Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fudge Oreo Cookies

Spring is being a tease here in Minnesota. For one week we had lovely weather in the 50s. All the snow melted. The dogs could go for long walks. My flip flops even made an appearance. However, it was very short lived. No sooner after we had gotten excited for spring the weather took a turn. We got six inches of snow and temps in the teens. The boots were back out and I was glad that I didn't put my winter jacket away. Temps have remained just around freezing for the past week so barely any of the snow has melted, and temps will get back to normal this weekend, but then fall back below freezing again next week. I feel like spring has forgotten us!

Mercedes though
has found a way to combat the cold. Just curl up in the sun and take a nap dreaming of warmer weather!

And although I would love to join her in nap time, I decided to warm up the house by trying a new cookie recipe. I
knew it was going to be good. It called for butter, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and crushed up Oreos. A cookie made from another cookie could only mean an even better cookie!

I found the recipe reading one of my new favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is. (Check ou
t the recipe here and read through her blog - it's great!) Her pictures of the dough were what got me. It looked so yummy I knew I had to make them right away. And I'm glad I did! The dough tasted so good I wanted to eat many spoonfuls. But, I managed to bake most of the dough with only a few small (relatively) spoonfuls of dough gone missing in my stomach.

Don't they just look delicious with those chunks of Oreos running through them? YUM! I highly recommend running out to the store today and buying Oreos to make these. You will not regret it! Just mix them up when no one else is home so they can't see you inhaling the dough!

Fudge Oreo Cookies

Original recipe by Jessica at How Sweet It Is

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet baking chunks)
1 cup crushed Oreos (I used almost half a package of Double Stuffed Oreos which is probably more than a cup!)

How To:
Cream butter and sugar well. Mix in the vanilla. Add the eggs and beat thoroughly until light and fluffy.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add slowly to the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Dough will get thick and sticky.
Gently mix in chocolate chips and crushed Oreos with spoon.
Refrigerate dough for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drop dough by spoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with slipmats or parchment paper.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until set.
Let cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes then move to cooling rack to cool completely.

Make about 3 dozen delicious cookies!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paula Deen's Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Last week I had a day that has been bothering me all this week. It was a bad day with fake compliments, little digs at my lifestyle and even some pushing of my baby girl who luckily wasn't hurt. I don't think it's okay for someone to come into my home and insult it, where I choose to live and push my dog. I understand that suburban, townhome living isn't for everyone. But that doesn't mean you can go into someone's house and say "why would anyone want to live here? I don't understand why anyone would choose to live in a townhouse." Hmmm... well we did since you're in our house and maybe don't insult it because you're actually insulting us. And, if you think you can push my dog off her chair or hit her when she's jumping up on her chair, you have another thing coming and one thing I can't forget is someone hurting my dog, my baby.

In other words, I had a very stressful day that has been festering in my mind. So, in order to get my mind on something else and to relieve a little stress, I decided to bake. Baking does wonderful things for my stress level!

I knew I really wanted cookies. I recently made chocolate chip cookies so I knew I needed something different. This brought me to a picture I remembered seeing on Paula Deen's website for her Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies. They looked so good and had great reviews that I knew they were the perfect cookie. And lots of chocolate always makes me feel better!

These cookies are so, so good. I can't recommend them enough. I love the fact that it's just a few ingredients to make these heavenly cookies. They're so soft and chewy, and delicious. I'm looking forward to keeping this recipe around for a long time and making them many more times to try other cake flavors!! Try it. You won't be disappointed!

Oh, and if you happen to ever come visit me, please don't insult my home. I love living somewhere where I don't have to shovel snow or mow the lawn. I love having friendly neighbors that I can actually visit with and borrow a cup of sugar from (although I've never done this, I know I could!). And please, I'm begging you, do not push or hit my dog. Ever. If you don't do those things, you are welcome to come visit me!!

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies, original recipe found here
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick of butter at room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 box moist chocolate cake mix (I used triple chocolate fudge, but any flavor would work)
Powdered Sugar for rolling in
Chocolate Stars for topping (completely optional and kind of unnecessary because they are THAT good!)

How To:
In a large bowl with your electric mixer or in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Beat in the egg.
Beat in the vanilla.
Beat in the cake mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure it's completely mixed.
Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours so the dough is easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll the chilled dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll the ball in the powdered sugar.
Place the sugar covered ball on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven, apply chocolate stars if using, and let cool on pan for 2 minutes. Then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies will be soft and gooey. (Yum!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

This past weekend we celebrated my mom's birthday at our house. It was just a small affair with my husband and me, my brother and his girlfriend, and of course my mom and dad. I made a very delicious cake for her, but forgot to bring down my camera and take a picture of it. Luckily, I did take a picture of it with my camera phone so at least I have that!

The cake is very pink, pretty and girlie ... exactly what I thought my mom deserved on her birthday! Plus it gave me an excuse to make one of MY favorite frostings: raspberry buttercream. I've used it as a filling before, but never as the whole cake's frosting. And the verdict? It's very, very good!

The cake itself was a vanilla cake with a hint of lemon by using lemon zest. My mom loves lemon cake, but no one else is very fond of it so I thought just a hint of lemon would please her, but not make anyone else turn away in disgust. Truthfully, I think I should have used more lemon. However, I had an issue with my "zester" (which was actually just a box cheese grater that did NOT work and had to send my husband to Target to buy an actual zester) and only had one lemon left to zest after I mangled the first one. Plus, I didn't include the lemon extract the recipe calls for because I didn't want the lemon to be too powerful. Next time I'll do more lemon zest for sure. But the cake was very light, very moist and very good. The color was pure white (pretend you can see that in the picture!) and looked very pretty against the pretty pink frosting.

Mom, I hope you enjoyed your birthday cake. Next year I'll perfect the amount of lemon in it so you can actually taste it. Happy Birthday Mom!! You're the best!

Vanilla Lemon Cake with Raspberry Buttercream
(original recipe found here at My Baking Addiction)

Cake Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract (I left this out, which is why I was missing some lemon flavor)

Cake How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round pans with baking cooking spray.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in your mixer/ large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter evenly between the two round pans.
Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch.

Let cool in pans 10 minutes than carefully remove. Let cool completely on wire rack or parchment paper.

Raspberry Buttercream Ingredients
1/2 cup raspberries (blended into a puree and pushed through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds)
1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of raspberry extract
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar (I probably didn't use this much as I like to add until I like the taste so it doesn't get too sweet)
2-4 tablespoons very cold milk (add until you reach desired consistency)

Buttercream How To:
Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add extracts and raspberry puree and combine well.
Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.

Frost the cake as desired and enjoy!