Monday, November 26, 2012

Mayan Chocolate Brownies

As mentioned in my previous post, I also made brownies for my sister's wedding. The brownies I made for that were this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. These brownies are wonderful and have been made multiple times at my house.

A wonderful variation on those brownies is giving them a Mayan spin. To have something considered "Mayan" chocolate it includes an addition of spices like cayan pepper and chili powder.


The added spices give these brownies an awesome new taste with just a little hint of heat. I am a big fan of them. 

Recipe:
Yield: 16 brownies

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp red pepper
1 tsp chili powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or foil and coat it with cooking spray. 

In a heat proof bowl over simmering water melt the chopped chocolate with the butter until completely melted. Stir in the sugar and then the eggs one at a time. Then stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour, red pepper, and chili powder. Stir it in until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes

My sister got married a week ago today. I was lucky enough to have her let me make a lot of her reception goodies. I made upwards of 400 cupcakes, a mixture of coconut and chocolate cupcakes. In addition to that, I made about 150 brownies. While that can sound (and indeed the required ingredients pictured below make it look) overwhelming, I was actually excited about it and enjoyed the process. Maybe one day I can make cupcakes for people for real. 


The receptions were truly beautiful and everything went very well as far as I could tell.


In addition to my baked goods, there were cream puffs, Brazilian pudding cups, M&Ms, oreo balls, and cake balls. 


And now to the Coconut Cupcakes. I think these were by far the favorite. Every one raved about these. I made a trial run a few weeks before and got rave reviews then too. Family, coworkers, friends, and people I have never met before told me how much they loved these. They were referred to as "crack cupcakes" by more than one person.


Here are a couple pictures from the trial run. Complete with halloween cupcake wrappers. 



Make these cupcakes and make them soon. Everyone will love and thank you.

Recipe:
Yield: about 75 mini cupcakes (I have yet to make them normal size - mini ones are so much better in my opinion! I'm guessing you would get around 20-25 normal sized cupcakes.)

Cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 egg whites
1 tsp coconut extract
1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

Frosting:
10 oz cream cheese
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 tsp coconut extract

Shredded Coconut for toasting and topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.

To make the cupcakes:
In a medium bowl combine the flour, powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the butter, coconut oil, and sugar and mix until light and fluffy. By hand or low speed on a mixer, add 1/4 cup of coconut milk and coconut extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 cup of coconut milk, add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the coconut milk, and then the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until well combined, but do not overmix.

Put all of the egg whites in a clean bowl and whip until soft peaks (the eggs don't quite hold their form when the beater is mixed) form. Fold half of the egg whites into the batter. When the first half is blended in, add the second half and gently fold in until well mixed. Fold in the shredded coconut. 

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake cups and bake for 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes, 20-22 minutes for normal sized cupcakes. 

To make the frosting:
Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat together until smooth until light and fluffy. Add in the cream cheese 1/2 cup at a time. Add the coconut extract and mix until well combined. 

Try not to eat all the frosting before frosting your cupcakes and enjoy!

Toast the coconut on a frying pan on low on the stove until it lightly browns. Be careful because it can burn very quickly so don't walk away while it is toasting (I speak from looooots of experience here, trust me). Sprinkle on top of frosted cupcakes. 

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats and Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking

Baked Chicken Nuggets

One of my downfalls in life is McDonald's Chicken Nuggets. For some strange reason, I love them. When I found a recipe (which my husband actually found) that tasted similar and even better I was stoked. I have already made these multiple times. They are also easily frozen and eaten when in a pinch. Great news. 


Recipe:

3 cups corn flakes
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of pepper
1 lb boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the chicken into nugget sized pieces. Put the corn flakes in a food processor and process until crumbs are formed. Add Parmesan cheese, salt, onion and garlic powder, and pepper. Pulse until combined (this could also be done in a large Ziploc bag if a food processor is not available). 

Put the eggs in a small bowl and whisk together. Put the flour in another small bowl. Dip pieces of chicken in the flour, then the eggs, and finally the corn flake mixture*. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes until done. 

*Chicken nuggets can be frozen at this point. Still place on an baking sheet or plate and freeze for 30 minutes before putting in a freezer safe container. 

Source: adapted from Six Sister's Stuff