fat bottom

fat bottom

Monday, December 29, 2008

a gift of chocolate crackle cookies...

so there has been this recipe circulating around that i've wanted to try ever since i saw the first picture of them... they just looked so delectable and delicious... and i've heard nothing but rave reviews about their taste... so i just had to make them...
when it comes to fresh out of the oven chocolate cookies i'm weak in the knees... unfortunately, these cookies take a little bit of patience... they have to chill for a while before baking, so you can't just mix 'em up, bake and eat... but believe me... they are worth it!! i never had so many requests for more and more of them... luckily i made an entire second batch... he he he...

chocolate crackle cookies recipe
recipe yields about 4 dozen cookies

dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cuo all purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch process cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/ tsp salt

wet/fat ingredients:
8 ozs. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 lrg. eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk

* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup confectioners sugar

1. chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt over a double boiler until smooth, then set aside to cool
2. sift together all dry ingredients
3. in a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy
4. add eggs and vanilla until well combined, then add melted chocolate
5. now, with mixer on low, alternately add the flour and milk until well combined
6. divide the dough into quarters, and wrap each quarter tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours
7. on clean counter top dusted with confectioners sugar, roll the dough into a log measuring 16" long and 1" thick, wrap again firmly in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes atop a cookie sheet
8. preheat oven to 350
9. cut the logs into 1" pieces, toss in the granulated sugar, roll into a ball and then roll around in confectioners sugar until completely covered
10. place the balls about 2" apart on a silicon lined baking sheet, and bake 10-12 minutes (i like them a little underdone, you could bake them 12-15 minutes if you prefer), until the sugar starts to split and crack
11. cool completely on a wire rack
12. eat eat eat eat and eat... they are addicting!!

if you get the chance... make these... they are unbelievable!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

go bananas

so who doesnt love the combination of bananas, peanut butter, honey and chocolate... not too many people i know... its usually a crowd favorite... one of my favorite comfort foods is a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich panini style (yum) with a tall glass of ice cold milk... i'm not a big milk fan, but i usually need to make an exception for this sandwich...

anyways, the hubs was having a holiday work party, and he casually asked me to make some goodies... and when i say "casually" it was more like he had already volunteered me and was just telling me politely... typical man, huh??

luckily for him i was planning on making some sweet treats that day anyways... so i looked in the pantry and saw that i had some bananas that were perfectly ripe... so a decision was made... banana rum cupcakes... topped with peanut butter cream and my favorite chocolate honey drizzle...

i use my families tried and true banana bread recipe, but with the addition of a little extra melted butter thats been browned (thats gives it a nice nutty flavor), and a kick of dark rum... why not... it gives a real moist cake with a sweet banana flavor... and the best part is when its baking, the whole house gets that deliciously intoxicating aroma...

banana cupcakes:

dry ingredients

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

wet/fat ingredients:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) melted and browned unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups smashed bananas

2 lrg. eggs

2 tsp rum

1. preheat oven to 350 and line 12 cupcake tins

2.in a medium bowl sift together all dry ingredients

3. make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all the wet ingredients

4. using a wooden spoon, incorporate together, but do not over mix

5. divide batter evenly among the tins and bake until done, about 17-20 minutes, and cool on wire rack

peanut butter cream:

1 cup creamy peanut butter

4 ozs. cream cheese softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (more to taste if needed)

2 - 3 tbsp heavy cream
blend the peanut butter and cream cheese together until combined, gradually add the confectioners sugar and the heavy cream until desired sweetness and consistency

chocolate honey drizzle:
2 tbsp butter melted
3 tsp cocoa powder
2-3 tsp honey
confectioners sugar to taste

melt the butter and whisk in the cocoa podwer until fully combined and there are no lumps, add in the honey and combine (it should be nice and glossy and a little runny), add confectioners sugar to taste making sure to get out all the lumps

Thursday, December 18, 2008

vanilla, chocolate, and unbaked (eggfree) cookiedough

so i was in the midst of baking some chocolate chip cookies that i had an idea... so i decided to put aside some of the dough before i added the egg... after baking the cookies, i started prepping the kitchen for some cupcake madness... i've always wanted to make chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, but i didn't want to do the usual and place a big chunk of the cookie dough in the center of the cupcake... so i figured i would make a simple vanilla cake, and top it with vanilla bean butter cream with little cookie dough cookies...

i used one of my favorite vanilla cupcake recipes, its simple and always comes out banging... its a nice triple threat of vanilla...

vanilla-vanilla-vanilla butter cake recipe

dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp coarse salt (once again i use my homemade vanilla sea salt)

wet/fat ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tbsp size pieces

1 cup of vanilla sugar*

2 lrg. eggs at room temp

1 tsp. pure madagascar vanilla

1/2 vanilla bean, split

1/2 cup buttermilk

*vanilla sugar - what i do for this is i take empty vanilla bean pods and i place them in mason jars along with some raw sugar... i let them meld together for a while, and then when i'm in need of the sugar, i run it through a food processor until it becomes fine. this is the same as what i do for the vanilla seasalt


1. preheat the oven to 400

2. in a medium bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients

3. beat the butter into the flour a little at a time, until it resembles coarse crumbs

4. beat in the sugar gradually, the mixture will still be crumbly

5. beat the eggs in 1 at a time, combining well after each

6. add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean and buttermilk and beat on medium until just combined, don't over mix

7. place in cupcake tins, and bake 15-17 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, then cool completely on a wire rack

now to frost them...
i make a classic vanilla bean buttercream, i love the little vanilla specks all mixed in the creamy vanilla buttercream... it just looks so freakin yummy... now for the added extra of the cookie dough... originally i was going to break the dough into chunks and fold it into the frosting, but i soon realized that the cookie dough would probably get all backed up in my pastry bag during frosting... so instead i took the dough and shaped them into disks about the size of the tip of my pinky, and then i topped each one with a mini chocolate chip...
voila! mini chocolate chip cookies...

i think the picture just about says it all...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

birthday wishes

just wanted to wish my little sister a very happy birthday today... well she's not so little anymore, she's 23... but she's still a little lady in my eyes...

lucky for me she loves cupcakes (we dont call her meggiecake for nothing!)... so she'll be getting some express mailed to her...

happy birthday chubbles!

love you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

whoopie- what?! certainly not for the dainty...

so, i was torn today between two recipes i wanted to try out... basically it came down to two things... would i rather nosh on something sweet and chocolaty (whoopie pies) or something buttery and fruity (homemade turnovers)... hmm... decisions decisions decisions... so being that i was in a state of undecided-ness, i called the hubby and asked what he would rather have as a snack (you see usually when i make and bake things, the hubs takes the bulk of them into work with him... cause for one thing i always make way too much, and not to mention, if they're in the house, we'll eat them... all of them! so i'd rather he take them into work to share)

so after explaining to him what a whoopie pie was as best as i could (you see as a kid, my mom never let us eat packaged preservative filled cookies and cakes like little debbies and hostess... we ate homemade and that was it... and now as an adult, i cant bring myself to buy them... even though the occasional hostess cupcake craving will arise, i dont submit!) so as i was saying... after explaining to him the choices, he was all about the whoopie pies, which shocked me cause the hubs is one healthy eater, and usually goes for the lighter fare... but the decision was made... whoopie pies it was!

i opted to use a recipe found on epicurious... i was going to try a recipe found on martha's website... but sometimes i'm not to satisfied with the results... plus, marthas recipe called for shortening, and sadly i was out...

so here we go..

whoopie pie recipe (yields about 8-10)

dry ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

wet/fat ingredients:

1 cup buttermilk, well shaken

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 lrg. egg

1. position oven racks to upper and lower thirds, and preheat oven to 350

2. generously butter 2 baking sheets and set aside

3. whisk together all the dry ingredients

4. stir together the buttermilk and the vanilla in a small bowl and set aside

5. with mixer on med-high, cream together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy

6. add egg to batter, and mix well

7. turn down mixer to low, and alternately add the flour and buttermilk to batter (starting and ending with the flour)

8. scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary, and mix until smooth

9. scoop 1/4 cup mounds of the batter onto the cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart

10. bake for about 10-13 minutes, switching cookie sheet positions on the racks halfway through bake time

11. transfer pies from cookie sheets onto cooling rack and cool completely.

and now to fill em...hmm... would we go for the classic vanilla marshmallow filling... or maybe deviate from the norm and go for a peanutbutter cream, or maybe a chocolate ganache filling... i decided to go with classic filling, but also made a few with a peanutbutter marshmallow filling... the hubs and i are weak in the knees for peanutbutter-chocolate combos... i didnt have any fluff (we never have stuff like fluff)
luckily for us, i had some homemade madagascar vanilla bean marshmallows (recipe courtesy of mister alton brown, love that guy)... so they were going to be melted down... a fine sacrifice to the food gods...

so everything is mixed and ready to go... bake away... 10-13 minutes later...


what are these?

not the most attractive things i have made... but why does dessert and food always have to be good looking... isn't it the taste that matters... well... looks aside, these taste awesome... hubs says they look a little like mounds of (----)... well... i'll let you figure out what he said... but that didnt stop him from stuffing his face... what does that say about him, huh? haha...

and heres some actual size... massive!!

this is no double stuff!!

jack is always a willing guinea pig... but seriuosly how hard is it to not satisfy a three year old...

so, all in all a tasty success... the cake is really good, not too moist, has a nice crumb, and has a good chocolate flavor... so i'm going to work on the appearances of these little suckers... stay tuned for the next installment...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

thanksgiving day memories past and present

ahh... i love this time of year... i get all dreamy eyed just thinking about the holidays... the sights, the sounds, and oh yea... the smells...

cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin, peppermint, all the sweet and all the spicy goodness overflowing and tickling the senses... enough to make anyone fall into a happy, eyes half closed, silly grin coma...


so here's what i love most about thanksgiving time...

as a child it was getting up and staying in our pj's till noon, during which time we ate a yummy breakfast, watched the parade (couldn't wait to see santa!), and then watching Lorel and Hardy's movie "march of the wooden soldiers"... classic...

as i got into high school and college it was all about the wednesday night fun and frolicking at the bars on staten island's forest avenue... meeting up with old elementary school and high school friends (you are always running into people, whether you like it or not, ahh the drunken drama... love it!) then there's the getting up early the next morning to take the ferry into the city to see the parade with the family...the hot chocolate and doughnut always cured the hangover... then coming back to mom and dads to the sweet aromas that have taken over the house... relaxing on the couch with my brother and sister until the feast was ready, and then... YOU STUFF!
now that i'm older, its all about spending time together... having my husband and my son, soon to be 2 sons actually, and going to my parents house to a dinner and day i look forward to all year long... my parents are both amazing cooks, but my dad and i both share a love for cooking for the family, but i agree with my mom that sometimes a nice glass of wine and some grapes, cheese and crackers is satisfying enough... this year my husband and i decided to drive up thanksgiving morning, so i spent all day wednesday in my kitchen baking, about 60 regular sized cupcakes, and little to-go packages of mini cupcakes for all my relatives that would be coming by my parents house for dessert, little parting gifts you might say.

well it being turkey time, i opted to go for a pumpkin cupcake with lots of sweet spices topped with a cinnamon butter cream

i used a pumpkin cake recipe from martha stewart, but i beefed up the spice, adding more cinnamon, some fresh grated ginger, a solid punch of nutmeg, some real good quality irish butter, a little extra brown sugar and all natural maple syrup... i made a classic vanilla buttercream with a nice amount of cinnamon, and i let it sit and combine for a while, so the flavors would meld nicely... the result was a deliciously moist and buttery cake with a sweet spicy kick... DROOL... it was the crowd favorite... defiantly a keeper!

i also made a yummy caramel cake with a vanilla bean buttercream topped with toffee bits

i found the caramel cake recipe on a fellow bloggers site... actually a wonderful group of bakers used it this month as their "challenge"... i used a homemade salt caramel sauce to add to the cake, instead of using a store bought carmel syrup... and i think it was a great addition...

caramel cake recipe:

dry ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp coarse salt (i use my homemade vanillabean sea salt for this)

wet/fat ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup homemade salt caramel

1 cup whole milk

2 lrg. eggs


1. preheat your oven to 375, and prep your cupcake tins

2. in mixer, beat butter until creamy and gradually add 1 cup of the sugar to the butter, and beat until well combined and fluffy

3. add the caramel and beat well

4. combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl

5. gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk to the butter mixture (start with the dry and end with the dry)

6. in a small bowl whisk the eggs until foamy, then add in the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar to them, and whisk until thickened

7. stir eggs into the batter until well combined, and then fill cupcake tins about 2/3 way full and bake 16-18 minutes

and finally i made a yummy rich chocolate cake (recipe in a previous post) with vanilla and chocolate kahlua buttercreams and topped with a coffee flavored malt ball

and here's some pictures of all the minis

all in all it was a wonderful day at mom and dad's... we had a amazing dinner, great conversation, followed by great company when a ton of the family showed up for dessert... and then when everyone left mom broke out the turkey, stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce and made us all sandwiches... now that's my favorite part of the day...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a rainy day, chocolate cupcakes and a happy 3 year old

ahh... a rainy day... a rainy saturday to be exact... not much to do down here in tourist town when its raining... PLUS, the hubby's working a 24... so it's just me and the little man... no doubt the toy box will be emptied out all over the living room, and we'll be watching some pixar movies, and probably some spongebob too... and of course, i'll bake something...

it's a bit of a routine when the hubby works an overnight... i'll bake something and load it up and bring it to him and the other gals and fellas he's working with... not only does it mean i get to test out some new recipes on some eager taste testers, but it also means i won't have all these goodies hanging around the house begging me to eat them! even though i'm preggers, i don't use that as an excuse to eat a batch of cupcakes or cookies... would i? could i? hell yes... but i resist!

anyways... before the hubby left for work i asked him to give me a challenge... something i haven't baked yet but have been dying to try... after a few moments of thinking he replied, "how about just a chocolate cupcake with some vanilla bean cream cheese frosting"... umm... BORING... delicious yes, but i've been there done that... but hey, it does give me a chance to tweak this chocolate cake recipe i've been working on... so i will abide... well, maybe i'll stray a little on the frosting (insert devil-ish laugh)...

so my afternoon starts... i've got my pandora radio on (if you dont know what this is, your missing out!) and its on the Queen station... it plays quite the mix of awesome music ... but anyways... i have my tunes, my ingredients all organized on the counter, jacks hanging out watching a movie, and i'm ready to go...

i love this chocolate cake recipe... i cannot for the life of me remember where i first stumbled across it, i would love to give credit for whoever's it is, cause its an awesome recipe... the only real difference from the original recipe is i add 2 more ounces of chocolate, and a few little things here and there... this recipe gives a killer chocolate cake, moist with a soft crumb, and loaded with chocolate and coffee flavor... LOVE IT!!

chocolate cake:

dry ingredients:

3 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups a.p. flour

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (i use 1 cup cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder)

2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/4 coarse seasalt (i make my own vanilla seasalt, just for that added vanilla kick... i place the seasalt in a mason jar, along with a split vanilla bean and shake it up a bit... after a few days the salt has a subtle vanilla undertone... and it looks pretty all speckled with the vanilla)

wet/fat ingredients:

3 eggs

3/4 cup veg. oil

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

6 ozs. chopped good quality bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups strong brewed hot coffee

1. preheat oven to 325 and prep your cupcake tins with liners
2. chop the bittersweet chocolate, place it in a lrg. glass measuring cup, and pour the hot coffee on top. let sit for about 5 minutes, then stir to make sure it is all melted and smooth
3. sift together all of the dry ingredients in a lrg. mixing bowl
4. in stand mixer on medium, beat the eggs until slightly thickened and lemon colored, 3 minutes
5. add the buttermilk, the veg. oil and the vanilla to the egg and beat until combined
6. slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, and mix until combined
7. turn mixer down to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary, and mix until combined
8. fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick come out clean

now for the fun part... the frosting!

i made a classic vanilla bean creamcheese frosting... slightly tangy on the sweet... yum! also, i was in a peanutbuttery mood so i also made a whipped peanutbutter cream... i mean come on, peanutbutter and chocolate... need i say more... well hopefully the hubby and his coworkers enjoyed them... i know me and jack did... and i think ben liked them too, he kicked me a bunch after i finished eating... he's already developed good taste!

as you can see jack could hardly wait for me to finish before he dived mouth first into them... thats my boy!

here's a few more of the little man devouring his cupcake

Friday, November 14, 2008

So... hello to everyone or anyone who is reading this... my name is becky (or rebecca if i'm feeling sophisticated)... i'm new to this whole blogging scene... but i've been a "lurker" for quite some time, getting ideas and inspiration from some amazing food (especially dessert) bloggers. i guess getting started will be the hardest part... i have so many ideas and i figured this would be a good outlet.

right now i'm a stay at home mom living down on the beach in cape may, nj... i have three year old son, named jack, and my husband and i are expecting our second son, ben, in less then 10 weeks... i'm lucky to be able to spend so much time with my family and also in my kitchen... baking is my passion!

so thats a little bit about me to start... i'm sure as my posts go on, i'll get into more about who i am and what i do...

well... lets begin...

that's my son jack on his 3rd birthday... and as in typical becky fashion i went so overboard with the dessert... i made over 100 cupcakes... i couldn't decide what what flavors i wanted to go with, and jack is pretty much a fan of anything, so i made quite the variety... as you can see...

i made two varieties of cake, vanilla-vanilla buttercake, and a chocolate buttermilk cake... for the frosting varieties i went with a vanilla bean buttercream, fresh strawberry infused buttercream, chocolate fudge, peanutbutter buttercream with chocolate honey, oreo cookie cream and kahlua chip (with plenty of kahlua)... my family is a big fan of the booze-infused cupcakes... what can i say, we like to party!

and this is what makes it all worth while... i mean come on... look at that face... adorable!