Sunday, February 7, 2016

No Bake Peanut Butter Cheerios Bars

I like these better than Rice Crispy treats!

No Bake Peanut Butter Cheerios Bars
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Cheerios cereal (I prefer the honey-nut variety)
2 cups chocolate chips

In a saucepan, mix sugar and corn syrup over medium-high heat. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a boil and sugar is dissolved. Immediately remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until melted and mixed. Pour sauce over Cheerios and mix well. Press mixture into a 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips and spread on top of bars. Once cooled, cut with hot knife.

Macadamia Creamsicle Cookies

I had all the ingredients for these cookies and was going to make them for Christmas. But I never got around to it. I finally decided that macadamia nuts are too expensive to waste, so I made the cookies yesterday. Oh, my! They're to die for!

Macadamia Creamsicle Cookies

2½ cups all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract (I used 1/4 tsp. orange oil)
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped dry-roasted macadamia nuts (I used about 3 oz.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and orange extract until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest, white chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Note: my dough was SO thick that I couldn't even stir in the chips, zest, and nuts. I ended up adding 1 T. milk in order to stir in those ingredients. Maybe I should have measured the flour more carefully. I think these cookies would be incredible with lime or lemon also!

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sweet Tooth Fairy Copycat Cupcakes

Sunday I made a disaster of a mess inside my oven. I made a cake recipe from the internet that claimed to be the "best ever" vanilla cake. The blogger's description and how my cake turned out were exact opposites. She must blog and bake at sea level, and I have no idea how in the world she got her cake to turn out. My ended up all over my oven!

I just hate cooking failures! So I started researching cupcake recipes and remembered the delicious cupcakes I've had at the Sweet Tooth Fairy Bakery here in Utah. Both of the copycat recipes I tried turned out beautifully here at high altitudes! These recipes are adjusted slightly to make approximately 12 cupcakes. If you have extra batter, spray a mug with baking spray, put the leftover cake batter in the mug, and "bake" in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave and the size of leftover batter.

Double Vanilla Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 T. butter, melted
2 egg whites
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients in measuring cup and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Beat until mixed well. Place a scoop of batter in 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Frost when cooled.

I think this vanilla cupcake recipe is a great basic recipe to play around with. What about adding coconut milk in place of the milk, along with folding in coconut into the batter and topping the cooled and frosted cupcakes with toasted coconut? That's just one idea. I'm sure you could come up with a zillion other great ideas! White chocolate. . . Raspberry Swirl. . . Pina Colada. . . Key Lime. . . Lemon. . . You get the idea!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup ready-to-eat chocolate pudding
1/3 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients in measuring cup and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Beat until mixed well. Fold in chocolate chips. Place a scoop of batter in 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Frost when cooled. (I didn't have any ready-to-eat pudding, so I just added 1/2 cup buttermilk. Note that sour cream can be substituted with buttermilk or yogurt.) I had these with vanilla frosting, but they'd also be delicious with the white chocolate frosting, any chocolate frosting, German chocolate frosting, etc.

Vanilla Frosting
1 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. coconut extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Add butter to the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on medium speed with whisk attachment until the butter is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add cream, extracts, salt, and 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Mix on low until combined and then increase speed to medium and whip for 3-5 minutes. The consistency of frosting is important if you're going to pile it high. It should be a medium consistency and should be sturdy enough to hold a spoon up. Keep adding powdered sugar until the frosting is the right consistency. Place frosting in a bag and pipe on the cooled cupcakes with tip 2A.

White Chocolate Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Bear cream cheese and butter. Add chocolate and vanilla and beat. Add sugar gradually. Place frosting in a bag and pipe on the cooled cupcakes.