Thursday, February 3, 2011

salted caramel and chocolate cupcakes. {Winner!}

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cupcakes from Brittany:

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cold water

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Reserve. In an electric mixer beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and mayonnaise together for five minutes on high speed. Turn the mixer to low for three minutes, alternately adding the dry ingredients with the water to egg mixture until smooth. Bake mini cupcakes for 7 minutes, regular size approx 10 minutes at 350 and rotating half way through. The cake should spring back lightly when touched.

Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter

Mix together sugar and water in a small CLEAN pan. Set on high and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and let continue until the sugar turns a golden color. Remove pot from heat and slowly add in cream then the butter. Allow to cool.


12 oz. imported milk chocolate (such as Lindt), finely chopped
1 1/2 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/8 cups whipping cream

Combine milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in large bowl. Stir sugar and ½ cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes. Carefully and slowly add whipping cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir over low heat until any hard caramel bits dissolve and mixture is smooth. Pour caramel over chocolate; let stand 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften, then whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Chill chocolate-caramel frosting until completely cool, about 2 hours. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before continuing.

Using electric mixer, beat frosting just until color resembles milk chocolate and frosting is easily spreadable, about 1 minute (do not overbeat or frosting will become stiff and grainy). If necessary to correct graininess, set bowl with frosting over saucepan of simmering water for 10-second intervals, whisking just until frosting is smooth and spreadable.


Carve out at shallow hole in top of cupcake. Sprinkle sea salt into hole and add caramel. Top with frosting.

better than sex layered chili {first runner up!}

Better Than Sex Layered Chili from Jenn:
(adapted from Sunset Cookbook Classics)

4 large onions, chopped
1 large pepper (I use Poblano) chopped
3 T olive oil
1 T mustard seeds
1 T chili powder (I use chipotle but that makes it spicier)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 T unsweetened cocoa (or more, to taste)
1 can diced tomatoes
5 cups (about 3 cans) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 can tomato paste
2 limes cut in wedges

In large pot, cook onions and green pepper in oil over med-high heat until onions are golden and pepper is soft. Add mustard seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chili powder, cumin seeds, cocoa, cinnamon and tomatoes with liquid, beans, water and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked away and chili is thickened. Stir frequently to prevent scorching (ahem. not kidding here about the stirring). Season with salt to taste and layer with toppings and a squirt of lime.

Pink onions
diced green chiles
chopped cucumber
diced fresh tomatoes
green onions
shredded cheddar cheese

To make pink onions, bring 2 cups of water and 1 1/2 T vinegar to a boil. Add 1 large red onion, thinly sliced and push down into liquid. Return to boil and cook uncovered over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Drain onion and let cool. In a bowl, stir together onion, 1 1/2 tsp. vinegar, 1 T vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Of course it's better the second day.

brownie peanut butter cups.

Brownie Peanut Butter Cups from Erin:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 T water
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup peanut butter chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350. Spray or grease 12 muffin cups. *Or you can opt to do mini-muffin bites and cook around 8 minutes until center comes out clean with a toothpick test.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, butter and water. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking soda, stirring until blended. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then, stir in 1/2 cup each peanut butter chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spoon batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into muffin cups.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. Place pan on a wire rack. Centers of brownies will fall upon cooling. If not, tap centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, then stir. While brownies are still hot, spoon about a tablespoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.

Spicy Hot Hot Chocolate.

Spicy Hot Hot Chocolate from Lauren:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup good quality cocoa
Dash of salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cayenne pepper to taste

Mix sugar, cocoa and seasonings (not vanilla) in saucepan; stir in water. Cook over medium heat until boiling, and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk and heat until warm. Do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

better then sex cake.

Better Then Sex Cake from Jocelyn:

Make Devils Food Cake

Put holes in cake, while hot pour 14 oz sweetened condensed milk and a regular size bottle of caramel over top.

Let cool then frost with Cool Whip.

Sprinkle with 3-4 crushed Heath Bars.

chocolate dipped strawberries.

Tuxedo and White Chocolate Drizzle Strawberries from Randi:

2 - 1 pound containers of strawberries
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1/2 white chocolate chips

Wash the strawberries, dry well. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Dip strawberries and lay out on a wax paper lined cooked sheet. Melt the white chocolate. When all strawberries are dipped go back and drizzle with white chocolate. Put in fridge.

For tuxedo strawberries, dip in white chocolate first. Let them set up in the fridge for 10-15 minute. Then dip the strawberry tilting from one side to the other in milk chocolate. Put milk chocolate in a piping bag with a small tip, or use a toothpick, and make dots for buttons and two triangles for the bow tie.


chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake from Beckie:

1 yellow cake mix
1 small box chocolate pudding
1/2 cup sugar

Mix together and add:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Mix 2 minutes, then add:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pour into greased (cooking spray with flour) Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes in Bundt pan, then flip over.

molten chocolate lava cakes.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes from Kristen:

6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
6 tsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar

Butter six 3/4 cup ramekins or custard cups. Whisk cocoa and sugar in small bowl to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in cocoa mixture. Whisk in egg yolks, then whole eggs and flour. Divide batter between prepared ramekins. (Cake batter can be made 1 day ahead; chill.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake cakes uncovered until edges are set but center is still shiny and tester inserted into center comes out with some wet batter attached, about 22 minutes. Cut around cakes to loosen; turn out onto plates. Sift powdered sugar over cakes.

oatmeal fudge bars.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars from Jenni:

3 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup butter (softened)

cream together

2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together and spread in the bottom of a greased 17x12 cookie sheet. Making sure to reserve 1/4 of the mixture.

1 large package chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 can condensed milk
2 T butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Melt in microwave. Pour the fudge mixture on top of the oatmeal mixture and spread evenly. Take little pieces of oatmeal reserve and plop on top of the fudge. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

mint brownies.

Mint Brownies from Michelle:

Make brownies according to the package instructions for 9x13 in pan. Here in Colorado I follow the high altitude directions to make them a little less gooey. Cool.

Buttercream Frosting
4T butter
About 1 1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar depending on consistency
capful of peppermint extract
2-3 T milk
green food coloring (optional)

Spread over brownies and place in refrigerator or freezer to harden

Chocolate Topping
A healthy overflowing cup of chocolate chips
6T butter

Melt chocolate chips with butter in microwave for 30 seconds until melted. Spread over butter cream layer and refrigerate/freeze until set.