Monday, January 17, 2011

Oreo Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a fantastic treat, especially for Oreo-lovers. I prefer to store them in the refrigerator so the frosting is firm. Yum!

For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place half an Oreo in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes. Can decorate with cookie crumbs or half an Oreo.

A glimpse of the delicious inside and bottom of the cupcake. These are so good!!

Giant (or not) Double Chocolate Cookies

These cookies really hit the spot when it comes to a chocolate craving. The original recipe calls for these cookies to be portioned out to 1/4-pound pieces of cookie dough, resulting in 12 giant cookies. I thought such giant cookies would be too dangerous to have lying around so I made them smaller and got 2 dozen instead.

1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1¼ cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup dark cocoa powder
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended. Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead briefly by hand to be sure the ingredients are well combined.

Divide the dough into 4 ounce portions (or divide into 12 equal pieces). Roll each portion of dough into a ball and flatten just slightly into a disc. Place on the prepared baking sheets, a few inches apart. Bake 16-20 minutes (decrease baking time to 12-14 minutes for smaller cookies). Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe found on
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Sweet Corn Muffins

Let's just cut to the quick:
1) these are basically cupcakes masquerading as muffins and
2)they blow cornbread out of the water (in my humble opinion).

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease or paper-line 18 to 20 muffin cups.
COMBINE flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter in small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.
BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool slightly. Serve warm.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

PW's Potato Skins

Hmmm, let me think of a time that wouldn't be good to serve can't think of a time that these would not be well received and promptly devoured.

8 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 russett potatoes, scrubbed clean
canola oil
kosher salt
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
4 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rub the potatoes liberally with canola oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour; until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise. With a cookie scoop or spoon, scrape out the inner flesh of the potatoes, leaving a small margin of potato in the skins.
Brush both sides of the potato skins with canola oil. Salt both sides liberally.
Place the skins cut side down on the pan and return to the oven. Bake for 7 minutes and flip the skins to the other side. Bake for 7 minutes more, or until the skins are crispy.
Sprinkle potato skins with cheese and bacon and return to oven just to melt the cheese.
Just before serving, spoon 1 tablespoon of sour cream on each skin and sprinkle with sliced green onions.
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S'mores Bars

The many forms that S'mores can take on pleases me very much. These are a super fast, crowd-pleasing dessert.

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 whole graham crackers

Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Lightly butter the foil. Place the butter in a heatproof bowl and microwave until melted. Mix in the graham cracker crumbs and stir with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Pour the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the condensed milk and chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. (You can also do this in the microwave stirring after 15-second increments). Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour the chocolate mixture over the graham cracker base. Working quickly, spread the chocolate into an even layer and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the top of the chocolate. Gently press down so that the marshmallows become partly embedded in the chocolate. Break the whole graham crackers into small pieces and stick into the chocolate mixture between the marshmallows.

Cover and refrigerate the bars until firm, about 4 hours (can also put in freezer briefly to cool faster). Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Use a large sharp knife to cut into squares or rectangles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Williams Sonoma

Roasted Chicken Provencal

This was so delicious, I think I could commit to eating it once a week for life. That's saying something considering I have a hard time repeating recipes. Aside from the fact that this calls for chicken thighs rather than breasts it's really quite healthy. We did feel a couple changes were in order from the original recipe; namely, increase the amount or carrots and tomatoes. The tomatoes became so amazingly sweet I could eat a whole bowl of them on their own. I tend to always want for more veggies. The original recipe called for Nicoise (or Kalamata) olives which would have made me go over my weekly budget so I opted for capers, and they were perfect in this dish.

3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
6 plum (or Roma) tomatoes, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided (I used dried--just use a bit less)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 (6-ounce) skinless chicken thighs
24 ni├žoise or Kalamata olives or 2 tablespoons of capers

Rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°.

Place potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots on a rimmed cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Drizzle vegetable mixture with olive oil; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss gently, and spread into a single layer on pan. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from pan, and keep warm.

Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and olives/capers to pan. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

This recipe was adapted from Cooking Light.
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