Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

A rich chocolate cupcake with an easy chocolate butter cream frosting topped with mini chocolate chips! Death by chocolate? Yes please!

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Happy Blizzard of 2015! If anyone lives in New England you know what I’m talking about. Snow days, and snow shovels, and snow emergencies, and I could go on. You get my drift. Pardon my pun I just had to.

So as I am up to my elbows in the snowy white stuff, why not meet the blizzard head on with some decadent triple chocolate cupcakes? What’s better than a little chocolate when you can’t go outside? I personally love these days because it gives me an excuse to dirty up my mixer and try out some new recipes. In fact I have some clementines boiling on the stove for a future post..more about that later. Let’s talk cupcakes!

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For this cupcake I took my tried and true chocolate cupcake and added a little coffee to it. Coffee really brings out the flavor in chocolate.

When making cupcakes, be sure to not over mix these cupcakes. This recipe calls for boiling water, which will make the batter very thin but also very moist in the end.

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This recipe makes about 30 cupcakes. I’ve made them many times- like with mocha frosting, or with white chocolate peppermint frosting, and filled with salted caramel  (pardon the old photos, yikes!) and it’s always 30, no more no less. My oven only really lets me make one batch of cupcakes at a time. I found that if I put more than one pan in the oven at a time, they just don’t bake up as high and lovely. If your oven is the same as mine, just be sure to place the extra batter in the refrigerator as to slow the reaction of the baking powder and baking soda.

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I then also used my favorite buttercream frosting recipe that I have made many, many, times and simply added in some cocoa powder. The key to this frosting? Whip it. Whip it real good. Pardon my..oh nevermind. Trust me, I let this frosting mix for about 6-8 minutes to achieve the lightest and fluffiest frosting your lips have ever had the privilege of touching.

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And last but not least, what’s better than chocolate on chocolate? More chocolate! So I sprinkled these bad boys with some miniature chocolate chips.

So let it snow let it snow and make some cupcakes while it does!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields 30
A rich moist chocolate cupcake topped with an easy chocolate buttercream frosting and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips
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For the cupcakes
  1. *2 cups sugar
  2. *1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  3. *3/4 cup cocoa
  4. *1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. *1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. *1 teaspoon salt
  7. * 2 eggs
  8. * 1 cup milk
  9. * 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  10. * 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  11. * 3/4 cup boiling water
  12. * 1/4 brewed coffee
For the frosting
  1. 2 1/2 cups butter, softened
  2. 2 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
  3. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 Tbs. Heavy cream
  6. miniature chocolate chips, optional
Instructions
  1. 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. Prepare cupcake pans with liners.
  3. 3. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. 4. Stir in boiling water and coffee. Batter will be very thin at this point.
  5. 5. Pour into cupcake liners. Fill about 2/3 full.
  6. 6. Bake about 22-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before adding the frosting on top.
  7. 7. For the frosting: Cream the butter first until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner sugar and cocoa powder and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes until combined. You may want to scrap down the bowl at this point. Then add the vanilla extract, and heavy cream. Then mix on high speed for 8 minutes until light and fluffy.
  8. 9. When cupcakes are cooled, then using a pastry bag and tip swirl the frosting on top. Decorate with miniature chocolate chips!
Notes
  1. * I used an Atecco tip #874, closed star tip, to achieve the swirl on top.
  2. * If you are baking one pan at a time, keep the extra batter in the fridge while these first batch bake!
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

Coconut Date Balls

An easy no bake dessert that is made without added sugar, is gluten free, and chocked full of good nutrients! Perfect for a little pick me up!

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With January resolutions, came an attempt at eating a little healthier without of course eliminating desserts. I mean no desserts? I don’t think so. So one of my first attempts was to eliminate refined sugar. What is a girl to do without any sugar? Dates. No not the night out on the town kind, the sweet on their own, needs no more sugar, Medjool dates. These “king of the dates” known for their large size but more importantly for their sweet flesh even when dried. 

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These energy dense fruits may contain their fair share of sugar on their own but they also pack other nutrients you can’t get from plain old table sugar making me feel less guilty when I pop one of these in my mouth.  They are a good source of fiber, potassium, and certain vitamins like B-12 (hello energy!).  So that’s got to make a girl feel good when she just can’t help sneaking another one. 
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Be sure to buy pitted dates. You can pit them yourself but seriously why bother? If you buy pitted dates these coconut date balls come together in a snap.
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You will want to use your food processor to make these in a cinch as well. Throw in the pitted dates, almonds, and coconut and pulse until they come together in a sticky mess.  You could also mini chocolate chips if your sweet tooth is calling. I mean chocolate has antioxidants right so it’s all healthy in the end. Wink, wink.

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All you need to do next is use a cookie scoop to form these into perfect little munchable snacks.  I rolled them in more coconut because I just couldn’t resist.

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These little bites are a perfect snack before you hit the gym. Or after. Or during. No wait people would probably stare if you are snacking on these on a treadmill. Ok so besides a treadmill these coconut date balls are perfect wherever, whenever.

Coconut Date Balls
Yields 15
A perfect energizing snack full of nutrients and with no refined sugar! Gluten and Dairy free too!
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Ingredients
  1. 10 ounces dates, pitted
  2. 1 cup coconut, plus more for rolling
  3. 2/3 cup almonds
  4. mini chocolate chips, optional
Instructions
  1. 1. Put all ingredients into a food processor fitted with a blade.
  2. 2. Pulse until all the ingredients come together.
  3. 3. Use a 1-inch cookie scoop to scoop into balls. Roll in more additional coconut.
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

 

Nutella and Oreo Rugelach

 

A classic rolled rugelach cookie with a twist! Cream cheese dough with a nutella and oreo filling!

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Hi everyone! I hope everyone’s 2015 has started off with a bang, but I would like to reminisce if I can about 2014 and share a recipe with you that was inspired by Patience Brewster- an artist who makes her own handmade holiday cards and ornaments- check out her website here. Patience Brewster is this amazing website that features the artist herself and her wonderful handmade cards and ornaments.

When I think back to the holidays I think back to all the crazy baking and cooking that took place. This year I spent the majority at my brother’s house with his wife and their two year old son (my nephew Judson). It’s so exciting to watch a young one enjoy the holidays and get excited about Santa, filled stockings, and perfectly wrapped Christmas presents.

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It also is a time to remember those who are not with us anymore. That’s where this cookie comes in. My late grandmother on my Dad’s side was always known for her baking, especially at the holiday time. She would always have a platter full of different kinds of cookies, particularly rugelach. If you are not familiar with rugelach, it is a cream cheese based cookie dough that gets chilled and rolled out. The dough then gets slathered with usually a jam, spices, and nuts. This is not the first time that rugelach has made an appearance on this blog before.

I decided too take my grandmother’s tried and true recipe and put a few modern twists on it- a rugelach with nutella and oreo cookies. Sinful I know. I’m sure she would have approved though. So that’s where this cookie was born, out of old traditions and fun new beginnings.

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So let’s talk about this cookie shall we? It starts with a traditional rugelach dough.  It’s important that you start with slightly chilled cream cheese and slightly softened butter.  This dough is best made in a food processor. A food processor ensures that the dough comes together perfectly and is not overworked.  You want to stop the food processor when the dough looks like large cheese curds (sorry but that’s the best way I can describe it to you!). Once you have the dough, you absolutely need to chill the dough.  If you use your food processor and chill the dough this will ensure flaky almost crescent like cookies. Just be sure to chill the dough in flattened round disks. This will make it easier to roll it out!

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 Now its time to roll out the dough. Be sure to keep the other disk of dough chilling in the fridge while you make your first batch.   You are aiming for about 11 to 12 inch circles.  Hello triceps! No need for the gym after this little project!

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Once you have your dough rolled out, now its’ time for the tasty filling! Nutella and crushed oreos.

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First spread on the dough a thin layer of nutella….

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Then sprinkle on your crushed oreos. Feel free to nibble on some while you do this…it’s only right.

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Now you need to cut each square into 12 crescents. This can be tricky. I like to use a pizza cutter it makes for a nice smooth cut. I cut down the middle vertically and then the same way horizontally to make 4 big wedges. From there I can more accurately cut each wedge into 3 smaller wedges. I don’t always get the same size, but this method will ensure a slight bit more of accuracy. Trust me this cookies are so good no one will be judging you if your cookies aren’t the same size!

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Now it’s time to roll! Be sure to dust your surface with a little flour or you are going to find yourself saying some unpleasant words later :)  Start rolling from the large end of the triangle and roll towards the point. You are basically making small crescent shaped cookies.

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Continue rolling until you have all 12 rolled up! Now it’s time to bake! (See I told you getting them all the size is tricky!)

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Before you bake, brush each cookie with a little egg wash. An egg wash is going to help you achieve that golden color we all love. You want to bake these for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees depending on your oven.

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And now try to share these with your family and friends and not eat them all yourself (it’s going to be hard trust me). Nothing brings family together over the holidays like time honored recipes that have been passed down. I definitely made a mess in the kitchen making these (as I tend to do for anyone who knows me) but for me Christmas is never complete without a platter of rugelach cookies (no matter what the filling!).

It’s something to see my nephews scarf down these cookies (yes they are two and love sugar- hmm I think they might be related to me!), a cookie that I grew up with. So I have two suggestions I will leave you with

1.  Make these cookies…NOW (who cares if “cookie season” is over and we are supposed to be eating healthy. It’s all about moderation anyway right?!

2. Check out Patience Brewster’s amazing work. Just try not to get too many crumbs on your keyboard while you peruse.

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So what twists have you put on time honored recipes from your family? Please share! I’d love to hear!

Nutella and Oreo Rugelach Cookies
Yields 24
A traditional rugelach with a twist! Flaky cream cheese dough warpped around a layer of Nutella and Oreos!
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
  2. 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  3. 1 cup all purpose flour
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup Nutella
  6. 1 egg, beaten
  7. 1 teaspoon water
  8. 6 Oreo cookies, crushed
Instructions
  1. To make the dough: Let the cream cheese and butter sit on the counter for 10 minutes- you want them to be slightly softened, but still cool. Put the flour and salt in a food processor, scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter. Pulse the machine 6 to 10 times. Then process scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds- don't work it so long that it forms a ball on the blade. Turn the dough out, gather into ball and divide in half. Shape each half into a disk, wrap the disks with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to a day (you can also freeze the dough at this point for up to 2 months, just be sure to wrap well).
  2. For the filling: Warm the nutella slightly so you can spread it easier. I heated mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds. You may need an additional 10 seonds longer. Crush your oreos in the food processor until they are fine crumbs.
  3. To shape the cookies: Pull one disk out of the fridge. If your dough is too firm, let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes or give it a few good whacks with your rolling pin.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 11 to 12 inch circle. Spread about 1/4 cup of the Nutella onto your dough. Sprinkle half the oreo crumbs over the Nutella. Cover your dough now with a piece of parchment or wax paper and press the filling into the dough. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 wedges, or triangles. (The easiest way to do this is to cut the dough into 4 even portions, then cut each of those wedges into 3 trinagles each). Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough so it becomes a crescent. Arrange the crescents on a parchment lined baking sheet with the points tucked under the cookies. Refrigerate again for up to 30 minutes (I actually skipped this step and found them to come out perfectly). You can also freeze the cookies at this point. Do not defrost before baking if they are frozen, just add a couple of minutes for the baking time.
  5. When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an egg wash by stirring an egg and water together and brush a bit of the egg wash over each cookie. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes rotating the cookie halfway until they are puffed and golden. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or room temperature.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Rugelach recipe
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Rugelach recipe
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

Brie and Jam Puff Pastry Bites

Little bites of puff pastry filled with creamy brie cheese and sweet jam of your choice!

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Hi everyone! This week I am so proud to announce that after meeting Aloha, I’d like to bring you this delicious post! If you have never ventured over to Aloha.com and checked out their healthy recipe page, you really need to. Aloha.com is all about helping people be happier and healthier. And let’s face it, we all could be a little bit of both. And to be healtheir and happier I think is usually resolution numero uno. So sounds perfect for January doesn’t when we are all trying to reinvent ourselves at hopefully keep those resolutions!

What about when someone says “bring a dish to pass”, it can be harder to make some of your favorite appetizers healthy. That’s where this post comes in.  It’s all about taking a delicious appetizer and simply scaling it down to a more portion friendly bite.

And whenever someone asks you to bring a dish to pass you probably think one of two things. 1. Do I bring my stand by signature dish that I always bring…Orrrrrrr… 2. Do I venture out and try a new recipe? My answer always is…TRY A NEW RECIPE! I love the excuse to try out a new recipe!

So what would I bring? For me it’s all about the appetizer. For me that appetizer needs to be simple and fast with recognizable ingredients. You want your guests to say mmm, not huh? It should also be easy to eat at a party (aka I can hold my glass of wine at the same time). So what did I come up with?

Brie and Jam Puff Pastry Bites. Little bites of decadence. A little bit of brie cheese that will make you feel like you must be doing something totally naughty, but you’re not! At a party, you might see a beautiful wheel of brie en croute- a puff pastry encased wheel of brie cheese, usually topped with some sort of jam and maybe sometimes nuts as well adorning the appetizer table. Now brie en croute is one of my favorite appetizers but let’s face it, a big block of cheese and buttery rich puff pastry- not very healthy people. So when trying to be healthier in the New Year I thought let’s take that decadent appetizer and just scale it down a bit.  I believe real ingredients in small portions is always better than big bites of mediocre low calorie junk. So let’s get to making these little bites of perfection….

First…choose your jam.  Or don’t choose and use as many as you want! I have here, a raspberry jam from Stonewall Kitchen that was a recent birthday present (thanks Kristin!), fig jam (my personal favorite), and an apricot jam.  Go with one, go with what you have, or go with all three.  You also could use a low-calorie jam if you would like to scale back a little bit if you would like. Up to you!
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Next you need your puff pastry. Puff pastry comes frozen, so let it defrost in the fridge or on the counter. On the counter if you are in a hurry. It won’t take a long, I promise. Less than an hour on the countrertop and you should be good. You want to then unroll your dough. Each package comes with two sheets of dough, so when you are working with one go ahead and put the other back in the fridge so it doesn’t soften too much. Roll it out a little bit so it makes a nice big square.
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Then you want to use a small round cookie cutter. I love these cutters, because they come in some many sizes!

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Then brush the edges with an egg wash. The egg wash will help the top layer seal nicely so no cheese and jam comes squishing out. That’s cheese abuse and that’s just not ok.

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Once you have all your circles its time to start assembling. You want to put a little bit of jam (and if you are like me you always tend to over do this! Oh well…)

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Then put a little bit of cheese on top. Mmm, cheese.

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 Now time for the second circle of dough! Place on top and use a fork to crimp the edges. They end up looking like cute little pies, don’t they? A little jam might decide to make an appearance, that’s ok. Crimp on, my friends. Crimp on.

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Now, here is my little tip for perfect bites. Chill these again in the fridge. This ensures that you have cold brie cheese going in the oven. I chilled them for about 20 minutes. You may find you want to reduce or increase that time. After chilling, you want to place your oven rack in the upper third portion of your oven. This ensures nice browning.

Before baking, give the tops one more time of an egg wash on top, and they are good to go! Bake away…

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And there you go, perfectly portioned appetizer bites that are a cinch to make! They are pretty fast to put together (especially if you aren’t taking photos every step of the way!) and everyone will scarf these up and not feel guilty afterwards.  So at your next event, maybe that Superbowl party that is coming up and someone asks you to bring a dish to pass, this could be that new recipe to try out and become a new favorite. 

So go ahead and check out all the other healthy recipes at Aloha and as always happy baking everyone!

Brie and Jam Puff Pastry Bites
Yields 48
Little bites of puff pastry filled with jam and brie cheese. Perfect for your next get together!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 10x10-inch sheets puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
  2. 1 large egg, beaten
  3. 4 ounces Brie cheese, cold
  4. 4 tablespoons of jam ( I used apricot, fig, and raspberry)
Instructions
  1. Unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, gently roll the pastry so that it is an even 11-inch square. With a 1 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the pastry (48 rounds total). Beat the egg in a small bowl, then lightly brush each pastry. Top 12 of the pastry rounds with 1/4 teaspoon of your jam and 1 small piece Brie cheese. Carefully place the remaining pastry rounds on top of the Brie and jam, brushed egg side down. Pinch the ends closed, then gently crimp the edges with a fork to secure. Prick each pastry with a fork to allow the air to escape. (If making ahead, see notes section below.) Repeat with second pastry sheet. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pastry on the prepared sheet and brush lightly with egg. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. You can make these ahead of time, but simply placing the unbaked bites on a parchment lined baking sheet. Still poke holes in the top, but omit the exterior egg wash. Once they are frozen then remove from the baking sheet and place in an airtight bag. When ready to bake, apply the exterior egg wash. Puff pastry bites may be baked from frozen or thawed in the refrigerator, then baked chilled. If baking from frozen, keep the oven temperature the same, adding 3 to 5 minutes to the baking time. Pastry puffs may also be fully baked, then frozen and will reheat well in the
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

DIY marshmallow fondant

A do-it-yourself version of that expensive box of fondant you see on the cake decorator’s shelves. Will save you money and a trip to the store!

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I’ve been meaning to share this cake and fondant recipe with you before the holidays snuck up on us, but obviously the holidays got the better of me!

My co-worker asked me to make a cake for her Christmas eve part at her house and of course I was only too eager to oblige!

To make this cake, I decided to take on the feat of making my own marshmallow fondant. I usually buy my own fondant, usually Wilton, due to its ease of rolling out. However, the cost of buying fondant is not appealing. So what is a girl to do? Obviously make her own.

If you are unfamiliar with fondant, or rolled fondant, is made from melted marshmallows and powdered sugar mostly. It is soft pliable material that is generally used to cover cakes and give that perfect smooth finish on the outside. The flavor on many popular brands on the shelf are not always the tastiest. HOMEMADE, however, tastes like you are eating a straight up marshmallow. Yeah, it’s pretty good.

The problem with homemade fondant is that is not as easy to roll out as those store bought boxes and can leave a baker pretty darn frustrated and vow never to make a cake again. If you have secrets to pure homemade fondant, please I am all ears :-)

The secret to it all? Adding some of the storebought fondant to give it that pliable consistency while maintaining that yummy marshmallow flavor. Ok, so maybe it’s not completely homemade but totally still D-I-Y! I found this fantastic little secret over at the Artisan Cake Company.  She even has a handy step by step video you can watch! Ok so let’s talk recipe. You will need the following:  a bag of powdered sugar, a bag of marshmallows, a 1/2 cup Crisco, and of course some storebought fondant.

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You want to the melt the marshmallows in a nice big bowl in the microwave. Do this for 40 seconds and stir. Then 30 more seconds and stir again. A-a-a-a-nd one more time (30 seconds, stir).

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So they look like this….

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Add a couple tablespoons of water to the marshmallows. This will help the marshmallows to easily release from the bowl. Now in your stand mixer with your dough hook attachment, add the marshmallows, shortening, and half of your powdered sugar to the bowl and begin mixing…

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Now you want to transfer your mixture to a bowl and add in the rest of your powdered sugar and the store bought fondant and knead until mostly incorporated. This is where you get your gym workout in for the day. Triceps beware! Pull fondant like taffy until it is stretchy and smooth.

The cost for this 4.5 lbs of fondant, about $8. My suggestion to cut the cost even more? Use a coupon! Store like Michael’s and A.C. Moore usually have a 50% off coupon available either on their website or (better yet) an app on your phone. You can use a coupon to cut the cost of the fondant you need to buy making this batch of fondant about $4-5. Now that’s a major steal. I used to buy 1.5 box of fondant for around $10!  So with a little elbow grease and some inexpensive ingredients you can whip up a batch of homemade fondant that is easy to roll and tasty and will make all of your cakes b-e-a-utiful!

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If you want the skinny, the 4-1-1, the lowdown on other kinds of fondant (homemade or store bought) here is another great post to check it out! Happy cake making people!

 

Flourless Fudge Cookies

 

A cookie with no flour, no butter, and les than a 100 calories each. Perfect for New Year’s Resolutions!

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Happy New Year everyone! Ok, I know what kind of person blogs about cookies a day after New Year’s? Now is the time for all those healthy desserts right? Or (eek, worse nightmare,ever) NO DESSERTS at all! I don’t know about you, but I can make all the New Year’s resolutions I want- Work out more! Lose 10 pounds! Get perfect abs and thighs (and insert any body part you want here)- but let’s face it. I am always going to need a cookie or something chocolate-y at the end of the day. I just can’t help myself. I am sure I am not alone right?

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Well, I tried to keep you all in mind with a cookie that won’t sabotage your best laid 2015 resolutions. This cookie believe it or not has no flour, no butter, and will only set you back about 90 calories. Yup, so you can have your resolutions and your cookie too. Now that’s a pretty good start to a New Year if you ask me.

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So let’s talk about this cookie a little more shall we as opposed to simply drooling over them. You can still drool while you read. I won’t judge. First of all, like I said this cookie is completely flourless. Now flourless is great for all those flour avoiders out there. It is also what makes this cookie extremely fudgy (hence putting fudge in the name). So you really will only need to eat just one to satisfy that craving (ok, two tops).

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As far as technique goes. Couple of important things. This cookie calls for melted chocolate. You can melt in the microwave. If you do, just make sure to melt in 30-second intervals so as not to burn the chocolate. Be sure to stir each time. Your chocolate look like it’s not melted, but give it a stir before nuking it another time. Chocolate chips will tend to keep their shape, so stirring is key!

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Second of all, you are using egg whites in this recipe. Not only does this keep the calories nice and low, it is essential in creating a fluffy meringue to which you will add your other ingredients. You want to whip your egg whites to soft peaks. If you’re not sure, lift the beater out of the egg whites. The peak should fall over immediately. For a good tutorial, you can read this article.

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After you have whipped up your egg whites, you can go ahead and the rest of your ingredients. Just make sure that chocolate you melted earlier has come to room temperature. If the chocolate is too hot you will simply deflate all your hard work with those egg whites.

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Once everything is incorporated you are ready to roll! I used a 1-inch cookie scoop to keep the portions perfect and small (remember these are supposed to be about 100 calories each!). Also you to want to roll each cookie ball in powdered sugar. That will provide not only a little extra sweetness but also that beautiful crinkly look when they bake. I suppose you could save yourself those few extra calories but I just love the way these cookies look when they come out of the oven. And we eat with our eyes first right?

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Last thing before I let you run to your kitchen to start whipping up a batch. Just keep an eye on these cookies. Every oven is different. Mine came out perfectly at 10 minutes. I suggest starting at 8 minutes and go from there. You definitely don’t want to overbake them.

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Ok so that’s it. A perfect fudgy little treat that won’t set you back this new year. My new year’s resolutions is focusing on the word NEW. New experiences and of course new recipes this year! So tell me, what is your new year’s resolutions this year?

Flourless Fudge Cookies
Yields 24
A flourless fudgy cookie that is less than a 100 calories for each cookie!
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Ingredients
  1. nonstick vegetable cooking spray
  2. 1 bittersweet chocolate chips (about 6 ounces)
  3. 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  4. 2 cups powdered sugar, divided (can also use granulated sugar, I used powdered)
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  9. additional powdered sugar for rolling
Instructions
  1. 1.Preheat oven to 400°F Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
  2. 2. Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme.
  3. 3. Whisk in your second cup of sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).
  4. 4. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball (can coat in additional sugar if you want).
  5. 5.Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 8-10 minutes (don't overbake!). Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.
Adapted from Food.Com
Adapted from Food.Com
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

Classic Rice Krispie Treats

A classic treat made festive for the holidays. This might be the perfect version of the childhood dessert.

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Merry Christmas Eve! It’s been a long time since I have had a rice krispie treat. And probably longer when I have had a GOOD rice krispie treat. You know the kind where they are too tough, not enough marshmallow, just eh.

It seemed when the craving hit, the universe was just egging me on or maybe it was teasing me? I’m not sure. It seemed once the craving hit, no joke rice krispie treats were everywhere..Pinterest…TV…Ok maybe not everywhere but after one two many pins and commercials I had to make some myself.

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Rice Krispie treats are simple right? Melt butter. Add marshmallows. Melt those. Stir in rice krispie treats (do this off the heat please!). Spread into the pan. Here is a little trick for you: spray a piece of saran wrap and use that to press down the treats! And you are done. It has to be one of those fastest and most satisfying desserts.

Here a couple things to make yours even better. First, reserve two cups of miniature marshmallows to stir in the end. That way you get all the ooey gooeyness you want but then by saving some to the end you end with some marshmallows not completely melted. When you finally bite into a treat, you get pockets of marshmallows. Ugh, heaven.

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Use a smaller pan. Seriously. Whether its a 8 x 11, or 9 x 9, or 8 x 8 but the smaller you go the thicker they will be, and there is nothing wrong with that!

The original recipe (you know the one I’m talking about) calls for 3 tablespoons butter. I decided what’s better than butter and more of it? So yup these aren’t your diet friendly rice krispie treats whatsoever. Oh well, it’s the holidays right? Diet resolutions come later!

And if you are looking for something to adorn those cookie platters, then look no further. This treat is easy, gluten free for all those that can’t eat wheat, and always a crowd pleaser.

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I hope I woke up your craving. Mine has been subsided. Well for now. Now that I have gotten the classic down. I can’t wait to start mixing it up.  Do you have any fun ways that you play up this classic recipe? Please share!

Classic Rice Krispie Treats
A perfect version of the classic rice krispie treat!
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Ingredients
  1. 6 Tbs. butter
  2. 6 cups rice krispies
  3. 10 cups marshmallows, divided
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. 1. Lightly spray your pan (I used a 8x11 pan, definitely go smaller not larger if you do) or line with with aluminum foil. Melt butter in a very large (trust me on this) pot on low heat.
  2. 2. When butter is melted, add in 8 cups of marshmallows. Stir until melted.
  3. 3. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 2 cups marshmallows and rice krispie treats. Stir in sprinkles if you so choose.
  4. 4. Spread in pan (use a piece of saran wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray) and press into the pan.
  5. 5. Let sit for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long!) Cut into squares and enjoy.
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

 

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

A perfect cut-out sugar cookie that holds it shape after baking! Decorate with royal icing for a real stand out cookie this holiday season!

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Tis the season for all things cookie related! Bring on the powdered sugar and butter in mass quantities. And amidst all the cookie swap recipes out there, the one that stands alone time and time again. The classic cut-out sugar cookie. Every self respected cookie platter has a sugar cookie adorning it in some cute shape.

I brought these to a holiday part, a “Christmaka” to be exact, last Saturday and decided to flex my cookie and decorating muscles. I have to admit I have never decorated cookies in royal icing. The whole two step icing process has always sounded so daunting to me.

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If you have never worked with royal icing let me give you the low down on this sugary concoction. Royal icing is an icing made with either egg whites or meringue powder. I prefer meringue powder, because its easier to keep a container of this your pantry. Meringue powder is combined with a lot of powdered sugar, and water. That’s it. It’s then whipped up to very stiff peaks. It is a very stable icing that can then be thinned to your desired consistency to decorate with.

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There are three typical consistencies. Until recently I knew of only two. The very thick consistency is called outline icing and is used (as you might have guessed) to outline the cookie. Then you thin the icing even more to a flood icing. This is a very thin consistency to fill in the outline. Here’s my issue with that. So in order to have beautifully decorated cookies, I have to separate my icing into small bowls. Color it. Fill into bags. Outline. Let it dry. Then thin the icing one more time. Fill MORE bags. And fill the cookies. Hello, you lost me after Outline. So what’s a girl to do when she wants cookies that people will ooh and ahh over?

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Enter 20 second icing. This stuff will totally transform you. It will make you get back in the kitchen and break out your mixer to whip up some royal icing and cookies this instant. What is 20 second icing? This icing is somewhere in the middle of the first two icings on consistency. And the best part? No outlining. No drying in between. No second bag filling. It’s all done in one step. That’s it! If you want a more detailed tutorial, then you need to the visit the source herself, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. Now I have no idea if I got the “20 seconds” down or not, I tried timing it on my phone and it seemed to come close. It may have been more like 15 or 18 but for me it worked. It had the consistency of honey, and stayed on my cookie when piped. Perfect for me!

Ok, we can’t forget about the cookies. These are a great easy cookie that has a great almond flavor and an almost shortbread like texture. I love almond extract. If you can’t have it or worried about nut allergies, you could always just use extra vanilla extract.

A couple things to remember when working with cookie dough. You want your ingredients at room temperature when you start, but then the dough needs time to chill before you start rolling it out.

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Chilling is a must. When you are rolling out and cutting out your cookies. You can always pop the whole cookie sheet back in the fridge for a few minutes before popping them in the oven.

Be careful not to let these cookies brown. Ten minutes worked like magic for me, but hey your oven is not mine. Start with 8 minutes and go from there. I like to have my cookie slightly browned on the bottom and then just a hint on the sides. Watch it carefully. Sugar cookies can go quickly from perfect to overbaked before you know it.

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So this holiday season impress everyone with these easy to ice sugar cookies and never fear royal icing again!

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
A cut-out sugar cookie that holds it shape while baking, decorated in easy decorate with royal icing!
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For the cookies
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 egg, beaten
  4. 1 ½ tsp. almond extract
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla
  6. 1 tsp. salt
  7. 2 ½ cups sifted flour
For the royal icing
  1. 2 pounds {one bag} confectioner's sugar {907 grams}
  2. 5 tablespoons meringue powder {approximately 53 grams}
  3. 2-3 teaspoons oil-free extract or emulsion
  4. 1/2-3/4 cups warm water
Instructions
  1. Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~40 cookies.
  2. For the royal icing, begin by stirring the flavoring into half the water. Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder. It's not necessary to sift the sugar beforehand, but you can if you like. With the mixer on it's lowest setting slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy. Continue to add the remaining water {this may or may not be the entire amount} until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. At this point, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is this enough to form a soft peak. To thin for 20-second icing, sprinkle or even better, use a spray bottle and add enough water to thin the icing so that when a spatula is run through it, the gap left behind disappears in 20 seconds.
Notes
  1. Here is a great tip: Don't feel like making all these cookies at once? Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for later. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap and then put in a large Ziploc bag. When I was ready to make more, I simply pulled it out the freezer and let it defrost on the counter for a few hours.
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

Eggless Pumpkin Pie

A perfect pumpkin pie that is made without eggs! Enjoy!
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Now, I hate to admit this but pumpkin pie? Eh, not a fan. I tend to skip right over it on the dessert table every year. I tried to skip it over completely by not even making one. But I got a few very loud grumbles from some family members. So this pie was literally made the day after Thanksgiving as an “I’m sorry, forgive me, I will never forget to make a pumpkin pie again”.

Now, because this pie was made the day AFTER. There were NO EGGS to be found. And that is even more ironic, because my grandmother owns chickens and eggs are aplenty, trust me. Did I mention I grew up in the middle of NOWHERE? Anyways, no eggs? No problem.

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No eggs, means the pie still needed some sort of something to bring it all together. What did I use? Cornstarch of course! And some condensed milk. That’s it. Throw in some pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract and voila! That’s it. Whisk that all together and call it a day.

Ok well you got to bake it first. But then you’re done. And I have to admit something. This pie? I ate a whole slice myself, no passing this time for me. What about the rest of pie, you ask? My family gladly accepted my a”pie”ology (sorry, I just had to) and gobbled it up.
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Eggless Pumpkin Pie
Yields 1
A delicious pumpkin pie made without any eggs!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 storebought or homemade 9-inch unbaked pie shell
  2. 1 15-ounce can of condensed milk
  3. 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  4. 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your crust into your pie shell. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, puree, cornstarch, spice, and extract. Whisk to combine until smooth. Pour into the prepared pie shell. Bake for 50-60 minutes until pie appears firm. Chill for several hours or overnight (if you can last that long).
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

World’s Best Dinner Rolls

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Now I know that’s quite the statement to make. World’s. BEST. Ok, no I haven’t tried them all, I’m working on it. Trust me. But so far, with the ones I have tried and made over the years, these are by the far the best and most consistent, and yes, even (dare I say) and easy yeasted roll.

They were so good in fact, my sister in law the day after Thanksgiving said, “Yea I think you need to make more rolls”. That’s how good they were.

A couple things about this recipe (especially if you have never worked with yeast before!)

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_MG_8425-31) You need to PROOF your yeast. Don’t be nervous, it’s easy. Yeast is a living thing! So be gentle with it. Use lukewarm water ONLY (about 105-115 degrees) when dissolving it. Too hot and you will the yeast. Too cold and the yeast will never be activated (in other words no bubbles!), And make sure the milk mixture is also cooled completely before adding it or you will have destroyed all your hard work!

2) If after 10 minutes, you don’t see any bubbles, start over. Seriously. I wish I could have those hours back when I kept chugging along, thinking it will be fine I bet this bread will turn out ok. No bubbles. No bother. Save yourself some time and start over. Trust me.

3) Lastly, and this is the best part of these. There is no kneading required. Yup, so easy. The dough will go through two rises, so there isn’t any need for knead!

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These rolls made two dozen, beautifully fluffy melt in your mouth rolls. All they need (and honestly I ate a few without) a pat of butter to melt all over them. I slathered on some cinnamon butter to send these over the edge. These are dangerously good. Break out your stretchy pants for these ones, folks, you’re going to need them!

World's Best Dinner Rolls
Yields 24
World's Best Dinner Rolls
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Whole Milk (you could also use 2%, but whole is best)
  2. 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sugar, divided
  3. 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tablespoons) Butter
  4. 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  5. 2 packages Active Dry Yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  6. 2/3 cup Warm Water (105-115 degrees)
  7. 8 cups All-Purpose Flour
  8. 3 Eggs, beaten
Instructions
  1. 1.Combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm. (This step is important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.)
  2. 2.While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. (after the 10 minutes, the yeast should be very bubbly and foamy)
  3. 3.In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add in beaten eggs. Then stir in remaining 5 cups of flour to make a soft dough.
  4. 4.*NOTE- The dough will be very soft and coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still be sticky. Don’t worry about this. It will firm up a little during the rising process*
  5. 5.Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 hour.
  6. 6.Punch down dough, and turn dough onto a lightly floured clean surface. Divide in half. Spray two 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray.
  7. 7.Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut into 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then place in prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan. Cover pans with clean kitchen towels, and let rise 30-45 minutes.
  8. 8.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  9. 9.When done baking, remove rolls from oven and then rub a stick of cold butter all over the tops!
Adapted from Life in The Lofthouse, adapted from Our Best Bites
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/