Friday, December 6, 2013

Guinness Devil's Food Cupcakes with Spiced Coconut Pecan Frosting

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the oven is so delightful!
Seriously. I bake to stay warm...and to consume delicious creations.

This recipe was inspired by a recent Buzzfeed thread about what to cook in December. I'm basically drooling over the entire post, and my husband and I are actually cooking a few of the other dishes on the list tonight.

Some people might think beer in cupcakes is odd, but I assure you it works. Guinness actually enhances the chocolate flavor and provides a rich depth to these cupcakes. Plus adding a little nutmeg and cinnamon to my coconut pecan frosting unleashed a whole new level of warm Christmasy spice awesomeness. Basically, these cupcakes rule.

Yes, yes, I cheated with a boxed cake mix. But man, Betty Crocker does it RIGHT.

Guinness Devil's Food Cupcakes Recipe:
  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
  • 1 12 fl oz. bottle of Guinness (I used a new extra stout)
  • 1 egg
Spiced Coconut Pecan Frosting Recipe:
  • Roughly 1/2 cup fine chopped pecans
  • Roughly 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes
  • Roughly 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, beer and other ingredients on box except for water (beer replaces water. Ah, what a great idea!) I only had one egg and I think the box called for three, but these turned out great. Spoon into your greased cupcake tin or greased paper liners. NEVER forget to grease paper liners because nothing is more disappointing than trying to eat a cupcake with paper stuck to it. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, gently toast pecans and coconut just until they start to brown. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir, stir, stir! You do not want this to stick or burn. Add the cornstarch mixed with water and continue to stir until it comes to a boil and really starts to thicken. Took about 5-10 minutes (yep, a labor of stirring love). Remove from heat and add vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Combine and then allow to cook completely and place in fridge. 

When your cupcakes and frosting are cool, assemble and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies


You thought I had vanished forever, didn't you? Well prepare to be dazzled with delightful culinary creations in the coming months. Last year was pretty crazy with the wedding so I fell off the blogging bandwagon. It happens to the best of us. We get really excited to start blogging, and then we get tired and busy and next thing you know, it's been a year since you've written anything for pleasure.

The beautiful thing about blogging is that you can always pick it back up! So my goal for 2014 is to blog more. And thus, cook more! Though let it be known that I never stopped cooking. Just unfortunately for you, I did not share my recipes :)

So here we go. What better way to kick off the season than with magical cookies of warmth and love? Few things are more comforting than cookies, chocolate, peanut butter or oatmeal so put 'em all together and you have something pretty special. I love baking peanut butter cookies because they are so darn easy. Seriously, these come together in a flash!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies Recipe:
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup (or more) semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine your oats and baking soda. In a larger bowl, add the peanut butter, egg, sugar and vanilla. Here's a tip that I wish I would have used: non-stick spray or oil your 1/2 measuring cup before adding the peanut butter so you can easily scoop it out. It prevents a lot of sticky fingers. Mix all that together really well until smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into about 2 inch balls and place on a baking sheet (I got 12 cookies out of this recipe). Gently flatten the tops and cook for about 10 minutes or until just starting to brown. You want 'em nice and gooey. Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Meatball Curry

I finally created a successful curry sauce that did not involve garam masala. Huzzah! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love garam masala-based curries, but every time I try to make a different one, it ends up tasting too coriander-y or cumin-y. This one was great. I think it was the addition of eggplant that really did the trick; it totally tasted like an authentic Baingan Bharta...with meatballs of course. 

Meatball Curry Recipe:
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced cilantro
  • 1 minced Serrano or Thai chili
  • pinch of salt

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 Serrano or Thai chiles, diced
  • About 5 Crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 Japanese purple eggplant, chopped
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt thinned with about 2 tbsp water
In a bowl, combine the first set of ingredients. Pinch off about a tablespoon size and roll into balls. I got about 12 meatballs from 1/2 pound of beef. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until evenly browned. Remove, place on a plate and cover with paper towel. Add the onions to the residual grease and cook until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and tender. Add about 1 tbsp of beef broth to deglaze the pan and scrape up all the browned bits. Next add your carrots and chiles, cook for a couple minutes. Add your mushrooms, cook for a couple minutes until they begin to release their moisture. Add your eggplant and cook until everything begins to soften. It might seem tedious, but I found that the order in which you add the ingredients and how long you let them cook and marinate with the other flavors is really important in this dish. Now add your blend of spices (plus salt to taste) and stir to make sure all the veggies are evenly coated. Cook for a couple minutes. Add your milk, remaining beef broth and ketchup. Stir and then add the Greek yogurt. 

Bring everything to a slight boil and then reduce heat. If you like the consistency of the sauce at this point, cover and let simmer. If you want it thicker, continue to cook with lid off. After about 10 minutes, add the meatballs back to the pan and cover. Cook for 5-7 minutes and then serve with rice or naan. I used a blend of black and brown rice.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cinnamon Oat Cake with Roasted Peaches & Honey

 Tasty warm comforting goodness.

This is kind of like breakfast and kind of like dessert so basically you can eat it any time! The cake itself is not too sweet to complement the natural sugar in the peaches and the extra honey. I actually wouldn't even call it a cake - more like baked oatmeal bread pudding.

Cinnamon Oat Cake with Roasted Peaches & Honey Recipe:
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chopped dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1/2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped peaches
  • 1 tbsp honey (for drizzling)
Combine all your ingredients in a bowl (sans peaches and extra honey) and transfer to a 1-cup ramekin (this is a single serving recipe). Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Wrap your peaches in a foil packet and throw in the oven as well. After 20 minutes,  set oven to broil to brown the top of the cake. By this time your peaches should also be soft, sweet and juicy. Remove the cake, let cool for a few minutes then remove from ramekin. Top with peaches, juice and extra honey. Yum!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Funfetti Cake Dip

 a.k.a. Homemade Dunkaroos. Uh, YEAH.

This stuff is like crack. I served it with pretty much any snack-like thing I had in the house, but I think it would be ideal with some animal crackers. Or Teddy Grahams. Mmmm. I used Greek yogurt because I have an abundance of it, but if you don't enjoy that slight tang then I would suggest using plain or even vanilla yogurt.

Funfetti Cake Dip Recipe:
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 3-4 tbsp funfetti cake mix
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk (Greek yogurt is super thick so I added to make it more akin to frosting; regular yogurt might not need)
  • Extra sugar (again for the Greek yogurt because it's so tangy)
Mix it all up and consume with anything edible. Hey I bet cardboard would even taste good with it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Steamed Cod in Grape Leaves & Quinoa Tabbouleh

So this meal was pretty fun to make. It incorporated cooking techniques I've never tried (steaming fish in grape leaves) and also brought together great Greek flavors. The timing was a little off, however, as I tried to cook my quinoa in the rice cooker while simultaneously cooking my fish in the steamer basket attachment. The quinoa ended up cooking way before I had the fish ready so I had to take it out and keep it on the stove, add water to the cooker, wait for it to heat and then steam the fish. Oh well, tabbouleh is supposed to be served cold anyway. 

I also accompanied with some sauteed collard green stalks that ended up being fantastic. I had saved them from my New Year's collard green recipe and wasn't sure if they would be edible. Well, they are indeed and very good. Throw some pita bread and Greek yogurt on a plate and bam, you've got a Greek feast.

Steamed Cod in Grape Leaves Recipe:
  • 11/2 pounds cod, cut into fillets (about the size of your palm, made about 8)
  • 12 large grape leaves (4 extra to line the steamer basket)
  • lemon slices
  • salt, pepper
Season your cod generously with salt and pepper. Lay one lemon slice on a grape leaf, place fish on top and then wrap up. Put folded side face down in basket. Steam for about 10 minutes or until a knife pokes through the fish without resistance.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt, black pepper
Cook your quinoa. Add all the ingredients, mix and enjoy!

Sauteed Collard Green Stalks Recipe:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Stalks of 1 bunch of collard greens, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tbsp water
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add your stems and seasonings. Cook until they begin to brown but still retain bright green color and are a bit softer. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant and then deglaze the pan with wine and water. Reduce to medium low and cook until moisture has evaporated and stalks are tender. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

S'mores Cupcakes

I <3 s'mores. 

Sadly, they are very difficult to eat with braces/missing teeth. Although I wouldn't consider  these cupcakes a "substitute" for the delicious campfire treat, they are pretty darn tasty and way easier to eat. The toasted marshmallow top is essential. I only had mini marshmallows on hand, but would recommend using half a large marshmallow instead. Also I intended on putting graham cracker crumbs on the bottom before pouring in the batter, but forgot so just crumbled on top.

S'mores Cupcakes Recipe:
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 2 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 large marshmallow per cupcake or 3 mini marshmallows per cupcake
Make your cupcakes according to the box instructions. I always make changes to mine (for example, this time I subbed buttermilk for the liquid and added 2 tbsp extra unsweetened cocoa). When the cupcakes are finished, remove from oven, re-position rack to second notch from the top and set to broil. Brush each cupcake with a little chocolate syrup (this helps the marshmallows stick), top with marshmallows and place under the broiler. This will only take like 1-2 minutes and check often! Those suckers will burn fast. Remove from oven and smush down the marshmallows a bit. Drizzle extra chocolate syrup and sprinkle with graham crackers crumbs.