4.30.2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

That's a straight up 1:1 ratio of cupcake to frosting.  Just how I like it.
.  Hi, hi!

How's everything going out there?!  Things have been quite calm around our neck of the woods, not too much going on aside from work and...work.  Robbie and I have both managed to fit in a little golf here and there though [actually, mine was completely work related], I've continued with pilates classes [oh yeah, completely in love with those!], and the puppies most recently got their summer haircuts [more like butt cuts, I'm not very happy them].  But all in all, nothing too crazy to report.


The one thing I can't wait to tell you about though are these cupcakes.  These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.  YUM.  Do any of you remember the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake I made quite a while back?  Or better yet, did any of you actually make the cake?!  Well if you did or didn't, all I will say is that it is one crazy good cake and these cupcakes follow right in that path.  The cake and cupcake are extremely similar: a rather dense cake with the wonderful flavors of that nostalgic oatmeal.  Oh, and little chunks of sweet, rich chocolate studded throughout.  But wait, one more thing.  These luscious cupcakes are topped with a thick, crunchy cinnamon, brown sugar, and chocolate chip frosting.  Holy lordy.  Here's a napkin for your drool.


Aside from the flavors of this decadent cupcake, how stinkin' cute are they?!  Too cute, I know.  I don't say this too often but I was rather proud of their presentation, don't they look like little cookies topped with ice cream!?  Well if they didn't, they probably do now.  But regardless. Cute, right?  Glad we agree.    .

My Notes:
  • I doubled the ingredients from the original recipe since it only made a dozen cupcakes and I needed these for work.  But just halve the ingredients below if you're looking for a smaller batch.
  • The cupcakes don't rise incredibly much, so be sure to fill the liners 3/4 full.
  • For the frosting, I added in about 2 teaspoons of milk.  But the amount depends on the consistency of your frosting and what you're actually looking for.


Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:
Cupcakes:
2 large eggs
1-1/2 c. loosely packed brown sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. old fashioned oats
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. milk
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips (tossed in flour)

Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Chip Frosting:
2 c. unsalted butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk (if needed)
2/3 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Line a muffin tin with liners; set aside.
  2. For cupcakes, whisk together eggs and sugar in a large bowl until combined and no lumps remain.  Add in vanilla extract and butter, whisking until smooth.  Add in flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir until combined.  Add in milk and stir until smooth.  Gently fold in chocolate chips.  Fill liners about 3/4 full and bake 15 to 17 minutes or until cupcakes are set and spring back when touched.  Let cool completely before frosting.
  3. For frosting, beat butter in large bowl until completely smooth and creamy.  With mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly.  Gradually increase mixer speed and add brown sugar and vanilla extract, beating for 2 to 3 minutes.  If frosting is too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.  Fold in mini chocolate chips.  Frost cupcakes as desired.
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes


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4.26.2012

White Chocolate Decadence Bars

.  So it's the Spring time everyone, and can anyone take a wild guess at what that means?

You got it, FOAMER tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!

Ha, I have to chuckle at that because anyone new to this blog will most likely click out of this post immediately, since their impression of me will be of complete craziness.  Granted, that would be a warranted assumption but also [a little] false.  I promise I'm not that loopy.


So what's with the Foamer exclamation then, you may ask?  Well, if you look back at previous posts, you'll find that the audit department I work in formed a co-ed slowpitch softball team last spring and you can bet the undefeated Foamers are back in action.  Woop, woop!

What's funny about the whole situation is the reason why I'm so excited for the season to start up.  Not simply for the love of softball, or hanging out with co-workers in a more laid back fashion.  But rather, the softball season means I get to start baking regularly.  As in every week regularly.  And I couldn't be more ecstatic to get back into that routine!


Our season officially started last week, but due to some inclement weather [i.e., annoying rainfall], our first game was cancelled.  So these outrageous 'decadence' bars I made didn't quite make the debut I was hoping for at the field but instead made an appearance at the office last Friday.  But regardless, they were a smash and let's just hope any luck they may have had strings out to this week ☺

So these bars are rather simple, as you can see.  But like I've said many times before, simple ingredients typically produce the most wonderful treats.  And these White Chocolate Decadence Bars are no exception whatsoever.  One of my co-workers even claimed these might be one of his absolute favorite goodies I've given him.  That's saying a lot since he's one of my designated taste testers.


The bars themselves are white chocolatey, buttery and chewy, like a blondie but much too soft.  Like cake but much too moist.  Somewhere in between those two.  And then sitting atop them is rich white chocolate frosting.  Enough said, thank you.

Wish the Foamers the best of luck this week at our first game.  Hopefully we won't need it though!  .


My Notes:
  • Since white chocolate is the absolute star in the entire recipe, I suggest using the best quality bar of white chocolate you can.  And make sure to not use almond bark.
  • Let the bars cool to a fairly cool temperature, but I do suggest topping them while they still have a little warmth to soften the frosting.



Ingredients:
White Chocolate Bars:
1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. white chocolate, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
2 c. sugar
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

White Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. white chocolate, chopped
3 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. For bars, melt butter and white chocolate in a large bowl in the microwave (I recommend increments of 30 seconds).  Whisk in eggs and then sugar.  Add flour and vanilla extract and whisk until incorporated.  Pour batter in prepared pan.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let bars cool.
  3. For frosting, melt butter and white chocolate in a medium bowl in microwave.  With mixer on low speed, mix in powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract.  Frost bars as desired.
Yield: 2 dozen bars

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4.23.2012

Secret Recipe Club: Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

.  Yep, you betcha.  It's SRC time once again!

And who was my wonderful assignment this month?  Well, it was none other then The Mommy Bowl, by Ms. Deanna.  This assignment was actually quite interesting, which is one of the main reasons I am so absolutely in love with SRC.


If you've glanced through my recipes, you'll see a common theme throughout: butter, butter, sugar, and...more butter.  Am I right, or am I right?  I am.  But The Mommy Bowl is centered around gluten- and dairy-free recipes, so needless to say LSM is basically the antithesis of what Deanna is all about.  But HEY!  That's what SRC is ALL about!  So thank you for this match up ☺

I struggled a bit on what to make from The Mommy Bowl, but only because I had no clue where to get some of the ingredients.  Dang, I give props to Deanna for the extra effort of finding supplies.  I'm lazy so I guess I could never do the -free anything route.  


But then I spotted these suckers: Chocolate Pecan Pie Bites.  Uh, how could anyone pass these up?  Obviously I couldn't.  And yes, you'll notice Deanna's title says 'bites' but I felt like being extra adventurous and made these lovelies into bars [wink, wink on the 'adventurous part'].  I was so intrigued by this recipe not only for the extremely short ingredient list but because I've always been interested in making my own snack bars but have just never made the plunge.  

Point two of why I love SRC: I get a chance to try out things I normally wouldn't.  


So what exactly do these taste like?   I know your curiosity is killing you right now.  Okay, I'll be honest.  Robbie was not a fan.  But I think it was a mental thing because he knew there were dates in them.  However, I actually thought they were quite tasty!  And knowing they're healthy and natural makes them that much more enticing.  Hollyann and another co-worker also tried them out and really loved them!  But they were both also women.  So maybe just make these for the female gender....

Anywho, Deanna describes these bars as reminiscent of Lara Bars.  I would have to agree and I can't really think of another bar they resemble.  They're very soft and chewy, with a deeply nutty flavor from the pecans, slight sweetness from the dates, and just an ever-so subtle hint of chocolate.  And a dash of salt to bring it all out.  I found that they were a fantastic snack to have around for a little pick-me-up during the day.  Nom, nom, nom.

So thanks Deanna for this wonderful inspiration to make my own bars, this was such a fun experience and I owe it all to you!  To a wonderful April!  .

My Notes:
  • Deanna's original recipe called for a slightly smaller amount of ingredients, but since the package of pecans came a bit bigger, I opted to use them all (which I reflected in my ingredient list below).
  • Deana's original recipe also called for scooping the mixture into balls, however, I randomly felt like making bars.  Either way works though!
  • I suggest keeping the bars/bites in the refrigerator, the colder they are the better they stay together.

Adapted from The Mommy Bowl

Ingredients:
6 oz. raw pecans
6 oz. pitted dates
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/3 tbsp. cocoa powder
Water (if necessary)

Directions:
  1. Place parchment paper in 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. Place pecans, dates, salt, and cocoa powder in food processor.  Process until finely chopped and mixture clumps together.  If mixture does not come together, add water, one teaspoon at a time, and pulse until combined.  Firmly press mixture evenly into loaf pan.  Place in refrigerator until firm.  
  3. Pull bars out of pan using parchment paper.  Cut as desired.
Yield: 8 bars


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4.17.2012

TWD Baking with Julia: Lemon Loaf Cake


Wow, it's only been about a month but I feel like I haven't visited Baking with Julia in a VERY long time.  Sad day.

But not to worry, TWD is back in action!  And today we have a very easy, yet spectacular, treat for you:  Lemon Loaf Cake.  Remember my Cake Show Pound Cake I made for SRC?  Well this loaf cake is extremely reminiscent of it, except with a refreshing touch of citrusy lemon.  And because the almond whipped cream was such a hit with that Cake Show Pound Cake, I felt a need to make a simple, simple accompaniment: lemon drizzle.  Supa easy [squeeze out the juice of one lemon and add powdered sugar until desired consistency] and the drizzle added just the right amount of extra lemon flavor. 


Whoa, this might be my shortest post to date.  But I guess that speaks for the simplicity of the recipe, right?  I must say though, this isn't exactly my most favorite recipe from TWD.  Yes, the loaf still screams 'quality', but I guess I'm just not the biggest lemony bread fan?  Yeah, that must be it.  Or I think what would really bring me in would be a nice thick layer of lemon frosting.  Maybe next time!  But for those of you looking for a heavenly lemon-scented bread, you will find this recipe all too pleasing.


I know my direct and to-the-point description of this citrus loaf has you itching for more.  And possibly drooling.  So head on over to our blog hosts for this month, Treats or The Beauty of Life, for the Lemon Loaf Cake Recipe!  OR, check out the Leave Your Link (LYL) Post to check out all of the other TWD members!


Until next month, TWD!  . 

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4.13.2012

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


Wow, things have been mighty slow around LSM.  Sorry.  For some reason I haven't felt much like blogging lately.  I think I tired myself out a bit prior to Easter, so maybe a break was just what I needed.  And you know, with this nice weather we've been having, I haven't really wanted to sit indoors typing away on the computer.  You know whatta I mean?

I've debated with myself how much I should actually be blogging.  Sometimes there are recipes I've tried that I can't wait to share with you all, so I crank out the posts.  But other times, I feel like I'm putting out posts only because I feel like I need to and not because I want to.  But I am constantly reminding myself that blogging is strictly a hobby and not my job.  I don't get any money from blogging, I do it because I love writing, I love browsing through the incredible recipes from fellow bloggers, and because I thoroughly enjoy sharing recipes with all of you.  Simple yet true.


So to the point, I shouldn't feel guilty for not posting every single day, right?  Right.  Great, that's settled.

Aside from the pity party I just had, I do have a classic recipe to share today.  And the only way I can really describe the cookie nostalgia is to take you back to those elementary school days.  You know, the times when everyone looked forward to recess or competed for the flashiest lunch box or who had the best snacks.  You remember those days.  Well, one thing that always stuck in my mind from my childhood days was the cookies.  Ooo, those cafeteria cookies.  The chewy, soft, cookies that, for one reason or another, I could only find in the cafeteria.  I don't know what they did to them, but they were downright addicting.  A bit similar to Chewy Keebler cookies but bigger and better.  Does everyone know what I'm talking about?  I hope so.  Because these are it. 


So if you're looking for a wonderfully classic peanut butter and chocolate combo, you should look no further.  These cookies will take you right back to the good ol' days when all we had to worry about was our spelling test the next day.  Well...at least I worried.  But regardless, these will getcha  .


Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tbsp. milk
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, beat together butter and peanut butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.  Beat until combined.  Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.  Beat in flour.  Add milk, just enough to make dough moist and creamy.  Stir in chocolate chips just until incorporated.  If necessary, cover and chill dough for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  2. Heat oven to 375F and spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Drop cookies by scant teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet.  Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown.  Transfer to wire rack to let cool. 
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

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4.06.2012

2012 Easter Round-Up

Gah!  Easter weekend is upon us and I can't tell you how excited I am.  Not only do I get to eat wonderful foods but I get to stuff myself  have a homemade holiday meal with my family.  Yes, I'm officially back in Minnesota for the weekend.  Geesh, I haven't been back to Minne since Brit's wedding.  Far too long, I must say.  But I guess that makes this trip that much more anticipated, right?

But I didn't want to leave everyone hanging for the long weekend, so I've decided to leave one last post for you filled completely with Easter goodies.  Sound good?  Good. 

I truly hope everyone has a beautiful weekend, whether it be with family or close friends.  See you all next week!  .












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4.03.2012

Gooey Cinnamon Carrot Cake


.  SDFJA;SJGO;ASG;A!FKJSDALKJFSL?1?!!IUSFSJDSUGHALIFHSDLFAHJD!!GKEJKSF

I CAN'T EVEN TELL YOU HOW EXCITED I AM RIGHT NOW!  WELL, ^ EXCITED!!

And do you want to know why?  Not only am I sharing one of the BEST cakes I have ever tasted in my life but...drummmmmmmmmmm rolllllllllllllllll please! 


LSM WAS FEATURED ON FOODBUZZ'S TOP 9!!


Excuse my French, but can you freakin' believe it?!  BECAUSE I CAN'T!!  I got a comment from Amanda at At the Red Table congratulating me on my Top 9 feature and I was like wha, wha, wha?!  I honestly had no clue.  I hadn't checked my e-mail yet but lo' and behold, there was LSM's very own Baked Carrot Cake Donuts sitting smack dab in the Foodbuzz daily e-mail at the number two spot!  Woop, woop!  So thank you, thank you, thank you to anyone and everyone who clicked on my picture.  I honestly am so very excited about this and it's all because of YOU!


Okay, sorry.  I've calmed myself down a bit.  Now on to the other star of this post ☺

If you follow LSM on Twitter [and if you don't, you should, so click on that little 'T' to the right to get LSM Twitter updates and sneak peeks!] you may have noticed a sneak peek picture of the cake I'm presenting today.  And let me tell you, it really only was a sneak peek of all the deliciousness this [out-of-this-world] cake has to offer.  Seriously, words can barely describe how indulgent and...see, I can't even think of another worthy word!


I came across this sinfully wonderful cake over at Simply So Good.  Ha, hmmm?  Guess this cake will be so good, huh?!  Wrong.  This cake is too, too good!  Quite honestly, easily one of the best cakes I've had in a looOoooOoOng time.  Too long, actually.  Looks I may need to make this cake again...say Easter weekend?!  You're welcome, family ☺

So what makes this cake so rave-worthy?  Well let's see.  It could be the cinnamony-pineapple-pecans-coconut-carrot cake or the unique caramely-like buttermilk glaze that seeps into the cake or the overly thick, rich, cinnamon cream cheese frosting sitting atop every other layer.  I mean, maybe one of those elements will get ya.


Total sarcasm people!  And all of those described elements are in one stinkin' cake!  Whewie!

So long post short [see what I did there?], you do not want to pass up this recipe.  So do everyone at your Easter dinner a favor and make this cake.  Do it  .


My Notes:
  • To poke holes in the cake, I used the handle end of a wooden spoon.
  • Make sure the cake is thoroughly cooled before frosting.  You know me and my lack of patience, so I frosted the cake a bit too early and it ended up seeping into the cake making it a bit more soft than probably it should have been.  I popped the cake in the fridge to remedy, but I just suggest holding out on frosting if time permits until the cake is cooled.

From Simply So Good

Ingredients:
Cake:
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2 c. peeled and grated carrots (about 2 to 3 large carrots)
1-1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
1 c. chopped pecans

Buttermilk Glaze:
 1 c. sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 c. powdered sugar

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Spray 13x9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. For cake, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Place eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and sugar in a large bowl and mix until smooth.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in carrots, coconut, pineapple, and pecans.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed.
  4. While the cake is baking, to prepare the glaze, add sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda to medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Vigorously stir mixture (adding the baking soda will make the mixture foam, stirring will subside the rising foam!) for about 8 minutes.  The glaze will begin to turn an amber color.  When the mixture is a light amber color, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Set aside until ready to use.
  5. When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately poke holes in cake.  Pour the buttermilk glaze over the top of the hot cake and spread evenly.  Let cake cool completely.
  6. While the cake cools, for frosting, add cream cheese and butter in large bowl and beat until fluffy.  Add brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix until combined.  Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  
  7. Once the cake is cooled, evenly spread frosting over cake.  
Yield: 24 servings

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