The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014 – Chocolate and Peanut Butter Globs

It’s my second year as a participant in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!!  As with last year, it was so fun to receive cookies in the mail from other food bloggers!  It was really hard to decide what to make this year. Last year I made the Brown Sugar Cookies with Chocolate Pecans and Sea Salt which were really good.  After much deliberation I decided to make…

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Globs!

Chocolate Glob Main

Yes, Globs!   Funny thing is that they actually look like, well Globs of chocolate, but they taste really amazing.  Okay, so what exactly does ‘amazing’ mean in terms of globs.  They taste like a rich brownie like cookie, with just the right amount of chewy moistness that I like in a good brownie.  They are filled to the brim with whole walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.

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There is only a touch of flour holding these cookies together, just a touch!

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Usually I go for the pretty stuff when it comes to baking. I love to make beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes, fancy decorated sugar cookies, that’s generally my thing.  But this cookie, this glob changed my mind.  After I tested them for the first time to see if they were worthy to send to my fellow food bloggers, I knew that I had found the right one!  It may not be the prettiest, but it truly tastes beautiful!  I hope that the people I sent them to enjoyed the globs, I know that I really enjoyed eating making them!  My mom even loved these cookies and she’s not even a big chocolate lover (gasp)!

Chocolate Glob Collage 2

If you are a food blogger I hope you will consider participating next year.  Together we helped to raise a lot of money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. This is truly baking for a good cause!  Thanks to Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for organizing this effort!

A great benefit of this is receiving cookies for some talented food bloggers!  Check out the cookies I received cookies from Big Flavors Tiny Kitchen, Healthy Nibbles and Bits and Cheap Recipe Blog.

collage cookies received

 Happy Holidays… Enjoy the Globs! 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Globs*

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
2 oz. dark chocolate chips (60% + cacao)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnuts
1 cup whole pecan halves
⅔ cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Place the butter, 6 oz. of semi sweet chocolate chips and the 2 oz dark chocolate in a glass bowl. Place the bowl in microwave and heat in 30 second intervals until chocolate begins melting, then stir to continue the melting process.  Once fully melted, allow to cool in for 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisk to combine.

In another bowl, add the remaining 6 oz. chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, peanut butter chips and 1 tablespoon of flour mixture.  Stir to coat everything with the flour.

In the mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar until the mixture lightens in color and thickens a bit.

Reduce the speed and add the cooled chocolate, mix until combined, then add in the remaining flour mixture, fold until combined.  Finally, add in the nuts, chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Use a cookie scoop or two spoons, and drop rounded mounds of the cookie dough, about 1 inch apart on the parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for about 12-15 minutes depending on the size of your globs.

* Recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten

ENJOY!!

Playing with Fondant – A Monster High Cake

So, true confession – I have been avoiding fondant.  I mean, its not that I don’t appreciate all the creativity that fondant lends itself to, but I just have a thing for buttercream.  Its my first love, and I just wasn’t willing to cross that line over into the world of fondant… until this cake.  The person specifically requested a ‘fondant covered cake.’  Even though I mentioned ways to do a hybrid cake covered in buttercream with fondant accents, they wanted fondant, so I had to face the fondant – no more running!  I certainly didn’t think that my first foray into the world of fondant would be with a Monster High cake. I had vision of a pretty cake design with flowers maybe, but I ended up with skulls, stitches, and black hearts for my initial fondant endeavor.  Funny how things happen that way.  Perhaps its because of my indifference to fondant that I ended up doing such a ‘dark’ cake for my first fondant design. I figured that if I was going to play with fondant, that I would go all in!   So I said a quick prayer and decided to fully commit to making my first fondant cake as good as it could possibly be!

monster high cake 1

This cake was for a 7 year old’s birthday party.  The cake was a pink tinted vanilla cake, with a strawberry cream filling. The accompanying cupcakes were chocolate with a milk chocolate filling and vanilla with a strawberry cream filling.  I used the Liz Marek Marshmallow Fondant recipe because I’d read really good reviews on how easy it was to work with and I figured the marshmallows would help the taste.  Most fondant doesn’t taste very good, so this one actually tastes okay.  I did include a nice layer of good Italian Meringue Buttercream under the fondant, so for people that scrape off the fondant as most people do, they had a nice layer of buttercream for their cake!  I also ordered some Monster High accessories to help with bringing the theme to life. I definitely wasn’t at the level of creating fondant figurines for the cake, so thanks to Joann.com, I was able to get some help!

Monster High 2

I’m very happy to say that the cake was well received by all, so mission accomplished!

Would I do another fondant cake?  Well, if someone specifically requests fondant, then yes… but will I volunteer fondant as an option, probably not.  I’m still very much a buttercream girl, however I’m now at least open to playing with fondant from time to time.   Monster High Cake

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Big Fluffy Fall Buttercream Flowers

I love the fall and I love these big fluffy buttercream flowers… after lots of practicing to try to perfect this technique for making these flowers, I think that I’ve (almost) got it!

I recently made this cake for a wedding shower, the theme was fall so they gave me free reign to do what I wanted design wise on this amaretto raspberry cake, which is a really good flavor combination by the way!

Not a lot to say today, other than that I can’t wait to make another cake covered with lots of pretty fluffy buttercream Flowers.  Enjoy!

Fluffy Fall Flowers 4

Fluffy Fall Flowers

 

Fluffy Fall Flower 3

Fluffy Fall Flowers 2

Sunshine and Raspberries

It was such a beautiful sun shining day today!  I haven’t posted on my little blog is what feels like forever, so I thought I’d do a quick post and share this lovely cake with you!  This cake makes me think of sunshine with its ombré yellow frosting, zingy lemon throughout and a pop of red with the raspberry topping!  I made this cake earlier in the summer, but never had an opportunity to share it here.  It’s a rich butter cake infused with lemon zest and rich vanilla, filled with a raspberry buttercream and frosted with a lemon buttercream.  Maybe you will head in the kitchen and whip up a cake that makes you think of sunshine too!

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(I love the inside cake shots!)

This cake was soooo good!  If you would like to recreate this cake, I used a couple of my old faithful recipes. The cake recipe can be found here, my Meme’s rich pound cake.  The buttercream filling is an italian meringue buttercream with fresh raspberry purée, this recipe can be found here and the frosting is a whipped buttercream with lemon juice, cream and a litte vanilla, this recipe cane be found here.

Enjoy!

Red Wine, Chocolate and Coconut

When its your birthday, you can have whatever cupcake combinations that you want…

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First up, the Nutty Coconut Cupcake!  Have you tried the ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins?  Its my favorite, so I thought it would make a great cupcake flavor… and it truly did!!  Its a rich coconut, vanilla bean cupcake, filled with coconut filling, topped with vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream and topped with toasted pecans, almonds and coconut!  image

I know that there are some folks out there that are not fans of coconut and I can completely understand.  I actually don’t care for the taste of raw coconut.  For me, it has to be toasted or added to something (like this wonderful filling!) in order to be ‘acceptable’ coconut for me!  I would dare say that this Nutty Coconut Cupcake might be able to make a believer out of the staunchest non coconut eaters out there!

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Then there is the Chocolate Blackberry Red Wine cupcake!

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A deep chocolate cupcake, filled with a red wine infused chocolate ganache, topped with a blackberry puree Italian Meringue Buttercream, drizzled with a red wine syrup (I used a sweet Shiraz by Jam Jar) and topped with a wine soaked blackberry.  Pure decadence, really… If I do say so myself!

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Let me say a word about the wine syrup… it was SO good!  I’d never made wine syrup before, but thought that these cupcakes needed a little more wine flavor infused to be truly called red wine cupcakes!  This definitely did the trick.  It does take a while to make, so a little patience is required for it to reduce enough, but the end result is well worth the wait.  image

I received good reviews from the birthday girl, she said that everyone enjoyed them!  I also completed a good bit of taste testing on these myself and can attest to the fact that they are were quite good!

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Anyone in the mood for some some red wine, chocolate and coconut?  :)