Friday, April 27, 2012

Cookie Dough Cupcake Fail

So, as I said before, I was entering a baking competition with one of my friends. I did most of the baking, while she did most of the decorating. It was a perfect team. Except for one thing, I failed miserably at making our star cupcakes. I was inspired to make these cupcakes by a variety of cookie dough filled cupcakes I found on Pinterest. In fact, Cupcake Project's cookie dough cupcakes were my first pin on Pinterest. More inspiration came from Chef in Training's cookie dough cupcakes with cookie dough buttercream frosting. The recipe I ended up choosing, however, came from Frosted Bake Shop's chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. In hindsight, I should have followed the recipe exactly as it was given, but I got carried away making substitutions. I ran out of eggs so I did a little research and saw that you can replace eggs with a combination of baking soda and water. This was wrong. Especially when making cookie dough cupcakes, since cookie dough already has baking soda. The cupcakes ended up exploding, made quite a mess, and tasted disgusting.

Since this isn't exactly what anyone wants to eat, I recommend following the directions given by Frosted Bakeshop, adapted slightly in order to accommodate dorm baking.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cups softened butter
1/4 cup regular sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips (regular chocolate chips will work if you don't have mini ones)
1 box white cake mix (yellow cake would work, too)
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

The first step is to prepare the cookie dough. Beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth (you can use a manual mixer, if you have one, but if you're only using a spoon, it will be much harder). Then, add in the egg and the vanilla, mixing well until blended.
Next, slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt until it is doughy.
Then, fold in the chocolate chips. Form the dough into small balls and place on a baking sheet (covered in parchment paper if at all possible). Freeze the dough balls for at least 2 hours.
After at least 2 hours have past, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl (the one you previously used will work fine), mix together the box of cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Do not make any substitutions for the eggs.
Next, pour batter into a cupcake pan lined with baking cups, as you would any other cupcakes. Place frozen dough balls in the center of each unbaked cupcake.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, then allow to cool before removing from the pan and frosting the cupcakes.
Finally, clean up your mess and enjoy your cupcakes.

I wish I had followed these instructions more precisely, as I'd been looking forward to these cupcakes for so long. Next time I try these cupcakes, I'll be more precise. And, just like the other cupcakes I made, I have learned that I need to test recipes well in advance. Because a mess like this the night before a competition is the LAST thing I needed.
But, when life gives you extra cookie dough, make extra cookies. Homemade chocolate chip cookies fix every problem in life.

Dorm Food

 Subscribe in a reader

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

Well, that's a mouthful, isn't it? I made cupcakes with one of my friends for our school's baking competition. Our original plan was to make two types of cupcakes, but as you will see in my next post, that didn't work out too well. But these ones were successful enough to enter into the competition. We did learn a lesson, however. Always test your recipe well in advance of entering them into a competition or using it for an important event. Also, using a boxed cake mix is not the best plan when entering cupcakes into a baking competition.
These cupcakes were inspired by the Dangerously Decadent Cupcakes on The Something Shiny Blog. We did, however, make quite a few alterations.

1 package of Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
24 of mini Reese's cups

First, unwrap about 24 mini Reese's cups and place them onto a baking sheet. Put the sheet into the freezer and freeze the Reese's cups for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven, following the directions on the box for the chocolate cake mix.
Shortly before removing the Reese's cups from the freezer, prepare the chocolate cake mix as directed on the box (by mixing water, vegetable oil, and eggs).
Next, scoop the batter into a cupcake pan lined with baking cups. I did not use baking cups because I was out of them. This was my first mistake.
Just before placing the pan into the oven, place frozen Reese's cups in the center of each unbaked cupcake. Do not press them all the way down into the pan. This is where ours went wrong. The cupcake batter is very thin if it comes from a box, so the cups would have sunk a lot on their own. But, I pushed them all the way down, which meant that the peanut butter cups were touching the pan. Bad idea.

Next, bake according to the instructions on the side of the box apx 20-25 minutes.. After baking, allow to cool before removing from the pan and frosting using Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting. Decorate as you please.

As you can see from the pictures, the cupcakes turned out beautifully. My baking companion is a fondant genius and created those beautiful roses you see on top, as well as a little banner that says "City of Roses," which is accurate since Portland is, in fact, the city of roses. Plus, she taught me a better and much cleaner way of frosting cupcakes, which I appreciate.
These cupcakes didn't win any awards, but they were still pretty good and I'm proud of how they turned out. Take the lessons I have learned from this, though. Try a new recipe well in advance of using it for a competition or large event. And always use baking cups when making cupcakes like these.

Dorm Food

 Subscribe in a reader

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

This recipe was shared with me by a lovely friend, my partner in crime at our school's baking competition. It's actually a really simple recipe, using only two ingredients, but the combination of tastes is so perfect. It's a perfect balance between rich and sweet.

1 tub of Betty Crocker/Hershey's milk chocolate frosting (any milk chocolate frosting will work well)
1 cup of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

In a small bowl, mix together milk chocolate frosting with Nutella spread.
Then, whip well until it is slightly fluffy.
Finally, you can take the frosting and spread it on cake or cupcakes.

I absolutely loved this simple recipe. I usually hate the taste of premade chocolate frosting because it tastes too chalky. But this frosting was delicious. I'll definitely be using this recipe in the future.

Dorm Food

 Subscribe in a reader