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Friday, October 14, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

This is what it looks like pre-baked

bake to puffy goodness :)

sliced and ready to go!

I hope you're ready for another easy brownie recipe, because here it comes! One day I figured brownies and cookies would be an awesome combination, so I started researching recipes. All the ones I found required baking brownies and then making a separate egg-less cookie down that gets spread on top after the brownies are baked.  Sounds kind of weird...and time consuming. So I did my own experimenting and confirmed my hunch that this was super simple to do.

I took these bars to a dinner party and the reaction was "Brownies...AND cookies?!...Amazing!"

These are really dense, so a nice cup of milk is a great way to wash down them down!

Use your favorite brownie recipe and your favorite cookie dough recipe...or use a mix like I did!

-1 box brownie mix, prepared as directed
-1 pound chocolate chip cookie dough (feel free to use the refrigerated kind, I don't judge ;-))

To make
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Prepare brownie mix and spread in 9x13 inch baking pan.
-Scoop tablespoons of cookie dough evenly all over the pan.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brownie seems set and cookies have puffed up slightly.
-Let cool and then slice into bars.
-Devour with a cup of cold milk :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

I love anything pumpkin, especially desserts. Fall is my favorite season because of the breezy weather, beautiful colors on leaves, soup and hearty stews, and pumpkin!!!

I came across this recipe a while ago and have been waiting for an opportunity to try it. I must admit though, making these cupcakes was a really stressful experience. I started out with a recipe and quickly realized that I didn't have the accurate measurements for most of the ingredients. I measured out my brown sugar and didn't even have a 1/4 of what I needed, I was short on cocoa powder, the recipe called for too much butter (3 sticks in the batter!) and so forth, so I ditched the recipe and nervously did my own thing. My sister was "helping" by standing over my shoulder making comments like "This is really not your day" each time I discovered another lacking ingredient. There was even a supermarket run when I got to the frosting and discovered another shortage of supply on powered sugar.  I ended up spending 4 active hours on these cupcakes, and the result was a lot of drama and a very messy kitchen.

Another result? DELICIOUS cupcakes!!! The moistness is indescribable, a credit that goes to the pumpkin. With the cocoa powder and the pumpkin the cupcakes don't taste completely like chocolate or pumpkin, and the spice from the pumpkin mixture means you don't have to add anymore on your own.

These shouldn't take you guys as long as it took me now that there is a recipe you can follow, just make sure you have enough of the ingredients :)  These make a LOT of cupcakes, which I took as a great opportunity to share with friends, neighbors and teachers.  Don't panic at the butter/oil/sugar content, if this recipe was cut into 1/3 (12 cupcakes) the quantities are very reasonable.

Frost the cupcakes before you are ready to serve them, and store the frosting in the refrigerator and the unfrosted cupcakes on your counter-top.

Yields 36 large cupcakes or 24 large and 48 mini cupcakes

-3 cups flour
-1/4 cup cocoa powder
-4 teaspoons baking powder
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-3/4 cup salted butter (1.5 sticks). If you don't have salted butter use unsalted + 1 teaspoon salt.
-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-4 cups sugar
-7 eggs
-2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
-4 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 cup buttermilk
-2 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (pie filling)

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Frosting
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
-12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) cream cheese at room temperature
-4 cups confectioners sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 cup canned pumpkin (pie filling)

To make cucpcakes:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
-In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the oil and continue mixing.
-Add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated in the batter.
-Melt the baking chocolate and stir it in, add the vanilla.
-Switch the mixer to its lowest setting and alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in two separate batches. Mix until everything is well combined. Stir in the pumpkin.
-Line cupcake pans with baking cups and fill the cups about 3/4 full.
-Bake the large cupcakes 20-25 minutes (mine were perfect at 23 minutes) and the mini cupcakes for 13-18 minutes (Mine took about 16).

While the cupcakes are baking prepare the frosting.

To prepare frosting:
-Use a mixer to cream the cream cheese and butter until perfectly smooth. Make sure you start off with room temperature cream cheese and butter so it does not get clumpy as you mix it.
-Switch the mixer to its lowest setting and the vanilla and pumpkin puree.  If you over mix the frosting will be too runny. If that happens its ok, just place it in the freezer while the cupcakes bake and cool and it should be a little firmer when you are ready to frost.
-Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them and sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top of the frosting.
-DEVOUR and enjoy!!!

P.S. Happy Birthday Sarah and Kifah!!!