Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Cupcakes

We went to the Exploratorium a couple months ago in San Francisco. It's a really fun science museum with a ton of different exhibits to check out. One of the exhibits in the 'mind' section was a water fountain that looked like a toilet. It was saying that most people wouldn't drink from the fountain (although it was perfectly for as drinking fountains go) simply because it was a toilet. I think that same thing would apply to food. I'm not too big into the gross looking Halloween food. I mean, it looks cool and all but isn't presentation a big part of eating? I don't find severed body parts or kitty litter cakes very appetizing. So here's some cutesy treats that are simple and don't take too long. Unless maybe you have babies distracting you like me and my friend did while trying to decorate them. We also did a little Halloween photo shoot for our babies and I gotta say, they're the cutest things. Ever. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

No recipe here, it's pretty self explanatory from the pictures. Make yourself some cupcakes. I just used a box of Funfetti to make life easier. Color some icing the different colors you want and go to town! We did mummies, vampires and pumpkins here.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Being sick is NO fun. I don't know where this cold came from that is cursing my family, but with a holiday weekend coming up, it needs to be gone soon! Here's another cheesecake brownie recipe I saw recently and knew immediately I would be trying them soon. After making pumpkin spice pancakes last weekend I still had some left over pumpkin puree (and still im sure you'll be seeing another pumpkin post soon!), I also happened to need a dessert for something so I think it was fate. These are just as good as they look and sound and definitely worth giving a try. Not in the mood for brownies? ( that possible?) Try giving these pumpkin chocolate chip bars a shot. They will surely test your will power.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
seen on the amazing Perry's Plate


Brownie Batter:

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 T vanilla

2 eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Batter:

6 oz cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

2 T flour

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" or an 11x7" baking pan.

For the Brownies:Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients in small bowl, and then gradually stir into butter mixture by hand.

For the Cheesecake:In another bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in remainder of ingredients until smooth.Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan. Spread the pumpkin batter over top, distributing evenly. Drop the remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. To make the swirls, run a butter knife back and forth through the pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely and chill before cutting and serving.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Someone tell my boy it's not cool waking up multiple times during the night. I don't remember the last time I slept through the night. It's been a very long time. And I don't see an end to my sleepless nights anytime in the near future. It took Rylee about a year until she slept good at night. Then not long after that I was pregnant again. And sleeping while pregnant at times can be as bad as when the baby is actually out. Landon is only 4 months. And while I don't want my baby to grow up, I miss sleep! That has nothing to do with these brownies, other than the fact that I can't think about anything else right now than i'm ready for bed!! So, brownies are good. Cheesecake is good. I don't see how these could possibly be bad. I've made plain cheesecake brownies before, but I think I prefer the chocolate ;)

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies
Baking Bites

1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake layer:
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Set aside to cool.In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.Prepare cheesecake mixture. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture will come out clean.Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.
Makes 16 large brownies. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chips

I don't understand this weather. The last couple days have been so hot! Hotter than most of summer. I've been pulling out the fall recipes lately but it just doesn't feel right when it's 80 degrees out. In fact we made pumpkin spice pancakes this morning (very good). This, however, is not a fallish recipe. It's one i've been wanting to make for a while, but you see, they require planning ahead. I rarely plan ahead when it comes to baking. Usually when I bake something it's because I want it in that moment. I'm glad I finally decided to think ahead. These were really good peanut butter cookies and I absolutely loved the addition of chocolate chips. My only issue with these? There wasn't enough of the chocolate chips. Next time i'll be adding twice as many. These cookies spread a lot so be sure not to flatten them much, give plenty of space between each, and allow the dough to rest the 3+ hours indicated.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chips
from Baked: New Frontiers In Baking, seen on Crepes of Wrath

Yield: about 24 cookies

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes

1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 cup more for rolling the cookies in

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup creamy peanut butter

6 ounces good milk chocolate, coarsely chopped


1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
2. Beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, at least three minutes .Scape down the bowl and add in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and the peanut butter. Beat until combined.
3. Add in half of the flour mixture, mix for 15 seconds, and add in the rest of the flour. Mix again until just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chip with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours

4. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line and/or grease two large baking sheets. Using your hands, roll the dough into tablespoons-sized balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on the baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Press down gently with the palm of your hand, but do NOT press too hard and do NOT press it flat.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, being sure to turn the pan around halfway through the baking time. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before removing to another surface to cool completely. Store in an airtight containers for up to 4 days at room temperature, or freeze for up to 2 months.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Neapolitan Marble Bundt Cake

I didn't plan anything spectacular for Matt's birthday cake because he didn't even want one so I just decided to try something new, a bundt cake. I had to scour the neighborhood to find a bundt cake pan and I was really by surprised how unpopular they are. But after knocking on several doors, I finally found one. The cake was good, but I think I overcooked it slightly because it was a little dry. Originally this recipe doesn't have any frosting on it, but since I had so much of the cream cheese frosting left over from the cupcakes I used it on this cake as well. And I was a little dissappointed that the frosting was the highlight of the cake. The cake was pretty good, but the frosting was delicious. Of course my favorite flavor of the 3 was the chocolate :)

Neapolitan Marble Cake
adapted from Baked's Marble Bundt Cake via. See You In The Morning

(Looks kind of like a donut, doesn't it?)

Sour Cream Cake
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, soft, cut into pieces
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
16 oz sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

for chocolate swirl
6 oz dark chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
1 tsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder

for strawberry swirl
1/2 cup diced strawberries
1 tbsp strawberry preserves

a few drops of pink coloring

Make chocolate swirl
: in the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in microwave, melt the chocolate. when it's completely smooth, add the cocoa powder. remove from heat and set aside.
preheat oven to 350. spray the inside of a 10 inch bundt pan. sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. scrape down the sides and add the sugar. beat until smooth and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. scrape down bowl and mix. add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. add the dry ingredients in 3 additions. do not overmix!
pour 1/3 of batter into the chocolate and combine. fold strawberries and preserves into another 1/3 of batter. plop large spoonfuls of 3 batters into pan. then use a butter knife to pull through the layers and make swirls. bake in the center of the oven for about an hour, rotating halfway through.
let cake cool in the pan for a bit and then invert.
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

The first fall-ish recipe of the season is here, and it's a good one. I can't get enough pumpkin desserts (unless it's pumpkin pie..maybe if it's slathered in whipped cream but even then..) and baked goods. Mostly the baked stuff though, I love how it makes the final product so moist.

My husband's birthday is this weekend, the big 2-8. When did we get so old?? It wasn't that long ago that he turned 24 (about 2 weeks after we started dating). So I wanted to make him something to take to work. He didn't want me to. I didn't care. And guess what? He also doesn't want a birthday cake. Like that's gonna happen. How were they? I suppose it's a good sign when he comes home empty handed, right?

PS- Just FYI, but my index needs to be updated, baaadly. The last couple months of posts aren't in there. I'll try to work on it when I have some time..which isn't often.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

from Martha Stewart as seen on My Baking Addiction

Pumpkin Cupcakes
yields: approximately 20-24 cupcakes


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar

1 TBS ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Finally mix in vanilla and cinnamon

*Note that the frosting makes a ton. If you plan on only using it for 1 batch of cupcakes, half the recipe. I realized it would make a large bowl so I set aside half of the frosting and kept it plain, without the cinnamon and plan on using it to frost the cake, too.
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Bloomin Bacon Onion Bread

You may remember the Bloomin Pizza Bread from a couple of months ago. If not, do yourself a favor and go check it out. We really enjoyed it so I decided to make the bloomin onion bread a couple weeks ago. Oh my.. it was a very close competition. I had some bacon in the fridge and thought it would be a lovely addition. And I was so very right. I wasn't expecting to post about it, but after we had it I knew I wanted to share. The part that really surprised me though? The leftovers (which wasn't much) the next day were even better than when I freshly made it! If you're into cheese, green onions, bacon..some of the best stuff in life..add this to your list to make!
Bloomin Bacon Onion Bread
adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 unsliced loaf sourdough bread
12-16 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced (I just used pre-shredded cheese)
Bacon-however much your heart desires
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bacon and set aside.
Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Insert cheese slices between cuts. Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over bread. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread and sprinkle bacon on top/between slices and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

It officially feels like fall. Why does summer always go by SO fast, leaving me with a list of things I wanted to do?? It rained just about the whole day today so I mostly stayed inside with sweats on and looking like I just climbed out of bed. You think I would be used to it, growing up in Washington and all. As long as it doesn't stick around for too long, i'm ok with it.
Anyway, on to the cookies. I think of Christmastime when I think of sugar cookies. Growing up that's the only time we really made (and decorated) them. I'm not a big sugar cookie person, mainly since there's no chocolate involved. But I wanted to try these so I made them for a girl's night. These cookies were really good, thick and fluffy. I would make them again. The frosting wasn't what I expected though..I was hoping for a light and fluffy frosting, but instead this was more like a glaze. A little runny at first but then hardens rather quickly. Overall, I would definitely reccomend giving them a shot!
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Annie's Eats

Yield: about 2 dozen large cookies
For the cookies:
4½ cups all-purpose flour
4½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk together to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart. Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set. The edges should be no more than very lightly browned, if at all. Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To frost the cookies, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired. Use an offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies. Top with sprinkles if desired. Store in an airtight container. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter