Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes!

Last week I was having mad cravings for all things chocolate peanut butter.   Then I had a genius idea.  Take my chocolate cupcake recipe, add peanut butter icing and to make them extra special, pop a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the bottom of a few of them.  Oh yes! Yes, I did! They came out better than I would have imagined.  I mean, just look at that deliciousness!!





This is what dreams are made of!




For the cupcakes you will need:

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 175g softened butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 165g caster sugar (extra superfine sugar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 125g self raising flour (not all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, on the stir setting of your mixer.  Scraping the bowl in between each egg to be sure all is incorporated well. Sift together cocoa powder, flour and baking powder.  Add your dry ingredients to your wet mixture gradually (also on stir setting if using a KitchenAid). Add vanilla and milk and mix on a medium-high until well combined.


Reynolds Brand Foil Baking Cups



Line a 12 count cupcake pan with your cupcake liners of choice. I used Reynolds brand silver foil baking cups.  If you use these liners make sure that you put in the white liner as well.  So, foil then paper (it comes with both).  Not sure why these ones aren't attached but whatev...bygones. If you are going to be using Reese's Cups as well then you will need to put a little bit of cupcake mixture to cover the bottom of the liner first. Then, you will need to place your Reese's Cup in the liner UPSIDE DOWN.  If you don't put it upside down then the batter will not be able to fill in around the pb cup. I bought a pack of 8 Reese's Cups so I did 8 with them and 4 without.  It was basically a game of chance to see if you get one with a pb cup or without. :)

Little bit of batter then your upside down pb cup.



Fill your cupcake liners with the remaining batter.  I had exactly enough to fill all 12 just nearly to the top.


Cupcakes are done baking!!



Bake your creations at 325F for about 20 minutes.  Check the largest cupcake with a toothpick to make sure they are done.

Cool cupcakes completely before icing.


OH MY GOSH! Look at the peanut butter deliciousness!!



For the icing you will need:

Peanut Butter Icing
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter (I used JIF)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) softened butter (I use unsalted Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 c to 1/2 c of heavy cream (I ended up using about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar (more or less depending on desired thickness)

Kerrygold Irish Butter makes all the difference!



In your mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Add the powered sugar and salt and mix on high speed until smooth. Stream in your heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.  Because I was piping my icing I needed it a bit more smooth so I ended up using the whole 1/2 cup of cream.


All iced but they needed a little something else...CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE!!



Pipe your icing using a piping bag and tip.  I used tip #2D.  I also went outside to inside when piping because I wanted the center to be quite tall. 


GET IN MY BELLY!!



I then melted 4 squares of a 3.5 oz Lindt 70% Cacao chocolate bar in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power.  Stirring between each 30 seconds until smooth and completely melted.  I then drizzled this, using a spoon overtop the icing. OH YAH!

I'll leave you with the below pictures of me cutting into them with my fork.  Don't worry, I shared!

Thanks for visiting! Follow and leave comments!!
Until next week...
-Heather

Took me 3 cupcakes to fine one with a Reese's Cup...only made 4 without LOL
YES!! Look how moist!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Chocolate Espresso Brownies!!

Coffee.  Chocolate. Brownies.  Do I really need to say more?



So, if you are not aware, coffee/espresso type flavors help bring out the flavor in chocolate....it makes it more chocolaty....yup....chocolaty.   One day I was at home and wanted to make some brownies.  Most of the time they are made from a box...am I right? Well, I didn't have any box brownies.  Frankly, they don't taste that good either.  So I got to thinking, it cant be that hard to make brownies from scratch.  Right? I knew I had most of the ingredients necessary for your average brownie.  When looking through the pantry I also remembered that I had some coffee powder/espresso powder left over from making some mocha macaroons.  Then it hit me! Add the coffee INTO the brownies!!! Lets not stop there! Lets also add chocolate chips on the inside so they melt and get gooey when heated!! Yaaaasssss!!  I also had some mini chocolate chips laying around so I threw those on the top with some additional coffee powder/espresso powder for that extra ZING and well, to make it look MORE DELICIOUS!


Finished brownies are delicious brownies!



Thus, the below recipe was born.  I have made it quite a few times and I can tell you that they are amazing.  They also need to be served warm so all the chocolate inside re-melts into gooey loveliness.  Also, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  If you are not eating them straight out of the oven then you can just pop one brownie in a bowl and whack it in the microwave for 20 seconds.  This is the perfect about of time to make it not too hot, not too cold and to start melting your ice cream one you place a generous portion on the top of it and walk it to your couch where your latest Netflix binge is awaiting you.  Yummmmmmmmmm

Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon espresso or coffee powder (instant) + some for topping
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (plain flour)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons of milk



Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9"x13" glass baking dish.
  • In a small non-stick saucepan on low heat, melt butter completely. Then, add in sugar and cook 1-2 minutes. DO NOT BOIL! Stir constantly.
  • Remove pan from heat and add the espresso or instant coffee powder and the chocolate chips.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mix the eggs and salt together.
  • Once your chocolate and sugar mixture is cool enough that you can touch the sides of the pan with your hand then you can SLOWLY add the chocolate and sugar mixture into the egg mixture. I would do a spoonful at a time to temper your chocolate (bring up the temperature of the eggs to the chocolate). Make sure your mixture is cool enough or you will have scrambled eggs!!  Mix until egg is combined.
  • Lastly, add cocoa powder, baking powder, flour and vanilla and mix until just combined. 
  • Add milk and give one last mix. If your mixture is too thick you can add a little more milk. 
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  • Sprinkle (a light dusting all over) some of the coffee powder (I use my fingers) on top of your brownies.  I also add some mini chocolate chips on the top of mine but this is optional.
  • Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes.  After 20 minutes you will want to check and see if the middle is done.  Stick a toothpick in pull it out and touch the mixture on the toothpick.  If it still seems raw put it back in for up to 10 more minutes.  The edges will come away from the pan but the middle should still be a little gooey but not raw. 
  • Serve WARM with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for optimal deliciousness.

I must always have the middle brownie!! MUST!


Thanks for visiting!
-Heather


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Give me all the gooey melted cheese!!!

You know you want to make this!

Who doesn't love dips?! If you don't, then you might need to go to the doctor to make sure your taste buds are working properly!


For New Year celebrations (eve & day) we always make loads of dips to get us through the night until midnight and then for leftovers the next day.  This year I wanted to try a new Spinach Artichoke recipe because I wasn't 100% happy with the one I had previously.  So, I went trolling online to try to find a recipe that I liked the looks of, and that I could change up a bit to suit what I wanted in my dip.  The original recipe that I worked from was for a crockpot version.  I had planned to make mine in the crockpot but got a bit late getting started on it and didn't have the 2 1/2 hours available for crockpot cooking so I went ahead and just whacked it into the oven.  It only took about 30 minutes in the oven and a few extra minutes under the broiler to make the top cheese brown and extra delicious looking. 


Also, this recipe makes A LOT of dip.  I made this in a 9x13 pan and we all ate on it for a few days. Let me know how you like it and/or any questions you have in the comments! Also, let me know what your favorite dip is!!


Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 (12 oz) jars of Reese Quartered & Marinated Artichoke Hearts (drained, rinsed a little and chopped)
  • 1 (10-16 oz) package of frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry if you got the little box type)
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 3/4 cup shaved or grated parmesan cheese (I used DiGornio)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellmans with Olive Oil)
  • 8oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella divded (1 cup for inside dip and 1 cup for top)
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing (liquid not powdered, I used Ken's)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon onion powder (or 1 sm fresh onion chopped)
  • Hefty sprinkling of parsley flakes & black pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

These are the artichokes I used.

Drain, rinse slightly and chop your artichoke hearts.  Thaw your spinach and squeeze dry.  I used Picsweet brand 16oz bag from Walmart.  This isn't as wet and the boxes of frozen spinach so I didn't need to squeeze mine.
My mixture in my too small of bowl (prior to spinach).

Mix all ingredients except 1 cup of mozzarella and the olive oil in a bowl until well combined.  Spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray.  Dump your ingredient mixture into your baking dish.  I didn't get a big enough bowl out to fit my spinach in so I had to do a layering technique into the pan and then mix it in the pan (see below).  I suggest just using a big enough bowl to begin with! Ha!

Yah, so because of my "bowl issue" I layered it into my pan.


After I mixed it all up in the pan.

Top with your reserved 1 cup mozzarella cheese and drizzle the olive oil on the top of that (to help with moisture and browning in the oven).  

Yessssss!! All the cheese!

Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.  Mine didn't get brown enough on top so I turned the broiler on high for a few minutes to finish browning. DONT BURN IT! Keep your eye on it and crack the oven door if you do this.  Its very easy to ruin your yummy dip by burning the top of it.

Oh my word! Can you even deal with that melted brown cheese goodness?! Get in my belly!!

Serve with tortilla chips or fritos.  I mean, you can also use veggies to dip it if you are feeling EXTRA healthy.  I was NOT feeling extra healthy.  I also didn't salt the mixture because I knew it was being served with salty chips.  If you salt it, it will be too salty.  If you are going to use veggies for dipping you might want to add a little salt to the mix.
 
For the original crockpot recipe see http://damndelicious.net

 
Thanks for reading!
-Heather