Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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I feel that you should know this about me-I hate lemon extract. I think it has an alcohol-flavor to it, and when added to baked goods, it pretty much makes them taste artificial. OK, so now that’s out of the way we can get on to today’s recipe. Earlier this summer I was whipping up an assortment of cookies to bring to a party. I was making these awesome funfetti cookies from Avery Cooks, and these to die for chocolate sugar cookies from Handmade Charlotte.

I was thinking to myself that I needed a third cookie to round out my cookie tray and since it was the start of the summer I thought, a fruit flavor would be ideal. After taking stock of what I already had in the kitchen I decided to pair my lemons with some white chocolate chips that had been sitting in my baking pantry. I used the funfetti cookie recipe as my base and the recipe below is the result. They were such a big hit at the party that I decided to make them again and bring them to another get together. Throughout the summer whenever I needed to bring a dish to share or a dessert I made these lemon cookies, and every time they were a crowd-pleaser. After making them a few times I am finally ready to share this recipe with you.

Now, this is not the easiest cookie recipe you’ll ever make, but follow the instructions closely and the result will be a fluffy cookie with a cake-like texture packed with a fresh lemon flavor.

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Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • zest from 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter and lemon zest on a low speed for 1 minute to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugar and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly.  Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

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Reduce the speed to low and add the lemon juice, mix to combine. Next, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the white chocolate chips and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.

Fair warning to all; this dough is quite sticky but do not worry. This next step is a bit messy, that’s part of the fun, right?

Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls (this is an approximate measurement, above all else try to keep the dough in uniform size so they bake evenly and don’t let them get too big), and flatten slightly on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step!).

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While the cookies are chillin’ like villains in the fridge, let’s talk about baking cookies. I’m going to confess to you that cookies are not my strong point, and it took a lot (seriously, A LOT) of practice to get these just right. As one of my bosses used to say, cookies are just a touch thing. Meaning, it takes practice to know when to take them out of the oven at just the right time. These cookies are cakey, and soft. When you take them out of the oven, they are going to look raw to you. BUT trust me, and trust your baking instincts. The edges of the cookies should look set. The center of the cookies will look under cooked, aka pale and glossy. However, this is OK. You do not want the cookies to become very brown on the bottom. The cookies will firm up while they cool.

Here is what my cookies look like when I pull them out of the oven:

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Now on to my next point, not all ovens are created equal. I’m sure you know this but, baking times vary depending on both the size of your cookie and your oven. The suggested baking time works for my oven, so I recommend starting there, but you have the description above of what they should look like so use your judgement, if they need another minute or 2.

OK, back to the cookies. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cookies out on lined baking sheets (do not skip this either, you should either be using parchment paper or a silicon baking mat), and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through the baking time.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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If you like this cookie recipe, stay tuned, I’ve got another cookie recipe coming in a few weeks as well as some great dishes to kick of the fall season with! To make sure you don’t miss these posts, be sure to subscribe and become a Reckless Subscriber!

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Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • zest from 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter and lemon zest on a low speed for 1 minute to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugar and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly.  Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and add the lemon juice, mix to combine. Next, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the white chocolate chips and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.

Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls (this is an approximate measurement, above all else try to keep the dough in uniform size so they bake evenly and don’t let them get too big), and flatten slightly on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step!).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cookies out on lined baking sheets (do not skip this either, you should either be using parchment paper or a silicon baking mat), and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

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This coffee cake rocks, and I am so pleased to be sharing it with you! It is moist, rich, and everything I have been looking for in a coffee cake. For this recipe I’ve selected peaches and raspberries, but feel free to sub in any frozen fruit combination you like.

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients for the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. I suggest leaving the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven. This is because thawed or slightly thawed fruit will add more moisture (more than desired) into the batter, whereas when the fruit is still frozen the moisture steams and cooks off.*

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture.

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Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a spring-form cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

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Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

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Slice the cake into wedges and enjoy!

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

Adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients:

For the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. leave the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven.

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture. Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a springform cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

 

Skip the Chalky Conversation Hearts This Year

It’s true, I’m not really that into Valentine’s Day. It’s too over the top, too pink, and in general, just too much. However, Valentine’s Day happens to be a great excuse to bake adorable treats and share them with friends. Which, coincidentally, is something I really enjoy doing.

So this year, as I’ve done in the past, I’m skipping the paper valentines and cards, I’m skipping the candy and chocolate from the stores, and I’m making something tasty and sharing it with friends. How better to show my love than to share these tasty treats? With this spirit in mind, I’ve got two lovely desserts that I will be sharing with you. The first, are these adorable sugar cookie sandwiches with a brown sugar icing. The second will be a post on poached pears, which will be up next week.

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These are so much fun to make. Below is my go-to sugar cookie recipe but feel free to use any you like. I’ve paired it with this absolutely heavenly brown sugar icing, but any kind of frosting or your favorite jam will do. So, let me ask you, do you like sugar cookies? Do you like icing that tastes of marshmallows? Oh, you do? Then these cookie sandwiches are for you! Forget the sweets at the store, homemade goodies that come from the heart are always better.

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My Favorite Sugar Cookie

Slightly adapted from Bake at 350

Ingredients:

  • 14.5 oz (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small mixing bowl and set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer cream the butter and the sugar together until well incorporated and fluffy. Add the eggs and extracts into the mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a medium speed until well combined.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together. The dough might be a bit crumbly, but it will come together after some kneading by hand.

Now for the fun part! On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/8 in thick. I roll these pretty thin since they are to become cookie sandwiches. Use any cookie cutter you like. I wanted something with fun edges so I decided to use these mini tart pans I got from my Nana. I liked the frilly edges, the variety of shape, and they are the perfect size.

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Arrange the dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Cut out a heart (or any other shape) to create a window in half of the cookies. These will be the tops of the sandwiches. Place the cookies sheets in the refrigerator and let them chill for 10-15 minutes. This will help the cookies keep their shape when they are baking.

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While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes. Bake the mini hearts from the center of the cookies for 6 minutes.Allow them to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack for cooling.

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While the cookies cool, make the frosting you would like in the center of the sandwiches. I made a small batch of this brown sugar icing. It is fluffy and delightful and I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while, and now seemed like a good time to do so. You can use any frosting you like for the center of the cookie sandwiches, you don’t even have to use frosting at all. Jam is beautiful and tasty in between these cookies.

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After the cookie have cooled completely and your frosting is ready, it’s time to assemble the cookies. Separate the cookies onto two baking sheets or trays, placing the cookies without a cutout in the center on one tray and the other half of the cookies on the other tray. The cookies that are the bottom of the sandwich get a dollop of frosting (or jam). The cookies that are going to be on top get dusted with powdered sugar.

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Now assemble the cookies. Sprinkles optional.

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I love how dainty these cookies look, like they should be enjoyed while sipping on a hot cup of tea and discussing literature with a British gentleman who wears a monocle. Too much? Just enough.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoy these adorable cookies. Make them, share them with those you love (and/or you choose to tolerate but it would rude not to include).

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P.S. look at how adorable these little heart cut outs are? I could eat, like 20 of these!

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My Favorite Sugar Cookie

Slightly adapted from Bake at 350

Ingredients:

  • 14.5 oz (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small mixing bowl and set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer cream the butter and the sugar together until well incorporated and fluffy. Add the eggs and extracts into the mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a medium speed until well combined.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together. The dough might be a bit crumbly, but it will come together after some kneading by hand.

On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/8 in thick. I roll these pretty thin since they are to become cookie sandwiches. Use any cookie cutter you like.

Arrange the dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Cut out a heart (or any other shape) to create a window in half of the cookies. These will be the tops of the sandwiches. Place the cookies sheets in the refrigerator and let them chill for 10-15 minutes. This will help the cookies keep their shape when they are baking.

While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes. Bake the mini hearts from the center of the cookies for 6 minutes. Allow them to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack for cooling.

After the cookie have cooled completely assemble the cookie sandwiches; spread brown sugar frosting or jam between two cookies and top with powdered sugar.

 

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Brown Sugar Frosting

From I Wash You Dry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix brown sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil. (Be careful, as it will rise, so make sure the sides of your pan are taller). Let it boil at medium to medium high until the syrup drops like a hair from spoon (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from burner and set aside.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites until stiff.

SLOWLY pour the hot syrup in a THIN stream into egg whites, beating constantly. Beat until icing holds peaks, then blend in vanilla.

Let cool to room temp, then store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

 

 

DIY Christmas Gifts Ideas: Part II

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Welcome to Part II of my DIY Christmas gift series. This is where I test out DIY Christmas gift ideas I would like to give this year and decide if the results are worthy of becoming Christmas presents.

In part I of this series I wrote about these simple and delicious cheddar cheese crackers. Check out the recipe here.

This week I’m going to test out a recipe I saw in the December issue of Cooking Light. I’m usually a big fan of this cooking magazine and I have to say this month’s issue is full of really great recipes. The recipe I’m going to show you is Intense Fruit Gelees (pronounced jellies). They are easy, delicious, and so very pretty!

Before I jump into this, a huge thanks to my mom and my sister, who not only helped me with making the gelees, but also agreed to be hand models for the post. Who knew, it was easier to take action shots when the one taking the pictures isn’t doing the action?

Intense Fruit Gelees

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine (click here to view the original recipe)

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Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup fruit concentrate*
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1 (3-ounce) package liquid fruit pectin (such as Certo)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

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*A note on the fruit concentrate; Cooking Light suggested flavors such as tangerine, lemon, and pomegranate. They also recommended ordering some the puree or concentrate from www.perfectpuree.com. I used  grape juice concentrate and I think they turned out fabulous, and very rich in flavor. I am looking forward to experimenting with more flavors.

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After the ingredients have been gathered and the flavor of the gelee has been selected it’s time to prep the pan. Grab a loaf pan and line it with plastic wrap. Spray the plastic wrap with cooking spray.

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Next combine 1 1/4 cup sugar with the fruit concentrate, applesauce, and corn syrup in a large saucepan.

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Bring the mixture to a boil, then cook for 10 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer the temperature you’re looking for is 224 degrees F).

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After cooking the mixture for 10 minutes add the liquid pectin, bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute stirring often.

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Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the lemon juice.

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Give it a stir.

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Then pour it into the prepared loaf pan.

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Tertius wants to know what’s going on up there and if he can have some.

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Let the mixture cool and then cover and let it sit overnight in room temperature. In the morning you have a delicious, gelatinous, fruity treat. Does that sound unappetizing? I promise these taste amazing, or as my sister put it; “It’s like a mini grape pie in my mouth.”

Now that the mixture is solidified, let’s cut them up!

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First, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on the top of the gelee.

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Next, tip your loaf pan upside down, the gelee will flop right out. Get rid of the plastic wrap. Then start slicing up the gelee. My sister recommends starting in the middle, then cutting in the middle of that half, followed by cutting down the middle of the two sections and so forth. Can ya’ dig it?

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They look pretty already!

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Next put the remaining sugar in a small bowl and slice the columns of gelees into cubes and toss into the sugar to evenly coat them. I suggest keeping the cubes on the small side, these are sweet, rich candies.

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The verdict: these rock! They are absolutely scrumptious and I will definitely be giving out little boxes of these as gifts this year.

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If you enjoyed reading this post be sure to subscribe to Reckless in the Kitchen and never miss a delicious post!

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Intense Fruit Gelees

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup fruit concentrate*
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1 (3-ounce) package liquid fruit pectin (such as Certo)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and spray with cooking spray. Next, combine 1 1/4 cup sugar with the fruit concentrate, apple sauce, and corn syrup in a large saucepan.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cook for 10 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer the temperature you’re looking for is 224 degrees F).

After cooking the mixture for 10 minutes add the liquid pectin, bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute stirring often. Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. Give it a stir. Then pour it into the prepared loaf pan.

Let the mixture cool and then cover and let it sit overnight at room temperature.

To de-mold and cut up; first, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on the top of the gelee. Put the remaining sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Next, tip your loaf pan upside down, the gelee will flop right out. Get rid of the plastic wrap. Then start slicing up the gelee into cubes. I suggest keeping the cubes on the small side, these are sweet, rich candies.

Toss the gelee cubes into the sugar to evenly coat them.

 

It’s a Lovely Day for a Guinness

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Happy 3-days-’till-St. Patty’s-Day everyone! In celebration of this upcoming holiday I’m sharing my recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes.

This is a recipe I developed last spring when I was getting ready for Cupcake Camp Boston. The cupcakes were a big hit at the event and my co-workers enjoyed testing out the cupcakes as I worked on the recipe.

However, before I get started on this recipe, I want to take a second to talk about my mixer. The stand mixer that I had been using for the last few years died on me a couple of weeks ago. One of my roommates was using it to make pizza dough and it just stopped working and never turned back on. But do not frett, I have a back-up mixer! And no harm came to said roommate, because honestly, I knew the mixer was on it’s way out.

Behold my new-old Sunbeam mixer!

Ah yes, gaze upon it’s retro-lovlieness, it’s creamy avacado color. And check this out, the different mixing levels are labeled.

I got this fabulous new-old mixer from Mary, one of my coworkers from Pearson. Aside from my parents I believe Mary to be my # 1 fan. Thanks again, Mary for this fantastic mixer, I am so happy to have it!

Ok, onwards to the delicious Guinness cupcakes. This is pretty simple recipe, and yields 28 tasty, moist cupcakes. Here’s what you’ll need;

  • 1 bottle of Guinness (12 oz)-room temperature
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 c sour cream

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and preparing cupcake pans with liners. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool slightly. The butter should be melted completely, but not piping hot. Next, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the Guinness, melted butter, and vanilla extract.

Next add the eggs one at a time.

After the eggs, add the sour cream to the mixture, and mix until the ingriendents are thouroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Finally, add the dry ingredients to the batter 1/3 at a time.

Pour the batter into the lined cup pans and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans and bake for another 10-12 minutes. The cupcakes are finished when they are slightly risen and domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. I suggest using your favorite vanilla buttercream or a whipped cream frosting. And enjoy with a tall glass of Guinness. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

If you enjoyed reading this post, be sure to subscribe to Reckless in The Kitchen and so you never miss out on a delicious post!

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Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of Guinness (12 oz)-room temperature
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 c sour cream

Directions:

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and preparing cupcake pans with liners. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool slightly. The butter should be melted completely, but not piping hot.

Next, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the Guinness, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Next add the eggs one at a time and mix to combine.

After the eggs, add the sour cream to the mixture, and mix until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Finally, add the dry ingredients to the batter 1/3 at a time.

Pour the batter into the lined cup pans and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans and bake for another 10-12 minutes. The cupcakes are finished when they are slightly risen and domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an Elegant Champagne Cake

*This article was originally posted on www.Somerville.Patch.com*

This cake is light and fluffy and infused with a rich champagne flavor

This elegant white cake has both an excellent flavor a light, fluffy texture—a perfect dessert to make for your Valentine. Though much champagne doesn’t go into making the cake, without any other flavors present it retains a lovely champagne flavor. The flavor is greatly effected by the kind of champagne selected. I recommend a sweet Moscato sparkling wine.

On the scale of cake textures, heavy cakes such as pound cake being on one end and super light, fluffy cakes such as angel food cake being on the opposite end, this cake falls towards the lighter end of the texture spectrum. This cake falls into the category of chiffon cakes, which are not quite as light as angel food cakes, but still very light in texture. What qualifies this cake as a chiffon cake is that the last step for making this cake is folding the batter into beaten egg whites.

The key to success with this cake is retaining as much air as possible during the mixing process. After adding the champagne to the batter, do not over mix; mix until all ingredients are just combined. This recipe also calls for sifting the dry ingredients onto a sheet of wax paper. This way, when it’s time to add the dry ingredients they can be added by simply picking up the piece of wax paper and pouring it into the bowl, rather than compressing the ingredients into a measuring cup.

The last step to this cake, which creates a light, fluffy texture, is gently folding whipped-up egg whites into the batter. When separating the eggs, be careful not to get any of the yolk into the whites. If there is any yolk present, the whites will not whip up because they will not whip up with the presence of any fat. Also, be sure to beat the egg whites in a metal mixing bowl, and when combining the egg whites with the batter, be sure to use a spatula to fold them in, rather than stirring them in with a spoon or whisk.

If you are feeling particularly caught up in the spirit of Valentine’s day add a few drops of red food coloring to the cake batter to create a soft pink hue to the cake.

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Champagne Cake
Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup champagne (or sparkling wine of your choice)

6 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350 and generously grease an angel food cake pan or a bunt cake pan. Next, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of wax paper and set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the butter on medium speed until the butter lightens in color and becomes slightly fluffy. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until combined and the mixture has increased in volume by one third.

Lifting up the sheet of wax paper, pour one third of the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture and combine on a low speed with the mixer. Next, pour in half of the champagne. Continue to alternate between the dry ingredients on the wax paper and the champagne until combined. Be careful not to over-mix. Set the mixture aside.

In a separate metal mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand or stand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold one third of the stiff egg whites into the cake batter. Once combined, continue to fold in the egg whites in one third at a time. Be careful to use a folding technique so that the cake retains a light and fluffy texture when baked, do not stir in with a spoon or whisk.

Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. The top of the cake will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean when the cake is finished. After the cake has finished baking, invert the pan on a sturdy glass. If you do not invert the cake during the cooling process the cake with “fall” or become condensed, rather than airy and fluffy.

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One Step Italian Meringue Frosting
Ingredients

3 egg whites, at room temperature

1 cup, plus 2 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp cold water

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

In a medium sized saucepan, bring 3 inches of water to a gentle simmer. Combine all the ingredients in a large metal bowl. Place the bowl over the saucepan and using a hand mixer, beat together the ingredients on a low speed for 5 minutes.

Increase the speed to high and beat for 4 more minutes, or until the mixture has become very thick and shiny. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat for an additional 4 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Once the champagne cake has cooled completely, remove from the cake pan and frost with the meringue. Serve immediately.

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