Baking: “Giant” Chocolate Sugar Cookies

This year for the holidays, I did something a little different.  For the first time, one of my really great friends and I got together for a baking date.  Both of our recipes are from one of the cookbooks she has which is Martha Stewart’s Cookies.  Today we will start with the first one we chose: Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies. Except ours are many times smaller because this recipe should make 8 but we ended up with 28 (approximately).

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Makes 8

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or 1/2 cup unsalted butter), melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
2. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Mix in melted shortening (or butter).  Add egg and vanilla extract; mix until creamy.  Reduce speed to low.  Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
3. Using a 2 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 4 inches apart.  Bake until edges are firm, 18 to 20 minutes.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks.  Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

I had been thinking about chocolate sugar cookies since forever.  The best part is that because its made with cocoa powder, it has no milk meaning that I can eat it.  If you aren’t aware, I used to not be able to even digest cocoa but somehow in the past few months, I gave it shot and its all good now.  I don’t abuse the privilege my stomach has given me but these cookies are delicious! For sugar cookies, the balance of the chocolate taste and the sugar level is pretty awesome.  They were a little chewy with a little crunch on the edges.  It reminds me of why I love making cookies so much.

Plus, my friend has this fantastic standing mixer from Kitchenaid that has totally convinced me of why I should dish out the money to invest into one 🙂 And, the fact that I need those lovely ice cream scoops so that I make these perfectly sized cookies.

Baking is fun but baking with friends is even better! 🙂

Do you like sugar cookies? What types of cookies are your favorite?

Happy Mother’s Day: Oops! There It Is! Chocolate Cake

Cute name, right? This is the actual title of this recipe that I did for yesterday’s early visit to my boyfriend’s place to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.  Along with dessert, I bought her some nice yellow and pink bouquet 🙂

I don’t usually make a lot of desserts completely chocolate unless its for special occasions.  After developing some sensitivity to chocolate, it not always my first choice because then I don’t get to join in the fun but I realized that sometimes baking is really about seeing how happy others are when they like what I make! Whats a better time than making people I care about something they’d love, right?

Here’s how this came out:

P1210903

Doesn’t it look delicious? When I was mixing this, it started smelling so chocolatey and awesome.  Imagine what happened while it was baking then when it came out? 😉

The recipe is from Looneyspoons Collection from Janet and Greta Podelski.

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

3 tbsp high quality vegetable oil

1 cup light (5%) sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Right out of the oven :)

Right out of the oven 🙂

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2) In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, beat together brown sugar, eggs, and oil using an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add sour cream, vanilla and almond extract.  Beat on low speed until well blended.

4) Gradually add flour mixture to sour cream mixture, beating on medium speed.  Fold in chocolate chips.

5) Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Cut into 12 squares.  For maximum moistness, store at room temperature in an airtight container.

P1210901

Its a pretty simple cake to make and if you follow their ingredients, it should be quite healthy.  I followed it for the most part.  However I removed the almond extract and sour cream and replaced it with 1/2 cup almond milk.  Also, I used white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet because I ran out of the latter.

Still, the moistness was right on.  My boyfriend and his parents thought it was delicious 🙂 That always makes me happy! I didn’t try it so I can’t comment much on that. It did smell extremely yummy!

It was definitely a success and its worth a try! Especially worthy for Mother’s Day (or probably any day)

Have an awesome Mother’s Day!!!

Happy Mother’s Day

Glow in the Dark Cupcakes!

Last night I went to the Halloween party and being inspired by a recipe from another blog, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with glow in the dark frosting.  I had asked my boyfriend’s sister and she went to get the black light to make it all work.  Originally, I had wanted to do a test run of these cupcakes first but ended up doing the Pumpkin Spice Muffins instead, so I brought some of those as well as a backup plan if the others ones weren’t enough or others weren’t interested.  It will also be the first time that I used my frosting piping set that I had bought last month.

This is how they looked like at my place before going to the party:

Later on, I’ll show you what they look like under the light.  First of all, I’m going to show give you the link for the recipe.

The cupcakes are called Devil’s Food Cupcakes found on Sweet Little Thang’s blog: http://sweetlittlethang.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/devils-food-cupcakes/

She also came up the Glow in the Dark Frosting which can be found here: http://sweetlittlethang.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/glow-in-the-dark-frosting/

See them glowing? The top ones are more obvious.

First off, I’d like to say that my cupcakes are lacking a bit of decorative skills. I tried my best though and I guess they look okay.  I will try to practice more.  Now for the changes I made to the cupcakes recipe.  Instead of cocoa powder mixed with hot water, I just melted Semi Sweet Chocolate Chunks.  I also decreased the portion of butter and sugar because that just looked way too fattening.  I used 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar (not sure about the sugar modification). As for eggs, I used 3 extra large ones.

As for the frosting, I just kept it the way it was and I think it tasted alright.  The only thing was that I ran out of time so when it said to dip 4-6 times, I only had maybe 3 or 4 times.  I’m just glad it glowed so all the hard work wasn’t wasted and plus, the friends that ate the cupcakes seemed to enjoy it.  The only thing is that with the frosting process, the green ones need to be in the freezer for an hour so it was still pretty hard when it got to the party.  Although it sat in the fridge for a bit afterwards and I think it helped a bit.  Still, it seemed to be a hit.

The whole glow in the dark concept of it as it gave a little extra Halloween spirit to the dessert.  Extra because the place was decorated with spider webs and body parts, and everyone that came was dressed up really nice to the theme.  I’ll have another post touching on that soon.  As for anyone that wants to do this, try to schedule in maybe 2-3 hours from making the cupcakes to doing the frosting and making them glow in the dark, if you plan to do it all in one day.  If not, just do the cupcakes first and then the frosting and all the remaining work another day.

So what do you think about it? You think that it would be something interesting to do? Anyone going to give this a shot? Anything special that you usually make for Halloween?