October 28, 2014

Homemade Taco Seasoning

This easy recipe from My Baking Addiction eliminates the need to buy taco seasoning, which is helpful if you want to eliminate extra chemicals and additives from your diet ... or you have no taco seasoning in your pantry and a hankering for tacos. Either reason is valid.

As always, you can adjust this however you deem appropriate to make it spicier, ease the spice or change the flavor profile. It works just fine as is, though.

Homemade Taco Seasoning
4 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. sea salt
4 tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients together, and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 2/3 cup. Use 1-2 Tbsp. per pound of meat.

October 21, 2014

Butterfinger Cupcakes

Normally I'm a peanut butter cup person, but a Butterfinger will definitely catch my attention. That's why these cupcakes from Make Bake Celebrate earned a spot on my to-do list. Use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, and top them with this delicious and creative frosting. Yum!

Butterfinger Cupcakes
18 chocolate cupcakes
6 full-size butterfingers, plus an extra one for garnish
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp. milk
Orange food gel, optional

Unwrap your candy bars.Using a vegetable peelers, scrap the chocolate off the bars into a bowl, and set aside for topping.

Finely crush the Butterfinger, preferably using a blender, to get a finely crushed powder. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Then add in peanut butter, and mix until combined well. Add the crushed butterfingers crumbs. Mix until fully combined, and then slowly mix in powdered sugar.

If you would like to deepen the orange color, add a few drops of orange food coloring until you reach a nice butterfinger orange. Once all is mixed well and desired color is achieved, add in 1 Tbsp. milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Frost cupcakes, and sprinkle with reserved chocolate shavings and extra candy bar pieces. Makes 18 cupcakes.

October 9, 2014

Snickers Cookies

When we moved to our new house in August, my husband joked that he would run to the grocery store to have all the ingredients for cookies easily on hand, so I could bake the first cookies of the new house. I think he was actually serious, but he had to wait more than a week to get these tasty cookies from Bakers Royale. I made a batch of these, partially to share with our neighbors who gifted us a delicious casserole and bottle of win our first weekend here. (We are blessed with good neighbors ... or at least neighbors who share food with us!)

These are good cookies. If you have someone who is a fan of Snickers, these are for them!

Snickers Cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2  cup sliced Snickers, (approximately one bag of mini size Snickers)
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Place 10 Tbsp. butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking and using the handle of pan to swirl the butter around in the skillet. Swirl butter constantly until it becomes a dark golden brown in color and gives off a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 6 Tbsp. butter into hot butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to brown butter mixture, and whisk until fully incorporated. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Rest mixture for 3 minutes, and then whisk for another 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips, and ensure no flour pockets remain.

Scoop approximately two heaping tablespoons of dough, flatten it into a round disc and place a Snickers slice on top. Fold edges over Snickers to seal it in. Place cookies 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Press extra Snickers into the top of the cookie.

Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, about 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool cookies. Makes 24 cookies.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not normally one to buy specialty jars of nut butters (because I'd eat the entire jar with a spoon without my husband realizing it existed). I made an exception for these cookies from Bakerella. I was sold at salted caramel, so I bought the spread. I've bought 2 jars and made two batches of these delicious cookies ... and ate the rest of both jars with a spoon. (And, yes, we apparently managed to eat 2 batches without capturing a single photograph. As I've taught my son to say, buggersnap!)

I think these cookies are rather tasty. I prefer to actually overbake them a bit to have crunchier edges and still a soft center. I also altered the chilling time a bit, to help the cookies keep their shape better. My aunt said these may be the best cookies she's ever eaten. They're not my personal favorite, but they are pretty darn good.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Salted Caramel Hazelnut Spread
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. semisweet chocolate baking wafers (or chips)
Sea salt for sprinkling 
Preheat oven to 350°F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt together.
In a mixer, cream butter, sugars and hazelnut spread until light and fluffy.Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add flour, and mix on low until incorporated. Stir in chocolate wafers. Chill dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Scoop dough onto parchment paper about two inches apart, and sprinkle tops with sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool, but they are best while still melty. Makes about 30 cookies.

Chocolate Chia Ice Cream

I've made chia pudding before and enjoyed it, so when I came across this recipe from Top with Cinnamon, I was intrigued. It's easy to make, and it tastes a bit more like an adult version of ice cream to me. A more sophisticated (less cloyingly sweet) dark chocolate taste. Don't get me wrong, I like cloyingly sweet more than the next person, but this is the kind of ice cream that I would feel like I'm benefiting my body by eating immediately following a run.

Chocolate Chia Ice Cream
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 2/3 cup vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 oz. dark chocolate, melted

Stir all the ingredients together in a medium container until completely combined. Chill the mixture overnight (or for at least four hours). Pour the soaked mixture into a high-powered blender, and puree until completely smooth. Return the mixture back to the container, and chill until ready to churn.

Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. Transfer the churned mixture to a lidded container, and freeze until firm enough to scoop. Serve with desired toppings.