Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sweet Somethings

Sweet nothings somethings.

Since my last foray into baking ended less than successfully (click back two entries for my burned cupcake confession), I decided I needed to take a hiatus from the kitchen to get my feet back under me.

But just a few days after giving myself the take-your-hands-off-the-handheld-mixer talk, I was faced with the sad truth—I just can’t live that long without freshly baked desserts. And now, my family can’t either. I’ve spoiled them!

As it turned out though, I didn’t need to abandon baking. I just needed to find a recipe to help re-build my confidence—one with a lowered difficulty level that still produced amazingly tasty results.

Thank goodness, I found it! These Sprinkles Bakery inspired cupcakes are not just amazing or wonderful—they are divine! Ask my family. I made 18 of them on Friday with the assistance of my two little cousins, and today only one solitary cupcake remains uneaten. (okay, that’s embarrassing…but we did give a few away…)

*Sidenote: a lot of people ask me how I find my recipes. It’s a very difficult and complex process, but I will do my best to break it down for you. I start craving something (i.e. Sprinkles peanut butter chocolate cupcakes). I google what I’m craving, adding in the word “recipe” after said craving (i.e. Sprinkles peanut butter chocolate cupcakes recipe). If I’m feeling healthy, I add in the word “healthy” (i.e. healthy Sprinkles peanut butter chocolate cupcakes). And voila! Google does its thing, I pick whichever recipe has the highest rating/best feedback, tweak it a little and enjoy. Like I said, difficult and complex, right? :)

Sprinkles-esque Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes


For cupcakes:

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature ¾ cup smooth all natural peanut butter, at room temperature ½ cup packed dark brown sugar ½ cup sugar 2 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract ½ cup whole milk 2

cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used a bit less…more like 1 1/2 cups)

For frosting:

6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature ½ cup confectioners’ sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup creamy peanut butter, natural (or if you want a smoother, richer taste [me] go with Jif)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract ½ cup whole milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine milk and vanilla in small bowl. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Beat butter and sugars in mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and blend until smooth. Slowly mix in peanut butter. Add half the flour mixture and blend slowly. When fully incorporated, add milk mixutre. Continue to blend slowly. Add remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and fold in by hand. Scoop into 12 lined baking cups and bake for about 22 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched and the edges are golden brown.

For Frosting:

Combine sugar and salt in bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in bowl. Beat butter and peanut butter in mixer until smooth and creamy. Alternately add sugar and milk mixture until fully incorporated. Add additional milk for a softer consistency. Frost on top of cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

My 6-year-old cousin Judson loved the cupcakes, although he was a little confused as to why they were having their own photoshoot. So he jumped in and decided to give one some bunny ears.

This next sugary treat is one that is very special to me, because…I created it!

Okay, so it’s more of an adaptation than a recipe I created entirely out of my head. But I made enough significant changes to the basic sugar cookie recipe I started with for me to feel justified in calling it my own! It bakes up with a really yummy, super-moist consistency similar to shortcake. Hence the title :)

(Karley’s) Summer Berry Sugar Cookie Shortcake

My mom isn’t a huge dessert person—correction, a huge chocolate person—but she loved loved loved these. They’re definitely a lighter, healthier indulgence than the peanut butter cupcakes for a couple of reasons. 1. That beautiful glaze criss-crossing the tops of the cookies is made from freshly processed berries, and 2. I reduced the butter in the recipe by half via a substitution of Greek yogurt.

*Note: this recipe is a great way to get rid of any lingering summer fruit you have sitting in your refrigerator. I used raspberries and strawberries for my glaze, but blueberries could be great to throw into the mix, too.

Get creative and enjoy these treats as a last blast of summer flavor before pumpkin spice lattes start rolling into Starbucks.

Ingredients (cookie):
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt

1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries
Confectioners sugar
Lemon juice

In a bowl, cream together butter, yogurt, and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually blend into the creamed mixture to form a soft dough. Stir in coconut flakes by hand. Place bowl in freezer and let firm for at least 1 hour.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Dice strawberries and stir in lemon juice until berries are coated. Do the same with the raspberries in a separate bowl (these will make two separate glazes). Puree each berry mixture separately in a food processor. Stir in confectioners sugar to taste (at least 1 cup). Re-puree each mixture to thoroughly combine.

Remove cookie dough from freezer and scoop onto greased cookie sheet. Place cookies 2 inches apart, turn oven heat up to 375, and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. While cookies are still on the cookie sheet, crisscross raspberry and strawberry glazes, drizzling with a spoon. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and allow to cool. Cookies will retain a moist, cake-like texture. (yum!)

In closing, here are a few non-food items that made me happy this weekend:

1. Chanel flats at Neimans—I did an instant mental pairing of these beauties with skinny black cigarette pants and a striped three quarter length tee. AKA, I thought of Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.

2. A glitzed-out Texas perfume bottle. No explanation necessary.

3. Just call me Karley Kardashian—I got these Kourtney K look-a-likes for $5.

4. Sipping on iced caramel macchiattos while writing at Starbucks.

Happy baking (and Labor Day weekend)! xo

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Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.