Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘peanuts’

So last week I had this little peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough extravaganza. And as promised, here’s the cake ball piece of it.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in the art of making cake balls. I can’t honestly say I’ve ever managed to do it correctly. Bakerella makes it look so damn easy, but every time I make them I end up cussing at my cake balls as they slide off the sticks and go kerplunk into a chocolately abyss and make a mess all over everything. The likely culprit I think is that I ALWAYS use too much frosting. I try every time to be sparing but I continually over do it. I still managed to take a couple of decent photos however so here you go.

Just a quick word on the dipping chocolate. The chocolate shell I use is what people normally dip Hi Hat cupcakes in. It appears that most people use these Candy Melts from Wilton when making cake balls (that’s how they get all those vibrant colors). I refuse to use those however because they contain partially hydrogenated oil – meaning they have that nasty trans fat in them (among all the other bad for you ingredients). If that doesn’t bother you go ahead and try them, it might make the dipping easier (I don’t know). The baking chocolate bark stuff might work well too, I’ve not tried it yet so I can’t attest to its functionality – nor do I know if it’s vegan.

Cookie Dough Stuffed Cake Balls (vegan)

Cookie Dough

Alright, so the quantity of everything depends on how many cake balls you want to end up with. When I made the cookie dough I also used it for cookies and ice cream, so I’m guessing I only used 1/4 or less of the total dough for the cake balls. Whatever amount you decide to have, roll nickle-sized balls of dough with your hands (about 2 chocolate chips per ball is a good size reference) and place them in the freezer for about an hour or so. If you decide to use popsicle or lollipop sticks, I’d stick them into the cookie dough before freezing (I think this will actually keep the stinkin things on the sticks during dipping). You obviously don’t have to put the cake balls on sticks, but I don’t know how people manage to dip them in chocolate otherwise.

Chocolate Cake

I made a 1/2 batch of the chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. You can find the recipe by clicking on the link above. Though I made 6 cupcakes, I piped a bunch of buttercream on one of them and gave it to my husband, so I only used 5 cupcakes worth of cake for my cake balls. Obviously I don’t expect you to make 5/12ths of a batch of cupcakes, so you just might end up having more balls than me.

Bake the cake or cupcakes and let them cool completely. Once cool, mash them up in a mixing bowl and add the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 C vegan stick butter
  • 2+ C powdered sugar
  • 2 T soy or almond milk
  • 3/4 t vanilla extract

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and extract. Add some of the sugar of whip. Keep adding sugar and whipping until you reach a good, thick consistency. A hand blender or stand mixer will save you time here, unless you want a good arm workout of course.

This is way more frosting than you’ll need for the cake balls by the way, unless you’re making a large batch of them. You honestly need less than half of what this makes so just use your best judgement (whatever that means).

Plop a dollop of frosting into the bowl with the smashed up cake and mix it in. Start small or you’ll end up with slippery balls like me. It needs to be gooey enough to stick together, but not so greasy that it clings to your hands when rolling.

Once you’ve got it where you want it grab the dough balls out of the freezer and roll the cake around them. If you didn’t already put sticks them this part is pretty easy. If you did put sticks in them you’ll have to get a little creative to get the cake sufficiently around the cookie dough. The 5 cupcakes I made were the perfect amount to cover 12 balls of cookie dough (just fyi). Stick them back in the freezer once they’re all rolled for at least 30 minutes (longer would be better).

Chocolate Shell

  • 5 – 6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 & 1/2 T canola oil

If you’re making more than 12 cake balls, you’ll need more chocolate. Error on the side of too much chocolate as it will stay good quite awhile in the fridge.

In a double boiler (or the microwave if necessary), melt the chocolate. Mix in the oil and transfer to a deep but narrow container (I used a plastic take-out container common at Thai restaurants). Let it cool a minute or two before dipping the cake balls.

Dipping and Rolling

Crush up about 1/4 cup of peanuts and spread them out on a plate.

Gather the tub of chocolate, a spoon and the cake balls. If they’re on sticks, dip them carefully into the chocolate while simultaneously holding your breath and hoping they don’t slide off. Use the spoon to help spread the chocolate all around the cake ball. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Roll the cake ball in the crushed up peanuts, or use your hand to sprinkle them on top, let it dry a few seconds and then place it on a plate or tray of some sort. Stick them back in the freezer for a few minutes once you’re finished dipping and rolling so that they harden all the way.

Retrieve from freezer. Bite. Enjoy.

Read Full Post »

Can you call this multi-tasking? Making 4 desserts out of 1? Or maybe it’s just plain craziness. Or creative boredom put to work. Whatever it is it tastes good, and now I have a whole bunch of sweets begging to be eaten.

I wasn’t out of school more than 2 days before I started thinking of something I could bake. We’ve been on a cupcake spree the last few weeks in my house so I thought it was time for some cookies. Peanut butter chocolate chippers happen to be one of my husband’s favorites. But I thought as long as I’m making cookie dough I might as well make cookie dough ice cream. During my run on Tuesday I thought I could also make cookie dough stuffed cake balls (of course!). Then when I was making the ice cream it occurred to me that ice cream sandwiches would be a great idea (it is summer after all). I thought about putting icing in the ice cream sandwiches as well, and then maybe dipping the whole thing in chocolate, but something told me to stop while I was ahead. =)

I’m actually going to save the cake ball part for another post, otherwise this sucker will be forever long and nobody will read it all. But ice cream and cookies are simple enough.

The cookie dough needs to be frozen before you can make the ice cream, but the ice cream for the sandwiches needs to be really frozen before they can be made so perhaps it’s best to start with the ice cream.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 6oz extra firm silk tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) light rum
  • Cookie dough (below)

Toss everything except the cookie dough in your blender and puree until super smooth. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze accordingly.

Once frozen, put about 2/3rds of the ice cream in one container and the other 1/3rd in another. Place both containers in the freezer. We’ll add the cookie dough later.

Typically I use a mixture of soy and coconut milk when making ice cream, but I wanted to see how coconut would do on its own. And it did way better than the combination has ever done. Even though I used light coconut this ice cream is very creamy, especially compared to my typical soy milk based ice creams. Plus it simplifies everything as I always end up freezing a portion of the coconut milk, which I forget is in the freezer the next time I need it and open up another can, which also ends up in the freezer (you see where I’m going with this).

Enough babble, onto the cookies!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

  • 1/2 C vegan butter (stick or tub will work)
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1 T ground flax seed
  • 3 T hot water

Whisk the flax seed and hot water in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars together in a large bowl, then mix in the flax mixture.

Blend the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together then add them to the wet ingredients and mix briefly. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Go ahead and make the cookie dough balls or the ice cream. You want about 3/4 C worth of balls, or enough to about cover the surface area in one of those square plastic containers that sandwiches fit in. You want to keep the dough balls small so my way of doing this was to only use enough dough to enclose 1 chocolate chip per ball. Roll them up in your hands and stick them in the freezer.

Now, line two 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Scoop the dough into 1 or so inch mounds and plop them on the pans about an inch apart. These cookies don’t spread much during baking so if you want a flatter, crisper cookie smash it down a bit before baking. And you can always make them much larger than an inch of course.

Bake for about 11 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let them rest about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

The cookie dough should freeze up enough within an hour, so once that time has passed take them and the larger portion of ice cream out of the freezer. Chop about half of the dough balls up to make them smaller and allow more opportunity for cookie dough in every bite! Mix them into the ice cream, distributing as thoroughly as possible and put it back in the freezer.

There. You’re done.

Oh but wait, there’s more! Those ice cream sandwiches won’t make themselves!

Ice Cream Sandwiches (vegan)

  • Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate for dipping (optional)
  • Plastic wrap

Grab as many cookies as you’d like for sandwiches. Retrieve the plain vanilla ice cream from the freezer. Tear off roughly 12 square inch sheets of plastic wrap – one for each sandwich – and lay them on a table or work surface. You can get about 5 – 6 sandwiches out of the ice cream, but that depends on how much ice cream you put in each sandwich…

Take a scoop of ice cream and plop it on top of a cookie. Place another cookie on top and press it down so that the ice cream reaches the edges of the cookies; use the back of a spoon to help guide and smooth it. Now, place the sandwich on the plastic wrap so that the ice cream is touching the plastic. Roll the plastic wrap up with the sandwich and then twist the ends of the plastic. This is kind of what you’re going for, just not so long, and obviously not butter. Place them in the freezer to set.

Once they are set, you can roll them in crushed up chocolate, peanuts, coconut, what have you. I decided to dip mine in chocolate, which turned out to be problematic as the chocolate did not want to stick to the ice cream. It turned out alright in the end though, just a tad bumpy. If you decide to dip them in chocolate you’ll need about half of what Bakerella has in this recipe.

Well, I guess that does it. The cake balls will be appearing at some point in the near future (promise). And on a side note, you can make all this gluten-free simply by using a gluten-free flour mixture. Bob’s Red Mill sells one but the following will also do the job.

Gluten-free flour mixture (equal to 1 cup of normal flour)

  • 1/3 C quinoa or millet flour
  • 1/4 C almond meal
  • 1/3 C brown or white rice flour
  • 3 T potato or tapioca starch
  • 1 T ground flaxseed

Do keep in mind that GF flours tend to have a grainy texture before being baked, so this could affect your cookie dough ice cream slightly.

Well I didn’t intend for this post to be 4th of July centric but my backdrop in the photos is somewhat patriotic. That was an accident honestly, even though Independence Day is around the corner. It’s actually one of my grandmother’s old shirts. Yes, I use clothing for backdrops. And sometimes even covers from my couch pillows. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

But never mind that, what kind of shenanigans are you baking up this 4th of July weekend?

Read Full Post »

So there are a lot of pluses to husbands. They open car doors for you, take out the trash, make excellent margaritas and even do the laundry (at least mine does).  Some husbands even provide inspiration for cupcakes, albeit in the form of a cavity-causing sugar addiction. My husband happens to be quite fond of the Take 5 candy bar. He’s a big fan of chocolate and peanut butter, so things just get even better when you add more peanuts, caramel and pretzels.

So, as is usual for my baking endeavors, one night at like 2am or something I got the idea to turn the Take 5 into a cupcake. My first attempt… one big cluster. Overfilled the cupcake liners, caramel was oozing out everywhere, they looked like some sort of crappy abstract impressionist painting, only I’m guessing they tasted better.

But one cannot be defeated by her oven. When I saw that Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious were holding their annual ice cream cupcake contest, I thought it was time for round two. And round two turned out to be quite yummy. Maybe even yummier since there’s ice cream involved. And it’s vegan, which makes it better in my book. So here’s my version of the Take 5 candy bar, reinvented in cupcake form, with ice cream:

Take 6 Cupcake (vegan)

So there’s a few shortcuts you can take on this if you want, like buying pre-made ice cream, frosting, caramel and chocolate sauce, but I like to make things myself. So while it looks like a forever list of ingredients and steps, it’s really not that bad and I promise you it’s worth your time.

For the Ice Cream

  • 1 & 3/4 C coconut milk (canned, I used light)
  • 6oz extra firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1/4 C agave nectar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) rum, brandy or vodka

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree. You can leave the liquor out of course, but I find it keeps the ice cream from turning into a solid block of inedible hardness in the freezer. Pour the ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions. Mine takes about 25+ minutes, plus additional freezer time. Pop it into the freezer while you’re doing everything else. In fact, it’s probably best if you make the ice cream a day in advance so it doesn’t melt all over your pretty cupcakes while your patience is getting the best of you.

 For the Caramel

I borrowed Cookies and Candids’ caramel recipe from this post.

  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C vegan butter
  • 1/4 C almond or soy milk

Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium/ medium+ heat, stirring constantly. Let it cook for about 10 minutes; it will start to thicken, reduce and resemble caramel. Set it aside for now.

For the Cupcake

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Chop or crush about 1/2 C of peanuts and set aside. Do the same to 1 cup of pretzels, and also set them aside.

  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 C cocoa
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • pinch of nutmeg

Sift together the dry ingredients into a small bowl and set aside.

  • 1 C ice cream (from above)
  • 1/4 C almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/4 C organic sugar
  • 2 T agave
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract

In a large mixing bowl, or your stand mixer, combine a cup of the ice cream and all the other wet ingredients. If you were proactive and made your ice cream the day before, it’s probably best if you took it out of the freezer a few minutes before you started making the cupcakes. You can, of course, just use milk instead of ice cream, but I thought it would be fun to incorporate the ice cream inside the cupcake instead of just on top. If you do forgo the ice cream in the batter, be sure to up the ante on the other sugars.

Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until few, if any, lumps remain. Place a couple tablespoons of batter in each cupcake well, then pour in a bit of the caramel (1 – 2 T). You should have about half of the caramel left over after this (you’ll need it later). If you don’t have any caramel left, just make some more.

Fill the liners about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full with the rest of the batter. Stir the batter with a toothpick to distribute the caramel around (or just forget like I did and nobody will know the difference). Divide the chopped peanuts amongst the 12 soon-to-be cupcakes, and if you’re feeling chocolately add some chocolate chips too. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the Icing

I know, I know. You’re thinking this recipe is NEVER going to end, but I promise we’re getting close.

  • 1/4 C vegan stick butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 2 & 1/2 T almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • ~ 2 & 1/2 C powdered sugar

So these measurements are typically what I’d make for a half batch of cupcakes, but you aren’t using a whole lot of icing on these since you’re also putting ice cream on them. If you feel like getting all crazy with the icing go ahead and double it, but you probably won’t need it.

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the vanilla and milk. Add the sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If your cupcakes haven’t cooled yet you can place the icing in the fridge. If they are cool go ahead place a large star tip in your pastry bag and fill it up with the frosting. Pipe it onto the cupcakes.

Alrighty, this is where I almost screwed everything up. I get kind of excited when I bake things and I never want to wait for anything to cool completely. My ice cream cupcakes about turned into ice cream floats, but I managed to get the little guys back into the freezer before too much harm was done.

Take an ice cream scoop and put a scoop of ice cream on top of each cupcake, then sprint across the kitchen and put them straight into the freezer.

There’s probably a better way to get the pretzels on the ice cream, like putting them in while it was freezing, but I tend to do things the hard way first time around. Grab the crushed up pretzels and do your damnedest to get them on the ice cream without spewing them everywhere.

Stick the cupcakes back in the freezer once they are all pretzelified. The ice cream really needs to be frozen before the next step so wait several hours or overnight.

Once it is totally frozen, warm the caramel back up until it’s liquid again, but don’t boil it. It needs to be thin enough to drizzle but still be thick enough to not slide all over your cupcakes. You also need to get the chocolate shell together.

Chocolate Shell

I used a half batch of the chocolate shell recipe from Bakerella’s Hi Hat cupcakes, and you’ll probably still have some left over, depending how covered you decide your cupcakes should be.

  • Roughly 5oz chocolate chips
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 T canola oil

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or the microwave if you must. Add the oil and stir it in. Let the chocolate cool a bit before applying it to the cupcakes. Now, go grab your nicely frozen cupcakes out of the freezer. Get the bowl of caramel and the bowl of melted chocolate. Drizzle the caramel on each cupcake with a spoon. Do the same with the chocolate, starting with the first cupcake you put the caramel on as it should have hardened by now. Place the cupcakes back in the freezer, again.

You know, I knew this was a lot of work but it seems MUCH worse now that I’m typing it all out… Oh well. Honestly, if you get all the parts made first, which will really only take about an hour or so, it’s just a matter of waiting and walking to the freezer; really not that bad.

Anyway, you can call it quits at this point but I wanted a finishing touch. You should still have some icing left over so grab your pastry bag and pipe a small dab of icing on each of the cupcakes (yes this means you have to get them out of the freezer, again). Be sure to let the chocolate set before this step or you’ll make a mess out of of the top of Mount St. Cupcake. Then take 12 pretzels and dip them in the melted chocolate (not at the same time of course). Let some of the excess chocolate drip off before placing it into the dab of icing.

There. You’re done. Finally.

I’m not just saying this because I made these and I really want to win this contest, but these things taste freaking spectacular.The first time I mentioned the idea of a Take 5 cupcake to my friends they thought it would be way too sweet, but they surprisingly aren’t. The small amount of frosting combined with the extra salt in the batter and salt from the peanuts and pretzels really balances everything out. My husband and I have been eating these for about a week and neither of us are tired of them yet.

And, as an added bonus, they’re flexible. One day at school my chef instructor planted this idea in my head that my stacked version wasn’t quite what an ice cream cupcake should be. There is more than one way to stack a cupcake of course, so I tried doing a condensed version to see which one I liked better. Here’s version 2 of the Take 6 cupcake (same ingredients).

This one is good in a gooey-ice cream sundae-I got a sweet tooth that must be fixed right now-and I don’t mind getting caramel and chocolate all over my hands sort of way. Even though it’s all the same stuff, it’s just not the same. The lessened amount of cake and increased quantity of sweet ingredients throws the balance off. But it’s still an ice cream cupcake so who the hell cares. =) I think if I were selling them I’d perhaps go with the condensed version to ease transport, but my bakery has a few years before it’s gonna open (like probably 7).

Same as the previous version, just reversed the chocolate and buttercream.

I’m honestly not very competitive, so I don’t typically jump into contests or challenges, but I like baking and winning a whole bunch of dessert cook books sounds like a fantastic reason to make some cupcakes (not that I really ever need a reason). Aside from Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious, there are three food bloggers judging the contest. If you’re curious what makes them so special, hop on over to their blogs and take a look-see for yourself.

What’s your favorite cake and ice cream combination? I think it’s possible that the only time most of us see this decadent duo is during birthday celebrations, but honestly it’s far too awesome of a dessert to only have once a year. If you decide to hop into your kitchen and put your ice cream cupcake fingers to work, let me know how it goes!

Read Full Post »