chocolate

oreo cupcakes [foodess]

Several technical difficulties later, I’m back with a new post! Sorry for the delay, guys.

For those who know me/are friends with me on facebook, you saw some photos of these about a week ago. My older brother was coming home for the weekend, and he had asked me to bake something for him to bring back. Of course, being my brother, he gave me no specifics other than “something sweet”, so I had far too many options on my hands. After some intense grilling–and a very helpful suggestion from his friend–I finally got him to settle on the best possible cookie to bake with: Oreos.

I have so many Oreo/cookies and cream recipes bookmarked that it’s actually alarming.

I knew instantly that I wanted a really moist chocolate cake, over a full Oreo base and with cookies and cream frosting piled high on top. I dug through my bookmarks and found this moist chocolate cake recipe from foodess and this white chocolate whipped cream one from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. Don’t get me wrong–the cream cheese frosting from foodess looks absolutely heavenly, but I wanted something lighter.

This turned into an…interesting endeavor. One of my favorite tricks for really moist cupcakes is adding 1 cup of sour cream and 3-4 ounces of instant dry pudding mix to a boxed cake mix (which I first tried with this recipe). I wanted to avoid the extra fat of sour cream, and opted instead for Greek yogurt. It was a risk, but with the yogurt and a couple of other tweaks, I ended up with light, chocolatey cupcakes that were soft and moist on the inside and still had a crispness around the edges.
The frosting…well. Let’s just say that I have yet to master homemade whipped cream. I’m still not sure why this happened, but one minute, I was mixing glorious peaks of rich white chocolate whipped cream, and the next, I had dollops of white chocolate butter surrounded by liquid. (If someone wants to explain that separation to me, I’ll be eternally grateful!) Once I figured out that I had butter on my hands, I decided to turn the whole mess into a regular buttercream with Oreo crumbs folded in, and thankfully, that worked out well. I suppose the whipped cream will have to wait. 🙁

All in all, I was pretty pleased with the results.

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Man, I wish I had just one of these left.

Adjustments I made to the recipe:
+ Place one full Oreo cookie at the bottom of each baking cup
+ 1.5 cups of sugar, instead of 2
+ 1 cup of honey flavored Greek yogurt, instead of buttermilk
+ Add 2 tablespoons of instant chocolate pudding mix to the dry ingredients
+ Add 2 tablespoons of hot water in addition to the 1 cup of coffee

The resulting batter was thin, but not runny.

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I tried to fill the baking cups about 2/3 of the way, then popped the trays into the oven for 23 minutes. I let the cupcakes cool overnight (yay, late-night baking!) and frosting them the next morning with the Oreo buttercream.

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Hello, handsome.

There’s just something about the black and white contrast of cookies and cream.

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My favorite part, though, was definitely the surprise cookie at the bottom. The Oreos stayed crunchy through baking, and they held up the cupcakes perfectly.

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My brother was pretty happy, too. 😉

And that was my end-of-break baking adventure! A couple mishaps, many fingers crossed, and finally, some delicious cupcakes to share with my family.

Enjoy what’s left of the weekend! See you guys next Friday 🙂

chocolate peppermint cupcakes [a pumpkin and a princess]

Last week’s candy cane crinkle cookies were just a part of a much larger peppermint kick that I was on right before winter break. Nearly every one of my finals week study breaks involved baking. I knew there was one treat that needed to be part of my week’s menu, more than anything else: peppermint cupcakes.

Much googling led me to this beautiful post at A Pumpkin & A Princess.

Everything seemed so simple, yet so rich: Betty Crocker cake mix, CoolWhip frosting, all infused with peppermint and topped with ample Andes peppermint chocolate pieces and chunks of Ghiradelli peppermint bark.

Boy, did they deliver.

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I spent a couple hours on these, but that is by no means necessary. You can mix, bake, pipe, and decorate in no time–especially if you have actual Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips on hand [which I did not, so I spent a good deal of time beating up Andes Peppermint Crunch Things, as well as smashing mini candy canes for the vanilla-frosted ones].

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I also switched to pre-made vanilla frosting [topped with candy canes, as you can see] when I ran out of the CoolWhip chocolate one. Really, you can use any kind of frosting you want. I’d love to make these again with a thick, creamy homemade buttercream with some chocolate pudding mix and sour cream thrown into the batter, too!

The CoolWhip frosting had a texture almost like ice cream, which was an unusual and pleasantly surprising change from most cupcakes you’ll find. Unfortunately, that also leads me to a major warning: CoolWhip frosting will melt on you! So don’t frost these babies until you’re ready to serve them, unless you plan on refrigerating them.

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These were a big hit with my house. They didn’t last long.

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Say a sweet, minty, wintry goodbye to the cold weather with these delicious cupcakes–and let me know how it goes!

See you next week 🙂

candy cane crinkle cookies [what’s cooking with ruthie]

I love the holiday season. Not because I necessarily celebrate the actual holidays, but because of the music, the decorations, the general spirit of festivity ringing through every street–and most importantly, the peppermint.

I love peppermint. Especially with chocolate.
And I’m sure you have some candy canes left over from December, hiding in your kitchen.

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These candy cane crinkle cookies come from What’s Cooking with Ruthie. The box mix base cuts a good deal of time out of the prep, and you certainly won’t lose any flavor because of it. I made these cookies in the middle of finals week–half celebration, half a reprieve from studying. They were more than worth the time.

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Pillowy, chocolatey cookies that aren’t too rich cut by melted down peppermint–you won’t be able to stop at one, especially if you make them as small as these ones.

I substituted all-purpose flour for the cornstarch, and it worked perfectly well. I imagine the cookies will be even fluffier if you use the cornstarch 🙂

Is there a specific type of recipe you’d like to see next? Let me know in the comments! Coming up soon, we have more cookies, cupcakes, and perhaps even one of my own recipes ooooooh~
Happy Friday, folks!