, went and watched the morning session, shredded the chicken, added the cream, and Yum! Everyone asked for the recipe.