Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Cake Bites

New neighbors moved in next door. To make them feel welcomed, I made some cake bites for them.

Chocolate Cake Balls

Nothing new here, except my local Michael's has started carrying Colorburst melting chocolate. See below:

When I saw it, I knew I had to buy it. I think it would be especially fun with some "funfetti" cake bites. Because of my failure at taking a decent picture of the cake bites, it is impossible to see, but the white bites are flaked with red, green, and blue spots.

-1 recipe Martha Stewart's Chocolate Cake (see below)
-1 can milk chocolate frosting
-Melting candies/chocolate in desired colors

1. Crumble prepared cake into crumbs. Mix in frosting until well combined.
2. Roll cake mixture into small balls. Dip in melted chocolate and cool on wax paper. Drizzle with additional chocolate if desired.

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Cake

This recipe came from the May 2009 issue of Everyday Food from Martha Stewart. It is the chocolate variation of the Versatile Vanilla Cake. I think it is my favorite chocolate cake so far...it is incredibly silky and moist, and I was quite pleased with it.

-1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
-2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups plus 4 Tablespoons cake flour)
-1/2 cup cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 larg eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 cup low-fat buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two eight inch cake pans and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
4. Alternately beat flour mixture and buttermilk into butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
5. Divide batter between pans and smooth tops. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until pick inserted in the cake's center comes out clean.
6. Cool cakes in pans for ten minutes, then invert to wire racks until cooled completely.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cinnamon Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My goodness, what a name. And the name Martha gave it wasn't any shorter...geez.

Cinnamon Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These were originally called Chunky Peanut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Cookies. See? Still long. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook. Overall, it was a good cookie, but I found that if I chilled the cookies and rolled them as small as she said to, they came out TINY. They hardly spread at all, and I do not want cookies that small. Still, they tasted good. After the first two batches I got the size thing down.

And then...after looking at the recipe, I don't know what I was thinking, but I know why they did not turn out like she said they would. There is no baking powder in her recipe, and there is light brown sugar. I put baking powder in and forgot the brown sugar. So, I guess that's why they aren't at all like the picture. My goodness, I am embarrassed. But not really, because they still taste fine.

I guess I will post MY recipe, as opposed to the one it was supposed to be.

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-2 eggs
-1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
-2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Combine butter and peanut buter. Add sugar and mix until combined.
4. Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
5. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until combined.
6. Fold in chocolate chunks. Refrigerate dough for 5 to 10 minutes.
7. Roll dough into 2-inch balls and flatten to about 1/2 inch thickness on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden in color. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Five Pepper and Garlic Chicken

Hy-Vee is a beautiful place. It has so many amazing oils and seasonings that I cannot leave the store without purchasing. I also purchased some pasta this week that I plan on using in future recipes.

Five Pepper and Garlic Chicken

This recipe has two major ingredients. This, Loriva's 5-Pepper Oil:

And this, Loriva's Garlic Oil:

I found both of them at Hy-Vee, and they are fantastic. This chicken was very good. I also roasted some potatoes that were tossed in the garlic oil.

-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
-1 cup oil
-1 teaspoon oregan
-1/2 teaspoon sage
-1 Tablespoon paprika
-1 Tablespoon bacon salt
-2 teaspoons soul food seasoning
-1/2 Tablespoon garlic salt
-1 teaspoon 5-Pepper Oil
-1/2 teaspoon garlic oil

1. Combine first 9 ingredients and keep refrigerated for 1-24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Place chicken in 9 by 13 inch baking pan lined with foil. Drizzle with garlic oil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until centers read 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Graduation Cupcakes

Walter's cousin is graduating from high school on Sunday. Naturally, I had to bake for the party after. So, I made some chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and peanut butter cup graduation caps.

Chocolate Cupcakes

I got this recipe here from Ina Garten at The Food Network. I ended up with 18 cupcakes instead of the 14-15 she said I'd get, but I am not too concerned by it. These cupcakes were pretty delicious. Moist and chocolatey. Walter said you could taste the coffee and wasn't thoroughly impressed with that, but I couldn't taste it at all. Although afterwards, he said that perhaps he was just tasting the peanut butter icing, so I am not sure. Regardless, I rather enjoyed them.

-3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
-2/3 cup granulated sugar
-2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
-2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I used 2 large eggs)
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
-1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
-2 tablespoons brewed coffee
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 cup good cocoa powder
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used table salt)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
2. Cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add the vanilla and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
5. Add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the butter mixture, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture and mixing well after each addition. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
6. Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

This also came from Ina Garten (same link as above). I was worried it would be too sweet, but it was very good and complimented the cupcakes well.

-1 cup powdered sugar
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
-3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used table salt)
-1/3 cup heavy cream

1. Combine first five ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix until smooth. Add cream and mix on high speed until combined and smooth. Spread over cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Cup Graduation Caps

This idea originally came from Bakerella, but I found it here at A Year in the Kitchen. I thought it was an adorable idea, so I had to do it!

-Reese's mini Peanut Butter Cups (the same number as you have cupcakes)
-An equal amount of chocolate squares (I used Hershey's Cacao Reserve milk chocolate squares)
-Fruit-by-the-Foot candies (Bakerella used Airheads Sours. I was going to use those, but I ate them all before I got to it and then couldn't find more. Ashlee used Twizzlers Pull N Peels. Basically, anything you think will work is great. Be creative!)
-Colored icing (I used Wilton's Icing Writers in blue for this. Ashlee used
-Peanut butter

1. Unwrap peanut butter cups and chocolate squares. Place a small dab of peanut butter on the underside of the chocolate square and attach it to the small end of the peanut butter cup (so that the cup is resting upside-down).
2. Cut a small strip from the Fruit-by-the-Foot and attach it to the top of the cap with some of the colored icing. Place a small dab of the icing in the center of the square to make it look like a cap top.
3. Place graduation craps on cupcakes and serve.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rocky Road Brownies

I do not like baked goods, and I only like chocolate sometimes. However, I LOVE brownies. I always have, and I do not know what makes them different from everything else, but they are fantastic.

Rocky Road Brownies

These are so ooey gooey fantastic that I wanted to eat them all. Luckily for Walter's co-workers, my lactose intolerance and allergy to walnuts prevented me from doing so.

These are a messy, messy treat. But so good. I made the recipe six times. Each recipe yields about 16 brownies (but I admit that I cut some of them bigger than directed). I got the recipe from Christmas Cookies, a cookbook my mother gave me that is brought to us by Duncan Hines, Quaker, Borden, and Hershey's companies, among others.

You could also substitute graham cracker crumbs for the walnuts and make s'mores brownies.

-1/2 cup butter
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 cup flour
-1/4 cup buttermilk
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 cup miniature marshmallows
-1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks, and I added another 1/2 cup to the batter)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and set aside (I lined the pan with aluminum foil and greased the foil so it would be easier to remove the brownies).
2. Combine butter and cocoa powder in medium-sized saucepan over medium low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in sugar, egg, flour, buttermilk, and vanilla (And, if using, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks). Mix until smooth.
4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean.
5. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle top of brownies with walnuts, chocolate chunks, and marshmallows. Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, just until marshmallows are puffed and topping has combined. Cool in pan. Cut into squares when cool.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meatball Soup (and gamer cookies)

I am a bit of a worrier. I am only 20, and Walter is only 23, but I worry constantly about heart attacks, diabetes, and high cholesterol. But I don't worry enough to eat food I don't like.

Meatball Soup

This recipe came from Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious. I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding this book right now (something about a lawsuit from the author of The Sneaky Chef, things I don't keep up with), but my sister got it for me for Christmas last year, and I have never read the book she supposedly plagiarized. And so, here we are. I was very tentative about this recipe, due to the vegetable purees, but it turned out pretty good. However, even with my additions, it was a bit bland. I will probably add a few more spices next time.

In addition to my spice changes, I didn't use the homemade purees that Mrs. Seinfeld suggests. Instead, I bought some baby food. I am lazy and cheap, and it worked just as well. :) I also used more meat and more pasta to make it less of a soup and more of a stew, as Walter is not a fan of incredibly thin soups.

-3 ounces whole-wheat pasta shapes (I used 12 ounces veggie pasta--semolina pasta shapes with carrot, spinach, and beet powders)
-1 Tablespoon olive oil (We were out of olive oil, so I used vegetable oil)
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice (I used 1 29-ounce can of tomato puree, since the tomatoes were pureed in the recipe anyway)
-1/4 cup carrot puree (I used 1 4-ounce jar of carrot baby food. It was a bit more than 1/4 cup but did not affect the recipe)
-3 cups beef or chicken broth (I used 3 cups beef broth made from beef bouillon cubes flavored with garlic and onions)
-3 slices bread, cubed
-1 large egg, lightly beaten
-1/4 cup sweet potato puree (I used 1 4-ounce jar of sweet potato baby food. It was a bit more than 1/4 cup but did not affect the recipe)
-1/4 cup milk
-2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (I ommitted)
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon paprika
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 pound lean ground turkey (I used 1 pound extra lean ground beef)
I also added 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, a dash cayenne pepper, and 2 Tablespoons garlic salt.


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Coat a large pot with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, and onions and cook, stirring often, until onion is softened.
3. Puree the tomatoes (if using whole) and add carrot puree. Add to the onions and garlic along with the beef broth and 1 Tablespoon garlic salt (if using). Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Combine cubed bread, egg, sweet potato puree, milk, 1 teaspoon salt, remaining garlic salt, and Parmesan (if using) in large bowl. Let soak until bread is very soft, and then stir to break bread into crumbs.
5. Add ground beef to bread mixture and mix until smooth. Roll into meatballs, 1/2-inch in diameter, and add meatballs to the simmering pot.
6. Simmer meatballs and sauce, covered, until meatballs are no longer pink in the center, 12 to 15 minutes. Add pasta and serve.

Gamer Cookies

We had a LAN party this weekend, and I made sugar cookies. I didn't use a new recipe, as Walter requested the cookie and icing recipes from thisentry, but I thought I'd show the final results. I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter for the headshot cookies, and an octopus cookie cutter for the Cthulhu cookies. They were a big hit with the guys. :)