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Friday, May 13, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes for Trudy

So today my future Mother-in-Law, Trudy, is coming to town to visit, help me find a wedding dress, and do other wedding-related planning. She requested that I make the red velvet cupcakes that I had made for Karin's birthday for her visit.

Only one problem... when I made the cupcakes the first time, I forgot to save the recipe that I used. So I searched around a bit and found something that seemed fairly close to what I used before. You'd be amazed at all the variations in Red Velvet there are out there. I eventually found I used a recipe from Food Network (usually a good source). Here it is...

Fabulous Red Velvet Cake

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand
·         1 cup vegetable shortening
·         2 eggs
·         1 1/2 cups sugar
·         1 teaspoon cocoa powder
·         2 ounces red food coloring
·         2 1/2 cups cake flour
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1 cup buttermilk
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         1 teaspoon vinegar
·         White frosting, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the shortening, eggs and sugar. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa and food coloring. Add the paste to the shortening mixture. Sift the flour and salt together over parchment. Add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions. Add the vanilla extract. Fold in the baking soda and vinegar. Pour the batter into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack. Invert the cakes from the pans.

 So, this is the cake recipe I used (it talks about making a layered cake, I made cupcakes - same temp, ~23 minutes for normal sized cups, makes about 18 full cupcakes), but as I was finishing up, I found the recipe I used for Karin's cupcakes... which is here (also from Food Network):

·         Vegetable oil for the pans
·         2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 1/2 cups sugar
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         1 teaspoon fine salt
·         1 teaspoon cocoa powder
·         1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
·         1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
·         2 large eggs, at room temperature
·         2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
·         1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
·         Crushed pecans, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
·         1 pound cream cheese, softened
·         4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
·         2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Yield: enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake

This is the frosting recipe I used, but I halved it (had plenty for all 18 cupcakes, but I don't go frosting crazy like some people) and I used 1/3 fat cream cheese (I have my limits). The frosting was nice, light, and sweet, but not too sweet. 

Yeah, a little Christmas-y with the green wrappers, but whatever. It does make a stark contrast with the red cake and white frosting though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

This one's for you Jodiann...

These are probably my favorite cookie OF ALL TIME. Seriously. They are that good. They are kind of like a thin mint, but better. No. Seriously. BETTER. I saw that Panera makes a similar cookie, but I have not tried theirs yet so I can't say anything about it.

 I made them for Christmas this year and gave them out the all the grandparents, but then made another batch just for Chris and I. I was "cookied" out, but I made more of these because I loved them so much.

The recipe call for semi-sweet chocolate, but I used dark chocolate chips once, and wow. If you have them on hand, I recommend using them.

The only downside to this recipe is that the dough needs to chill over night so that it can be formed into nice little balls, but it is totally worth the wait (but, the dough is amazing raw too).

Once cooled, these cookies are crisp on the outside (from the sugar) and gooey in the middle. Perfection.
Not my picture (I don't know where my pictures of these beauties went) but this is what they look like

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies
Yields 3+ dozen cookies
·         1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons spooned and leveled bleached all-purpose flour
·         1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
·         2 3/4 cups sugar, divide
·         1/4 cup of canola oil
·         3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm, not hot
·         2 tablespoons light corn syrup
·         2 large eggs
·         1 large egg yolk
·         2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
·         1 ½ teaspoons of peppermint extract
·         1 cup powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, beat together well the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50 percent power for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for 15 seconds more and stir; set aside.

       In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together 2 1/2 cups of the sugar, the oil, butter and corn syrup to blend. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and peppermint extract (feel free to go a little heavy). Then on low, beat in the melted chocolate.

      Add the flour mixture and beat in on low speed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

3.     Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line bakesheet with parchment. Take out about one-quarter of the dough at a time to shape. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar (you'll need more sugar than this, but this is a good starting point) into one bowl and the confectioners’ sugar in another bowl. Roll each cookie dough ball lightly in granulated sugar first, then very heavily in confectioners’ sugar. (By rolling in plain sugar first, the confectioners’ sugar does not soak in so much and stays on the surface better).

4.     Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on the foil. For crisp cookies, bake 12 to 14 minutes. For a chewier cookie, bake 10-12 minutes (for my oven on air-bake sheets, 12 minutes is perfect). Bake one sheet at a time.  


Monday, May 9, 2011

S'mores Cupcakes, Per request

Aunt Terry requested the recipe for the s'mores cupcakes so here it is:

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting
Yields: ~24 Cupcakes
Found at Martha Stewart, with notes by: Amy Hansen

For the cake: (Can use a box chocolate cake… that’s what I did!)
2 cups and 2 tbsn. sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup and 1 tbsn. cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (MS suggests 2%)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of boiling water

For crust:
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, about 20 squares
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
9 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips

For the marshmallow frosting: 

4 large egg whites
1 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cupcake pans with liners and set aside. Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and mix together. In a large bowl mix the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry, making sure everything is well incorporated. Next add the boiling water and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Stir until well combined. Add 1 tbsn. of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake cup and pack them in using the bottom of a small cup. Next, sprinkle 2 tsp. of the chocolate chips into each cup and then bake for about 5 minutes or until the graham crackers are golden. Remove from the oven and then fill them 3/4 full with the cake batter. Return to the oven and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

For the frosting, place the whites, sugar and tartar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and the eggs are warm to the touch. Transfer the bowl back to the machine and whisk, starting on low speed then eventually moving to high speed. Whisk until glossy peaks form, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add vanilla, mix until combined. Now frost your cupcakes! You can spoon the mixture on or use any tip you like. You can also either broil the cupcakes to toast the marshmallow or use a blow torch. (I broiled them, on high, as I watched carefully. I found I got a nice golden color that way.) Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Christopher!!!

So today is Chris' birthday! I was planning on making him a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, but alas, I sliced my palm with a knife making dinner last night so I'm sorta crippled right now. I can type (awkwardly) but holding a bowl and stirring is a tad difficult. My had is so wrapped up I feel like a boxer.

But in the meantime, I'm going to post some of the photos of the goodies I made for the Boca Community Hospital's bake sale for the March of Dimes.

Maple Mini Monkey Bread... yummy, but made a mess of my oven

Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Bread. I forgot to take a pic before I wrapped it up

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies.. .my favorite. They deserve their own post

My advisor, Dr L, had a big lab party last weekend and I made flan (no pictures) and s'more cupcakes.

Graham cracker and chocolate crust, chocolate cake, marshmallow frosting and a square of hershey chocolate 

Deserved the close-up

If anyone wants a recipe, let me know!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Previous Goods

Just to kick this whole blog thing off, I'm going to post some pics of some of my past adventures. I am half playing around with how to operate everything of here as well as trying to get a feel for how people like things. Feel free to leave comments and questions below!
This is a peach pie I made last spring

Chocolate Zucchini Bread... its healthy because its a veggie!

Salted Caramel Brownies... gooey

Pumpkin Roll was messy but so good

Dad's famous chocolate chip cookies

Red Velvet cupcakes for Karin's birthday

Shirley Temple cupcakes for Ariel's birthday

Pumpkin Pie... my favorite

Chocolate Gingerbread with peppermint frosting

Malted Milk Cookies

How do I rotate pics on this?

Monkey Bread

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Again, rotation? Tie-dye cupcakes that I made with the kids I babysit


Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my blog. I am calling it Psych - In the Kitchen because I am a grad student studying developmental psychology and I love to cook and bake. I'm mainly going to use this as a food blog to tell all my friends about the yummy things happening in my kitchen. I will try to post pictures and recipes so readers can make everything themselves.

Let me know what you think!