Category Archives: Sweet

Sweet & Vicious: Jacked Up Ginger Cookies

After the relative success of the “Serious Oatmeal Cookies”, my mom and I decided to tackle one of the more holiday-y cookie recipes from my Sweet and Vicious cookbook, Jacked Up Ginger Cookies. Now, I’ve never made ginger cookies before, but if you are fond of the spice then these are the cookies for you.

I’m not normally a fan of ginger cookies, but I have had a few in the last couple of years that have amended my attitude from “Ewww” to “Well, I’ll give it a try”. I will admit though as I was chopping the various kinds of ginger and measuring out that full 1/4 cup of molasses my skepticism of this recipe was definitely growing. Not that I thought that it would be “bad”, just that I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, or bag of cookies as the case may be.


Notes:

  • Flavor-wise these little ginger bombs delivered exactly what they promised. Plenty of big ginger flavor. Did I like them? Not really, but my mom and Andy did. So much so, that Andy “forgot” to remind my mom to take a few of the cookies to take home with her. He just waited until she left and then demolished the remaining cookies that day. It was kind of cute.
  • Texture and bake-wise these were pretty spot on, chewy when they first came out of the oven and then perfect for accompanying a hot beverage after they had set up after a day or two. Even though I didn’t care for the flavor, everyone else liked them enough for me to make them again anyway.

Also, my mom got me this cute little plaid plate for Christmas. It’s a set of four: a bunny, a fox, a raccoon, and a pug. The trash panda is my favorite by far. He reminds me of the cheeky little bandits that come to our back porch every night to eat the cat food for the outdoor cat.


Sweet & Vicious: Serious Oatmeal Cookies

My traditional holiday plans have been a bit wonky this year, but one of the things I knew I wanted to do while my mom was visiting was make cookies. I also figured it would be a perfect opportunity to knock another recipe or two off of the 12 I wanted to try from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook. Since I wanted to make something I knew she liked, I made a supreme culinary sacrifice and offered up the book’s take on my least favorite cookie, oatmeal raisin. Shudder.

Notes:

  • These cookies turned out thick, chewy, and lightly sweet. There was a hint of kick from the ginger and the tang of the dried cranberries made them almost bearable for me. Almost. Andy and my mom, however, gleefully consumed cookie after cookie and then packed them up for Andy to take into work since they couldn’t stop eating them.
  • Despite a few quirks, this recipe was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. The only issue I had was the cook time. It may have been my oven, but I needed an additional 4 minutes of bake time per batch. Just keep an eye on yours and make sure to let them sit for a couple of minutes before trying to scrape them off the cookie tray.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, my dislike of sweet potatoes has peppered any remarks around holiday recipes/meal planning. So this year I decided to set aside the distaste and give it another chance. I mean I eat broccoli now, and no one saw that one coming. Tastes change, right? Supposedly? Maybe? Okay, maybe not in this case. The cupcakes are good, but I’m still not a huge fan. My taste testers really enjoyed them. Oh well, at least I tried right?

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato
  • 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Frosting

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 4oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cream together sweet potato, brown sugar and butter until smooth.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Sift together flour and baking powder.
  6. Add milk and flour mixture alternating until everything is incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  8. While cake bakes, brown butter in a pan and set aside to cool.
  9. Cream together cooled brown butter and cream cheese, then add vanilla.
  10. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency.
  11. Thin frosting with cream if it becomes to stiff.
  12. Frost cooled cupcakes, top with toasted pecans and enjoy!

Note: Now something I feel like needs to be said is that these are not your traditional light fluffy cupcake, they are a bit more dense. Still good, but more of a “one with a cup of tea” and less “holy crap, how did I already eat three of these”.


Happy Halloween! I Made a Spider Web Cake!

Happy Halloween, everyone! As I sit here trying to keep myself from eating the candy we got for trick-or-treaters – between Andy and myself we are down three Twix and two bags of Peanut M&M’s; those kids better walk faster-, I wanted to share with you something I made this weekend. A Marshmallow Spider Web Cake.

Okay, I know it isn’t the most challenging thing to do, but I had a blast and didn’t completely destroy my kitchen. Which is always a plus. I used this tutorial by The Cake Blog. I wanted to try this last Halloween, but time got away from me so I felt like I had to wait another year before giving it a try. Checking another one of the list. You guys have fun, be safe, and remember you have to be at work tomorrow!

 

Halloween banner by Chickfetti.


Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

What do you do when your favorite west coast chica decides to make an appearance a mere 4 hour drive from you? You make her cupcakes and meet her in Orlando, of course! Since I never get to bake for said friend, I knew I wanted to make something special, but what? So many recipes, and so little time! Then it hit me, there was only one recipe that would work for the woman who introduced me to my favorite indulgent cool weather beverage, the chocolate chia latte. I had to make Chocolate Chai Cupcakes!

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/3 veggie oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4-6 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line your cupcake pan.
  2. Combine all cake ingredients and mix on medium until thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide the batter between the 12 liners and bake for 16-18 minutes (may take more depending on oven).
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Beat room temperature butter until smooth, then incorporate cinnamon and cocoa powder.
  2. Beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. If frosting becomes too stiff, beat in heavy whipping cream a tbsp at a time until it loosens.
  4. Add vanilla and beat on high for one minute.
  5. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Ganache:

  1. While cake is baking, combine heavy whipping cream and semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Heat for 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously after each, until the ganache is completely smooth.
  3. Set aside to cool. Hot ganache will melt the frosting.

Assmble:

  1. Dip cooled cupcake into ganache and let set for about 15 minutes.
  2. Frost cupcakes with chocolate cinnamon frosting and then drizzle with remaining ganache. Top with a chocolate truffle and enjoy!

You may have noticed that I’ve been using pre-packaged mixes for my cake bases as of late. I have two reasons for that. The first, a lot of the things I bake go to work with Andy, and they have to last a couple of days. Scratch baking, while delicious, doesn’t have the longest shelf life; box mixes have a bit more longevity (a tip I picked up watching archived episodes of Good Eats). Also, I have been baking a lot more so I can practice piping and cake stacking. Using a mix as the base and then adding in my extras saves me a bit of time and allows me a little more energy for getting creative with frosting, fillings, and garnishes. Baking is a lot of fun, but don’t take the fun out of it by trying to do everything from scratch and all at once. It’ll help keep things fun 😉