Cheater Cheater, Cupcake Eater...

I made THE most amazing cupcakes today...  A chocolate chip cookie INSIDE of a chocolate cupcake.  I know, right?  I can't even begin to describe the amazingness that hits your tongue as you take a bite of this.  You think, hmm, good cupcake.. Then, Pow!  What's this?  It can't be.  No!  It is.  It's a cookie.  Inside. Of. The. Cupcake. 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting.  I don't even have an actual concrete recipe to share as I kind of just took a little of this, and a little of that and slammed it all together with a result of deliciousness. 

Then, if that wasn't enough, I topped it with a cookie dough flavored frosting and chocolate chips. 

There, got your breath back?   I'm going to smack you right in the taste buds. 

For the cupcake, I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, but clearly, you can use your favorite or even a box mix. 

Then, I went into cheat mode.  Instead of making a batch of chocolate chip cookies from scratch like I normally do, I spooned from a tube of ready made cookie dough.  I felt awful, turning my back on my cookie recipe. 

For the sake of time saving, and mostly because I had two tiny people tugging at my pant legs, I used the tube.  If you don't have children trying to expose your undies, or if you just want to show off, you can whip up a batch of homemade cookie dough.

I digress..

Line your cupcake tins with paper and fill about 2/3 with batter.  Drop a spoonful (about 1 T) of cookie dough in the center.  I pushed it down a little but the cupcake kind of bakes over it. 

Bake them at 350 for about 18-20 minutes.  (Clearly your oven may vary.)  You will see (if you're staring inside the oven glass like I my two year old was) a slow motion love scene between a cupcake and a cookie.  It was borderline softcore beautiful.  The batter rises to make sweet love to the cookie dough, enveloping it in a tender embrace.   

What you get when you take them out is a beautifully cooked chocolate chip cookie inside of a moist cupcake.  A few of them had erupted (even sounds dirty, doesn't it?) and the cookie was peeking through the top of the cupcake and was nice and crisp. 

To hide the surprise inside, but to seductively allude to the gift your tasters will find on the inside, top them with this:

Cookie Dough Frosting
(Adapted from TidyMom)
1 Cup butter, softened (I used salted, your preference)
1/2 Cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 Cups powdered sugar
2/3 Cup all-purpose flour (This had me shaking my head.. Flour?  In Icing?)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 Cup mini chocolate chips

Beat together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar. Sift in flour and salt and mix until combined. Add in milk and vanilla until frosting is smooth.

Top with a few chocolate chips and try not to eat ALL of the cupcakes back to back.  To back.  To back. 


Merci, Macaron...

Now that I've done it once, there's no turning back...

After last night's success, I had a naughty dream about one.

I had one first thing this morning. 

I even let Big Daddy have one on his lunch break.

Naughty naughty...

The combinations are endless; flavors, colors, fillings.  

Crunchy, chewy, why am I only making these now?  

I won't stop..  I shall Macaron at least twice a month.  

At. Least.

I might even try a MACATTACK...  I've been lurking there for some time now.  It's only fitting that I give it a whirl.


I Got Feet...

My mission over the past month has been to make and succeed at making the much hyped french macaron.  I've been reading, researching, bookmarking, and drooling for the past few weeks. 

Last night, I found these and knew that my little G would LOVE them!

Today I did it.  I really did it!  After Big Daddy got home from work, I knew it was time.  I had no babies hanging off me and it meant I could stand up straight for a minimum of a half an hour.  It was like being at the spa!

Everything that I've read alluded to the fact that these were going to be difficult to make and even more difficult to make right.   Finicky little buggers apparently. 


Other than over cooking one batch of simple syrup and turning it to crystal, everything turned out beautifully. 

From my perfectly almost symmetrical discs, to the nice skin they developed.  (This is developed after you've piped them; it allows to outer shell to dry slightly so when they're baked, the shell bakes smooth and the air bubbles created in the folding process (macaronage) escape from the bottom, creating the much sought after "feet". 

I haven't filled them yet, but I know that they won't last long enough to turn into Elmo's.  This time.

These will now be a kitchen staple, and hopefully a best seller!! 

Here's the recipe I used, adapted from Hi-Cookery's Elmo post

Vanilla Macarons

1 C Ground Almonds
1 C Icing Sugar
3 Egg Whites (Aged at Room Temperature for 24 Hours)
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Water
1 1/2 t. Clear Vanilla Extract
Wilton Red-Red Gel Color (Just enough to reach your desired color)

~Sift almonds and icing sugar together into a bowl.

~Whip egg whites with either a stand mixer or hand mixer until soft peaks form.  (Don't over whip)

~In a heavy saucepot, boil sugar and water to 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.

~Whisk the hot sugar syrup into the frothy egg whites until stiff, shiny peaks form. 

~Fold the whipped sugar and whites into the almond/icing sugar blend carefully. 

~Right before it's fully blended, add in flavour and color without over mixing. 

~Mixture should flow smoothly, but not be too thin. 

~Place in a piping bag and pipe 1 inch circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Tap pan once or twice on the counter to allow discs to take shape.

~Leave pan to sit for at least a half hour to allow skin to form on the shell.

~Bake at 290 degrees for 13 minutes (every oven is different, this is what worked for me) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing shells from parchment. 

~Remove and fill with anything delicious!  (Ganache, buttercream, jams; the options are endless..)

~Place filled cookies overnight in the fridge to "set", remove and allow to come to room temperature before serving!

I'm rather proud of myself, I feel like I've joined an exclusive club and can't wait to make more. 

Patience and Peppermint...

As a new week begins, I must first reflect on the one that just passed.  I got a lot of baking done and I'll chronicle that as I rehash the hilarity from the 7 days gone by.. 

It's Monday and I'm still standing. 

Well, sitting right now, but even that's a feat.  Let's see how this week goes before we celebrate.

A condensed version of events of last week:

Monday (Valentine's Day)
~Nothing overly exciting happened, took an order for Peanut Butter Balls, relaxed with my babes, forgot until I was throwing Tuna Helper together that it was Love Day.  Noone seemed to notice.  Or mind.  We'd run out of most everything in the house so right before bed I tossed together a *gasp* boxed spice cake with only 2 eggs with the full intention of making cake balls.  Remember my "Can't go wrong" from the last post?  Keep reading. 

~On a clearly step-per-day mode of making the cake balls, I crumbled the cooled cake and put it in a bowl with the intention of adding the icing and rolling them later.  Remember, I have a 2 year old and a 10 month old.  Not the calmest house for a stay-at-home Mama who loves to hide be in the kitchen...  Not long before bedtime arrived again, (Really?  The hours melt off the clock but seem to draaaaag on in real life, while at the same time, there never seems to be enough  time for anything..)  Cruffle mix complete and in the fridge.

~Sweet Jesus, is it the weekend yet?  After a fairly uneventful morning, we patiently awaited Big Daddy's lunch visit.  Lunch passed with nary an incident until he was one foot out the door.  I had just taken the Cruffle mix out of the fridge to roll balls and O crawls over to me for his "lift up to Daddy kiss".  One whiff of my slightly slippery baby tells me all I need to know.  I speed walk towards the porch where I find G under the table COVERED in Peppermint Extract.  Slathered.  Lubed.  Shiny.  They were like two tiny little Grecian wrestlers who were basically licking themselves clean.  They also smelled like Christmas.

Cut two hours later:  Find G under a different table with the bowl of Cruffle mix.  Hands in, face full. 

I had only rolled 5 balls. 
I composted everything.

Still managed a trip to Costco after BD got home from work. 

~Not much to report.  Peanut Butter Ball order completed and picked up.  There were four left over.  They didn't last long.  Worked on my website and Facebook group, cooked, cleaned, entertained.  You know, the usual activities.  Experimented with my first attempt at Pie Pops and mini pies.  These are half strawberry and half strawberry and chocolate.

~Made cookies for my brother's care package, chocolates for my parents, cleaned, did laundry, played, read books, was a pony, a monkey, and a hugging machine.

~Did all my "chores", showered, got dirty again, had friends and their little girl over for supper and a play date.

She cried.  A lot.

G is 2 but he does a mean Huck.  (Hulk)  Also does a pretty badass Wooleen.  (Wolverine)  Needles to say, she was not a fan.  

Might be our last play date with her.

~Repeated chores, trying to get the jungle in order before my parents come this week.  Impossible.  Made more chocolates since we ate the ones I made the other day.  (Sorry Mom!)  Watched Sunday night TV, went to bed.  

I left out so many fun things, like cleaning up barf and poop, sweeping and vacuuming 752 times, busting the only button that was left on my favorite pants, and wondering where to plant our money tree.  

Every week is slightly different yet exactly the same.  I still don't think I'd change a thing.


Damage Control...

The end is nigh... 

In a situation I've never been in before, I wonder who to turn to.  Who can help?  WHO WILL HELP?!

It's a good thing that it's pay day tomorrow because I'm out of some MAJOR food groups in the house.

Butter.  Pepsi.  Cheese.  Icing Sugar.  Cupcake Liners.

I know, right?!

And on Valentine's Day too. 

In a panic pinch, I threw together a spice cake with *gasp* only 2 eggs, and am in the process of making some Cruffles. 

Basically, mashed up cake mixed with icing, rolled into balls, and dipped in candy coating. 

Cake. Truffles.

Can't go wrong.


Under Pressure...

After the "do-nothing-in-the-kitchen" two days I had last weekend, I knew I had to step up my game during the week. 

Clearly I didn't so do well with the available assistance I had at my disposal on Saturday and Sunday and knew that I had to get orders out.   I also had to add to a care parcel I've been putting together for my brother and I need to keep making homemade chocolates for my parents (the demand for those is staggering, they're loved and appreciated, and best of all, a temporarily accepted form of repayment for the millions of dollars they've loaned to us.) 

I also crazily generously decided to volunteer my baking services to a charity auction that is happening this weekend.  

I busted out cupcakes, truffles, brownies, frosting, and fillings, all while being home alone with my two little monkeys.  A two year old and  a nine month old are not in the least conducive to a peaceful baking environment, but tuning them out listening to their angelic voices got me in the zone. 

I've deduced that I must do my best work while having my pants pulled down by O and having G leave flour-y hand prints on my ass  Big Daddy's at work. 

This weekend has also thus far proven bakeless, but I have high aspirations that I'll get to attempt the macarons I've been having inappropriate dreams about wanting to make!

Enjoy one of the fruits of my labor, hopefully this week allows for more posting, I've got a lot to get out of my system.


The Best Laid Plans...

Well, this weekend was a total bust in the baking department.  I had high hopes of getting a ton of treats made while I had Big Daddy home to help with the tiny terrors angels.  Instead, nothing in the sweet department came out of my kitchen.   

Saturday brought us to the mall where we bought and embroidered G a pimp hat to match the ridiculously cool Jordan track suit Nanny got him for Christmas.  Yes, he's 2.  He's also WAY better dressed than I am.    

Sunday got me up way too early.  I stood in the kitchen with O in my arms, thinking, it's quiet, the big boys are still sleeping, let's start to mix something up.

Nope.  Fleeting thought.

We then took the boys to a kiddie carnival where they played for hours.  G put down a hot dog, juice, a couple of suckers, chips, popcorn, milk, and cotton candy.

I'm still waiting for him to fall asleep. 

No baking. 

Looks like I do it when it's least convenient, when I'm alone with two babies..

Clearly I work better under pressure.

G's still awake.


New Beginnings...

Dipping my toes back into the blogging pool wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when.  I used to have a hilarious huge following blog that was regularly updated for a close-knit posse of readers in which I regaled them with tales from my days as a lingerie store manager. 

For those of you (if there are any of you) who would like to read the most intimate details of other people's lives, you can go here.  I highly suggest for the most laughter, you read the archives.

Now that I've pimped out my previous writing, please join me on my new adventure.  I've traded in sizing up boobs all day to venturing into "bake from home" territory all while being a slave stay-at-home mom to three diabolical hilarious little boys.  G just turned 2, and O is 9 months old.  Daddy's 30.  :)  Yes, I've technically got three kids.  As the only woman in a house full of men, things get a little crazy around here.  So crazy sometimes, that I felt the need to share and record it for blackmail material the memories years from now

Join me in the kitchen as I bake and experiment, the playroom as I pretend to be a pony, the living room where I'm a jungle gym, the dining room where I've got what feels like 6 extra arms and a target on my chest, and everything in between. 


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