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Milky Way Cookies

This weekend was candy-themed for some reason…I just really felt like baking with candy I guess. It was also an effort to empty some things out of my pantry that I bought for another purpose but never got around to, such as a bag of fun size milky ways and a bag of caramels.

Milky Way Cookies

Adapted from All Recipes

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12 caramels, chopped
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag fun size milky ways
  1. Preheat over to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Set aside
  3. Cream butter, both sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs
  4. Slowly beat in the flour mixture
  5. Mix in the chopped caramels and chocolate chips
  6. Gather dough and wrap around a milky way. Repeat until all the milky ways are gone
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling racks

Close-up of the batter

Pre-baked

Post-baked

Vanilla Bean Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Though I’m on Spring Break, it was my friend’s birthday from school yesterday and I had to make her something! She requested anything with caramel, so what’s better than a cupcake filled with caramel and topped with a caramel buttercream frosting? The answer to that is nothing :).

Vanilla Bean Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

The Culinary Chronicles

Cupcake

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Caramel sundae topping, for filling

Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting

  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar (sifted)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dulce de leche
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°degrees and place paper liners in pans
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
    In a standing mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and creamy for about 2 minutes. Add the butter, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients until well blended. Fold in sour cream until smooth and well incorporated
  3. Fill each lined cup ½ to 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, rotating halfway between baking time. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool completely in pans on top of a wire rack
  4. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar until the butter becomes thicker and stiff. Add the culce de leche and whip until combined. If needed, add a few more spoons of confectioners sugar until desired consistency is reached
  5. Poke a hole in the center of each cupcake (I use a straw) and fill with caramel sundae topping. Top with dulce de leche buttercream

Pre-bakedI love the look of the vanilla beans 🙂

Post-baked

Filling the cupcakes is my favorite part!

And I guess frosting is always fun too 😉

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

Oh. My. Goodness. Those are the only three words I have right now to describe how good this cheesecake is…or was. I’m the biggest sucker for anything cinnamon and I probably could have eaten this entire thing all by myself if I tried (not too hard, I might add). If you’re a cinnamon addict like me, this recipe is definitely for you!

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

Adapted from Perrys’ Plate

Crust

  • 1 1/2 c finely crushed snickerdoodle cookies
  • 1/4 c butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Filling

  • 3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped snickerdoodle cookies
  • caramel sundae sauce, for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack
  2. For crust, mix cookie crumbs, butter and brown sugar and press into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Spray the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray
  3. For filling, blend cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth, scraping bottom and sides of bowl, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla and flour and blend well, 2-3 minutes
  4. Spoon 1/3 of filling into pan and top with half of each chopped cookies. Drizzle on some butterscotch topping. Dust on some cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour on another 1/3 of cream cheese mixture and repeat. Add last bit of cream cheese filling and finish top of cake with cookies and cinnamon sugar
  5. Bake 50-55 minutes or until cheesecake is set about 2 inches from the side and wiggles slightly in the center. Turn oven off, leave door open and let cheesecake cool until you can take it out of the oven without oven mitts. Leave cheesecake on the counter until it’s room temperature, then refrigerate overnight

Making and forming the crust which even on its own was phenomenal

Alternating the filling and cinnamon sugar/butterscotch layers

Pre-baked

Post-baked. I wish I had pictures of a slice removed from the pan but my family and I just chose to devour it right out of the pan. Classy, I know. But when it comes to this cheesecake, trust me, you won’t care how you look gobbling it up. It’s just that good.

Plantain Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

I’ve only been to an authentic Spanish restaurant once in my life. But while I was there, I had the pleasure of tasting fried plantains for the first time in my life and they were unlike anything I’ve ever had before…but in a good way! They were sweet but somewhat salty at the same time- they are simply indescribable. But anyway, the other night I was watching Worst Cooks in America with Kamil and we happened to catch the end of a new episode of Cupcake Wars. I wasn’t really paying close attention but I must have been tuning in somewhat because I heard one of the judges say that one of the competitors’ plantain avocado cupcakes were good with the right frosting. Hold on- did they really just say plantain AVOCADO cupcakes?! To me, those flavors don’t seem like they would go well together at all, but the idea of putting plantains in a cupcake inspired me! I was flipping through my Pamela Clark Cupcakes book that I’ve been referencing to a lot lately and came across a recipe for banana caramel cupcakes. Long story short, I substituted the 2/3 cup mashed banana for 2/3 cup mashed fried plantains and the 1/3 cup of sour cream for yummy dulce de leche! 🙂

Plantain Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Fried Plantains

Bonbini

  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Cake

Adapted from Pamela Clark

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2/3 cup mashed plantains
  • 1/3 cup dulche de leche
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Dulche de Leche Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from The Curvy Carrot

  • 1 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons dulche de leche
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Melt the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon over medium heat in a skillet
  2. Arrange the plantains in the skillet and saute the pieces about 3 minutes per side or until the sugar caramelizes and the plantains get a nice dark coating of the mix
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a standard muffin pan with baking cups
  4. Beat butter, sugar, and eggs in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy
  5. Stir in sifted dry ingredients, mashed plantains, dulche de leche, and milk. Divide mixture evenly among baking cups; smooth surface
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn onto wire racks to cool
  7. With an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and fluffy
  8. Add powdered sugar on high speed, 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached
  9. Add vanilla, dulche de leche, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, beating on high speed for another minute
  10. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes

Frying the plantains

All mashed up!

A close-up of the batter

Pre-baked

Post-baked

And all dressed up ready to go! 😉

The other cupcakes featured here are my cranberry orange cupcakes which can be found here

Peanut Butter Twix Cupcakes

Just as I promised in my Homemade Twix Bars post, here is my own re-creation of Peanut Butter Twix Candy Bars…in cupcake form!

Crust

  • 1 box Keebler sandies cookies
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside
  2. Crush 1 box of cookies in a large bowl until they resemble fine crumbs
  3. Melt butter in microwave and combine with other crust ingredients
  4. Press down into bottom of cupcake liners

Caramel Layer

  • 1 can dulche de leche
  • 1 bag Twix fun size candy bars, chopped
  1. Chop the twix candy bars into eighths
  2. Spread dulche de leche over the shortbread crust (enough to fill half the cupcake liner)
  3. Press down 3-4 candy bar pieces into the dulche de leche

Cupcake
Martha Stewart

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed
  2. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, spreading on top of the dulche de leche layer
  3. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely

Peanut Butter Frosting
Brown Eyed Baker

  • 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
  1. 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
  2. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth
  3. Frost cupcakes and garnish with some of the reserved chopped twix bars, if desired

This is the dulche de leche and chopped twix layer on top of the shortbread crust

And here I have poured the chocolate cupcake batter on top of the previous layer, doing my best to completely hide the dulche de leche

Here is the final product. I apologize for not taking more pictures, I really thought I had for some reason. I think they turned out pretty well but next time, I might consider adding less dulche de leche because it tended to make the cupcakes very heavy, to the point where they would almost pull away from the cupcake liner

Unfortunately, I also forgot to count how many cupcakes I was able to make from this recipe. However, like always, I made sure I didn’t waste any batter! So not only did I make regular sized pb twix cupcakes, but I made mini ones as well 🙂

Homemade Twix Bars

Kamil was a big fan of the Milky Way Cupcakes I had made and he told me he wanted me to make Twix cupcakes for him. Since I was a little pressed for time having to head back up to Roger Williams today and I had already made cupcakes the night before, I settled on making some Twix bars instead. But I promised him that Twix cupcakes are next on my list!

Twix Bars

Not Without Salt

Shortbread Crust

  • 5 1/2 ounces (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground rice (rice processed in a spice grinder until it is able to pass through a fine sieve to remove chunks) (I omitted this)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-X-13-inch baking pan with pan spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment
  2. In a large bowl  cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the flour, ground rice and salt and allow the dough to come together. The dough will be crumbly but should hold together when you squeeze it
  3. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking pan. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and bake for another 10 minutes, until the shortbread is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack to room temperature

Caramel (I cheated and just used a can of dulce de leche)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (Regular corn syrup is fine)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling over the caramel layer
  1. Combine the sugar, golden syrup, water, and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Remove any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan by wiping down the sides with water. You can use your hand or a pastry brush. Place the pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Wipe down any stray sugar crystals that appear using a very clean and wet pastry brush. Do not stir from this point on. Keep an eye on the pan. The mixture will be very bubbly
  2. When the sugar syrup starts to turn golden brown insert a candy thermometer to check the temperature. When it reaches 300°F, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 1minute, or until the bubbles subside. Carefully whisk in the heavy cream. Stir until smooth, then whisk in the condensed milk. Add the salt (vanilla salt is very nice here if you have it) Whisk until smooth
  3. Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly over medium heat until the caramel reaches 240°F. Remove from the heat and pour over the shortbread. While the caramel is warm sprinkle the surface with the best quality salt you have. Kosher is fine, Fleur de Sel is better, Maldon would be my preferred choice
  4. Allow to set. This will take about 2 hours

Chocolate Glaze

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (Bittersweet chocolate chips also work)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain marie or in the microwave. If using the microwave melt it slowly – in 30 second intervals. Stir well after each interval
  2. Once completely melted pour over the caramel.  Using an offset spatula, smooth the chocolate in a nice even layer
  3. Place in the refrigerator to set. They cut best when chilled
  4. Cut into desired shape and size. Serve

Milky Way Cupcakes

Okay want to know something really sad? I haven’t had candy in such a long time that I actually forgot the difference between Milky Way bars and Snickers bars. I just always remembered liking Milky Ways so much more. So I did a little research…

It turns out in a Milky Way, the center of the bar is nougat, which is made by whipping egg whites with other ingredients until light and frothy to make a frappe. Flavorings, such as cocoa and malt, are added to the frappe to create the signature flavor nougat. Snickers, along with being packed with nougat, chocolate, and caramel as well, also has peanuts…oh and it’s apparently the best selling chocolate bar of all time according to Wikipedia (I’ll take a Milky way over a Snickers any day!).

Anyway, my mom’s work is having some kind of get-together and she told them she’d bring cupcakes which really translates to “Katie will you bake something for me?” Of course I would never pass up the opportunity so I decided to bake “Snickers cupcakes.” But what confused me about this recipe is that it contains no peanuts at all, not even for a garnish. I suppose if I had some in my pantry I could throw them on top and call it a day but since I don’t, I decided to title these Milky Way cupcakes instead. It just seems more fitting. And well, in my opinion, they’re just better.

Milky Way Cupcakes Recipe

Homemade by Holman

Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line pans with cupcake liners
  2. Combine sugar through salt in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on low until just incorporated.  Increase speed to medium and beat two minutes
  3. Stir in boiling water, the batter will be thin.  Transfer batter to prepared pans, filling each liner about 2/3 of the way full (approximately 1/4 cup of batter)
  4. Bake approximately 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  5. Cool in pans about five minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
  6. When cool, use a paring knife to cut a small cone shape out of the top of each cupcake.  Add caramel sauce as desired

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 8 mini Snickers bar for garnish (I used mini milky ways)
  1. Beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes
  2. Add caramel sauce, heavy cream and vanilla and mix to incorporate
  3. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated to reach the right consistency.  Increase speed to medium-high and whip about one minute until light and fluffy
  4. Fill a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes or frost as desired
  5. Coarsely chop candy bars and sprinkle over the top of cupcakes

I really love how the bright colors of the cupcake liners made these cupcakes look so fun 🙂

The recipe suggested using a knife to cut out a hole in the center of each cupcake. That just seemed way too difficult so I decided to poke a well into the center of each cake using a plastic straw which made pouring the caramel sooo easy!

Originally, I just started frosting the cupcakes the old-fashioned way with a simple plastic knife. But then I changed my mind and decided I wanted to use a piping bag instead because these weren’t just for my friends and I wanted them to look impressive. But still, this was my first time using one (sad, I know) and I didn’t start getting the hang of it until the third time filling it. I guess the third time is the charm. Anyway, please overlook my horrible frosting job!

And now since I am posting this at 2:30 in the morning (thank you once again insomnia)…it’s technically August 4th which means my mommy’s birthday is tomorrow! Yay more baking!!!!

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