The “Joe” Cupcake

You curious about the name of this cupcake? Good, good, that was the idea! If you weren’t then sorry, have fun looking at the pictures here.

My dad is a coconut fan. A fanatic really.

It feels like literally every time we are on vacation and go to an ice cream shop, the first thing he goes for is anything with the word coconut in it. When I was younger I was totally and completely disgusted with the thought of coconut in ice cream  any dessert. It was like a waste of dessert in my mind. 

Anywho, I have my dad to thank for helping me come around and appreciate coconut and all it’s goodness. So here is his cupcake. (By the way, his name is Joe)

He particularly enjoys coconut accompanied with chocolate. So I decided to make a cupcake that would make him happy. These cupcakes start out with a dark chocolate cake, topped with coconut cream cheese frosting, drizzled with chocolate.

Some of the cupcakes I stuffed with coconut cream Hershey kisses, when there was 2 minutes left to bake, but most of them don’t have them just because the idea came to me with 2 minutes left in the second baking pan’s turn. Oh well ;) good idea for next time!

The “Joe” Cupcake

DARK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

(Makes 12-16 cupcakes)

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa powder)

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line regular cupcake tins.
  2. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa powder, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Into a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture. Add the cocoa mixture. Pour batter into prepared cupcake tins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool in tins, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. When thoroughly cooled, frost with frosting below.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used neufchâtel)

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2/3 cup shredded coconut

milk, as needed

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the powdered sugar and mix until desired consistency is achieved. Add milk as needed to thin frosting out if it gets too thick, or add more powdered sugar if frosting gets too thin. When desired consistency is achieved, fold in the shredded coconut. Frost cupcakes as desired.
  2. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in plastic bag in 30 second intervals, snip tip of bag when chocolate is melted and drizzle chocolate over frosted cupcakes. Place cupcakes in fridge until ready to serve.

Random Fact of the Day: All porcupines float in water.

Pioneer Woman’s Famous Cinnamon Rolls

Many of us have heard of the Pioneer Woman‘s Cinnamon Rolls. I wouldn’t doubt that they are like world famous.

The original recipe calls for 7, yes SEVEN pie tins of cinnamon rolls. Now don’t get me wrong here. I would LOVE to devour seven tins of cinnamon rolls, but I think we all know that 7 pans may not allow me to live to see the next day. And well, I love you guys and I kind of would like to be able to blog with you all! Therefore, I scaled the recipe down to like a human size portion. Instead of 7 pans, I made one pan with 10 cinnamon rolls. Perfect :)

I actually had a couple of these bad boys for dinner. Cinnamon rolls for dinner…how could you go wrong? Totally nutritious, right? I did have my gummy bear vitamins with them, so it was a very well rounded meal :).

The frosting I decided to make was a recipe I got from on-line that is like a Cinnabon wanna-be. Totally delicious and perfectly complements the cinnamon roll! If you love cinnamon rolls, or like even just food in general, MAKE THESE! There is a reason why these cinnamon rolls are so famous. Because they are insanely delicious!!!

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls

(makes 10 cinnamon rolls)

(adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

1 cup milk (I used skim)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 package (1 1/8 teaspoon) active dry yeast

2 cups plus 1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup white sugar

cinnamon, to taste

  1. mix the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a saucepan. Scald the mixture over medium-high heat (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off the heat and leave to cool for about 45 minutes.
  2. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in the active dry yeast. Let this sit for a minute.
  3. Add 2 cups flour and stir together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
  4. After an hour, add 1/4 cup flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, and salt. Stir together until fully combined. Now you can cover the dough and pop it in the fridge until you need it-overnight, or even possibly a day or two. Be aware if it starts to overflow out of the pan..just punch it down.
  5. When ready to prepare rolls, sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle the melted butter over the dough. It is cleanest to pour closest to the middle of the rectangle and then spread using a spatula to get to the edges. Sprinkle the white sugar over the butter, evenly. Then sprinkle cinnamon on top. I used quite a bit, probably a few Tablespoons but I’m not totally positive on the exact amount. Just add cinnamon to taste. Starting at the end farthest from you, roll the dough in a neat line, keeping the roll pretty tight as you go. Pinch the seam of the roll to seal it. Spread 1 Tablespoon of melted butter in the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan. Cut the rolls about 1 inch thick and lay them down in the buttered pan. Let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes (Preheat oven to 375 degrees F), then bake at 375 degrees F until light golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.

Cinnabon-Wannabe Frosting

(adapted from Sandra Lee’s Frosting)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup cream cheese (I used the neufchâtel kind with 1/3 less fat, still delicious!)

1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract (most people would probably use less, Im just kind of a vanilla crazy)

  1. Cream butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar until desired consistency.

Random Fact of the Day: Dolphins can recognize and admire themselves in mirrors.

Chips Ahoy Truffles

On-line driving school has got to be one of the most humiliating things ever. I’m currently in the process of taking a course and let me tell you, it just blows.

I got a ticket about a month ago for speeding…I’ll admit, I’m really quite an impatient driver. There are some moments I have where I just want to get the heck from point A to point B without birds flying faster than me. But hey…I’m all for being safe.

Anyways, I can assure you I drive the speed limit now. Getting a real ticket was quite the wake-up call for me. I have never been one to like blast my music or text and drive. Texting and driving totally freaks me out, like it’s hard enough for me to have a real conversation with someone in the car let along look at a screen and press buttons. I’m pretty sure if I did try to text and drive people would think I’m drunk or that I’m butt texting them, or worse…both! Therefore I tend to stay away from driving and texting at the same time.

Back to on-line driving school, it’s quite interesting. They all say that you save time by driving the speed limit…but do you really? I mean now that just doesn’t make much sense. Sure it’s safe and all but come on, but just say that. Don’t say that you’ll save time because, hello? who’s gonna really drive 5 miles per hour slower because it will supposedly save them time?!

I assure you I’m an excellent driver though, despite the speeding ticket (which I think it’s best if I leave out how much over I was) and other, um, “learning experiences”.

Speaking of learning experiences, I learned you can make truffles out of like any cookie in the entire universe. Like you know those Oreo Truffle things? Yeah, well I tried that recipe with Chips Ahoy cookies…and they’re awesome. It’s almost like little bites of cookie dough. I thought that this little idea of mine was totally original and that I’m like the smartest human being ever to live, then I found out that one of my favorite blogs, Cookies and Cups, has actually already made something like these. Oh well, I still prefer to think of myself as a truffle mastermind.

Chips Ahoy Truffles

(makes about 9 truffles)

**This recipe can be very easily doubled or tripled..or quadrupled, but this amount was probably the safest route to go in my house

9 Chips Ahoy cookies

1 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used this neufchatel cream cheese that has 1/3 of that fat and you would NEVER be able to tell!)

1/4 cup chocolate chips or about 4 ounces of chocolate, melted (I used dark chocolate)

  1. Grind up cookies in your food processor until fine crumbs. If you do not have a food processor, just smash them to itty bitty pieces in a plastic baggie. Mix in softened cream cheese until the mixture all sticks together and you can easily form balls. Make small about 1-2 teaspoonful balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate. Once cookie balls are hardened, dip or roll in melted chocolate to coat and set on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all truffles are covered. Pop in fridge to let chocolate harden. Chocolate should be hardened in about 10 or 15 minutes. Enjoy and store extras in tupperware container in fridge.

Random Fact of the Day: Your right lung takes in more air than your left one does.

Mint Cookie Truffles

I need help. I’m admitting it. I have too many recipes!!!! I literally feel like I’m drowning in them. I have come to realize a very puzzling dilemma. The dilemma that I feel like many food bloggers would run into. I print like every recipe.

Then I usually put them into a big old binder. Problem is…that binder got super full. Things were fulling out, and I was leaving trails of recipes. Shockingly, my family doesn’t like that. So then I made a second binder. Dedicated to desserts. (that’s a whole other problem..) Now I have even filled both of those binders with recipes I’ve made, posted, or want to make in the future. I don’t know where to put anymore recipes!!!! I feel like I need a filing cabinet or something. Maybe just one of those rentable storage units would do. But serious question, do you keep all your recipes? Also, do you print all your recipes? or do you just run back and forth from the computer every time you make something…good way to burn off the calories, I suppose.

By the way, this recipes is delicious. I managed to get 2. Then they mysteriously disappeared…I’ll have to hunt them down.

Mint Cookie Truffles

(adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)

9 oz. box of Thin Mints (Or mint cookies, I used Andes’)

4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened

About 1 1/2 c. chocolate (I like to use dark), melted

Nonpareils, optional

  1. Crush the mint cookies very thinly. Either the food processor or rolling pin will work just fine.
  2. Once crushed, pour the crumbs into a large bowl and add cream cheese. Get your hands in there are mix VERY well. You want the mixture to be very dark with no white spots anywhere. 
  3. Roll into small balls and place on parchment paper line baking sheet and refrigerate about 30 minutes.
  4. Melt chocolate and using a toothpick or fork, dip truffles completely and twirl to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Place back on baking sheet and sprinkle with nonpareils, if desired. Refrigerate until firm.

Random Fact of the Day: Until 1796, there was a state in the United States called Franklin. Today it is known as Tennessee.

Mashed Potatoes

Have you ever had bland mashed potatoes? Aren’t they just…blech. It’s annoying because you have to add like a pound of butter and approximately 10 million shakes of salt and pepper. It can get exhausting, I tell ya.

That is exactly why I think that all that flavoring business should be done initially. I mean it only makes sense, right? 

Well, this was my first time making mashed potatoes…they were a bit runny. Which is why I changed the recipe for you folks! That extra potato should make them just about perfect. 

These taters have some things you might not just have on hand, but you can always improvise! Mashed potatoes are like trail mix, you can put almost anything in it and it tastes awesome.

Flavorful Mashed Potatoes

5 potatoes, peeled and diced into about 1 inch pieces

about 6 shakes salt

1 T. crushed garlic

2 T. milk

2 heaping Tablespoons onion dip

1 oz. cream cheese

2 t. pepper

  1. After you have peeled and diced your potatoes, fill up a pot about half way with water. Put your potatoes in the water, add the salt and crushed garlic, and turn the heat up all the way. Once the potatoes are soft and you can stick a fork through them very easily, drain the water.
  2. Add the onion dip, cream cheese, pepper and milk. Mash with a masher until it is at your desired chunkiness.
  3. Place lid on top to allow the potatoes to thicken until ready to serve.

Clearly mine was too liquidy (sp?), which is why I added more potatoes for your recipe! enjoy! :)