Have you ever gotten into a muffin vs. cupcake discussion with someone who feels passionate about finding the differences between the two? I've been sucked into more of those conversations than I care to recall and there rarely seems to be any resolution.
It all very subjective but in my unscientific opinion, if you serve a sweet baked treat before 10:00 AM and you don't put any frosting on it - it'a a muffin. Slap some frosting on that same baked goody after 10:00 AM and bam --- it's a cupcake. It's all about the timing and the presence (or absence) of frosting.
Some people would think that a Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffin might be too over the top for a morning breakfast treat but luckily - I'm not one of those people.
I've somehow managed to avoid a morning coffee addiction but I seem to have replaced it with a chocolate addiction. (I've got to get my caffeine somehow.) ;) I can eat chocolate from the very moment that I wake up to the moment that I go to bed. My chocolate addiction does not discriminate - I can eat it ALL day.
Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup jarred dulce de leche
Divide batter between 12 muffin cups. Bake 12 minutes at 350.
Sprinkle the tops of muffins with grated chocolate and sea salt.
Thanksgiving is exactly one week away and I am sooooo excited. There are so many things that I'm looking forward to - not the least of these is sitting around the kitchen table early in the morning, munching on yummy muffins and talking with my sweet family. Of course, I love turkey and pie too but its mostly about the people that will be gathering around my table.
Is it really worth the effort to make homemade brownies instead of buying a box mix? Boxed brownie mixes average around 4.00 a box and a batch of homemade brownies will probably cost you almost double that amount. It's also going to take more time to put together a homemade batch of brownies since the ingredients aren't pre measured. So the obvious question is: Are homemade brownies really worth the extra cost and time that it takes to prepare them?
It may surprise you to know that I really do like boxed mix brownies. Seriously. Boxed mix brownies are quick, easy, reliable and convenient. Fudgey, chocolatey boxed mix brownies with crispy edges and flaky tops are amazing. But ... I love homemade brownies even more.
If you're a fan of boxed mixed brownies and you don't think that homemade brownies even come close to their greatness, I have one thing to say to you. Cream Cheese Brownies - Try them.
Cream Cheese Brownies
Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 Tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bake 35-40 minutes at 325. Let cool 1 hour.
Lift brownies from pan using foil sling. Cool 1 hour. Slice.
Now that I've successfully converted you to a homemade brownie fan, I feel like I can answer my own question. YES - homemade brownies really ARE worth the extra cost and effort. They're just that good.
How I am just now discovering that there is such a thing as a TUNNEL OF FUDGE cake??? Seriously, where has this chocolatey, fudgey fabulousness been all my life?
From the moment that I read the words "tunnel of fudge", I was in love. I actually stumbled upon this cake quite by accident. I was innocently searching molten lava cake recipes when this dreamy circle of glazed chocolate goodness popped up. How could I not go to my kitchen and make this cake immediately? Tunnel of fudge, people - TUNNEL OF FUDGE!!!
I don't claim to understand all of the science of baking but I do know the very basics behind cake baking. This cake has me absolutely astounded though.
One batter that magically separates into a rich chocolate cake and a dark, fudgey center. No truffle filling, no fudge sauce poured into the center, no pudding spooned into the center. It's a true cake mystery friends. I don't know how it happens but I love it. And I'm pretty sure that you will too.
Tunnel of Fudge Cake
1 tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the cake:
½ cup boiling water
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (2¼ oz.) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 cups (8 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (7 oz.) granulated sugar
¾ cup packed (5¼ oz.) light brown sugar
20 tbsp. (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the glaze:
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Cool 1 1/2 hours before inverting onto serving platter. Cool 2 hours before slicing.
Drizzle over cake and allow to stand for 10 minutes to set.
Decorate with sprinkles.
Some days, I just need chocolate in my life. Like days when my sweet girl is packing up her room and getting ready to move into her apartment at college. It's a good thing we have chocolate in the house this week - I'm gonna need it.
To say that I'm not a morning person is putting it mildly. I've accepted that fact and I'm actually okay with it. The problem is, that I live with an EXTREME morning person. Only my fellow non-morning followers will understand my frustration with the whistling, singing and general merriment that happens in my house before 7:00 AM. Uuuggg. The struggle is real. The fact that I don't drink coffee in the morning doesn't help my situation either. (I'm starting to see the connection now.)
It occurs to me that this resistance to mornings may actually be a genetic trait. I've got one child who thrives in the early morning hours and another who takes after her mom, and is, let's just say is less than gleeful in the morning.
I like breakfast food but because I prefer to sit quietly and eat my breakfast while sipping my hot tea and scrolling through email rather than cook breakfast at 7:00 am, I don't often eat a hot breakfast. Eggs, french toast, pancakes and oatmeal all sound like great ideas - if I could hold off until 10:00 to eat my breakfast. (Which we all know - is NOT going to happen.) My solution is to make my breakfast before I go to bed. Overnight oats are a game changer for anyone who doesn't love early morning cooking - or is just pressed for time in the morning.
There are literally thousands of recipes for overnight oats on the internet. Everything from tropical fruit oats, to carrot cake oats to strawberry cheesecake oats. My goal is to try as many as I possibly can.
Mason Jar Overnight Oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 Tablespoon flaxseed
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips, almonds or coconut
Pour ingredients into a mason jar. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, warm oats in the microwave, stir in chocolate chips, almonds or coconut and enjoy.
You can make these gluten free by using gluten free oats. You can make them sugar free by swapping out the brown sugar for mashed banana. You can use milk alternatives like coconut, soy or almond milk in place of cows milk. You can also experiment with different sweeteners like maple syrup, honey or agave. I love that these are totally customizable.
Be sure and send me your fabulous flavor combinations. I want to try them all.
I'm feeling the love this week. Valentine's Day is less than a week away and I've spend the last couple of afternoons trying to get Valentine treats ready to put in the mail. With both kids away at school, I've tried to force myself to plan for holidays early to allow time for the care packages to be delivered. Somehow though, I always end up scrambling to get holiday treats together and packing them into boxes while they're still hot so I can get them to the post office.
Valentine's Day baking is in full swing in my house this week. Everything and anything that lands on my counter this week, will eventually get covered in chocolate and dusted with heart shaped sprinkles.
These chocolate frosted cookies are the perfect decadent treat for Valentine's Day. The chocolate frosting is so rich and decadent and is the perfect compliment to the crumbly shortbread cookie.
Chocolate Frosted Cookies
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 1/2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Microwave chocolate chips, cream and salt until melted. Whisk cocoa, vanilla and sugar into chocolate.
Spoon 2 T. frosting on the flat side of each cookie. Let cookies to sit at room temperature for 3 hours to allow frosting to set.
Dressing these cookies up for Valentine's Day is easy. A few juicy red raspberries or some heart sprinkles can really transform these cookies into a Valentine's Day delight.
Just in case you were curious (Or you're one of my children who are expecting a care package) these cookies are NOT going to be in the Valentine boxes. I wasn't sure exactly how to pack these in the mail so kiddos - if you want to sample these cookies - you're going to have to come home. :)
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