Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Orange Almond Chocolate Cookies

I made these on Sunday afternoon when I didn't have much going on, so my husband and I were the only ones who got to taste these. I wish I was bringing them somewhere because - chocolate and orange? Pretty yummy if you ask me. If you're looking for something different to make, I highly suggest these cookies. I omitted the 1/2 cup of ground almonds, just because I didn't have them on hand. The cookies were still very good but I imagine there would be a stronger almond taste with the ground almonds in addition to the extract (I added a little more extract to try and make up for this).

INGREDIENTS (yields about 24 cookies)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg yolk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate


Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until well mixed but not fluffy. Add the egg yolk, almond extract and orange juice and stir until well combined.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, almonds and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until most of the flour is absorbed. Add the chocolate and mix until well distributed. You may need to mix the final bit by hand with a spatula.

Scoop the cookies out by rounded tablespoons on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 12 to 16 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown. Cool on the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing

This just may be the best peanut butter icing. Ever. The chocolate cupcake... eh, I've had (and made) better. I think the Guinness cupcake I made from the Irish Car Bomb cupcake recipe would be excellent with this icing. I might have to try that out sometime...

Adapted from:


CUPCAKE (12 cupcakes)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup (1.5 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup (4 ounces) sour cream

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. (If you are using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.) Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.
Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.
Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Cream Cheese Blondies

Adapted from:

I found myself searching blogs for something different to make (don't I always?). Once I saw this combination of pumpkin and blondie, I had to try it. WOW. I've made snickerdoodle blondies before, but this recipe is much better than the other one. Also from now on, whenever I make something that is cinnamon/sugary, I'm going to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the bottom of the pan, as called for in this recipe. It gave the bottom of the bars a crisp sweetness that just perfected the dessert.


8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
3 ounces Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
¾ tsp. cream of tarter
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar for coating (about 1/3 cup)

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup solid packed pumpkin
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 TBSP flour
½ cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch pan. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar and move pan around to make sure that the bottom and sides are coated. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cream of tartar. Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat for three minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the Mascarpone cheese and beat until fully incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds. On low speed add the sifted flour mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. This will be hard as it is a thick batter. It may easiest to just wet your hands a little and press the batter into the pan. Then even it out afterwards with a spatula.
Using a clean bowl, cream together on medium high speed cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the pumpkin and beat another minute until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and egg, and beat until incorporated. Add pumpkin pie spice and flour and beat until incorporated.
Pour on top of snickerdoodle batter. The best you can swirl it around, they are very different consistencies and so this will be hard to do. Don’t worry, you aren’t trying to show the swirl, just get it in there. You might have to move some snickerdoodle batter back into place. Just press down with a spatula.
Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top of the batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, check your oven starting at around 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

Ok, I'm going to start tagging certain posts as "Laura's Favorites" because lately I've come across some pretty awesome recipes, this being one of them. A perfect fall dessert! Everyone raved about this one. It had a perfect layer of cinnamon apples topped with a cheesecake layer and then finally a whipped topping. (I omitted the pecans as usual since I'm not a fan.) I made this for a family get together at my house for no reason other than my husband made his infamous "puerco pibil", a Mexican pork dish. I had to show off my baking skills as well ! I also made Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Cream Cheese Blondies, another one I'm adding to my Favorites. :)



1½ cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

½-¾ cup caramel

1 cup chopped pecans


5 tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced


8 oz. cream cheese

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice


¾ cup heavy cream

3-4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

¼-½ cup caramel

Chopped pecans


To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the pan bottom and about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling. Mix in the apple slices and toss well to coat. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until tender and most of the liquid has been reduced, about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell. Set aside.
Reduce the heat of the oven to 350° F. To make the cheesecake layer, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla, egg and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (being careful not to overbeat.) Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer. Top with dollops of caramel sauce and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans if desired. Slice with a long, thin knife to serve.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Adapted from

I saw this recipe and swore I heard angels singing.... For those of you that don't know, I am a huge fan of both chocolate and red wine. Most of the time when you're cooking with alcohol you can't really taste it in the final product. This cake TASTED like wine! It was a very dense cake that was very easy to make, a one bowl recipe (that's always nice!). I will definitely be making this again, next time picking up mascarpone so that I can make the topping!


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine, any kind you like
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

TOPPING (I did not make, but it sounds awesome!)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup chilled heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty dusted with powdered sugar.
Make the topping: Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form — don’t overwhip. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. It can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pear Bread

Wow, I've really been seriously slacking on updating this blog! I have a considerable amount of recipes to post from the past few months. Hopefully I'll get a few done today. Here is a pear bread - courtesy of our "Free Fruit Tuesdays" at work. For some reason, there was a lot of fruit leftover at the end of the day (after I took my normal share!). I never grab a pear, but remembered wanting to try this recipe. So I grabbed a couple and got to baking over the weekend! Perfect for the start of fall. :)

Adapted from: www.

(I used half of the ingredients listed below and made one loaf, below yields 2 loaves)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans (original recipe uses walnuts)
3/4 cup butter, softened (may substitute 3/4 cup vegetable oil)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups peeled and finely grated ripe, firm pears
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9″x 5″loaf pans.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of this mixture and combine it with nuts to coat. Stir back into the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine butter, eggs, sugar, pears, and vanilla. Add the pear mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until flour disappears and batter is evenly moistened.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until bread is browned and firm on top. A pick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove from pan and place top side up on a plate or wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Peanut Butter Cookies

If that isn't enough flavors for you, I don't know what is! I saw this unique recipe and just had to try it. And yes, I know they look kind of gross but in fact they were actually quite good. Definitely interesting, but pretty good. So, if you're looking to bring something that I'm sure no one has tried before, I'd go with these!

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS (Yields 3 dozen cookies)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ cups salted creamy natural peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ¼ cup blueberries

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda, set aside.
Using a mixer, in a large bowl beat peanut butter and sugars on high until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
Reduce speed to low and stir in flour mixture just until combined.
Stir in blueberries and chocolate chunks.
Use a cookie dough scoop or tablespoon to place cookie dough balls (about 2 TB each) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Note: the dough will be greasy, that is OK)
Bake for 11-13 minutes until cookies are brown around the edges.

Apple Cinnamon Cake with Whole Wheat

Ok, I know this cake looks awful, but it was actually fantastic. This is what I get for waiting to take a picture until the cake was practically demolished. I made this for my dad's birthday. I had looked for a relatively healthy recipe and since this had fruit, whole wheat flour and not a ton of sugar (I substituted about 1/4 cup with Splenda), I decided to go with it. Delicious... there was hardly any to bring home!

Adapted from:

Oats-1 cup, powdered (I put old fashioned oats in a blender)
Whole wheat flour- 3\4 cups
Cinnamon powder- 1tsp
Baking powder- 2tsp
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Butter- 5 tbsp
Sugar- 1 cup
Egg whites- 4
Milk-1\4 cups
Vanilla extract- 1\2 tsp
Apples- 2, peeled and chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the baking dish with oil and dust with flour. Mix flour, cinnamon powder, baking powder and baking soda together. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl till soft and creamy. Add egg white and mix well.
Add flour in this mixture spoon by spoon. Add milk. Add oats powder, vanilla extract and apples. Transfer the batter in the baking dish (I divided the batter in to two dishes). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes (If you have the batter in to two dishes , then bake for 30-35 minutes) Remove from oven and let it be in the pan for 7-8 minutes. Take out from the pan and cool on a cooling rack. I also mixed low-fat cool whip with cinnamon to put in between the cakes. Since there was some left over, I added it to the top as well!

Lemon Berry Crumble Bars

These bars were nice to make because they were pretty versatile. Any type of berry could be used (I used raspberry) and I also only made half of the recipe in an 8x8 pan. They were quick and easy and pretty tasty!

Adapted from:

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1 egg1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
In a separate, small bowl, beat together the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla. Using a pastry cutter or food processor, cut the butter and egg mixture into the flour to form a crumbly dough. Press half of dough evenly into prepared pan.
In two additional bowls, mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch. Gently mix blueberries into one bowl and raspberries into the other. Sprinkle berries evenly over pressed dough — I did half the pan with blueberries and half with raspberries, but you could alternate or even mix the berries if you’d rather. Crumble the rest of the dough over top of the berries.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until slightly brown. Cool completely (and even chilling a little helps to ensure they’ll hold together) before cutting into squares.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

These were really good. They had a creamy taste to them, much like strawberry shortcake. :) I rarely bake with strawberries since my sister is allergic to them. It seems I'm baking a lot for family functions so I avoid them at all costs! But I really love strawberries and baked these on a random afternoon with no intention of bringing them to my family's place. It worked out well!

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS (Yields 3 dozen cookies)
12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling over the cookies

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and remaining sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until moist and fragrant.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the zest/sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Add the cream to the bowl and stir until the dough starts to come together, then gently fold in the strawberry mixture.
Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool. The cookies are best the day they're made, but can be kept in an airtight container for 1 day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chewy Low-fat Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Healthy? Whaaat?! That's right. I'm looking to make healthier desserts (sometimes) since 3 out of 5 in my immediate family are diabetic. I usually feel that if you're going to eat (or bake and eat) dessert, it has to be fantastic and most "healthy" desserts are far from that. Since we were going to my parents' for a Father's Day BBQ (my dad being one of the diabetics..) I figured it was a good time to make something like this. They were REALLY good. Very chewy and bursting with banana flavor. I know, I should actually be getting into low-sugar recipes, but I had to start somewhere! The sugar in this recipe is not actually that high compared to a lot of desserts that I bake.

Adapted from:


1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl with a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on a medium speed. Add the egg, followed by the mashed banana and vanilla extract.

Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and oatmeal until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 10 - 12 minutes or until cookies are light brown at the edges.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

I wanted to find something light and spring-like for Easter dessert (in addition the the chocolate pudding cake!). This cake was originally from Cooking Light and it was wonderful. It was almost like a dense blueberry lemon muffin. Yum! I altered the icing/glaze....quite a bit. I actually have no idea what I did to come up with the end result. I tasted the lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar and honestly I thought it was awful. So I added some sugar.... still no good. Maybe some flour to thicken it up... nope. So, I googled a cream cheese frosting recipe and then added some of the lemon glaze (already significantly modified at this point) to that. It turned out really well! My suggestion would be to make a cream cheese frosting and add some lemon juice. You'd think I'd take more notice as to what I was doing since I knew I'd be posting this recipe!

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup lower in fat cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbs)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 (8 oz) carton non-fat lemon yogurt (I use vanilla if I don't have lemon on hand!)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
4 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350º. In a large bowl beat the sugar, butter and cream cheese at medium speed with a mixer until well blended (4-5 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a smaller bowl measure the 3 cups of flour. Remove 2 Tbs and sprinkle over the blueberries, gently stirring and tossing to coat. To the remaining flour add the baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, being careful not to over-mix. Gently, fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into a bunt pan coated (VERY coated!) with cooking spray. Sharply tap the pan once on the counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. (about one hour). Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove cake from sides of the pan. Cool an additional 15 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cake from the bottom of the pan. Allow to cool completely.

GLAZE (I did not use this and could not tell you how I made mine! Cream, powdered sugar and this icing were involved...)
Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cake.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chocolate Pudding Cake

The name accurately describes this dessert. It's gooey, but not quite pudding... but not enough to be just called cake. It was very chocolaty and not as much sweet. This was also a "healthier" recipe, supposedly. I saw quite a few recipe for Chocolate Pudding Cake and this definitely had less of the unhealthy ingredients (like lots of butter!). I was bringing this to my parents' for Easter and knew there would be perogies, mac & cheese, cauliflower casserole.... I had to keep the desserts not entirely bad for you! ;)

Adapted from:

All Purpose Flour - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Cocoa Powder - 1/2 cup, divided (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
Baking Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Low Fat 1% Milk - 1/2 cup
Canola Oil - 3 tbsp
Brown Sugar - 2/3 cup
Semisweet Chocolate Chips - 1/4 cup
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Hot water - 1 1/4 cups


Boil 2 cups of water. Grease a round baking tray with a teaspoon of Canola Oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine white flour, white sugar, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk and oil. Mix well and then spread out in prepared pan. (The original directions had you combine this in the same round baking tray. However, the canola oil stuck to all of the ingredients as I was mixing, then it was as if you didn't grease the bottom of the pan, so I wouldn't suggest this method.) Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Evenly sprinkle 1/4 cup of cocoa powder on top. Evenly sprinkle semisweet chocolate chips on top. Add hot water and vanilla in a measuring cup. Combine. Pour the hot liquid over the batter. DO NOT MIX! Carefully place this in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Mine baked for 30 minutes exactly.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

I was hesitant to try this recipe - spicy chocolate? Sure, anything chocolate can't be BAD, but I'm not big on spicy. I don't like the aftertaste it leaves in my mouth that ruins the taste of other foods. However, I've seen many recipes for cayenne brownies or cayenne cookies so I figured I'd try it out. If I gave bacon cookies a shot, I might as well try this too! They were awesome! So fudgy with a nice kick at the end. I had tasted the batter for the spicyness after adding the minimum amount of cayenne (1/2 tsp) and it didn't taste much different than regular brownie batter, so I went ahead and added the extra 1/4 tsp. Honestly, I could've added a little more (that is, if you like spice)....and that's a lot coming from me!

Adapted from: www.

For the brownies
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 – 3/4 tsp ground cayenne
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
12 Tbsp butter, cubed
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla

6 oz semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup whole milk


Preheat oven to 325. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13×9 pan. Whisk cake flour, salt, baking powder, cayenne, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. Place chocolate and butter in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and in 30 second increments, stirring in between until chocolate has completely melted. Pour into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add sugar and mix on med-high until combined. Turn mixer to low and add 1 egg at a time and mix completely. Add vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for ~30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool ~15 minutes. Heat semisweet chocolate and milk in the microwave for 30 seconds and then in 15 second increments, stirring in between until chocolate has completely melted. Pour over brownies. Let cool completely before cutting.

Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

There wasn't a strong Nutella flavor to these cookies (maybe I should have added more..) but they were still very good. Thin and chewy...they almost tasted as if the weren't baked long enough. I like cookies like that better actually. I had made these as a back up to my Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies, which I didn't need to because they turned out awesome. I will post that recipe next.

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS (Makes about 30 cookies)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup Nutella

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.

Using a mixer, cream butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add in white and brown sugar and cream until light and fluffy. About 3-4 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, add in the egg and vanilla. Then add the Nutella. Mix until well incorporated.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and mix until well combined.

Refrigerate dough for about 20- 30 minutes.

Scoop dough using cookie scoop, and spread about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 7-9 minutes, or 6-7 minutes if dough was not refrigerated.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these for my husband's birthday back in February and they were delicious! Of course, I'm more of a chocolate fan, but these were really good. I had no idea what went into red velvet (vinegar, really?) so it was a good learning experience for me! The cream cheese frosting was very good also. I've made ones before that were a bit watery, but these were very easy to manage decorating (which I'm getting better at). And look - they match my family room. ;)

Adapted from:

Yields: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes Bake Time: 20 minutes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.
2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.
7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
8. To make the frosting: Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Flourless Espresso Chocolate Cake

This cake was intense! In a good way. (Can chocolate and intense ever be bad?) I made this around Christmas time when my nephew was in town from Minnesota. (I know, I've been really slacking on my blogging!) I think he liked it. :) The texture was almost like chocolate mousse, but dense enough to be called a cake. Fabulous. Definitely making this for something else....

Adapted from: Crave by Maureen McKeon

2 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate
3 Tbsp strong freshly brewed espresso coffee
3 Tbsp coffee liquor or brandy (I used Kahlua)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch cake pan, line with parchment paper, then butter the paper.
Melt the chocolate with coffee and liquor in a heatproof bowl over hot water. Stir until smooth.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and white sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for about 10 minutes, or until thickened and almost tripled in volume.
Whip the cream, superfine sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
Gently fold in the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.
Pour the mixture into the prepared plan and immediately put the pan in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the cake pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until skewer inserted into the center of the pan comes out almost clean (the skewer will be slightly moist, the cake will continue to cook as it cools).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan in the water bath. When cool, do not remove from the pan; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, immerse the cake pan in a little hot water to loosen. Invert into a wire rack, remove the paper, then invert again onto a serving plate. Optional: Serve with fresh raspberries and heavy cream.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jensen Ackles Bars would describe these bars since the name gives nothing away?! They are kind of like a sugar cookie butterscotch bar with a kick of espresso. Sound good? They are! I actually think the espresso was a little much, I could've gone with adding a little less (even though the original baker thought she could've added more). I didn't make the butterscotch sauce to go along with these bars and they tasted just fine all by themselves. I made these just because I was in a baking mood (and therefore had them laying around the house...not good!). Now I know for the future that these are definitely a dessert I would want to serve!

Adapted from:

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into about 6 pieces for easier melting
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of espresso powder
2 1/4 cups of firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (use more or less to suit your taste)

Bars: Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter/spray a 9x13 inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter/flour the parchment. Or line the entire pan with tin foil (have the foil go over the edges for easy removal) grease and flour the foil.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt all the butter over low heat. Once the butter is melted, turn the heat up to medium and cook the butter until it turns golden brown and takes on a nutty fragrance. Depending on how high the heat is, this may take several minutes. Stir the butter occasionally and keep an eye on the colour. It will get a little bit 'foamy' but keep cooking until it starts to clarify and then change to a golden brown. Once it has browned, remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder. Set it aside.
In a separate, larger bowl mix the butter and sugar together with a large wooden spoon or spatula (the mixture will be grainy). Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond. Mix well. Be sure the eggs have been well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as you stir. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It might be thick so you may have to spread it out with the spatula.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out slightly moist but with no crumbs. If the edges start to brown too much, remove the pan and cover just the edges with some tin foil. Once they are done, place the pan on a cooling rack and let it come to room temperature. You can serve these alone or with the butterscotch sauce.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar, cream, and salt. Whisk until blended. Bring the mixture to a slow, easy boil. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. *It will eventually begin to thicken. Once it does, cook for about 2 more minutes.*
Remove from heat. As it cools, the butterscotch will thicken. You can pour it over the bars just before serving them or pour it on ahead of time (this will result in a thicker, almost frosting-like sauce.)

Overnight Monkey Bread

Well, this turned out much better than expected! I have never made any bread besides a quick bread. When I got to kneading the dough....well, I don't think I "kneaded" it correctly. The dough is supposed to become shiny after 6-7 minutes of kneading and mine didn't change texture or appearance at all. I almost threw it out. However, I thought I made it this far, so what was the difference if I finished the recipe and it turned out awful? THEN I could throw it out. This tasted like any other monkey bread I've had - delicious!

Adapted from: (originally from Cook's Illustrated



2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted1

1/3 cup milk, warm (about 120 degrees)

1/3 cup water, warm (about 120 degrees)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons table salt

1 package rapid-rise yeast (or instant)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface


1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk


Butter a 12-cup Bundt pan generously with softened butter. Set aside.
In large measuring cup, mix together melted butter, milk, water, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve.
Mix 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast in stand mixer fitted with a beater blade. Turn machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the liquids are incorporated, switch to the dough hook, increase the speed to medium and gradually add the remaining flour (add more or less as necessary) until dough clings to the hook and almost cleans the sides. Knead until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes. While dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside for the sugar coating. Remove dough from bowl, and pat into rough 8-inch square. Using bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers. Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
Approximately one hour before you want to bake your Monkey Bread, remove it from the refrigerator and let the dough come to room temperature and the dough will begin to rise. (It should have risen some in the refrigerator overnight.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
FOR THE GLAZE: While bread cools, whisk confectioners’ sugar and milk in small bowl until lumps are gone. Using whisk, drizzle glaze over warm monkey bread, letting it run over top and sides of bread. Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Blondies

So easy and really good! The original recipe said to bake for 45 minutes, but I would check on it at 40 minutes and take the blondies out at that time. I felt the pieces around the edge were drier than those in the middle...and I really like a nice gooey blondie! They made a perfect addition to our impromptu Super Bowl Party. As soon as I knew it, we were expecting 10 people over to our house and I needed to whip up something quick!

Adapted from:


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt (I like kosher best)
About 8 oz. chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or a combo of both

Grease a 8 x 8 inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, whisk together the butter and sugars until they are smooth. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly stir in the flour and salt. Stir in the chips : ) and pour into the greased baking dish. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brandy Alexander Cupcakes

Another dessert for our Mad Men party! Yes, I know cupcakes weren't big in the '60's...but Brandy Alexander drinks were! (Also, I just bought this cute cupcake holder, so I wanted to use it at the party.) Brandy, cream and creme de cacao garnished with nutmeg....yum. I couldn't actually find a recipe for Brandy Alexandre cupcakes, so I altered Martha Stewart's brandy cupcakes which I found on The Cupcake Diary's website. The cupcake itself was wonderful. This must have been from the sweet milk/brandy mixture that the cupcakes soaked in for about one day wrapped in the fridge. I wanted to add creme de cacao in the whipped cream topping but couldn't find a miniature bottle that I could add a tablespoon or two to the mixture. Instead, I had some leftover Kahlua from a previous recipe and added some cocoa powder. I added each of these to taste, so I approximated the measurements in the recipe below. Then I topped off the cupcakes with a dusting of nutmeg.

Adapted from: (Originally Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)

6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Brandy
Nutmeg for dusting

1. Preheat over to 325* F. Line regular sized cupcake tins with paper-lined foil liners, you can buy these at most grocery stores. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together egg whites, baking soda and salt until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low. Add yolks and sugar, whisk until completely combined. Fold in melted butter with a flexible spatula. Add flour in four batches, folding until just combined after each.
2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each half-way. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until light golden brown, the original recipe says about 25 minutes. I checked on the cupcakes at 20 minutes and they looked done so I remove from oven at that point. Immediately poke holes in tops of cupcakes with a wooden skewer or toothpick.
3. Whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk, heavy cream and Brandy. With cupcakes still in tins, brush milk mixture over cupcakes, repeating until all liquid has been used, this might take several minutes. Allow cupcakes to absorb mixture, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic once completely cool; bring to room temperature before serving).
To finish, dollop or pipe on whipped cream generously onto cupcakes and dust with nutmeg. (The original recipe calls for cinnamon.) Serve immediately.

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Cocoa powder - about 2 Tbsp
Kahlua - about 1 1/2 Tbsp

Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, and whisk until combined. To create the "Brandy Alexander", I added some cocoa powder and Kahlua since I didn't have any Creme de Cacao. It gave the frosting a nice hint of chocolate. If not using immediately, whipped cream can be refrigerated, covered tightly, up to 3 hours in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chocolate Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

This was my first time making a bundt cake because I never had a bundt pan before! I recently bought a bundt pan because my husband and I threw a Mad Men party. Having an early 1960's themed party, I wanted some authentic food to be served! The bundt cake became popular during this time. I found a recipe for a fantastic chocolate cake at, though omitted the frozen raspberries. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa (as always) and this cake was phenomenal! It was so rich and dense. Since I didn't have the fruit to offset this, I prepared a very simple white chocolate glaze. TIP: Spray the bundt pan REALLY well with Pam in order to have a mess-free bundt cake. I've heard how it can get stuck to the inside of the pan and look very messy but as you can see, mine looked amazing! :)

Cake adapted from:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
2 tsp instant coffee/espresso powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot water
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (I omitted)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. (Spray with a lot of Pam, I actually thought it was too much. And I didn't flour it.) In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in butter, vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, followed by the hot water. Mix only until no streaks of flour remain. Pour about half of the batter into the prepared pan. If using raspberries, add them in and then topped with the remaining batter. Run a knife through the batter gently to even out the distribution of the berries. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake rest in the pan for about 10 minutes, then gently loosen the cake and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serves 12.

White Chocolate Glaze adapted from:\
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon milk
Combine white chocolate chips and milk in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50%) 50 seconds; stir. Microwave on MEDIUM at additional 30-second intervals until chips are completely melted; stir well after each 30-second interval. Pour warm glaze over cooled cake. Let stand about 30 minutes. Garnish as desired; serve.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

What? Bacon chocolate chip cookies? Yes, that's right. And they were delicious. I wasn't sure how I felt about this at first, but I've been seeing a lot of bacon and chocolate dessert recipes online lately and just had to try one. The cookie recipe itself was really good, I may have to use this as a basic chocolate cookie sometime! The mix of salty and sweet taste was just right, and the cookie was very buttery as well. I altered the recipe a bit - I used margarine instead of butter (usually a no-no in baking!). We only had one stick of unsalted butter left in the fridge and I was only making these for fun, so used the margarine instead. I also didn't add white chocolate chips and actually only did add about 1 cup of dark chocolate chips (not 1 1/2 since the white chocolate was omitted). I also used less bacon than was called for. I mixed in about 1 1/3 cups instead of 2 cups and it looked to be more than enough. And I didn't make the maple glaze, so I can't comment on that. Maybe bacon chocolate cupcakes will be next....?

Adapted from:

1 cup butter, softened (I used margarine)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of cooked bacon broken into pieces (I used about 1 1/3 cups and it was plenty!)
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I omitted and used all dark chocolate)
5 strips of cooked bacon, cooled and cut into one inch strips (to top the cookies - I didn't do this)

GLAZE (I didn't make the glaze)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp maple extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla, until light and fluffy. Gradually stir flour mixture into creamed mixture.
Add both chocolate chips and cooked bacon bits. Mix to incorporate.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop or your hands, make approximately one inch balls.
Bake for a total of 9-10 minutes.
While the cookies bake, mix the Maple Cinnamon Glaze by combining the powdered sugar, maple extract, vanilla, and cinnamon, and mix together until smooth and creamy.
Once baked, move cookies to a cooling rack, add a small amount of glaze, and top with the reserved squares of crisp bacon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Ultimate Black Bottom Cupcake

I was looking through my blog and forgot to post this! I made these Black Bottom Cupcakes for Christmas and they were awesome. There are several recipes out there for this type of cupcake, but apparently this is the ultimate. I don't have another to compare it to, but I would definitely make this recipe again. I even had some left over batter and made a few mini-cupcakes. This way when they were finally cooled, I didn't have to eat an entire cupcake to do a taste test. However, I ate about 3 of the mini-cupcakes....hmm....

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS (Yields 18 cupcakes)

16-oz cream cheese, cool room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tbsp sour cream, room temperature
1/3 cup miniature or regular size chocolate chips – or however many you want (I used regular sized chips, and it was more like 1/2 cup)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (7.9 oz)
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder – Hershey’s Dark
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and salt until smooth. Add the egg whites and stir or beat on low speed just until mixed; stir in the sour cream and chocolate chips. Set aside.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl.
In the actual mixing bowl, beat together the oil and sugar. You can do this with a whisk, spoon or hand-held mixer.
Mix together the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the buttermilk/vanilla mixture and the flour alternately to the sugar/oil mixture. Stir until smooth – be careful not to overbeat.
Divide the chocolate batter evenly among the muffin tins. Spoon large tablespoonfuls of cream cheese batter over the chocolate batter. You should have some cream cheese batter leftover.
Bake on center rack for about 25 minutes. Let cool in cupcake pan for 30 minutes and then transfer to the refrigerator to chill.