Tag Archives: Vanilla extract

Baked: Mississippi Mud Cake (i.e. a treat you MUST make)

Ever since I told you about my latest obsession, Baked, I haven’t been able to get either of the cookbooks off of my mind. Naturally, I’ve already made four recipes, and plan on making two more this weekend alone. And trust me, I really wish I could have documented what I’ve baked so far better, but the items have been just too good to not gobble up before getting a good photo. Luckily for you, I did manage to photograph one treat, and boy is it a good one. Actually, it probably just so happens to be the favorite thing I’ve made from the cookbooks so far…although, really, I truly have adored them all.

And what have I made so far? The very first day I bought the books, I made the Sweet & Salty Brownies (i.e. fudgy brownie, thin drizzle of decadent, scrumptious, heavenly caramel, then more fudgy brownie layered on, with fleur de sel sprinkled on top). Then, I made the Cowboy Cookies, which are a divine play on chocolate chip cookies: chocolate chunks and pieces of pretzels. These were gone. in. a. flash. And the dough? Don’t even get me started. Next, I made a vanilla cake with a white chocolate frosting. It was so airy and moist, and I kid you not: it can convert hard-core chocoholics to being white chocolate fans.

So while I’m going to share this next recipe with you, and I’ll probably share more with you in the future, I really want need you to get at least one of the two cookbooks, although I highly recommend both.

Okay, seriously, these pictures do not do justice to this masterpiece. Let me talk you through it: Oreo cookie crust, then flourless chocolate cake, then homemade chocolate pudding, and finally, a homemade whipped cream layer. Yes, it’s absolute heaven. And while it may seem like it would be a really heavy dessert, it’s actually really light and airy.

A few quick notes about the process:

  • This may seem like a daunting recipe with its many components. Truth be told, it does take a bit of time to prepare. If you want you can split up the work into different days. I did, however, make it in one day (a weekend, mind you). My suggestion for making it in one day: make the crust and while it’s cooling, mix up the cake; while cake is baking, make the pudding; then, refrigerate the baked cake and pudding (separately, not combined yet!) for at least 3 hours; after chilling, put the pudding on top of the cake, and while that’s chilling for 30 minutes, make the whipped cream. After you top it with whipped cream, you can serve it immediately, or chill it (you store the cake in the fridge).
  • If you taste the cake batter, you may find it has a strong coffee flavor. Don’t let this worry you though (if you’re not a coffee fan), because the flavor will mellow out a lot during baking, and as the cake sits in the fridge for a day or so.
  • The cake calls for espresso powder…if you get either of the Baked cookbooks, this is a worthy ingredient to invest in, as it’s used quite often. It may be a bit tricky to find, but trust me, it’s worth it. (Fleur de Sel is another investment ingredient if you buy the books, although it’s not used in this recipe).
  • If you wanted, the flourless chocolate cake and pudding would both be divine on their own. Seriously, I might make them separately sometime too!

And now, for the recipe:

Mississippi Mud Cake

from Baked: Explorations

Chocolate Cookie Crust:

16 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies (about 35-40 Oreos…just enough in one package to leave a few over for munching on!)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Flourless Chocolate Cake:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

¼ cup strong coffee, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

Chocolate Pudding:

¾ cup  sugar

½ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (use the good stuff…something like Valrhona!)

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

4 large egg yolks

2 ½ cups whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped

Whipped Cream:

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray at 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a cut out round piece of parchment paper and spray the parchment paper and sides of pan again (lightly spray, of course!).

Grind the cookies in a food processor. Put the crumbs in a bowl and pour in the melted butter. Mix, and then turn the crumb mixture into the prepared pan, pressing into the bottom and up the sides (leave about ½ inch between the top of the crust and the top of the pan). Make sure the crust is spread out evenly, and then put the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Bake the crust until it is dry to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

For the cake:

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso powder, coffee, salt, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with ½ cup of the sugar until the mixture is light and has pretty much doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides, and then beat for 5 seconds. Add the coffee mixture and eat until combined. Scrape down the sides and beat for 5 more seconds.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Increase the speed to high and add the remaining ½ cup sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

Scoop 1 cup fo the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and using a rubber spatula, fold gently in. After about 30 seconds, add the remaining egg white and continue folding until almost completely combined. Do not rush the process, and work gently. You don’t want to overmix.

Pour the batter into the cooled crust and bake for 38-42 minutes, un til the cake is set but jiggles slightly. It might not appear to be completely cooked, but that’s okay.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. The center will deflate, but don’t worry – that’s just the way it works, and in the end, you won’t be able to tell!

Tightly wrap the cake and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, but possibly overnight.

For the pudding:

In a saucepan, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg yolks, whisking until combined. The mixture will appear to be a thick paste. Slowly then pour in the milk, constantly whisking.

Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, constantly whisking. You don’t want any burning on the bottom. Boil for about 30 seconds, and then transfer to a medium bowl. You will think that the mixture isn’t thickening, but then, almost like magic, it will thicken!

Transfer the contents to a medium bowl and add the butter, vanilla, and chocolate. Whisk until combined, and whisk for a few more minutes to cool the mixture slightly. Let the pudding stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, and then press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming as you chill it for at least 3 hours.

For the whipped cream:

Pour the cream into a chilled metal bowl and beat with chilled beaters  until soft peaks form. Sprinkle sugar on, and beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:

Pour the pudding on cake, but don’t let it go over the crust. Spread it evenly on. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Spread the whipped cream on, unmold the cake, and enjoy this delicacy!

My final advice: Make this cake! Buy the books (head on over to a Borders, where you can get a discount, or to Amazon, where you can buy both books for a discounted price as well!)

Advertisements

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mmm….Nutella. How can you not love it?! So, in a desire to whip up some cookies for a friend’s birthday, I googled “Nutella cookies.” To a bit of my surprise, I was given tons of choices! I don’t know why it took so long for me to search for a Nutella cookie recipe…I mean, really! But anyway, I settled on a recipe, and made the cookies.

And, uh, I should mention these are by no means the world’s best photos. I was just trying to quickly snap a few pictures, and admittedly, I didn’t have the best lighting. Oops. Sorry.

The Details:

The Process: Not difficult…pretty much just an average process for making cookies.

The Verdict: Well, to be honest, it’s hard to give a final verdict. I definitely stole quite a few tastes of the dough, and man, it was good! However, I only had a taste of half of a finished cookie (Rob had the other half), because I wanted to give as many as  I could to the friend whose birthday it was. So, yes, I’d say the finished product was good. But….not amazing. Also, these, interestingly enough, have cinnamon.  I would perhaps scale back the amount – or even eliminate it all together in the future. Again though, it’s hard to say whether these feelings about the cookies can be fully trusted considering I did only have half a cookie. The friend, for the record, said they were good. But who knows if she was only being polite!

The idea of Nutella cookies still intrigues me, so it’s something I’ll probably play around with a bit more in the future. I’ll be sure to let you know about it if I do!

You want to try out the recipe for yourself? Please tell me what you think if you do make ’em…I would love to hear!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Lovin’ From the Oven

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.

Cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in egg.

Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 for about 11 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.

*Note: I didn’t chill for the full hour, because I was pressed for time. I also didn’t have quite the full amount of Nutella.

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

I wasn’t lying when I said I couldn’t/can’t wait to bake more with pumpkin this season! Proof: today’s recipe! Shall I just get to the point?!

This was another one of those “saw-a-recipe-and-had-to-make-it,-so-made-the-same-day” recipes. I love pumpkin, and I love cream cheese frostings. In fact, while I’m a bit sad to admit this, I am so not a frosting person. I’m one of those few cake-prefer-ers out there. But cream cheese frosting?! Gets me every time! I just am obsessed with it! (On a side note, if you are in love with frosting, don’t worry! I still do post recipes with scrumptious frosting, because Rob, Rachel, and Madison are all frosting-aholics!)

The Details:

The Process: These were quite fast and simple to whip up. They have no butter, which was interesting.

The Verdict: YUM! They turned out to be super soft cookies, which was okay, although they weren’t super transportable. Perhaps an extra minute or two in the oven could have done the trick? The cookie itself had the flavor of pumpkin pie, and then the addition of cream cheese frosting was a great touch. The cookies would be fine on their own, but the frosting really does take them to another level…please try them with the frosting! Madison and Rob loved ’em!

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Delightful Bitefuls

Makes about 36 medium sized cookies (but you’ll still want at least 2 per serving!)

Cookies:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil or corn oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces room temperature cream cheese, regular of low fat (I used light)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the oil, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Place spoonfuls of batter on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart (batter will not be super stiff).

Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter until soft and creamy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until the frosting is soft and creamy. Taste. If need be, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar.

Final Advice: Make these! They are the perfect fall treat, especially when you’re craving pumpkin pie, but aren’t quite ready to make that yet!

And today is my birthday, readers! Although I’m not making my own cake (Madison is making it!), I’ll be sure to fill you in on all the details about it! It sounds super yummy!

Black and White Cookies

I love New York City. How can one not?! In case you don’t know, Black and White Cookies are a trademark of the city. The cake-like, slightly lemon-y flavored cookie is topped half in vanilla icing, half in chocolate icing. This means you don’t even have to choose between chocolate or vanilla! You get the best of both worlds! Because these are iced by hand, you get a perfectly imperfect look.

Note that these photos were taken after the icing had set. While it was still soft, the icing had a much more vibrant color.

The Details:

The Process: Though these aren’t too difficult, you definitely need patience when putting on the icing. Yes, they don’t have to look perfect, but it’s only natural to want them to look pretty good. There is some hands off time as well, but overall these should be a smooth thing to make!

The Verdict: Yum! Rob, Madison, and I all truly enjoyed them! Madison brought some to a gathering she went to, and while she did bring some home (luckily for me!), they were well received and she said everyone loved them. I suggest you try these!

Black and White Cookies

Adapted from Chocolate & Vanilla by Gale Gand

 

For the cookies:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

½ cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon pure lemon extract

1 ¼ cups cake flour

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

For the icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

5 tablespoons milk (I used whole)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until ight in color, then add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla and lemon extracts.

In a large bowl, stir together both of the flours, the baking powder, and salt and then add to the sugar-egg-mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Place dough in refrigerator for about 20 minutes (not too long!). Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. The dough will probably be sticky, so coating your hands in flour or using a scoop dipped in flour may be necessary. Space evenly on cookie sheets and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour, but up to two days.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wrap a flat-bottomed mug or drinking glass with plastic wrap. Press down on each ball of dough to flatten it into a disk about ¼ inch thick and 1 ¼ inches in diameter (keep the dough you are not working with in the fridge). Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool.

To make the vanilla icing, in a medium bowl stir the powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla until smooth. To make the chocolate icing, transfer half of the vanilla icing to another bowl and stir in the cocoa powder and remaining 2 tablespoons milk.

When the cookies have cooled, turn them over so the flat sides face up. Using a small spatula or a butter knife, spread vanilla icing on half of the flat surface of each cookie. Then spread the other half with chocolate icing. Let the icing set for about 30 minutes. If you have left over icing, you may consider doing a thin second layer. It’s not necessary though.