Posts tagged desserts

hamburger slider cupcakes

a long time ago, i saw these crazy creative treats on a website and wanted to make them SO badly. i figured it would be really complicated, though, and kept putting it off. well, after my first week of work at my new job, i got word that we’d be bringing in food during the last saturday of the month. since it was memorial weekend and none of us were going to be at a cookout, i decided i’d improvise… hamburger slider cupcakes!

i was thrilled to work in an office where everyone was encouraged to bring in treats. then i saw that everyone else had contributed chips and store-bought cookies. one of my managers came over to me and said, “well… you brought a gun to a knife fight!” i loved that phrase and was happy that everyone was impressed with my dessert. only downside is i’ve really set the bar high for myself on any future desserts…

2 dozen vanilla/yellow cupcakes

1 dozen chocolate cupcakes

2 cans of white frosting

2 cups of shredded coconut

red, yellow and green food coloring

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

first, slice all the cupcakes horizontally and then set them aside.

now put that food coloring to good use! first, die one can of frosting red (it will take a LOT of food coloring, trust me), then one can yellow. lastly, drip some green food coloring into the coconut and lightly fluff with a fork until it’s light green.

pipe a circle of red frosting around the outer edge of the bottom half of the vanilla cupcakes…

take half of a chocolate cupcake and layer it on top of the red frosting and then pipe the yellow around the edge and then some inside, too (you’ll need it for the coconut to stick!). next, put one or two Tablespoons of the coconut on top and then…

put a top half of the vanilla cupcake on top to finish off the sandwich. then, wet your finger a tiny, tiny bit and rub it on the top of the “bun.” sprinkle sesame seeds on top so they’ll adhere and you’re good to go!

at first glance, EVERYONE will think they’re getting a savory appetizer, but at closer look they’ll be shocked that they’re actually getting a delicious dessert :) have fun with this conversation starter!



ps - not that you need it, but click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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chocolate peanut butter cookies

as i mentioned before, my grandma is on the mend and i wanted to send her diabetic-self a sugar-free treat. yes, i understand that processed peanut butter has sugar in it, but a little bit is okay for her and i know that she loves peanut butter. these are definitely way different from last month’s lightened up peanut butter chocolate chip cookies which are a little dryer, smaller, filled with oats, chocolate chips and crunch peanut butter.

i originally was planning to just make regular peanut butter cookies but when my unsweetened cocoa powder fell from the sky (read: a high shelf in my cabinet), i figured it was a sign to add that to the mix.

half this batch was already devoured by my coworkers and the other half is en route to connecticut to brighten up nona’s day. thank you, USPS, for being my carrier pigeon.

nonas are the best, don’t you think? i have so many great memories of weekends and school vacations at my grandparents’ house. while i can credit my papa with my love of sports (or at least the red sox), my nona and i share lots of our memories in the kitchen. whether we were making applesauce, borekas, monkey cookies or shake-n-bake chicken, the most important ingredient was always lots of love. (cheesy but true).

if you know my nona, are friends with her on facebook (yes, she is on facebook) or are related to her, you know how selfless and sweet she is. i’m proud to be her granddaughter every day and hope that i can one day take care of my family as well as she has taken care of hers.

hope you’re back to your old self soon, naners!

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg

2 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Splenda or granulated sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

[this recipe yields a little more than two dozen cookies]

before you get going, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

with an electric  mixer, beat together the peanut butter and butter until smooth.

add the egg, honey and vanilla. mix again.

add the sugar or splenda and beat until it’s well-incorporated.

add the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder and mix until everything is blended.

i then used a soup spoon to measure out each cookie and then rolled it in my hands to make a ball.

then take a fork and gently press down to flatten and indent the cookies in a criss-cross pattern.

pop them in the 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until risen and firm. let them cool on a wire rack before serving!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!


lilbit (as my nona calls me)






#peanut butter



indecisive (chocolate & vanilla) birthday cupcakes

let it be known that i am obsessed with birthdays. not just my own birthday but anyone’s birthday. i love balloons and cupcakes and thoughtful cards, dinners with friends and massive amounts of facebook wall posts. so the other night when i got home from a basketball game at bentley, i knew that bedtime was not in my immediate future: i had BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES to make.

the one and only wobbie walton (who is awesome because he’s tolerated me calling him that for well over a year and patiently waited approximately three months for his share of buffalo chicken dip) was turning the big 2-1 the following day, so i wanted to make some birthday treats to help him celebrate. i asked what kind of cupcake he’d like (let’s be honest, i can get pretty creative, as seen here, here and here), but other than the fact that he’s anti-coconut and chocolate frosting, he couldn’t decide what flavor he wanted.

well fear not, captain indecisive, because i, too find it difficult to make choices and instead of picking just one, went for a mix of flavors. robbie got chocolate AND vanilla cupcakes, all rolled into one celebratory mini treat. i layered chocolate and vanilla batters and then topped it with a quick glaze (since it was late on a weeknight and i didn’t feel like breaking out the piping bags) and a variety of festive sprinkles.

i think this method could easily be used for any great pair of flavors - coconut and chocolate, strawberry and vanilla - take your pick! also, if you pour the batter in smaller portions, you could have lots of pretty layers instead of just two. maybe next time i’ll try that!

side note: in other news, speaking of birthdays — my friend tara recently pointed out an article declaring that if couples want to aim to have a baby on 11/11/11, they need to get busy tonight. just sharing in case that’s in any of your plans…

alright, i’m done sharing an abnormal amount of links with you all and ready fork over the recipe.

2 cups cake flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup skim milk

6 Tablespoons butter (3/4 stick) room temperature

1/3 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

[this recipe yields about 15 cupcakes]

get started by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and line the cupcake tin with liners. i went for some fun birthday balloon ones that i had on hand! other side note - one of my favorite things about food blogging is that i can do something like this - decide at 10:30 at night that i want to make birthday cupcakes and just do it. no need to run out to the store thanks to a well-stocked pantry and plenty of baking supplies :)

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. set aside.

in a larger mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until they’re light and fluffy. then, add the egg, yogurt, vanilla extract and mix until well-combined.

add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, to the bigger bowl, alternating with adding the milk 1/4 cup at a time. mix in between each batch.

pour half the cupcake batter into a second bowl and mix in the cocoa powder so you’ve got one bowl of chocolate batter and a bowl of vanilla batter.

evenly distribute the chocolate batter into each cupcake well until the batter is gone and then do the same with the vanilla batter on top of the chocolate layer.

bake for 20 minutes in the 350-degree oven until they’re just slightly golden brown on top or a toothpick is inserted into the center comes out clean. let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

my lazy glazy consisted of: 1.5 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 egg white, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. i mixed it on high with a hand mixer for about two minutes while i briefly popped the cupcakes in the fridge and packed my lunch for the next day. i tried to buy myself as much cooling time as possible!

once i couldn’t wait any longer, i dipped the tops of the cupcakes in the glaze, let the excess drip off and rolled the tops in the sprinkles before flipping them over and let them dry overnight.

then share and devour :) boy am i glad there are still a few of these sitting on my desk. i think i’ve found my afternoon snack!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!











black & white cookies (or half moons, same difference)

before you read this recipe, familiarize yourself with the seinfeld episode that tells you to “LOOK TO THE COOKIE!" it’s one of my two favorite episodes of the whole series (topped only by the alternate side episode made famous by “these pretzels are makin’ me thirsty” and made me laugh even more with, “who put cookies in his mouth? you’re not supposed to do that.”) so there’s the back story to what made me feel like making black and white cookies - recently seeing this episode of seinfeld.

what makes it even more appropriate of a choice to post today is that i spent the day in manhattan yesterday and black and white cookies always remind me of new york bakeries and delis. in researching a basic recipe, i learned that the reason they’re so light and cakey is that cake is what they are born from!

at the end of the day, bakers would take excess cake batter they had on hand and rather than tossing it, they’d add a little extra flour to give it some hold and behold: a light, cakey cookie.

i must admit, though, while i got rave reviews (especially to the request for an all white cookie by my coworker scott), when my friend matt asked me, “okay what makes these cookies healthy?” i didn’t have too much to say. i feel like black and white cookies are very near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts and they’re quite judgmental and particular about the classic cookie. since it was my first time making them, i didn’t want to tweak too much, for fear of disastrous results.

i will tell you this: the actual cookies themselves (not the frosting) aren’t too high in sugar and the frosting is just made of sugar and water - no fat. i hope that’s some consolation. in fact, i just calculated out the nutrition information and for a really decent-sized cookie (this recipe made about 30), it’s 120 calories and 3 grams of fat. that’s not too bad. so don’t feel guilty, just make a batch, share with everyone at work and eat them while you’re watching seinfeld.

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature

2 eggs

3/4 cup skim milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon lemon extract

1 1/4 cup cake flour

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder (not pictured - i’ll tell you why in a sec)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup water

2 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

once you’re done with the collecting, time to start doing!

first, prep your oven by heating it to 375 degrees. also, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

in a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and (room temperature) butter. mix with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. then, add the eggs, milk, vanilla and lemon extracts. mix that until it’s smooth and well-combined. then set it aside.

see that bowl in the background of the picture? that’s your dry ingredient bowl. whisk or sift together both types of flour, salt and baking powder. make sure it’s well mixed and then you’re going to dump that (in three or so batches) into the butter, sugar, etc bowl, mixing well in between each shift.

back to why the baking powder was not pictured. so here’s a habit i have… i don’t like to just print recipes off line when i’m working with them. i take a large piece of scrap paper and write everything out by hand. maybe it seems more authentic? i don’t know.

i bring my list to the grocery store with me, stash it in my planner until i get cooking and then take notes and scribble on it when i tweak ingredients and measurements. it usually gets covered in butter or batter and other messy things and then i toss it once i post my recipe online. it’s weird, it’s more work, but it works for me.

long story short, in my writing of ingredients, that got lost in transcription (get it? like translation…). luckily i have it readily available in my cupboard, so it was no crisis. it just didn’t make it to class pictures.

once you mix those together, the result should be a batterdough - not quite as runny as a cake batter, not as thick or tough as a cookie dough. catch my drift? great.

drop them onto your baking sheet and leave about two inches in between each dough ball. i’d say you want soup-spoon-sized mounds, for “normal” cookies, but black and white cookies tend to be HUGE, so you can also make them bigger if you like.

pop them in your 375 degree, preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. you want them to be cooked through but still pretty light. the darker the edges, the harder they’ll be to cover up with the icing.

as soon as they’re done, remove them from the pan so they stop cooking. they should slide right off without even needing a spatula, really! put them on a wire cooling rack to cool completely and once they’re cool enough, you can flip them over so the darker, flat side that was on the pan is facing up. this is actually the side you’ll be frosting! that’s why black and white cookies are so light and rounded on the unfrosted, bottom side.

make sure you’ve got wax paper or paper towels under the racks. not too important while they’re cooling, but once you get to icing, they’ll be drippy and that makes it far easier to clean up the mess.

while your cookies are cooling, you can get started on the very quick frosting.

put the confectioners’ sugar in a metal, heat safe bowl. you’re going to use this as the top of a double boiler later, so plan accordingly.

bring a little bit of water to a boil and then scoop out 1/3 cup and pour it over the sugar. whisk together until it’s smooth and seems like the consistency is “spreadable.”

with a butter knife or spatula (i used the former), take your white frosting and frost half the cookies. i wasn’t happy with the thickness and transparency of my frosting (picture on the left), so i let them dry and went on for round two. i was much happier with the result after that (picture on the right). you’ll be able to tell for yourself based on your frosting thickness and how it looks once you’re doing yours.


take all that’s left of your frosting and put it on top of a pot of simmering water to make a double boiler. add the chocolate chips and corn syrup and whisk until they’re melted and smooth. as you can see from the picture on the top right above, that chocolate addition does not make a black frosting. it makes a very light brown frosting. this is where the cocoa powder comes in! add that, one tablespoon at a time, until you get the color you’re looking for.

it’s totally fine to add the unsweetened cocoa, since the whole bowl is essentially sugar. trust me when i say it won’t be bitter at all. in fact, i loved the frosting and i’m not usually one for sweet frosting! it reminded me of the stuff that comes with dunkaroos and i’m a sucker for second grade throwbacks.

since this frosting is thicker than the plain white, i thought it was much easier to use. go ahead and frost the naked half of the cookies and let them dry for a considerable amount of time before you package them up.

one thing to note before i show you the finished product. i think it’s only fitting that i made these cookies because i feel like i’ve been on a back to basics/black and white kick lately. (see: my favorite black and white scarf (so LA, courtesy of mandy), my new black and white iphone cover (thanks, sephora!) and my life-changing black and white vera bradley planner (you can witness my love for it here).

if you don’t believe me, look at the evidence:

it just made sense to bake some cookies that went well with all of my favorite, can’t-live-without accessories :)

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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#black and white