Monday, September 27, 2010

Brownie Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Cheesecake: Good.
Cupcakes: Great.
Chocolate: Delicious.
Brownies: Divine.
Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake Cupcakes: Amazing!

These were fast, delicious, and look gourmet. You really can't go wrong!

Brownie Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes
Adapted from Pillsbury

1 box fudge brownie mix (19.5 oz)
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
4 eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 container (6 oz.) vanilla yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
hot fudge, whipped cream, and raspberries if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Prepare brownie mix using 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup water, and 2 eggs. Divide evenly among cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed. Add yogurt and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate and beat until completely blended and no white streaks remain.
4. Divide cheesecake mixture evenly over the warm brownies. Return to oven and bake 15 - 20 minutes or until set. Cool completely, then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Top with hot fudge, raspberries, and fresh whipped cream if desired.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Perfect White Frosting

Corey doesn't like frosting. And by "doesn't like" I mean "scrapes it off of everything that I put it on." So when I say that Corey loves this frosting, that means it's really, really good. It's light and creamy, and not too sweet, almost like whipped cream. It is the perfect accompaniment to white, chocolate or lemon cake (and probably many others) and I must admit that I have been known to eat the leftovers straight out of the bowl with a spoon.

This is probably the strangest frosting recipe that I've ever tried (flour in frosting? What?) but the results are phenomenal. I'll say right now that the frosting can be very fickle, so don't try varying from the recipe at all. The only luck I've had in changing the recipe is changing the flavoring (substituting almond extract for half of the vanilla, or stirring in crushed oreos once the frosting is complete). If you want a chocolate frosting that is similar, see the recipe here. Enjoy!

Perfect White Frosting
recipe by
Enough to frost 12 - 24 cupcakes, depending on how much frosting you like. I like a lot of frosting (especially when it's nice and fluffy like this) so I usually get about 16 - 18 cupcakes frosted with this recipe. 

3 T Flour
1/2 C milk, preferably whole milk
1/2 C real butter (NO SUBSTITUTES!) 
1/2 C granulated sugar (NOT powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Cook, stirring continually, until mixture is thickened (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when stirring. It is better to make it too thick than too thin, so if you're doubting that it's done, keep cooking for a couple more minutes. I think I cook mine for about 5-7 minutes). Stir in vanilla. If there are any lumps, push the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lumps. Cool completely to room temperature (I put mine in the fridge and cool until it is completely cold). This part is critical, if it doesn't cool completely it will melt the butter and you'll be stuck with a goopy blob of runny frosting.

It an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Turn to medium-low speed and slowly add the completely chilled flour/milk mixture. Beat on high until mixture is light and fluffy and well combined, about 7 minutes. (When you first start beating it, the mixture will not look like it's going to combine. Just keep beating for the full 7+ minutes and the result should be a nice, fluffy frosting).

This frosting is best if served immediately. It separates if it stands more than a day (and if it is refrigerated) so plan accordingly.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

These muffins are absolutely amazing. Want to know how amazing? Last night, I skipped dessert and had another one of these instead. Yeah. If that's not a shining review, I don't know what is (especially since dessert was this delicious cake, it's one of my favorites).
Now normally I'm not too big on banana bread, and mashing up the bananas literally makes me gag (I have weird issues with over-ripe bananas). But I will mash bananas any day for these delicious muffins. As an added bonus, they are healthier than normal (with whole wheat, honey, and light sour cream). I made half of these with cinnamon chips (like chocolate chips, but cinnamon flavored, Hershey's makes a good one) and half with a streusel topping...and both were great, but to be totally honest I think I liked the ones with the cinnamon chips better (which is great because that cuts even more fat and calories). I had all sorts of intentions of freezing part of these to pull out for quick breakfasts later in the week, but I doubt they'll last until the end of the day.
Whole Wheat Banana MuffinsRecipe adapted from Cooking Light via Our Best Bites

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed very ripe banana (I used 5 small bananas)
1/3 c. low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Streusel Topping (optional):
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
6 Tb. packed brown sugar
3 Tb. whole wheat flour
2 Tb. cold butter

OR 1 cup cinnamon chips (instead of streusel)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with 18-20 paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, honey, and butter. Add each egg in one at a time, mixing until fluffy and well blended. Add the mashed banana, sour cream, and vanilla. Slowly add in remaining muffin ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly (so the cups are about 2/3 full) among 18-20 muffin tins. Combine the streusel ingredients and sprinkle them on top of the batter, or sprinkle with cinnamon chips if desired. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Did you know that zucchini could look like this?

I know, right? Pretty freaking amazing. In case you can't tell from all of the zucchini recipes I've been posting, we have had a killer crop of zucchini from our garden this year. Corey remembered his mom making a delicious chocolate zucchini cake, so we got a recipe from her. I made several adaptations to it, and ended up serving it with whipped cream and fresh raspberries (because I'm convinced that everything is better with whipped cream and raspberries). It was delicious, and you would never guess it had zucchini in it. The result is simply a super-moist and chocolatey bundt cake.

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tb. whipping cream
Fresh whipped cream and raspberries, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar. Add applesauce. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and zucchini. Add flour, cocoa, powder, soda, salt, and milk and beat until smooth. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.
3. Pour into baking pan and bake for 45 - 55 minutes or until top is dry and toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool.
4. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 3 Tb. whipping cream in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted and drizzle over cake. Serve warm with whipped cream and raspberries if desired.
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