girl scout cookies as a cupcake: samoas

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Next up on my girl scout cookie series is samoas!  I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of coconut, so this cupcake was 100% for K.  He’s a big fan of coconut, and was very excited when I came home from Whole Foods and told him there was shredded coconut in the pantry and coconut milk in the fridge.  Unfortunately for him, those ingredients are rarely found in our house!

If you are not familiar with samoas (or caramel deLites, as they’re called in some areas), they are vanilla cookies topped with caramel, toasted coconut, and chocolate.  In cookie form, all the flavors come together beautifully, so I knew this would taste just as nice in cupcake form.  These cupcakes have a vanilla cake, coconut frosting, a toasted coconut topping, plus a drizzling of caramel and chocolate sauce.  The coconut frosting was a huge hit – I literally had to fight K for the bowl of frosting when I was trying to fill my piping bag with it!

Coconut Cupcakes with Caramel & Chocolate Drizzle
(Makes 12 cupcakes)

For the vanilla cupcakes:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk

For the coconut frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

For the toppings:

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup (1.5 oz) milk chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line your cupcake pan with liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and stir until uniform.

In another large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.  Add all the milk and mix.  Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix, ensuring everything is incorporated.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely and reduce oven temp to 325F (you will need the oven to toast the coconut).

While the cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the frosting;  in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter until smooth and creamy.  Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar and mix until incorporated.  Add the vanilla extract, coconut extract, and coconut milk, and mix.  Add the remaining 1-2 cups of confectioners sugar until your desired consistency is reached.  If too thin, add more confectioners sugar.  If too thick, add coconut milk 1 tsp at a time.  With a spatula, fold in the shredded coconut.  Frost the cupcakes however you’d like.

With the remaining 1/2 cup shredded coconut, spread the coconut on a lined baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes, or until the coconut is a golden brown.  Dip each frosted cupcake in the toasted coconut, and drizzle with the melted chocolate and caramel.

cupcake on,
Sharon

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girl scout cookies as a cupcake: thin mints

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Growing up, my favorite girl scout cookie flavor was always “animal treasures”.  You know, the shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate with an assortment of animals embossed on the top.  They were sweet and chocolatey and fun!  It’s now been several years since they’ve been sold (RIP, lil’ guys) and I still find myself anxiously wondering each season if they’ll magically pop back into the lineup.  Luckily, the new s’mores cookies  are becoming my new favorite.

Despite my love for animal treasures and s’mores, it’s clear that thin mints are the clear favorite worldwide.  It seems that every year, they make up the majority of the sales.  So for my second cupcake creation, I had to give thin mints a shot.  I crushed up the thin mints and created a delicious cookie crust, made a rich chocolate cupcake, filled it with mint chocolate ganache, and frosted it with mint chocolate frosting.  If you’re a mint lover – enjoy!  You’re in for a real treat.

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
(Makes 12-15 cupcakes)

For the thin mint cookie crust:

1 cup (about 15 cookies) thin mints, crushed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the chocolate cupcakes:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

For the mint chocolate ganache:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup (about 6 oz) milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

For the mint chocolate frosting:

2 cups confectioners sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp heavy cream
3 tbsp mint chocolate ganche (recipe follows)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line your cupcake pan with liners.

Prepare the cookie crust; add the thin mints to a ziploc bag and seal.  Using your fist or the flat side of a meat tenderizer, crush the cookies until it is a coarse mixture.  Add to the melted butter and stir until incorporated.  Press about 1 tbsp into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Bake for 3 minutes and remove from the oven.

Prepare the batter; combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.  In a couple batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.  With the mixer at a low speed, add the boiling water.  Be patient – it will take about a minute for everything to incorporate.

Next, prepare the ganache; in a small saucepan on medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer.  Pour the hot cream over a medium bowl containing the chocolate.  Whisk together for 2-3 minutes, or until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated with the cream.  Add the peppermint extract and mix.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly and using a cupcake corer or teaspoon, remove a small amount of cake from the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with ganache to the rim, about 2 tsp worth.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the frosting; beat the sugar and butter until they are incorporated.  Small clumps are okay.  Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and beat for 2-3 more minutes, or until desired consistency is reached.  If too thin, add more confectioners sugar.  If too thick, add milk 1 tsp at a time.  Frost the cupcakes however you’d like!

– cupcake on,
Sharon

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girl scout cookies as a cupcake: s’mores

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It’s winter time, and you know what that means!  Well here in the east coast, of course that means snow, and lots of it.  But it also means girl scout cookies are available!  It’s hard to say no to those cookies – so far I’ve grabbed them at the grocery store, the bank, and even at the drive thru at Dunkin’ Donuts (what?!) – am I the only one that thinks they’re everywhere this year?!  Oh well, I’m happy about it!

So when Shirley texted me the other day saying, “could you turn our favorite girl scout cookies into cupcakes?”, I immediately responded with, “YES!  You’re a genius!”  How fun to combine my love of baking with my love of these cookies.

I’ll start today with the NEW, but oh so delicious s’mores cookies.  These cupcakes have it all – a graham cracker crust, chocolate cupcakes, marshmallow frosting, and the s’mores cookie to top it off.

Check back all week for more cupcakes inspired by the girl scout cookies!

S’mores Cupcakes
(Makes 12-15 cupcakes)

For the graham cracker crust:

1 cup (about 3 sheets) graham crackers, crushed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the chocolate cupcakes:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

For the marshmallow frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups marshmallow fluff, either store-bought or homemade
2 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line your cupcake pan with liners.

Prepare the graham cracker crust; add the graham crackers to a ziploc bag and seal.  Using your fist or the flat side of a meat tenderizer, crush the crackers until it is a coarse mixture.  Add to the melted butter and stir until incorporated.  Press about 1 tbsp into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Bake for 3 minutes and remove from the oven.

Prepare the batter; combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.  In a couple batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.  With the mixer at a low speed, add the boiling water.  Be patient – it will take about a minute for everything to incorporate.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the frosting; beat the butter until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the marshmallow fluff and beat for 2-3 more minutes.  Add the vanilla extract and mix.  Working 1 cup at a time, add the confectioners sugar and mix until combined and at your desired consistency.  If too thin, add more confectioners sugar.  If too thick, add milk 1 tsp at a time.  Frost the cupcakes however you’d like!

– cupcake on,
Sharon

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valentine’s day: chocolate cupcakes for two

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The best (or worst?) thing about this recipe is that it only makes enough batter for exactly 2 cupcakes.  So if you’re sharing Valentine’s day with a special someone, you’ve each got a cupcake for dessert.  And if you’re single and just as special, you’ve got two cupcakes to eat for dessert.  Honestly, I think the single ladies and gents have the advantage here.  Because 2 cupcakes is ALWAYS better than 1.  Whether you’re single or taken on this made up holiday, take a break and indulge yourself with some sweets!

Chocolate Cupcakes for Two
(Makes 2 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes:

3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/16 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

3 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 2 cups of a cupcake pan with liners.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the water, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and combine with a hand mixer.  Add the batter to the two cupcake liners and top each cupcake with a 1/2 tbsp of mini chocolate chips.  Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the frosting.  In a small bowl, combine the softened butter and cocoa powder with a hand mixer.  Add the confectioners sugar 1 tbsp at a time until your desired consistency is achieved.  Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost and decorate however you’d like!

cupcake on,
Sharon

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chocolate chip waffles

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I’m embarrassed to say this, but the first purchase I made when I moved out of my mom’s house and into my own apartment was a waffle iron.  About 5 years have passed since that day, and I still love pulling out my waffle iron every weekend and making waffles.  Over the years, I’ve developed my go-to recipe.  It is a simple recipe that calls for one bowl (easy clean up), simple ingredients that you’ll without a doubt always have in your kitchen, and only a few minutes of work.  And it leads to super fluffy waffles that are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

I usually make these with chocolate chips, because… well… chocolate.  But this recipe can easily be made without the chocolate if all you want are some plain jane waffles.  Nothing wrong with that!

Chocolate Chip Waffles
(Makes about 4 8-inch round waffles)

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your waffle iron.  I set my Oster waffle iron to the max setting.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.  Slowly whisk in the flour, baking powder, and melted butter.  Whisk until just combined – small lumps are okay!  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Add about 2/3 cup into the center of the waffle iron – make sure you are grabbing chocolate chips, too!  They tend to sink to the bottom of the bowl.  The batter will spread throughout the waffle iron, but you can use a small spoon to quickly make sure that the batter is spread evenly throughout the iron.  Close the lid and cook for about 5 to 5 1/2 minutes, or until the waffle is golden brown.  Remove with a fork and repeat until all the batter has been used.

Serve immediately with chocolate sauce, maple syrup, or whipped cream!

– breakfast on,
Sharon

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homemade rice krispies treats

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K and I are big snackers.  Always have been, and always will be.  If I had my way, I’d snack on chocolate all day, but for some strange reason, I’ve been told “that’s not healthy, Sharon.”  Whatever.  So when I get a craving during the day and I’m just not feeling the healthier option of fruit, vegetables, or some hummus, I go for these homemade rice krispies treats.  They’re fun, sweet, and the perfect little mid-day snack.

Oh!  And did I mention these are so easy to make?!  Just 3 ingredients (rice krispies cereal, butter, and marshmallows) and no baking necessary!  I personally always have rice krispies cereal in the house, and butter, well yeah, there’s always butter here.  So that just leaves marshmallows, which as you’ve seen by my other post, is now a staple in this household!

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Rice Krispies Treats
(Makes one 9×13″ pan, or about 12 “treats”)

3 tbsp butter
6 cups rice krispies cereal
4 cups mini marshmallows

Coat a 9×13″ pan with butter or cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Once the butter has melted, add the marshmallows and allow to fully melt.  Remove from the heat and add the cereal.  Stir well and pour into the prepared pan.  Spread the mixture evenly across the entire pan, and allow to let cool for a couple hours.  Cut into small squares and serve immediately.

– snack on,
Sharon

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Chicken Katsu Curry

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It has been unusually rainy and cold here in San Diego this winter.  Don’t get me wrong, we need the rain and I’ve welcomed the change in temperatures that I miss since moving from the east coast, but it still leaves me craving warm and cozy meals.  Soups usually fit the bill, but I was looking for something different.  Enter this rich and creamy curry, coupled with a crispy chicken breast – it really hit the spot!

Chicken Katsu Curry
(makes 2-3 servings)

For the curry:
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 medium sized potatoes, diced into 2 inch cubes
1 red pepper, cut into 3 inch long sticks
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 tbs curry (I use golden curry sauce mix)
3 cups rice, cooked

For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vegetable oil

In a large skillet, under medium heat, saute garlic and peppers in olive oil for approximately 3 minutes.  Lower heat to low, add potatoes, carrots, and chicken stock. Continue to cook until the mix simmers, then add curry.  Mix well to ensure curry is dissolved or well mixed. Continue to cook until potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock or curry to thin or thicken the consistency, respectively, to your liking.

While curry is cooking, combine egg, milk, a dash of salt and pepper, and any seasonings you prefer (I like using adobo). Pound chicken breast to tenderize it, dip in egg mixture, followed by panko, and place into vegetable oil under medium-high heat.  Cook chicken until browned, approximately 4 minutes, then flip and repeat.

Serve curry and chicken over rice.

food on,
-Shirley