Monday, September 24, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to make a cupcake for someone that adores chocolate chip cookies. I did what I always do when I'm looking for inspiration and Googled it. I was shocked at how many recipes there were out there for cupcakes filled with chocolate chip cookie dough. Where have I been? Somehow I had missed this one! Anyway I made these for the birthday girl's party and have been getting requests to make these cupcakes ever since. 
They really are fantastic. The cupcake is very good and has a hidden surprise of cookie dough baked into the center. But the frosting...ooh my goodness the frosting!! It's what knocks this cupcake out of the park. It tastes just like chocolate chip cookie dough. I couldn't believe it when I first tasted it. I could just sit and eat it with a spoon, but I didn't do that. I used it frost the cupcakes. Well okay maybe, I might have snuck a couple of spoonfuls when no one was looking...maybe that happened...then possibly I licked the bowl...and the paddle attachment...
Anyway the combo of cupcake, cookie dough, and frosting make this a chocolate cookie dough lovers dream! 
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
source: Kevin and Amanda, slightly adapted
yield: about 2 doz

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1-12ounce bag chocolate chips (2 cups)
3 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the cookie dough:
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, at medium-low speed, mix the butter with the sugar and brown sugar. Raise the speed to medium-high and mix until creamy, light, and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and eggs. Mix together until incorporated.
Add half of the four mixture. Mix until just combined, scrape down the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a small ice cream/melon baller, scoop, shape the dough into balls. Freeze on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. 
To make the mini cookie topper:
Use the leftover cookie dough to make mini cookie toppers for the cupcakes. Spread all the leftover dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Try to spread it fairly evenly. Bake until the cookie is lightly browned, do not over cook. Let cool about a minute. While the cookie is still warm cut out mini cookies using a the end of a large piping tip or a mini round cutter. Do this before the cookie cools down too much or you may not be able to cut the mini cookies out.

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. The bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add it into the batter in thirds. Mix each addition just until incorporated.
Fill the prepared cupcake liners 2/3 full with the cupcake batter. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.
Bake at 350 for 16-20 mins.

To make the frosting:
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add in the salt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost, sprinkle with mini chips and top with a mini chocolate chip cookie.
If you like eating cookie dough straight from the bowl, then this is your cupcake!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Lately I've come across several recipes for pull-apart breads. I've had several recipes bookmarked and have been meaning to make a loaf but always seem to put it off. There was a picture for this cinnamon apple pull-apart bread in the King Arthur Flour catalog that came in the mail yesterday. It was the first one I've seen that had apples in it and I had to have it. Now! 
I'm not sure what I really need to say about this pull apart bread. Just look at it! It speaks for itself...and it's saying "you know you want me!" There are several steps involved in making the bread but it's completely worth the extra effort. Seriously what's not to like about apples, cinnamon, and pecans, baked up into sweet dough? All that's missing is a cup of coffee.

Cinnamon Apple Pull Apart Bread
Yield: 1 loaf, about 12 to 15 servings. 

For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium apples (about 2 cups), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

For the dough:
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
mix both ingredients together in a small bowl. Add more milk if necessary to get desired consistency. I like it to be the consistency of a thick syrup.

To make the dough:
Whisk together the butter, milk, water, eggs, and vanilla extract.
In the bowl mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast, then add the wet ingredients. Using the dough hook attachment mix and knead, until the dough is smooth. The dough will be quite soft. If it seems too dry add a little water, if it seems too sticky add just a little flour, up to a 1/4 cup.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased surface.*  Roll the dough into a 12" x 20" rectangle.
Stir the vanilla into the melted butter. Spread the butter mixture over the entire top on the dough, Use a pastry brush to get the butter even spread over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top, using your hand to spread it evenly over the butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over the dough. Add the apples, on top of the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on the nuts, if using.
Cut the dough crosswise into six 3 1/2" x 12" strips. Stack the strips on top of one another. Cut the stack into six pieces, about 2" x 3 1/2" each. This part is a little messy but it doesn't have to be perfect.
Turn the pieces on edge, and place them in the loaf pan one in front of the other from one end of the pan to the other, squeezing them in tight. I sprinkled any nuts or apples that had fallen off over the top of the dough after I put it into the pan.
Cover the pan and allow the loaf to rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until it's almost doubled in size. While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the loaf for 45 to 55 minutes in the center of the oven, tenting it with foil after 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before turning it out of the pan to cool completely.
While still slightly warm, spoon the glaze over the top of the bread.
Roll the dough into a 20"x 12" rectangle 
Add the filling
Slice crosswise into six even pieces
Stack the pieces on top of one another.
Slice the stack into six pieces.
Turn the pieces on their side and put them into the bread pan.
*Notes: I lightly sprayed a non-stick mat with cooking spray.
I kind of diced up my apples but after making the bread, I think sliced apples would be easier to keep on the pieces of dough as you stack them. (Which is what the recipe stated but I like to do things my aka the hard way!)
The long pieces are hard to move on top of one another. I kind of rolled the ends of each slice inward toward the center to make them easier to pick up to move. I had to spread the nuts and apples back into place but it made it easier for me to get the pieces stacked. Don't freak out if your apples and nuts fall off (they will!) just put them back on the dough after you've moved it onto the stack. (Hopefully these instructions will make sense when your actually making the bread!) I cooked mine the full 55 minutes. I probably could have taken it out at about 50 minutes.
There's no need for a knife with this bread. It really does just pull apart!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Butterscotch Pudding with Salted Buttered Pecans

I always feel at odds this time of the year. Labor Day is passed, schools back in session, and football season has started.Time for bonfires, bowls of chili, pumpkins, and all things Fall, right? Except that technically it's still summer for a couple more weeks, and here in Alabama it's still hot, like 90 degrees outside hot. It's that weird in-between seasons time. I can never decided what to wear. Too hot for jeans, not supposed to wear white anymore... mostly I stand staring at my closet hoping some perfect transitional outfit will suddenly appear.
Lately I've been feeling the same way about food. All the summery foods are still in season, but I'm ready for a change. I want the flavors of Fall, but it's still just plain too hot to even think about making much less eating, a big bowl of chili or hanging out by a bonfire. I tend to stand looking in the fridge the same way I look in the closet, just hoping to suddenly find the perfect in-between food. Of course this never happens in the closet or the fridge...
I think this butterscotch pudding is the perfect in-between dessert. It's cold which is what I want in this heat, but it's got a wonderful rich caramel flavor which satisfies my craving for Fall. Topped with a dollop of whipped cream and some salted buttered pecans, it's just what I was hoping for while staring into the if I could just find the right outfit!

Butterscotch Pudding
source: David Lebovitz
serves 4-6

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed dark brown
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Melt the butter in a medium heavy bottomed pan. when melted, stir in the dark brown sugar and salt, stir until the sugar is well-moistened. Remove from heat.
 In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with  1/4 cup of the milk until very smooth, then whisk in the eggs.
Gradually pour the remaining milk into the melted brown sugar, whisking constantly. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for one minute, whisking until the pudding thickens up. If the pudding seems to have a curdled look, don't freak out! Blend the pudding in batches in a blender or pass it through a medium mesh sieve and it'll be fine. I almost always put puddings and curds through a sieve just to get out any little egg-y pieces that may be in them.
Pour the pudding into 4-6 serving glasses or custard cups and chill thoroughly, at least four hours, before serving. Just before serving, top with sweetened whipped cream and some of the salted buttered pecans.*You don't have to add the bourbon, but if you do, you'll never want to butterscotch pudding without it again, trust me!

Salted Buttered Pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 teaspoon course sea salt

Melt the butter in a small pan. Stir in the pecans cooking for about 2 minutes until the pecans are evenly coated with the butter. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the sea salt over the pecans.

I've linked this post to: I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom