Friday, May 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Stout Brownies

I bought chocolate stout to use in another cupcake recipe, but I wanted to use it in a second recipe as well since I knew I wouldn't be drinking it by itself. I found this brownie recipe a while ago, and they came out even better than I thought they would!

The flavor of the stout is lost in all the chocolate and peanut butter flavors, but I think it helped give the brownies a perfect fudgy consistency. I absolutely love nuts in my brownies, so I added in some pecans and used extra crunchy peanut butter. You can tweak the recipe if nuts aren't your thing. Stay tuned for a cupcake recipe using more of the chocolate stout!

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate
7 tbsp butter
3.4 oz chocolate stout
2 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup extra crunchy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 320°F. Line an 8"x8" baking dish with foil and grease the foil.

Melt the semisweet chocolate and butter in a bowl using the microwave by heating the ingredients in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, and sugar together. Add the cooled melted chocolate-butter mixture, eggs, and chocolate stout. Stir just until combined. Add the chopped pecans and stir gently until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Place the peanut butter in a cup or small bowl and microwave for 15 seconds to make it easier to spread. Dollop the peanut butter on top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to marble the peanut butter into the brownie batter. Bake for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pistachio Cupcakes

Ah, the infamous green cupcakes. Let's just say that having a lot to drink and then eating a green colored food item is not the best idea in the world. One of my friends made this mistake, and the "green cupcake" story has lived on ever since. However, these cupcakes are perfectly fine to consume when sober, or maybe even a bit tipsy.

I'm not sure if the infamous cupcakes were pistachio flavored, but there are few flavorings to use in green cupcakes that sound remotely appealing to me. So, I decided to go with the delicate flavor of pistachio. Since I added chocolate chips to the cupcake batter, the chocolate flavor almost completely overwhelms the pistachio flavor. However, you can really taste the pistachio flavor in the whipped cream frosting, which is super light and not too sweet. Go ahead and omit the chocolate chips if you want a cupcake with a very prominent pistachio flavor.

1 box white cake mix
3.5 oz instant pistachio pudding
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup club soda
4-6 drops green food coloring
2 cups chocolate chips

Pistachio whipped cream frosting:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp powdered sugar
3.5 oz instant pistachio pudding
4-6 drops green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Beat together all the ingredients for the cupcake batter, except for the chocolate chips, in a mixing bowl on medium-high speed for about two minutes.

Fill the cupcake liners with batter about 2/3 of the way full. (This gave me 36 cupcakes.) Bake for 18 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

To make the frosting, whip the milk, whipping cream, and powdered sugar together until soft peaks form. Add the package of instant pistachio pudding and food coloring into the frosting and whip until stiff peaks form. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hawaiian Carrot Cake

There are very few cakes I am truly a fan of, and I have to say that carrot cake has always had a special place in my heart. Most cakes are way too sweet and dry and are topped with an even sweeter frosting. Actually feeling your teeth rot as you eat something is not something I have found I enjoy.

Carrot cakes are almost always moist due to the fruits and vegetables incorporated into the batter, and the signature cream cheese frosting is rarely ever too sweet due to the sour taste of the cream cheese cutting the sweetness of the sugar. Cake perfection! This recipe is especially perfect since it includes pineapple and coconut to give it a more Hawaiian island feel. In fact, this cake would be a fantastic dessert to serve at a summer pool party.

1 cup chopped canned pineapple
4 cups grated carrot
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Coconut cream cheese frosting:
2 pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.

Place grated carrots and chopped pineapple into a food processor and blend until just slightly chunky. Pour the blended mixture onto paper towels to soak up the extra moisture. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy (about 3 minutes). Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beating on low speed, add 1 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and beat just until combined. Mix in the milk. Mix in the last 1 1/2 cups of flour just until combined. Mix in blended pineapple and carrots.

Divide the batter between the two pans. Spread to pan sides. To remove air pockets, bang pans on counter 5 to 6 times. Bake until the centers seem set when lightly tapped, after 40 to 45 minutes. Place on a baking rack to cool.

After about 15 minutes, turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on racks. It’s best to bake cakes a day ahead of icing and leave at room temperature overnight.

For the frosting, place cream cheese, butter, sour cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Add in the shredded coconut and beat until mixed in.

Shave off the top of one of the cake layers to make it as flat as possible. Scoop about a third of the frosting onto the newly cut cake and spread it evenly to the edges. Place the next cake layer on top of the frosting. Use the rest of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate and serve.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Raspberry Brownies

I had such high hopes for this second recipe. In my long list of to-bake recipes, I have many brownie recipes, and I was very anxious to try this one. Now, this recipe does not originally call for raspberries, but I decided to add them in since the combination of raspberry and chocolate has always been one of my favorites. Unfortunately, this was not a good decision...

It turns out that the high heat of the oven caused the water in the raspberries to seep out into the brownie batter, making it almost impossible to cook the middle completely without burning the edges. After cooking the brownies 10 minutes longer than suggested, I decided to take them out, put them in the refrigerator, and hope they would eventually set.

The gooeyness did get thicker, but the brownies turned out more like lava cakes than brownies. The flavor is absolutely fantastic and super sweet, so I would suggest making these brownies and then adding some fresh raspberries or raspberry sauce on top to get the same flavor combination without the extreme gooeyness.

3/4 cup butter
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
5 large eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups nuts, optional for topping
2 pints fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil.

Place the chocolate and butter in a microwaveable bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each session until the mixture is combined and smooth. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat the mixture on high speed until it thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface (4 to 5 minutes).

Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs does not deflate.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. If you are using nuts, sprinkle them across the batter. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

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