Monday, February 21, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

My order of girl scout cookies came in last week. Within seconds I opened my first box and bit into the delightfullness of a Samoa. Heaven! Instantly my mind flipped into baking mode... it was time for me to incorporate the great flavors of a Samoa cookie into a cupcake. I'm sure this has probably been done many times before me, but I didn't bother googling it because I knew what I wanted to make and didn't want another recipe to alter the direction I was headed in... coconut cupcake, topped with chocolate ganache, frosted with toasted coconut caramel icing, drizzled with more chocolate ganache. Tah dah! A coconut cupcake inspired by my favorite girl scout cookie. Yum. :)
What shall I try next? Lemon Chalet truffles? Thin Mint brownies? Do-Si-Do trifle? Tagalongs pie? Oh the possibilities... :)

Yields 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3.5 oz sweetened, shredded coconut

Chocolate Ganache:
3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup light cream

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup  sweetened, shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside. 

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time, scrape down sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. Add half the flour mixture, then buttermilk, and finish with adding the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Fold in shredded coconut.

Fill prepared muffin cups three fourths full. Bake 25-35 minutes, until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

For ganache, heat cream in a small sauce pan until bubbles appear around the edges. Place chocolate in a small bowl. Pour scalding cream over the chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Refrigerate until cold, stirring occasionally.

For icing, toast coconut in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned; set aside. Whisk together sugar, cream, and butter in a double boiler over simmering water. Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes, stir in coconut and cool completely. 

To assemble, spoon a small amount of ganache on top of cupcake. Let the ganache set before adding the icing (icing is a bit runny so don't add too much). Drizzle with remaining ganache.

Source: cupcake adapted from Ina Garten, ganache and icing adapted from Martha Stewart

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cookie Brownies

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to this three-day weekend ahead of me. The weather is supposed to be nice (great for tennis!), I have a few dates with some of my dearest friends, and I have a kitchen screaming my name (begging to be used!). I hope I can find time to fit everything in!

Before I jump to this amazing recipe and leave you to start my weekend, I wanted to take a few lines and thank a couple of my fellow bloggers who have been kind enough to share some blogging awards with me over the past few weeks. Mateja from Indulging Life shared a Most Deserved Award and Lynn from Sprinkles of Flavor passed along a Stylish Blogger Award. Both of these foodies have amazing blogs with scrumptious recipes, so I highly encourage you to check them out! And again, thank you Mateja and Lynn! I'm truly honored that you would select Burn Me Not for these awards.
And now, how about some yummy goodness to set this weekend in the right direction. These brownies were awesome! They are cakey with a walnut crunch and a delicious cookie topping. I could sit down and eat a handful at a time because they are not overly rich... they are right on the money! I do wish the cookie topping was a solid layer, so next time I think I'll reserve half the batter for it (instead of one third). If you decide to try it that way, then I would recommend cutting the walnuts down to 1/2 cup. Either way, I think you'll be pleased with the results.

Have a great weekend!

Yields 20 brownies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan with baking spray; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. With your mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk mixture. Beat just until ingredients are incorporated.

Remove a third of the batter to another bowl. Mix in melted chocolate with the remaining two thirds of batter. Fold in walnuts. Spread evenly into prepared baking pan. Add chocolate chips to the reserved batter. Drop by spoonfuls over the top of the pan and (gently) spread evenly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Source: adapted from Taste of Home Fall Baking Cookbook magazine

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

I must say, this being my first Valentine's in the blog world, I just love gawking at all the sweet creations popping up all over the place. I've always enjoyed Valentine's Day because it's a day you show your affection for someone special through fun, thoughtful, and sometimes crafty expressions (of course, I love when those expressions are edible!). And I'm not just talking about showing affection for that romantic someone in your life, but for anyone that is special in your life... family, friends, classmates, teachers, co-workers... anyone that is special to you.

My sister recruited me to bake some yummy treats for my niece and nephew's teachers. Given that my nieces and nephew are my most favorite little people in the entire world, and their educational growth and social development is very important to me (because I want them to grow up to be my most favorite big people in the entire world), I happily agreed to help my sister show her appreciation for those who have a wonderful impact on her kids. I decided to make these adorable heart shaped whoopie pies, and packaged them up in some super cute boxes. It turn out to be a perfect little gift!
These whoopie pies are absolutely delicious! I believe Matt's words when he sampled them were, "These are ridiculous!" Ridiculous being cool terminology for "insanely good". :) I browsed through a couple of recipes for cream cheese filling and finally ended up creating the one below, and it was phenomenal! Once I tried it, I immediately started brainstorming all the wonderful things I could make to include cream cheese filling so that I could have more reasons to make it. :) So. Darn. Good!

Yields 2 dozen whoopie pies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 oz red food coloring

8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confections' sugar
1/2 tbsp clear vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter on medium-high speed. Add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed of mixer to low, gradually beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, and then the remaining flour mixture just until incorporated. Do not over beat. Blend in food coloring.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter as your guide, pipe batter onto prepared baking sheets spacing each heart about 1 inch apart.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until tops are set. Cool on wire racks. Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets.

For filling, cream the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add confectioners' sugar. Beat in vanilla.

To assemble, transfer icing to a clean pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pair the cookies up according to size. Pipe frosting onto the flat side of one cookie from each pair, leaving a little room around the edges. Sandwich the cookies so that the flat sides are facing each other, pressing gently so that the filling reaches the edge. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Better Homes & Gardens

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Thumbprints

With a hug here and a kiss there, these cookies speak right to the heart as subtle sweetness unfolds in every bite. Delicious!

I have had my eye on these cookies for some time, but for one reason or another I kept passing over them as I worked my way down my "to bake" list. I decided this week was a great time to try them; the incorporation of Hershey kisses made these a perfect cookie for pre-Valentine's baking. So let me tell you, these thumbprints really exceeded my expectations. They are delectable! The chocolate cookie was not overly rich, which paired nicely with the sweet yummy filling, and the walnuts added great texture. I thought about tinting the filling either red or pink, but I wasn't gifting these so I didn't bother with that extra step... could be a nice touch though if you're making these for someone special.
For this recipe, I used raw sugar. Whoa! I'm really shaking things up over here by stepping outside the box! I'm totally kidding... but I have heard and read that baking with raw sugar as opposed to refined white sugar is a better choice. Though I realize that raw sugar is not "good" for you, I know that it's at least not as "bad" for you as white sugar or even brown sugar... so I felt slightly less guilty. :) I encourage you to give it a try (if you haven't already).


Yields about 18-20 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 tsp sea salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 egg, separated
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
10 Hershey Kisses and 10 Hershey Hugs 

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; dip in egg white, then roll in walnuts. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes or until center is set.

For filling, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, milk and vanilla in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon into each warm cookie; gently press a kiss or a hug in the center. Carefully remove from pans to wire rack to cool.

Source: adapted from The Taste of Home Baking Book

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chocolate Cocoa Krispies Treats

            Take a moment.  
                 Right this second. 
                      Everything else can wait.  
                           Allow yourself a little indulgence, and
                                Throw together a batch of these chocolate covered darlings.
They are well worth it!!
I recently sampled chocolate covered cocoa krispies treats and fell head over heals for them! I knew I had to replicate this amazing goodness. One of Matt's co-workers just had a birthday, so I thought these would be a great way to celebrate. Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, I cut them out with a heart shaped cookie cutter and fancied them up with a little decor. Yum!

Treat yourself, or someone special!

Yields about 12 heart cut outs
3 tbsp butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Cocoa Krispies
24 oz white chocolate bark
Sprinkles and colored candy melts for decorating

Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Prepare treats as directed on cocoa krispies box... melt butter and marshmallows in a large stock pot over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add cocoa krispies. Stir until mixed well. Spread into prepared dish with a rubber spatula, pressing into an even layer. Let stand for a few hours until firm.

Cut out treats using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Melt white chocolate in a deep, microwave safe bowl, according to package directions. Using a fork, dip hearts in chocolate; tap fork on rim of bowl a couple of times to knock off excess chocolate. Set hearts on wax paper. If decorating with sprinkles, apply quickly before chocolate sets. Melt colored candy according to package directions and drizzle or pipe over hearts to decorate.  

Source: adapted from traditional rice krispies treats

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I know lots of people are gearing up for the Super Bowl this weekend. Good times, yummy snacks, and funny commercials. If you're looking for another recipe to throw amongst your spread, look no further... this Stromboli is guaranteed to please a crowd!

When I saw a guest post at Liv Life for Football Party Stromboli, I knew I had to make it for Matt. To say my husband likes football (or any other sport for that matter) would be an understatement. My hubby LOVES his football, and he loves when I make him good stuff to munch on while he's watching a game. My gut told me that he would love this recipe, and sure enough, he did. And honestly... so did I. :)
Kim's post called for frozen dough, which is definitely an option if you're looking for a little less preparation. I just happened to stumble across another Stromboli recipe that included homemade dough, so I figured I would give it a shot. The dough recipe makes two loaves, so if you're not planning for that many people you can freeze half for a later date (that's what I did, so the below filling recipe is for one).

Yields 2 loaves
1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water (110° to 115°) 
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt 
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

The quantities below are for 1 Stromboli. Double the amount if you want to make both loaves.
1/4 lb thinly sliced ham
1/4 lb reduced fat pepperoni
Dried basil
Dried oregano
4 slices provolone cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil, salt and 2 cups flour; fitted with the paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Switching to the dough hook attachment, knead dough on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll one portion into a 15 x 12-inch rectangle. (I froze the second portion for a later date.) Arrange ham slices lengthwise down half of rectangle. Place pepperoni on top. Sprinkle with a little bit of basil and oregano. Arrange provolone slices over the top and then add the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a little more basil and oregano. Fold plain half of dough over filling and seal ends well. Brush with oil; sprinkle with oregano.

Bake on a baking sheet at 400°F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; cut into 1-inch slices.

Source: an adaptation from The Taste of Home Baking Book and Liv Life

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