Classic – Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I plan on celebrating BIG tonight. I’m moving to Switzerland in two weeks for 5 months so my girlfriends and I are celebrating to the max. Green beer, shamrock patterned shirts, green cupcakes. My life is good.

These cupcakes are a traditional vanilla cupcake with smooth and creamy buttercream frosting. I decorated them with a random assortment of green Jelly Belly’s and they turned out perfectly. Enjoy!

Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from the Joy of Baking
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup milk
1-1 ½ recipes vanilla buttercream frosting

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Set pan aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest, if using.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Fill the muffin cups with the batter 3/4 full and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
5. Prepare frosting. Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from Bakerella and makes enough for 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups icing sugar
1-3 tsp cream

Directions:
1. Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
3. If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of cream/milk one tsp at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
4. Use your favorite icing colours to tint the frosting!…Irish green in my case.

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Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

I LOVE Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Even though I recently returned from Switzerland, the land of chocolate, I will never be too good for the perfectly balanced chocolate and peanut butter combination. This dessert, combining moist chocolate cake with rich and creamy peanut butter icing, is perfect. Add in some chopped Reese’s Cups, and this cake is truly decadent.

I made this for my boyfriends birthday and we ate the whole thing in two days between the two of us. It’s super addicting! To begin, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.

Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and put the batter into your prepared cake pan. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cake feels springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans.

While cake is cooling, make icing by beating together confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add cream and beat on high speed until the icing is light and smooth. Don’t eat all the icing before you put it on the cake….your tummy will hurt!

To assemble the cake, slice your cooled cake in half. Place one cake layer on a cardboard circle/square covered in foil.

Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting.

Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.

Purdy cake!! This recipe makes about 5 servings, but the cake can easily be cut into smaller-sized servings.

Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake
Recipe adapted from Cook Like a Champion’s Reese’s Cup Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Recipe makes one 8″ round cake

Ingredients:
For the cake:
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tbsp heavy cream
miniature Reese’s cups, halved and/or chopped

Directions:
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter one 8′ round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottom with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). 4. Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and put the batter into your prepared cake pan.
5. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cake feels springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cake, unmold them and peel off the paper liner. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
6. While cake is cooling, make icing by beating together confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add cream and beat on high speed until the icing is light and smooth.
7. Freeze the Reese’s Cups while filling and frosting the cake, then chop/halve them as desired.
8. To assemble the cake, slice your cooled cake in half. Place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Everyone has a favorite chocolate chip cookie. Some are made with browned butter, some are made with soft, creamed butter, some are made with semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate. My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe contains yummy browned butter, and a mix of chopped semi-sweet chocolate, and chocolate chips.

Now, this is a special cookie. I have another quick (and freaking delicious) recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but this one takes a little extra care. Why? Because when you put time, care, and love into your baking, your finished product will be perfect.

How do you make browned butter? I’ll tell you! Start by melting 1 and 1/4 sticks of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Keep swirling until butter has a delicate golden brown colour and a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Be careful to watch the butter and turn off the heat when it turns brown, or else you will burn it. When you heat the butter, it will boil and bubble and stay a bright yellow for a long time. At some point, it stops bubbling loudly and instead takes on a frothy texture. You can hear the sound difference in the cooking too. It is at this point that the you’ll see the liquid begin to brown. As soon as you see most of the liquid turn brown, turn off the stove.

After you’ve made a perfect browned butter, transfer it to a bowl and mix in the remaining butter until melted. Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. Add the egg and the extra yolk; whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let it rest for 3 minutes, then whisk again for about 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. You’ll want to whisk this about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, and smooth mixture. Then gently stir in the flour and baking soda just until combined. Stir in the chocolate.

Form dough balls about 3 tablespoons in size, and place them on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, then put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets, and voila!

This recipe was taken from America’s Test Kitchen a long time ago. It’s a tried and true recipe, and you’ll love it guaranteed.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
2. Melt 1 1/4 sticks butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Keep swirling until butter has a dark golden brown color and a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and mix in the remaining butter until melted.
3. Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. Add the egg and the extra yolk; whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let it rest for 3 minutes, then whisk again for about 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. You’ll want to whisk this about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, and smooth mixture.
4. Gently stir in the flour and baking soda just until combined. Stir in the chocolate.
5. Form dough balls about 3 tablespoons in size, and place them on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes (Mine actually took 8-9. The first batch I set for 10 minutes and they were burned on the edges), then put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets.

Tangy Stewed Rhubarb

She’s here! And thank goodness she is. Welcome back rhu-BARB! Doesn’t she look great?!

Rhubarb season is one of my absolute favorites. Rhubarb brings out a sassy, tangy, flavour in baking that makes my mouth water. Luckily, rhubarb is super healthy, and low calorie as well (even though I like to dip it raw in sugar). I love the way my mouth puckers up after a big bite of a raw stalk. It’s saying “GOOD MORNING”!

Let’s get started, shall we? Begin by washing your rhubarb. Chop up the rhubarb into one-inch pieces and place into a large saucepan.

Add sugar, water, vanilla and lemon juice.

Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is completely cooked, and blends together. You don’t want any hard chunks!

You can serve this on toast. It’s so yummy!

This recipe makes 8 servings, and is 2 weight watchers points per serving (1 serving = 1/4 cup).

Ingredients:
6 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions:
1. Rinse, and chop rhubarb into one-inch chunks and place into a large saucepan.
2. Add all other ingredients and cook on medium heat until rhubarb has completely cooked and turned into a “stew”. You don’t want any hard chunks. This should take about 20 minutes.
3. Allow to cool completely and serve with toast (if having it for breakfast), over ice cream (if having it for dessert), or eat it plain!
4. This stores in the fridge for up to one week.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Sometimes (maybe way too often) I like to reflect on my childhood – so simple. No honours thesis to hand in. No half marathon to train for. No job to go to. In grade school my biggest concern was being home on time for dinner.

Remember the days when you could bring peanut butter to school? It really wasn’t that long ago. I have ALWAYS loved peanut butter. My favorite candy bar in grade school was always Reese’s peanut butter cups. I liked that there were three cups so that I could trade my friends for other candies at lunch.

And now that I’m older I still love peanut butter cups. The ratio of chocolate to peanut butter in the Reese’s candy bar is perfect.

Look at that goodness! So, when I was browsing the Taste of Home website I was tickled to see they had a post for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies! Awesome.

Let’s bake ’em!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped peanut butter cups (about four packages)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and peanut butter cups.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.


6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.