A New Post? Whaaaaaa?!

So, it seems to me that I’ve been gone for a quick minute….almost. I’ve been so busy with school and work I haven’t had time to update my blog, BUTTTTTT I have been on Pinterest.

That could only mean one thing….come find me and follow me. I have over 15 thousand pins (I can safely admit I have a problem) and over 42 thousand followers. I have lots of cooking/baking boards as well as drink boards because every one loves a good beverage now and again. Plus there’s lots of other things I love!

Click the following link to check out my pinterest. If you have a pinterest you want me to check out comment below with the link. Also leave your personal pinterest and I’ll follow you 🙂

Nicole’s Pinterst 🙂 

Happy Belated National Devil’s Food Cake Day!

(Okay, for those who actually care yesterday, the 19th, was actually National Devil’s Food Cake Day. But I love cake, so I don’t care!)

Devil's Food Cake

In lieu of  Devil’s Food Cake day, here’s a recipe from The Skinny Chef. Make sure you check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Serves 10

Ingredients

1 cups “white” whole wheat flour, plus flour for dusting pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup low-fat 1% buttermilk
1 cup strong brewed coffee, chilled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
non-fat cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9-inch cake or spring-form pan with non-stick spray. Dust with flour; shake off excess. Over a large mixing bowl, sift both types of flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk the brown sugar, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely before icing with chocolate sour cream icing

Enjoy! xo

S’mores Cake: Mason Jar Style

OM NOM NOM. Like that right? I can’t help myself when it comes to s’mores. It’s one of those guilty pleasures that you can’t just eat one. Anyways, I’ve mentioned How Sweet Eats before and you guys seriously need to check the site out! Here’s another mason jar recipe. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

makes 4 16-ounce mason jar cakes

For Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • pinch of salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt butter and mix in graham crumbs and salt. Mix until moistened. Spray 4 mason jars with non-stick spray and press graham crust into jars. I began by adding a tablespoon to each, and repeating until graham crumbs were gone. They don’t need to look perfect. I pressed the crumbs down firmly with the flat bottom of a clean screwdriver.

For Cake:

  • 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

For Topping: 

  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to mason jars one scoop at a time. You only want to fill them up about half way, and the batter should work evenly for 4 jars. Again – don’t worry if it is perfect. Place mason jars in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake is set.
  • Remove cake from the oven and press large marshmallows down on top, being careful not to burn yourself. There is no set number of marshmallows to use, I pressed down as many as I could, about 4-5 each. Heat the broiler on your oven and watching carefully, brown marshmallows for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not take your eyes off them! Serve immediately.

*The recipe looks really long, but it is actually really easy! *When you put the marshmallows on top and broil, they may sink down below the edges of the chocolate cake. This is normal. The cake it still more than halfway to the top. *These are pretty rich and sweet, and make a really great dessert for two people to share with two spoons… but can still be eaten by one. *You can use other sizes of jars, just use your eye to decided how much batter to use, never going over half way. If you have too much batter, just make a few cupcakes.

Enjoy!xo

 

Monkey Bread: Mason Jar Style

Monkey Bread in a Jar p Everyone Will go Bananas for Monkey Bread in a Jar

Courtesy of The Family Kitchen here is their recipe for easy Monkey Bread. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Monkey Bread {baked in 8 ounce mason jars} Makes 4 servings

What you’ll need:
10 refrigerated biscuits – cut into quarters
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

What to do: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mason jars with cooking spray and place them into a deep sided baking tray.
2. Into a bowl, add: sugars, and cinnamon. Whisk together to combine. Place cut biscuits pieces into sugar mixture. Toss to combine and coat well.
3. Evenly distribute coated biscuit pieces between the jars. Adding a little extra of the sugar mixture as  you go. Fill only 3/4 of the way up the jar {to allow for bread to rise and not overflow}
4. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until monkey bread has risen and is golden and bubbly. Allow jars to cool slightly prior to serving.

Enjoy! xo

Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro & The Chocolate Expo!

Yesterday, I was happier than a bird with a french fry! I met Buddy Valastro of TLC’s Cake Boss. I’m a HUGE fan. I live not to far from him bakery in Hoboken and I have been there a few times. I would go more often except with his new found fame the lines are exceedingly long. The normal wait time just to get into Carlo’s is around 4-5 hours. As much as I love, food waiting on that line is painful.

I went to the Chocolate World Expo  and it was FABULOUS! Everything a girl could want and more. There was tons of chocolate samples, as well as ice creams, cookies, brownies, fondue, cheeses, and of course wine!

My top favorite’s included (in no particular order):

  1. Breezie Maples: Best organic maple syrup products I’ve ever had. The most awesome part about them was their Maple Syrup Cotton Candy…yes you heard right: Maple Syrup Cotton Candy. It was like eating a syrup filled cloud. The taste of syrup was over powering or anything. It was phenomenal. I bought two bags hehe
  2. Pie Lady and Son: I’m not normally a pie kinda girl, but their pies were out of this world. They had debuted their Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Pie and it was amazing. I went back for seconds during our sampling.
  3. Picklelicious: Need I say more. I LOVE pickles. Delish.
  4. Screme Gelato Bar: Ah, it was like heaven in a spoon. I tasted Mint Chip which was based off of the York Peppermint Patties and Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Brownie Batter ice cream. Now, the first ice cream was good: tasted just like … well, mint chip. I don’t drink so having a liquor flavored ice cream seemed weird of me to try, but I did and surprisingly I liked it. It was actually really good. You could most certainly taste the Jack Daniel’s, but the chucks of chocolate and brownies was awesome.

Overall, the chocolate expo went well especially around the waist. I ate so much junk food, but learned so much about my taste buds. All the different flavors..ah! It was so much fun.

Xo

Nicole

Jack Daniels Cupcakes

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Courtesy of Cafe Mom‘s site I found this (almost) easy recipe. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Chocolate J.D. Cupcakes
2 Cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) coco powder
2 cups (14.5 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup super strong coffee
1/2 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In separate bowl (I use a 4 or 8 cup measuring vessel) combine the eggs, coffee, whiskey, buttermilk and oil.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into prepared cupcake cups…(I use 4 ounce souffle cups also known as nut and portion cups) I only fill half full and they come right up to the top.
Bake in preheated oven about 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache
16 ounces good quality dark chocolate 65-72 %, chopped into small pieces 1/4 inch or less.
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey

Instructions:
place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside.
heat heavy cream until just boiling.  Pour over chocolate.
Cover chocolate and cream for 2 minutes to allow chocolate to soften.  Uncover and stir with whisk until smooth and silky.
stir in butter until fully incorporated.
stir in whiskey until fully incorporated, cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Whiskey Buttercream
1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
1- 3 ounce package white chocolate, vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding mix
2 cups Dark Chocolate Whiskey ganache
1/2 cup sifted dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
more whiskey to taste

Instructions:
In stand mixer beat the butter and pudding mix together on medium high speed for 5 minutes or so.
Turn off, add the ganache, cocoa powder and heavy cream.  Beat for another 5 minutes.
Add powdered sugar a little bit at a time, tasting as you go until it is sweet enough for you then beat on medium high for at least 5 more minutes.
If it isn’t a strong enough whiskey taste for you add Tablespoon by Tablespoon of whiskey until it is to your liking.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Enjoy! xo

Guinness & Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes

On Une-Deuxsenses‘s blog you can find the step by step recipe to make these delish cupcakes. Check out their site as well as the creicpe below:

Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Original recipe can be found here.
For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup stout beer/ Guinness
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
For the Bailey’s ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsn. butter, room temperature
2 tsp. Irish whiskey OR Bailey’s Irish cream
For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:
8 tbsn. unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 – 8 tbsn. Bailey’s Irish cream
(I also used some half&half to thin the frosting out w/o adding more alcohol)
Directions:

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside. Combine stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend. Add stout mixture and beat to combine. Mix in dry ingredients on low until incorporated. Divide batter among cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

To make the ganache, place chocolate in heatproof bowl. Heat cream in saucepan until simmering, then pour over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Add butter and Bailey’s and stir until combined. Set aside until cool and thick enough to be piped (you can use the refrigerator to speed the process but stir every 10 minutes to ensure even cooling). Meanwhile, cut a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method and once the ganache is of the right consistency, pipe the ganache into the centers.
To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium high until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar until incorporated. Mix in Bailey’s until smooth. Add more if necessary until frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired and enjoy!
Enjoy! xo

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

I’ve actually had these before and although I’m not a big fan of Mountain Dew they are pretty tasty. This recipe comes from All Things Cupcakes. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Mountain Dew Cupcakes
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup Mountain Dew
1/4 cup of lemon and lime juice (juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime)
zest from 1 lemon and 2 limes (separate into 2 piles, one for buttercream)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Beat butter on medium for 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar and lemon, lime zest. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, Scrape sides of bowl in between additions
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to mixer bowl. Turn on low for 5 seconds.
5. Add the Mountain Dew, lemon/lime juice, and lemon extract . Mix to combine.
5. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds full.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Mountain Dew Buttercream
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Mountain Dew
Juices from half of 1 lemon and half of 1 lime.
Lemon and lime zest (rest of zest from cupcake recipe. Or zest from half of 1 lemon and 1 whole lime)
1 teaspoon lemon extract
neon green food coloring (yellow and blue if you dont have green)

1. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
2. Beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy
3. Add half of the sugar, turn mixer on low for 5 seconds.
4. Add the Mountain Dew, zest, and lemon extract . Beat until combined.
5. Add food coloring to the desired color.
6. Gradually add remaining sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Enjoy! xo

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

IMG_1089

My family has made something very similar to the recipe found on Joy the Baker‘s blog. Along with detailed directions there are pictures to go along with every step. Check out her site and the recipe below:

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Makes: one 9x5x3-inch loaf
Recipe adapted from HungryGirlPorVida

For the Dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar.  Seriously?  Just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.  Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the  upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Serve warm with coffee or tea.

I think this bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Enjoy! xo

S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

This woman is a genius taking the two things I love and baking them together! Picky Palate has some awesome ideas and this one is by far the best! Not only does she explain step by step  on how to make these cookies, but these photos along with it. Check out the recipe for her S’more Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies below:

What you’ll need:
2 sticks softened butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Cups semi sweet chocolate chips
24 graham cracker quarters or 12 full sheets separated at perforations
3 Hershey Bars, broken into rows of 3 bars
12 large marshmallows cut in half lengthwise

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silpat liner.
2.  In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, continue to beat until well combined.
3.  Place flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.
4.  Layer a graham cracker quarter with 3 Hershey chocolate squares and 2 marshmallow halves.  Close with another graham cracker.  Top s’more with a large scoop of cookie dough.  Place in hands and place another large scoop on bottom then front and back sides as needed.  Form dough around s’mores.  Will get messy, but stick with it, it does not have to be perfect.  S’mores will move around but it’s no big deal.  Place large cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are cooked through.
5. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack or serving plate.

Makes 12 large stuffed cookies.

Enjoy!