Dark Chocolate Cookies with Champagne Buttercream

I meant to post this last week, but never was able.

Please accept my sincere apologies.  I wish I could send you each some of these cookies to make amends.

They are absolutely amazing.  Completely decadent.  Totally befitting an enchanting evening such a New Years Eve.

I used Sprinkle Bakes Chocolate Sugar Cookies.  She describes them as being ideal for decorating, and I couldn’t agree more!

The champagne buttercream is just a basic recipe I have been using, with the substitution of champagne for the heavy cream.

Champagne Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 2 lb bag powder sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons champagne
  • 1-3 tablespoon milk

Instructions

  1. Put butter and shortening in mixer and combine until smooth. Add sugar in one cup at a time until fully incorporated. When almost done mixing, add in champagne. You can use more or less to taste. I wrote milk into my recipe because I found the frosting to be very stiff and hard to use, therefore needed a bit more moisture. You may not need any milk.
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Tips for success:

Use a good quality cocoa.  These cookies are rich and you can really taste the deep cocoa flavor.  The better the cocoa, the better the cookie.  Seriously, Heather knows her stuff.

Use a champagne you enjoy.   You only need three tablespoons for the recipe… wouldn’t it be a shame to let an opened bottle of champagne to go to waste?

If you want to make the cute little poinsettia design I did, simply grab a Wilton #366 tip and have at it.  I threw on some gold sprinkles for good measure.

Have fun!  Lick the bowl and eat some cookie dough.  Then run 27 miles so you can fit into your pretty New Years Eve outfit.

P.S.  I am totally going to post the Snow Globe tutorial soon!  Its on my list!

How to Melt Chocolate {Baking with Aunt Inga}

Aunt Inga was so excited to hear that someone needed her help!

 

She and Ole put together another video for your viewing pleasure, however the quality is pretty poor.

Sorry about how blurry it is!

 

 

Just in case clearer instruction is needed, here are some tips when melting chocolate in the microwave.

  • You can use any type of chocolate you prefer, but keep a closer eye on white chocolate.
  • You do not need to put it in a plastic bag, you can also melt it in a microwave safe dish.
  • If melting in a plastic bag, begin with 30 second intervals.  After 30 seconds has passed, remove the bag and gently massage the chocolate, trying to locate and disperse hot spots.
  • If melting in a microwave safe dish, remove bowl at 30 second intervals.  Stir thoroughly.  If chocolate needs to melt more, remove spoon and heat in 15 second intervals until you reach a ‘mostly’ melted state.  Remove bowl and stir until all lumps dissolve and chocolate is smooth.
  • The benefit to melting chocolate directly in bag is that you can immediately begin piping it out.

If you have any more questions you’d like Aunt Inga to answer, just leave it in the comments.  I will make sure Sven gets them! ;)

You can find more Aunt Inga here, talking about Homemade Cake Flour.

 *Be sure to stop by and enter to win $900 in Le Creuset products!

Pumpkin Surprise Cake

I recently posed a question on facebook.

“I just made a really fun cake!! One of the main ingredients is marshmallow… any guesses on what it is??? (There may be a prize involved…)”

Rice krispy cake

Three of you guessed correctly.

Carla Smith

Marcella Simon Vander Eems

Lenita Wall

And one of you will win a copy of Sweet Confections!

What did they guess??  What kind of cake did I make that has marshmallow as a main ingredient?

A Rice Crispy Cake!

Rice crispy cake

With a surprise inside of course!

A pumpkin inside rice crispy cake with chocolate buttercream frosting!

So easy.

So fun.

And everyone’s face lit up with delight when they saw it.

Such a great way to make your loved ones smile!

Oh… and the winner of the book is Carla Smith!  Shoot me an email Carla and we’ll get that fabulous book in the mail to you. (Let me know if you try the pumpkin caramels!)

Thanks for playing everyone!

Pumpkin Caramels and Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

pumpkin caramels

I made those.

Having never have made caramels before, the process seemed daunting.

But I got this new book, Sweet Confections by Nina Wanat and knew I wanted to try.  Her directions are easy to follow and the photography was done by the amazing Todd and Diane of White on Rice.

The pictures are enough to make you drop everything and run to the store for supplies.

Pumpkin chocolate cupcake with pumpkin caramel

But since I didn’t want to put Nina’s beautifully perfect recipe here (that’s what the book is for), but still wanted you to be able to sample some if this wonderful pumpkin and chocolate deliciousness, I made cupcakes.

Pumpkin Chocolate cupcakes.

With cinnamon buttercream.

And a caramel on top.

These tasted amazing.  Ah-mazing.

I remembered I had some of these fun *free-standing muffin molds and I literally danced over to my supply closet to retrieve them.  (I also used *these fun little cupcake liners.)

Um, I like baking.  And cupcake liners.  And dancing in my kitchen.  And eating pumpkin caramels.

IMG_9933-1.pumpkincaramelchocolatecupcake

Pumpkin Caramels and Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cups softened butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. In a small bowl combine buttermilk and pumpkin. Just mix together until incorporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a mixer, beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
  5. Alternating, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the sugar mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Mix for 1 minute on low until fully combined. Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, place batter in prepared cupcake pan.
  7. Bake for 16-20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
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This recipe for Cinnamon Buttercream is divine, I simply excluded the brown sugar. (Because I wanted it to be whiter, not for taste purposes.  I am a vain baker like that.)

I used a *2D tip to pipe out big clouds of cinnamon frosting.  Then I simply went back and added a caramel square to each cupcake.

Pumpkincupcakes

Now for the fun part… I would like to give YOU a copy of Sweet Confections!

Simply leave a comment.

Good luck!

CONTEST CLOSED!  The winning comment was #115, Roberta.  I will be sending you an email Roberta!

Thanks all who participated!

Open to USA and Canada residents only.  Sorry all you fabulous international bakers!  No comments accepted from Facebook.  

*Amazon Affiliate link.

 

Pumpkin Caramels and Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes (CLOSED}

Pumpkin Caramels.

Pumpkincaramels

I made those.  

Having never have made caramels before, the process seemed daunting.

But I got this new book, Sweet Confections by Nina Wanat and knew I wanted to try.  Her directions are easy to follow and the photography was done by the amazing Todd and Diane of White on Rice

The pictures are enough to make you drop everything and run to the store for supplies.

Pumpkincaramelchocolatecupcake

But since I didn’t want to put Nina’s beautifully perfect recipe here (that’s what the book is for), but still wanted you to be able to sample some if this wonderful pumpkin and chocolate deliciousness, I made cupcakes.

Pumpkin Chocolate cupcakes.

With cinnamon buttercream.

And a caramel on top.

These tasted amazing.  Ah-mazing.  

  IMG_9881-1.pumpkinchocolatecaramelcupcake

I remembered I had some of these fun *free-standing muffin molds and I literally danced over to my supply closet to retrieve them.  (I also used *these fun little cupcake liners.)

Um, I like baking.  And cupcake liners.  And dancing in my kitchen.  And eating pumpkin caramels.

IMG_9933-1.pumpkincaramelchocolatecupcake

 Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes (adapted from Country Living)

1 1/2 cups Flour

2/3 cups Cocoa

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt

1 cup Canned Pumpkin

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

3/4 cups Butter, softened

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar

4 large Eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 325.

Prepare cupcake pan with your fun and festive liners. 

In mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Add in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.  In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together, set aside.  Stir yogurt, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.  Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and yogurt mixtures in thirds, starting and ending with flour.

Bake for 18-25 minutes, depending on your oven.  Remove once toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, or center springs back when touched.

This recipe for Cinnamon Buttercream is divine, I simply excluded the brown sugar. (Because I wanted it to be whiter, not for taste purposes.  I am a vain baker like that.)

I used a *2D tip to pipe out big clouds of cinnamon frosting.  Then I simply went back and added a caramel square to each cupcake.

Pumpkincupcakes

Now for the fun part… I would like to give YOU a copy of Sweet Confections!  

Simply leave a comment.  

Good luck!

CONTEST CLOSED!  The winning comment was #115, Roberta.  I will be sending you an email Roberta!

Thanks all who participated!

Open to USA and Canada residents only.  Sorry all you fabulous international bakers!  No comments accepted from Facebook.  

*Amazon Affiliate link.

Baking with Bakers Royale

Hi everyone, this is not Amanda. In fact hello, my name is Naomi Robinson of Bakers Royale. I’ve blog-jacked iambaker while Amanda is speaking at The Creative Connection with Blogher.

Being here is like being in wonderland. I’ve been a long time reader, fan- some call it stalking, but let’s not get caught up in semantics. Let’s just agree that like many of you, I’m a little infatuated with Amanda’s sugar sculpting skills.

So while she is busy juicing everyone at the conference with her goodness and creativity, she has been kind enough to share her space with me. With that, I thought I would gear you all up for the upcoming holiday season with three easy no-fuss, no-bake, gift-giving chocolate treats.

Rocky_Road_Bark_Bakers_Royale

Rocky Road Chocolate Bark – A three ingredient no bake dessert that comes together in just 20 minutes.

 

Salted_Peanut_Caramel_Clusters_Bakers_Royale8_copy
Peanut Caramel Clusters – Candy making made easy with just three ingredients.

 

Salted_Caramel_and_Whiskey_Truffle_Bakers_Royale_2_copy
Salted Caramel and Whiskey Truffle – Classic chocolate truffles modernized with salted caramel and dressed up with whiskey for adult consumption.

 

Thank you so much Naomi, for sharing your beautiful treats and photographs here!  Me thinks I need to invest in a new camera! (and photography lessons!)

As Naomi mentioned, today I am off at a conference in Minneapolis.  If you happen to be attending, please do come up and say hi, I have a sweet little surprise to share!

 


 

Milk Chocolate Ganache

Quick.

Easy.

Delicious.

Milk Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

  • 12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Bring heavy cream to a boil and remove from heat.
  2. With chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl, pour cream over chips and slowly stir until all chips are melted.
  3. You can use ganache immediately or let sit to thicken.
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*You can use any type of chocolate with this recipe.

I actually wanted a much thicker consistency of this for a cake inspired by a 100 GRAND candy bar, so I made a couple easy additions.

Put 1/2 to 1 cup of powder sugar in mixer and pour ganache over it.  Mixer with whisk attachment.  You can add as much sugar as you want to reach desired consistency, I added about 1 1/2 cups total.

I then poured it over my cake!

Click here to see how this cake turned out!

Red, White, & Blue Dessert

Kinda.

More like red, white, and deep, deep navy.  Maybe even purple? Sorry Uncle Sam.

 

See, I saw these amazing chocolate edible bowls over on bakerella and I knew I wanted to try them.  I seriously get lost on her site.  The amount of creative and original and stunning desserts she creates just boggles my mind.

I sorta have a bakerella crush.  But I am in good company.  We all adore her right?

So I got this "brilliant" idea to make the bowls out of cherry chocolate chips.  Only the chocolate never got as creamy and beautiful as bakerella's did and I just could not get them to be uniform and magnificent like hers.

I am not even going to try and give you a recipe or directions… I think bakerellas directions are wonderful and easy to follow.

Just wish I had.

Here's what I did do.

Made chocolate bowls.  Oh, oh I have a little trick for you!  When you go to pop the balloon, put a piece of tape on the balloon and then pierce the balloon through the tape.  It will just deflate slowly instead of popping and causing your chocolate to break into a million pieces all over your kitchen! Not that I know from experience or anything.

Bake a white sheet cake.  Chilled it.  Cut it into one inch squares.

Opened can of blueberry pie filling.  Put cake squares in chocolate bowls.  Spooned filling over top.

Eat.

Repeat.

Some more.

 

What I can attest to is the taste.  The subtle cherry chocolate (think cherry dip cone from DQ) combined with a silky rich white cake topped with a sugary sweet blueberry pie filling…

It. Was. Fantastic.

So unexpected… I had to let the flavors just dance on my tongue for a bit before really professing my love. 

But then I did.  Profess my love.  To a dessert.  Cause I have warped sensibilities ok?

Even if you don't make this for your Fourth of July celebrations, I highly recommend making it just to indulge in a new scrumptiously sweet flavor combination. 

I hope you will be delighted with it as I was! 

P.S.  Totally going to try this with fresh blueberries next time.  I might even make a blueberry simple syrup to drizzle over the top.  I really dont think you can go wrong experimenting with this dessert.  And I do hope you do!

 *Check out this dessert and many other amazing things on Tidymom's I'm Lovin It!

Its All About You

When I started this baking blog a year and a half ago, one thing I did almost right away was create a 'i am baker' flickr group.  I wanted to really embrace the communityness* of the blogging world and I also wanted you to have a forum to share your work! 

*That is so totally a word.  Just dont look it up.

After going through the recent additions and oohhing and aahhing I decided that I must share them here.  You guys are so darn talented!

An eleven tier red and black cupcake tower topped off with an adorable little cake? Awesome.

by SweetElizabeth

  5833495099_7343eba49a

This is so clean and the colors are perfect.  Such a great presentation!

By Sweet As Sugar

Thin Mint Cake

I love Cheryls use of color and design, and also love her great tips on making the Thin Mint cake even better!

By Tidymom

These Dark Chocolate Chunk cookies are gorgeous.  And I am betting utterly delicious.

by Ya Salam Cooking

5589975085_5708c44b77
Kaylene says the butterflies adorning these lovely cupcakes are edible as well.  Yippee!

by baked.pretty

 

5578340758_9557e63b71
I love everything about this collage.  Erins entire photostream is wonderful!

by erin childs

 

5445790383_67fbeeff21
You know I am sorta obsessed with roses right?  This one is perfection.

by Created by Diane

 

5451837227_bf7402ab68
This particular pretty rose cake is by photsweets, and I am so impressed with all the rose cakes!

 

If you would like to add pictures to the i am baker flickr group here is the link.  Happy baking!

Cheesecake in a Jar

UPDATED: You can find the jars HERE! (Be sure to click on the lower price of $4.75 and not the $9 one!)

Cheesecake in a jar.

I have seen it a million times before, and have loved it each time.

So of course I wanted to try it myself!

IMG_9253.stamp

I needed to find a recipe that was no bake but still tasted good.

And that would travel well.

And that I could modify to accommodate any toppings and flavors I wanted.

 

IMG_9243.stamp

 

I brought these to a friends house… the gorgeous and brilliant foodie Miss Stephanie.

She is beautiful.  And fun.  And knows everyone and throws these fabulous blogging get togethers in Minnesota.

Now that I think of it, we are basically opposites.

IMG_9226.stamp

 

This is chocolate with a Oreo cookie crust.  With a pile of heath chips.  Everything is better with a pile of heath chips, thats what I always say.

And by always I mean never.

I made seven different flavor combinations.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

Raspberry Cheesecake

Cherry Cheesecake

Chocolate Heath Cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust

Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust

Cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust

It was easy and fun!

IMG_9200.stamp

I modified this recipe from Pillsbury for the

Chocolate Cheesecake

1 package Cream Cheese

Juice of 1/2 orange
1 can (14 oz.) chocolate sweetened condensed milk*
*If you can’t find chocolate sweetened condensed milk
add 1/2 cup of Hershey’s chocolate syrup to reg. sweetened condensed milk. Combine.
Combine cream cheese, juice and condensed milk until creamy and smooth.  Pour onto prepared crust, chill at least three hours.

 

And slightly adapted this recipe from AllRecipes for the

No Bake Cheesecake

1 package cream cheese (8 oz)

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)

2 tablespoons lemon juice (can be modified to taste)

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

Filling of choice.

Same directions as above.

I made the graham cracker crust according to the directions on the box and bought the Oreo crust.  I just spooned about 1/2 cup of filling into each jar then added the fruit filling of choice.  Then refrigerated for a few hours.

Easy peasy!  Hope you are having a great day and have an even better Mothers Day!