Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Well, I love chocolate and I love beer. I was searching for something fun to bake and I was having bakers block if you will. Then I came across yet another Guinness recipe and I was a little tired of it. Everyone uses Guinness, and I wanted a different edge for my culinary lab. I wanted more chocolate with my beer. Love Guinness, but it just wasn’t going to satisfy my need for chocolate.

So, I found an amazing beer to work with. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. It is so damn good, I wanted to toss a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it and call it a day. So, I thought this would make a great ingredient for the world’s most amazing cupcake. They turned out moist and rich. The beer flavor carried its way through all the complex flavors for a smooth aftertaste.  Yes world, you are welcome!

This is a great recipe. It was a fun experiment, and I tried a few different ones before I created my own. It is a lot of fun too! There is just something about beer and chocolate combined. It is what I imagine bakers heaven is like… yes, it must be! The Frosting is amazingly light and airy for a cream cheese frosting. Cream does wonders for this recipe!

So, you will need…

  • 1 C. Chocolate Stout (beer)
  • 1 C. Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 C. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 3/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/8 C. Sour Cream

Frosting

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/4 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 C. Cream

Here was my process…

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake pans with Parchment liners.

Next place stout and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is completely melted. Once butter is melted, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl beat together the eggs and sour cream. Then Add the stout mixture to the egg mixture and beat until everything is well incorporated.

Then Pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture int the large bowl. (It helps prevent the flour flying everywhere if the wet mixture is on top of te flour mixture.) Beat or stir by hand until the mixture is smooth. This makes a very heavy and beer fragrant batter.

Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pans, should make about 2 dozen regular sized cupcakes, and 12 jumbo cupcakes.

For regular cupcakes bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes, and for Jumbo 20-22 minutes.

While baking you can whip up your frosting. It is super easy! Just take your 8 oz. of cream cheese, softened, and beat it until it is smooth. Then gradually add 1 1/4 C. powdered sugar. and beat until blended. Gradually add 1/2 C. of cream, and beat until it is a fluffy delightful frosting!

Wait until cooled then frost them with this fluffy delicious cream cheese frosting!

Serve and enjoy! They are so good!!!! If you love beer, love chocolate and love awesome treats…. you will love this!

Happy Baking!

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White Double Chocolate Stout Cookies

My day started with building a fire in the fireplace, drinking my coffee while making a batch of  Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes. Things were perfect and everything smelled good. Then I figured, I couldn’t waste the rest of the stout, it is too damn yummy! But, alas, it was entirely too early to start drinking, yes, there is a too early. So… Cookies were the next obvious step. I wanted to offset the chocolate with a salty aftertaste to really highlight the beer flavor. Pretzels seemed boring, so I just threw some good old coarse Sea Salt in with some white chocolate chips. It was a complete experiment turned awesome for these cookies are amazing. Even my good friend, who is the ultimate “All American” eater loved these. He is a Chocolate Chip cookie kind of guy, so this is so far out of his box, they must just be that good!

They are dense and delicious, not for the faint of heart. I baked mine for 18 minutes for a softer cookie, but you can bake them for a few more minutes to get a good crisp cookie. Either way you can dip them in some nice cold milk… or a nice glass of beer!

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 C. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 C. Butter
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 6 oz Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 3/4 C. White Chocolate Chips

Here was my process…

First Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with Parchment.

In a large bowl wisk together flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together butter and sugars until fluffy, roughly 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg, beat until combined. (I like to use a hand mixer when working with cookies, it is way more fun! But feel free to use your stand up mixer.) Add sugar mixture and stout to flour mixture and either mix by wooden spoon or mixer until everything is happily married.

Fold in White Chocolate Chips and Sea Salt with spoon.

Spoon mixture onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake on 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes.

Enjoy warm with some milk, or cool with some beer. It is really up to you my little bakers!

Happy Baking!

Sage Cheddar Cranberry Shortbread

This is a fun spin on another classic that is too often forgotten. Shortbread! I love shortbread and I wanted to do a savory opposed to a sweet. Shortbread is sweet no matter what, so with the right ingredients it can be very delicious. I chose fresh sage, smooth sharp cheddar cheese and fresh local cranberries. You don’t need a lot of cranberries, just a handful is enough!

This is a fun buttery treat and a must try, and you don’t have to use cranberries if you don’t like them! Think about it this way, Sage and Butter are made for one another, cranberries and cheddar pair very well, cheddar and sage are a fancy couple… so why not let the three get together for a soiree?

So, what you will need…

  • 1 1/2 C. All-Purpose
  • 1/2 C. Cake flour
  • 1 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 C. Butter ( Room Temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • 1/2 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Handful of FRESH Cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh chopped Sage

Here is my process…

First Position rack in middle of the oven and set to 300 degrees F.

Next SIFT together, and I can not stress the importance of sifting enough, both flours, and salt onto a plate. In a large bowl combine butter and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and well blended. Then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until large clumps form.

Toss in a handful of Cranberries, the chopped Sage and the Cheddar and mix until everything is distributed throughout the batter.

Transfer the dough to the center of a baking sheet, or brownie sheet it is a bakers choice! There is no need to grease the pan due to the amount of butter in the shortbread! Spread the dough out evenly.

Bake for 39-42 minutes, mine was good at 40 minutes, but it depends on the oven. Cut immediately, being very careful, and then let cool.

Enjoy this buttery savory  delight!

Happy Baking!

Salted Triple Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are the reason I go to the gym 6 days a week and torture myself! They are absolutely amazing. The flavors are layered and exciting and the salt finish adds an element of surprise that the common chocolate chip cookie lacks. I wanted to make the chocolate chip cookie my own, so I threw in white chips, semi-sweet chips and dark 60% cocoa chips and a teaspoon and a half of coarse sea salt. It might have been a pure moment of baking insanity, but it worked better than I could have hoped. I originally made these cookies with milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, and they weren’t as good. I don’t really care for milk chocolate, so my solution was to omit it! I also prefer to use a higher quality of chocolate, just like my eggs, flour, sugar etc., So I prefer to work with Ghirardelli Chocolate chips for this kind of thing.

If you only make one more cookie in your life, let it be this one. I don’t mean to grease my own baking sheet, but this is a brilliant cookie!

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1/2 C. Unsalted Butter at room temperature, NOT MELTED
  • 1/2 C. Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 C. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 C. Dark Chocolate Chips 60% cocoa (Ghirardelli chips for all three)

Here was my process…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Next  line 2 baking sheets with baking paper (parchment).

In a bowl, SIFT together flour and baking soda.

In a large bowl combine brown sugar, butter and white sugar. Beat until smooth. (I often opt to mix by hand, but feel free to use a mixer). Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.

Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until everything is nice and mixed in. Then add all chocolate chips and salt. Mix until you feel they are well stirred in!

Spoon the dough on the prepared baking sheets and make sure there is 2 inches between each cookie. I fit about 8 on each baking sheet.  Bake the cookies for 10-13 minutes, 1 sheet at a time,  until the bottoms and edges have a lovely light golden brown color to them.

That is that. Easy, life altering cookies. YOU ARE WELCOME!!!!! 😉

Happy Baking!

Rosemary-Thyme and Blueberry Bagels

Bagels. Bagels are something that I have thought about baking for a long time, but then I always started reading a recipe and it just seemed like too much of a commitment.There are soooooo many different recipes and sooooo many different time frames, it just got confusing and honestly a little annoying. So I shut myself down before I could even try. I knew it was a slippery slope to boxed cake and frozen cookie dough.

Today I wanted fresh bagels. I wanted them in my kitchen, warm and ready to eat.

I am proud to say that my fear of the 2 day bagel commitment is over, just in time for me to trial and error then master my very own 4 hour recipe 😉

This process does take quite a bit of time, but it is nothing compared to some 2 day recipes. The perk of the smell filling up your home is reason enough to attempt this recipe. There should really be a fresh-baked bagel scented candle!

So, you will need…

  • 2 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1/4 C.  warm water (add more water if needed)
  • 3 1/2 C.  bread flour (will need extra for kneading)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 C. finely chopped FRESH Rosemary and Thyme mixture
  • 1/4 C. whole FRESH Blueberries
  • Coarse Salt to sprinkle over Bagels before baking

Plus whatever toppings you choose, for the Rosemary-Thyme bagels I finely chopped the fresh herbs and mixed them in half of the dough, then sprinkled the rest on top after boiling. For the blueberry I mixed into the other half of the dough.I find that using fresh ingredients, the taste is way better and the less my food is processed the better!

Here was my process…

First I took 1/2 a  cup of the warm water and poured it into a small mixing bowl. Then I added  in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. I let it sit for 5 minutes,  then I stirred the yeast and sugar mixture until it all dissolved.

In a large bowl, I  mixed the flour and salt. I made a well in the middle of the flour and poured in the yeast and sugar mixture. Then I added half of the remaining warm water into the well. I stirred the ingredients together adding the remaining water as I needed to, and more if necessary. You want the dough to be moist and firm after you have mixed it.

On a floured countertop, I kneaded the dough for exactly 10 minutes until it was smooth and elastic. (Try to work as much flour in as possible while kneading to form a firm and stiff dough).

I  lightly brush a large bowl with olive oil and turned the dough into the bowl making sure to coat the dough with the oil. Then I Covered the bowl with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, The dough should in size. I punched down the dough, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

Next I divided the dough in half and added my Rosemary-Thyme to one half and my Blueberries to the other. IT IS EASIER TO JUST MIX THE BERRIES/ROSEMARY AND THYME IN WITH  HE REMAINING WARM WATER, so you can divide the dough before you mix it, or just choose one kind. 🙂

After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, I covered them with a damp kitchen towel and allowed them to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I preheated my oven to 425 degrees.

For the next step I brought a large pot of water to a boil and immediately reduced the heat. I used a skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. I put 4 in at a time and turned after 2 minutes and boiled for another 2 minutes. This makes for a chewy delicious bagel. If you prefer a less chewy bagel, boil for 1 minute on each side. Then remove from water and place on slightly oiled baking paper on baking sheet.

Once out of the water I sprinkled the Rosemary-Thyme bagels with coarse salt.

I baked them for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown.

I couldn’t wait to let them cool so I broke into one of each. Success!

The flavors were bright and fresh and I will definitely be making these again! This is a long process but well worth it, especially if you love yourself some New York Style bagels. It isn’t that hard once you get the ball rolling. SO…

Happy Baking!

Broccoli Cheddar Bites

I was struggling to find a light, delicious appetizer for my dinner of Vegetable Root Chicken Pot Pie, and again being St. Patty’s, I was playing around in the green family. I had Puff Pastry, Broccoli, and green onions.Then it hit me, Gourmet Broccoli Cheddar Bites?! Yes!

They had everything I was seeking;  light and flaky, flavorful and green! I knew I was onto something so I started working away to create my take on the all American finger food.

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So, what you will need…

  • 1/4 C. broccoli finely chopped
  • 1/8 C. finely chopped green onion
  • 1/8 C. minced shallot
  • 1/8 C. finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • puff pastry (enough for 12  1 1/4×1 1/4 inch squares)

Here was my process…

First I set the Oven to 350 degrees. Then I greased a muffin pan with olive oil and set aside.

I took my puff pastry, rolled it out so it was about 1/4 inch thick and then cute my 1 1/4x 1 1/4 inch squares and placed each square in a muffin hole in the pan.

I sauteed the broccoli, green onion, shallot, sweet onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp Olive oil until onions were translucent. I added salt and pepper until I was satisfied with the flavor and then poured the mixture into a bowl with the shreded cheese. I mixed all ingredients together.

Next I spooned mixture into center of puff pastry in muffin pans.

I baked at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, or until puff pastry was puffed and golden.

They were delicious and kind of fun to make!

Happy Baking!

Drunken Meringue Cookies

So, today being St. Patty’s and all I wanted to add a little color to my dinner party. As much as I love the ever faithful green beer, I thought to myself, “let’s try to class things up a bit”. I figured that my aunt and uncle would appreciate my efforts.

I wanted dessert to be light and fun, especially after a Chicken Pot Pie, and Broccoli Cheese Bites so I made Green Apple Crisp and Drunken Meringue Cookies. They are the classic vanilla flavor but with a touch of Creme de Menthe, and I mean, barely a smidge. A little goes a very long way.  I love the classic taste and texture and it gives the illusion that you had a lot of dessert because they are fairly rich, without being heavy.

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So, you will need…

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 C. fine white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Creme de Menthe

Here was my process…

I set the oven to 225 degrees and lined a baking sheet with foil.

Next I used my hand blender to beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks formed. Then I slowly added sugar and beat until stiff peaks formed. It is important to not under-beat the mixture!!!

I added the Creme de Menthe at the end then beat mixture for another 2 minutes. I then spooned the mixture into my pastry bag and squeezed most of the air out. I then piped out regular “cookie” sized dollops onto the cookie sheet spacing them about an inch apart. If done right, the cookies should retain their shape until done baking.

Last I baked them for 1 hour and 15 minutes. They should easily peel away from the foil.

Don’t forget bakers, to get a good meringue, beat the hell out of those eggs!

Happy Baking!

Oatmeal Drop Cookies w/ Ghirardelli Chips or Raisins

For the past two days I was attempting a juice cleanse, and it was pretty miserable. After 2 days I packed it in and really wanted to bake something delicious without being terribly unhealthy. My little reward for trying!  Alas, I turned to the ever faithful and tasty oatmeal cookie! (I like to drop them instead of flatten them to keep the oaty texture. I like the way they look and taste so much better.) I mean, I couldn’t go right for the Sinful Brownies after trying to be on a healthy cleanse… could I?

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So, what you will need…

  • 4 1/2 C. Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 C. of Butter
  • 1 1/3 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 5 Tbs Water
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla
  • 1 C. all-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1 C. Chocolate Chips or Raisins, or both!

Here was my process…

First I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and greased two cookie sheets.

Next I blended the butter and sugar until it was light and fluffy. I beat in the egg, water and vanilla until the mixture was smooth. In a separate bowl I mixed the Oats, flour (sifted), salt and baking soda. Then I slowly added the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, and mixed until all the ingredients were thoroughly combined.I took half of the dough and put semisweet Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa chocolate chips in it, and the other half I added raisins.

Then I dropped spoon fulls of dough onto greased cookie sheets and let back for 18-20 minutes.

These are really tasty cookies and you don’t really feel  guilty eating them. They are still a cookie, but they have a healthier attitude about them!

Happy Baking!

Beer Bread

I made a pretty amazing 3 Bean Beer Chili and I was all set to make my famous corn bread… and then I realized that I didn’t have any cornmeal. I was sad and puttering around my kitchen trying to figure out what on earth I could eat with my fabulous chili, and then I thought, “Beer Bread?!” So, I used the same beer for my bread as I had put into my chili to bring the flavors together and marry the two dishes. This bread forms a very buttery and crusty outside, and the inside is very moist and tasty. If you don’t sift your flour, you will be left with a brick like hard biscuit, and it isn’t very pleasant.

And YES, I am always excited to work with beer!

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So, what you will need… 

  • 2 C. + 5 ounces of Bread Flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C. white sugar
  • 12 oz. of Beer
  • 1/4 C. melted butter

Here was my process…

First I preheated the oven to 375 degrees and greased a bread loaf pan.

Next I sifted the flour, VERY IMPORTANT, then mixed the rest of the dry ingredients together. Then I poured in 12 ounces of beer and stirred until my dough formed.Melt butter.

I poured the dough into the prepared loaf pan and poured my melted butter over the dough.

I then baked my fabulous bread for 45-55 minutes, let it sit for at least twenty minutes and then I served it (still warm) with chili. My cousin was very happy!

This is an easy recipe and it is very delicious. Even if you aren’t a beer person this bread is great with any stew, chili pasta dish… it is versatile and absolutely amazing!

Happy Baking!

Delightfully Sinful Brownies

Brownies… they are just so damn good. I tried a few “healthy” brownie recipes and I really, really tried to make a delicious yet health conscious brownie. I gave up for today. Today, I made this completely sinful, buttery, moist and downright amazing brownie. It is another must on your baking bucket list.

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So, you will need…

  • 2 cups sugar (1 cup white, one cup brown)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Here was my process…

First preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Next melt butter. Then I mixed all the ingredients as they are listed above. I mixed everything together until a beautiful gooey batter formed. If the batter seems too thick add 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake for 18-22 minutes. If you want to use a 9 by 13 greased pan, bake for 30-40 minutes. Once cooled dust with powdered sugar to make them pop!

This is a truly easy recipe, and it is definitely fool proof. It isn’t for the fair weather brownie eater!

Happy Baking!