Rich Butterfinger Truffles

5 Ingredients. 3 easy steps. These look super elegant and taste like a million bucks and all you need is a bowl, a spoon, and a refrigerator.

Truffles are one of those hit or miss confections- you either love ’em or hate ’em. I’m on the obsessed side (and my mom’s on the ‘I’d rather eat a cookie’ side which also means I have a lot of truffles to eat now…). But I think there is one thing we can all agree on- Butterfingers are pretty much the best candy bar ever. If there is one thing America has done right it was creating the Butterfinger.

These truffles are velvety rich and intensely chocolatey with a surprise kick of butterfinger. I love how these are chic chocolate meets gas station candy bar. The butterfingers mellow the sharp semisweet chocolate and the semisweet chocolate enhances the butterfingers.

Perfect couple! No fights here, just one decadent ball of deliciousness. Just be careful to make these small. Because these are so rich, just one bite is the perfect portion.

Bring on the holiday parties!

Butterfinger Truffles

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Butterfinger candy bars (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Chopped roasted unsalted peanuts or peanut halves

Preparation

1. Place chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan; pour hot cream over chocolate mixture. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in chopped candy. Cover and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Using a melon baller, scoop 3/4” balls (or heaping teaspoons) from chocolate mixture. Roll truffles between your palms to make surface smooth. Place on the prepared sheet.

3. Place cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll truffles in cocoa powder to coat. Chill until firm.

Calories: 52.5, Fat: 3.8

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Chunky Chewy Ooey Gooey Monster Cookies

Meet my puppy! The love of my life… Tory.

She has a nice big belly full of dry oats right now.  I was just finishing dumping the last of the oats into the batter yesterday when I accidentally knocked the whole container onto the floor! I get into this ‘baking zone’ when I’m in the kitchen where I pretty much pay attention to nothing besides my cookies. I see only in chocolate and flour. So that burner I accidentally left on? I’ll probably put my hand on it. Or that shoe on the floor? I’ll trip. But my cookies will be FA-BU-LOUS.

You would have thought I dropped a whole box of dog treats or a a hunk of bacon or anything besides dry oats…It was like she was a barn animal. Tory shot into the kitchen and started nosing around in the loose oats like we hadn’t fed her in days.

She’s lucky she’s cute. Very lucky she’s cute.

And she’s even luckier that we had some instant oatmeal packets in the pantry to use. Which, by the way worked perfectly fine. I don’t recommend you substitute instant for quick cook oats, but in a pinch you can definitely thrown in a few instant and be ok.



These cookies ended up turning out great! I’ve made these a few times and this batch actually turned out even better than usual! They have this yummy crunchy outside that gives in to a chewy peanut buttery center. Gooey chocolate chips and rich M&Ms take these oatmeal cookies over the top.
These are such a classic cookie that’s so simple to make and everyone always loves. This is a standout version of Monster Cookies too; perfect texture and right ratio of chocolate candies to chocolate chips. You can add raisins if you like. I omitted them because my family’s not a big fan.
Here’s the recipe! Adapted from foodnetwork.com
Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

2. In a  large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

……And let the Christmas Cookie Countdown begin!

Somewhere between watching the Kardashians and Charlie Brown Christmas the other night I FINALLY started to feel like Christmas was coming! It’s been kinda gross and rainy in Chicago so I haven’t really been able to buy into the whole frosty the snowman and susy snowflake thing.

But! Here’s a couple things that always get me into the Christmas spirit:

1. Our awesome Christmas tree. My dad and I cut it down by ourselves. Actually my dad did. I’m 5’4” and lift 5lb dumbbells so not really your first choice to go sawing a gigantic tree down with. But I’m totally an expert spotter. I’m really good at telling my dad to hurry up… that I’m cold…or halfway through sawing that the tree next to him might be a little bit better… we had a lot of fun though! We do it every year the day after Thanksgiving.

2. My new $10 gingerbread house kit from the grocery store with prepackaged generic decorating candy. It’s amazing how long those things last. In college I accidentally left mine out in my apartment over winter break (almost 4 weeks…) and I swear it looked better than when we left.

3. 93.9 lite fm! Christmas tunes 24/7.

4. Watching Tv in my family room with the fireplace on. Only it freaks me out to light it so that only happens when I can coax someone else to do it for me.

5. Baking Christmas Cookies! Baking lots and lots of Christmas Cookies! So get ready for way too many posts on Christmas cookies!

Which is the perfect transition to this awesome sugar cookie recipe I found in fine cooking. Sugar cookies are so simple but SO good. I like mine soft and chewy too. We make them every year for Christmas.

These cookies are fluffy and soft and rolled in this yummy crunchy sanding sugar. Real easy to make and real easy to eat an entire batch. by yourself.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not meltingly soft
2 tbs. vegetable shortening, preferably trans fat free, softened
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 large egg
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 drops almond extract
2 cups plus 2 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
White or colored (coarse) sanding sugar for rolling (optional)
Preparation:

1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

2. In a large bowl beat the sugar, butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg, corn syrup, vanilla, and almond extract and mix on low speed ( just to combine); then beat at medium speed for a total of 1 minute.


3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda to combine; then add to the mixer. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, just to combine. Scrape down the bowl and then mix on medium-low speed for another 30 seconds to mix the dough uniformly.

4. Gently roll the dough into 1-oz. balls (about 1 heaping Tbs. each). Roll the balls in sanding sugar (if using). Arrange at least 21/4 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake one sheet at a time until the edges are golden and the tops are cracked but not completely set, 13 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Nutrition: 120 calories, 5 grams fat


Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts


Please meet the chocolate doughnut….

Hot, fresh, cakey, crunchy… smothered in chocolatey goodness…..

And the cinnamon sugar doughnut… rolled and dunked in sweet sugar and spicy cinnamon..

Or how about the classic white iced doughnut?

Dipped in smooth white icing and sprinkled in sparkling sugar.

Are you drooling yet?

I’ve got one hand in the container with all the doughnuts I just made and the other on the keyboard. My keyboard’s a mess.

This was my first go at making doughnuts and they turned out DELICIOUS. I found the recipe in the new Baked Explorations bake book. I slightly modified the proportions and the frosting to keep some calorie counts in check and they are  ridiculously DELICIOUS. Did I already say that?

Its hard to beat a fresh homemade doughnut. The rich cakey doughnut inside has hints of warm cinnamon and nutmeg. Its this irresistibly addictive surprise inside the crunchy doughnut outside. The recipe also includes three different toppings too, so pick your favorite or make all three (I couldn’t resist!)

I don’t even want to clutter this post with more of me rambling. I’m letting the doughnuts do the talking.

Here’s the recipe!

Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts- Three Ways

Ingredients:

For the Doughnut:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled.

Vegetable oil for frying

For the Chocolate Frosting:

4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sprinkles to decorate

For the White Icing:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup 2% milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Sugar:

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cinnamon

Preparation:

1. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another with paper towels.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

3. In another bowl whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined. Add the melted butter and whisk again.

4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into the center. Gently fold the flour into the liquid until the mixture forms a sticky dough.

5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Pat the dough out until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

5. Use two round cutters (2 1/2 inch and 1 inch). Dip the larger cutter in flour and press rounds. Dip the smaller cutter in flour and cut out the center of the rounds. Arrange the donuts and donut holes onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Continue to pat together the remaining scraps and repeat cutting as many donuts as possible ( I got about 15). Chill the dough while you heat the oil.

6.  Pour oil into a deep skillet until it is about 1 – 1 1/2 inch deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 165-17o degrees.

7. Make the frosting while the oil heats.

Chocolate Frosting:

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the heavy cream until almost boiling and pour over chocolate. Let sit for a minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter.

White Icing:

In a medium bowl whisk the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth.

Cinnamon Sugar:

Combine cinnamon and sugar.

To Fry the Doughnuts:

1. Once the oil reaches temperature, gently place the doughnuts into the hot oil. Be sure to only fry about three at time so you don’t over crowd the pot. Once they have browned on one side, carefully flip them over int he oil. These should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper towel lined baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the donuts and the donut holes. The donut holes will take less time, about 1 minute per side. Be careful to keep the oil temperature even. Adjust the burner to keep temperature between 165-170 degrees.

Assemble Doughnuts:

Once you have finished frying the doughnuts, quickly dip them in whichever toppings you choose. Serve warm and enjoy!





Mini Chocolate Covered Oreos and Peanut Butter Stuffed Oreos

The first time I discovered chocolate covered oreos I knew it was bad news. I had finally just kicked this deliciously nutritious habit I had in high school where I would dip them in the peanut butter jar just like people dunk them in milk. I think I saw it in the Parent Trap with Lindsey Lohan pre- Cover of Ok Magazine phase. But the combo was AMAZING.

In college my aunt started sending me care packages of chocolate covered oreos from this awesome chocolate shop in Wheaton, Il called Grahams Chocolates. I went to the University of Illinois in Champaign where we were about ten thousand miles away from any real seriously good chocolate shop so these things were like gold. I was living in the sorority house then and these cookies disappeared in seconds! Thank you again aunt Sandy 🙂

I got the idea to make my own the other day when I was wandering down the cookie aisle at the grocery store and passed by a bag of mini oreos.

Instant chocolate covered oreo craving.

Or did I just want to dunk them in peanut butter?

Or… both. Genius. What about stuffing mini oreos with peanut butter frosting.. and then dipping them in creamy milk chocolate??

These turned out awesome. I made peanut butter stuffed ones and plain. I love that they’re mini because they’re so easy to just pop in your mouth and adorable for Christmas parties, cookie plates, and gifts.

AND.. they are honestly the easiest things in the world to make. Three ingredients. Got 10 minutes?

Mini Chocolate Covered Oreos and Peanut Butter Stuffed Variation

Ingredients:

12 ounces milk chocolate

1 tbs shortening

1 bag Mini Oreos

Peanut butter frosting:

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tbs powdered sugar

Preparation:

1. Cover a baking sheet in wax paper.

2. Melt chocolate with shortening using a double boiler (again, if you don’t have one, just use a heat safe bowl and place it over a pot of boiling water- be sure not to touch the bottom of the bowl to the water)

3. Dunk oreos into melted chocolate. Using a fork, carefully lift individual oreos from bowl and scrape excess chocolate from bottom. Place on prepared baking sheet.

4. Refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.

Peanut Butter Frosting Variation:

1. Whip peanut butter and powdered sugar in medium bowl until smooth.

2. Gently remove the top of one mini oreo.

3. Take another mini oreo and spread a thin layer of peanut butter frosting on top. Place removed top of other oreo on top of frosting.

4. Dunk in chocolate.

5. Repeat with the rest of the oreos and follow steps 3 & 4 above to finish.








Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting.

Yes. The best cupcake in the world does exist. And it’s in my kitchen.

This cupcake’s got four layers; buttery graham cracker crust bottom, followed by a layer of chopped bittersweet chocolate, rich chocolate cake batter, topped with even more graham cracker crumbs and chocolate, and finally covered in a light and fluffy marshmallow frosting.

I know its a mouthful, but don’t be intimidated!  This is one of the best ever cupcake recipes.. EVER. Everyone in my family fell in love with them and magically went up a pant size within 24 hours. I made these on Saturday and they were gone by Sunday.

When you bite into them you get the most fantastic flavor and texture combos. There’s the rich chocolate cake with the light marshmallow frosting – and then the chunky chopped chocolate and crumbly graham cracker against the delicate cake and creamy frosting.

SO GOOD. so good. ugh. I want another.

I found this recipe on marthastewart.com. As I mentioned earlier in my blog (click here for a refresher), Martha’s cookbooks and I have been in kind of  a rocky relationship for a while. She usually tempts me with these gorgeous baking pictures but then leaves me with these recipes that are horribly long, terribly complicated, and usually take way more time then I’d like to spend baking a cookie. Is it really necessary to use a thermometer when you’re making a chocolate chip cookie??

BUT…. this cupcake just won me over. She tends to do that to me. Just to warn you though, yes.. this recipe will take you a bit longer to make and there’s definitely a couple more steps than your typical chocolate cupcake. But if you’re in the mood for a challenge or if you’re looking for an amazing recipe for a special occasion- these are your cupcakes.

Listen close….

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting (Jennifer Shea, owner of Trophy Cupcakes, found on marthastewart.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup 2% milk (I substituted for whole)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Marshmallow Frosting (recipe to follow)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.

2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.

3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.

4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping
6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter.
Note- Don’t be worried if your cake batter is super thin. This is how it is supposed to be.
Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

* I didn’t have a kitchen torch so I used a lighter. Not the most efficient way to do it, but still worked out just fine.


And…. viola!


Nutrition:
24 cupcakes: 327 calories, 11.5 grams fat

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette

I had a great Thanksgiving, I hope you all did too! We hit everything on the checklist this year… lots of family. too much food. football. too much food….and even more food to bring home (actually thats a lie, we accidentally left it in my aunt’s fridge. My dad was so sad he said about 3 words on the way home.)

It was pretty low key. We visited my grandpa in the nursing home, swung by my mom’s brother’s family’s place, then had dinner at my dad’s brother’s place. By the way that would now include my entire family. There’s about 15 of us total kicking around.

But I love my family and could probably ramble on for the next three posts about them all. That would torture you guys and probably torture them even more. I guess you’ll just have to wait to hear all about the totally awesome video games my younger brother plays, or my other brother’s math homework some other time. We’re pretty crazy over here.

So here’re the good stuff! Pumpkin Pie and Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette (pronounced- click here… my cousin corrected me about 8 zillion times and I still couldn’t get it. My chicago ‘aa’ sound is starting to get in the way of me ever sounding remotely refined)


I have been making this Classic Pumpkin Pie from Cooking Light for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those go-to recipes that you know will always turn out perfectly, people always love, and is so super easy that you wonder why you ever try and bake anything else. 6 ingredients. 2 of them come out of  a can. One bowl. SO EASY. and SO YUMMY.

Filling:

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin

Crust:

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)

Preparation

1. Position oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 425 degrees

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a whisk (Do NOT over-whisk or you will get too many air bubble and the texture will be weird) Add pumpkin and stir with whisk until smooth.

3. Put pie dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under and flute.

4. Pour pumpkin mixture into the crust and place pie plate on a baking sheet.Bake at 425° for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 50 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.

Simple as pie! Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Calories: 222

Fat 7.4

I found this Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette recipe on one of my new go-to blogs, Savory Simple. This is my first recipe I’ve tried from her site and it turned out AMAZINGLY. Soooo good. Close your eyes and try and taste warm caramelized apples mixed with roasted butternut squash, gooey goat cheese, and a flaky crust. It was a perfect Thanksgiving side (not a good traveler though, I wouldn’t recommend re-heating, mine got kind of try the second time around).
Click here for the recipe!

Mini Pecan Sticky Buns and Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I have been in a sugar coma since about 3 o’clock yesterday. Actually I don’t even know if you can call it a sugar coma. Its more like sugar dependency. These Spiced Pumpkin Cookies and Mini Pecan Sticky Buns are so good that my body is rejecting all other forms of food. Banana with breakfast? You mean banana bread right? Or oatmeal? But what about oatmeal cookies…..

Worth it. I’ll break the cycle when I feel like it. Probably never.

These treats are two FABULOUS new recipes from two new FABULOUS cookbooks. I just bought Pretty Delicious, by Candice Kumai and Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunch Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies, by Alice Medrich last week. I couldn’t decide which cookbook to try first so I decided to experiment with both.

It was one of those perfect recipe days when new recipes work out PERFECTLY. I usually at least burn something or forget salt or something else dumb. But I didn’t! Not this time! These are delicious holiday recipes. The mini sticky buns are great for get-togethers. They’re bite sized, travel well, and so easy to make. Perfect with a glass of wine.

I love the pumpkin cookies because I don’t tolerate dairy so well (more on that later, but not too much. Don’t worry) and they don’t have cream or milk, only a little butter and they are sooooo yummy. The mix of spice is absolutely perfect between the chewy cookie and rich frosting.

Enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies (From Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai)

Cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used 1/8 ground)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Preheated oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. whisk flour through salt in a medium bowl and set aside

2. Beat brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy (1 1/2 min). Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and beat to combine.

3. Add four mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Chill for 15 minutes.

4. Using a tablespoon measure, roll dough into balls and space 1 inch apart. Slightly flatten balls and bake for 15 minutes or until edges are firm but center is still soft. Cool for 10 min on pan, then transfer to wire rack.

Frosting:

Sift confectioners’ sugar into medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies and let harden for at least 10 minutes before serving. Yields 24 cookies.

Nutrition (per cookie): 120 calories, 3 grams fat

Mini Pecan Sticky Buns (From Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich)

Ingredients:

24 pecan halves

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 salt, plus additional for sprinkling

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease mini muffin tins.

1. Place a pecan half in each cup, top side down. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and whisk. Make a well in the center and pour in cream. Using a rubber spatula fold in the flour mixture until a soft dough is formed. Do not over mix or your dough will be tough. Let rest for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile mix the sugar with the cinnamon.

2. On a lightly floured surface, with a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 12 x7 inch rectangle and 1/4 inch thick. Spread the dough with the soft butter and prickle with a pinch of salt and the brown sugar. Starting at the short end, tightly roll the dough. Gently stretch the dough to lengthen and cut into 24 equal pieces. Place each piece in a muffin tin, cut side up.

3. Bake for 12-15 min or until well browned, rotating pans halfway through the baking time. Immediately turn the cookies onto a sheet of parchment on a heatproof surface. Serve the same day.

(You can omit the pecans and increase the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon to make Cinna-Minis. You can also add raisins, chocolate chips, or anything else you think would be a yummy combo! These are very easy to tailor to your individual taste)

Sour Cherry Chocolate Scones

Score:

Scones– 3 hours… GRE– 0.

I swear I’ll start tomorrow.

I swear..

In the mean time, I think I’ll eat a scone.

Here’s some Sour Chocolate Cherry Scones for your viewing pleasure. Tart, chocolatey, rich, and sooooooo yummy. So much better than math.

(From the Sono Baking Company Cookbook)

CHOCOLATE.

Rich, light, smooth, creamy, DELICIOUS chocolate cake. Like the kind of chocolate cake that no matter how many times you tell yourself ‘just one more forkful….’  you end up cleaning your plate and then scraping the frosting off your friend’s piece next to you. And then go look for it in the fridge at like 2 am.

Warning though: this cake is a bit challenging. Its not the typical throw a few ingredients in a bowl, mix, and voila! But its totally doable and soooo worth it. Its kind of like a teenager (Remember when you HAD to have that glitter belt or else Jimmy would totally never notice you. And if you stood in the way of that glitter belt…life was over). So just love the little nit picky directions despite your urge to grab some boxed brownies and see how amazingly yummy it turns out.

*Side note- The actual cake part of this is SO good. Depending on how you like your frosting you may want to change up the recipe. The frosting that goes with this cake is mocha flavored with instant espresso powder, which I LOVE. But I know my little brother wasn’t so into it (not a coffee kid yet). So regular milk chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream, or even chocolate buttercream on top and rich peanut butter buttercream in the middle would all be equally as delicious. This is just a great base chocolate cake.

Here we go…..Grab your electric mixers….

Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha Milk Chocolate Frosting. (Fine Cooking)

*I changed up the recipe slightly from Fine Cooking. I only made a two layer cake, which was plenty big. And substituted non-fat yogurt to keep calories skinny jeans friendly!

For the cake:
10-1/2 oz. (3 cups) sifted cake flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 cup boiling water
2-1/2 oz. (3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) unsifted unsweetened natural (nonalkalized) cocoa
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup cold nonfat yogurt
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
12 Tbs. softened unsalted butter
2-2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature (Actually do this!)
For the frosting:
24 oz. milk chocolate, chopped into matchstick-size pieces (Make SURE these are cut thinly or else they will not melt properly)
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4-1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
Scant 1/8 tsp. table salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat to 350 degrees and place oven racks in lower third. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch cake pans with parchment  and lightly grease the sides.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and sift together three times. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over the cocoa and stir to blend. Refrigerate to cool to lukewarm, stir occasionally to help it cool faster (this only takes about 5 minutes). Stir in the cold water, yogurt, and vanilla.

3.Beat butter and sugar at high speed until light in color and texture, 6 to 7 minutes. Whisk the eggs briefly and dribble them slowly into the butter mixture, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping as needed to scrape down the bowl and beaters.

4. Stop the mixer and spoon one-third of the flour mixture into the mixing bowl. Beat on low speed, scraping the bowl at least once, just until all traces of flour are incorporated. Stop the mixer and pour in half of the cocoa mixture. Beat on low to medium speed, scraping the bowl at least once, just until the mixture is blended. Repeat, alternating between flour and cocoa mixtures until completely combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans, spreading the batter to level it.

5. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cake just begins to shrink from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool on a rack for about 5 minutes. Invert the pans to unmold. Peel off the parchment liners and turn the layers right side up on the rack. Let cool completely before filling and frosting.

Make the frosting:
1. Put the chocolate, butter, espresso powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make sure the chocolate is cut very thin or else it will not melt properly and you will get lumpy frosting! Bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate mixture. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until the mixture is cold and feels quite firm when you touch it, at least 2 hours. When you’re ready to frost the cake, beat the frosting with a hand-held electric mixer (it will seem a bit firm to beat at first), until the frosting lightens in color, has a spreadable but not-too-stiff consistency, and holds a nice shape. Frost the cake immediately, using about 2/3 cup between each layer and the rest for the top and sides.
About 330 Calories (This calculation also takes into account that I only used half the frosting. The recipe really makes more than enough. If you use all of it tack on another 100+ calories, about 470 calories.)