Thursday, February 24, 2011

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe was recommended to me by another baking enthusiast and the cookies turned out beautifully.  They are reminiscent of banana bread, but in a nice bite-sized package.  I altered the original recipe slightly because I did not have any whole wheat flour on hand.  I also used chocolate chips instead of chunks for the same reason.  The oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts make these cookies special and they are definitely worth a try!

Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl. Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts.

3. Using a 1 1/2 inch ice cream or cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden brown and set, 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

The weather in Dallas has been crazy the past few days, which has prompted me to do some baking to keep busy.  We had an ice storm at the beginning of the week followed by 5 inches of snow last night!  I actually baked these cupcakes for a coworker's birthday today, but she wasn't able to make it into the office and then the office closed about an hour after I had arrived.  Somehow, those of us who made it into the office managed to eat a dozen cupcakes between 8:15 and 9:00 a.m., but I still have another dozen to eat over the weekend.  I'll probably have to come up with something else to bring for the birthday girl on Monday!  These cupcakes were super moist and the frosting was divine.  Don't skimp on the coffee - you will not taste it in the baked cupcakes and it really does enhance the chocolate flavor.  I especially liked how the cupcake ingredients are all just dumped into a bowl and mixed together, making these super quick to whip up.
Adapted from Paula Deen


8 ounces sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners.

2. For the cupcakes - in a large bowl, combine all the cupcake ingredients. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Divide batter among the 24 cupcake liners. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

3. For the frosting - place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing after each cup is added.  Once ingredients are combined, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy. Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.