Friday, July 27, 2012

Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo are my weakness. You could probably tell from my Oreo Brownies and Chocolate Oreo Cake recipes. So what's left? Cupcakes of course!
When my aunt volunteered me to make 100 cupcakes (yes, 100!) for the youth group at church, I figured these would go over pretty well. The frosting is rich and creamy, and very yummy! Plus, what kid (or adult) doesn't love Oreos?? You really can't go wrong with these cupcakes and they are simple to make...enjoy! :)

Oreo Cupcakes
1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food cake mix
1 cup Greek yogurt, fat free
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper bake cups, set aside.

Stir together cake mix, Greek yogurt, coffee, and water. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20-24 minutes, or until tooth-pick inserted comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Oreo Frosting:
1 (2 sticks) cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1-2 Tablespoons milk
4 cups powdered sugar
15 Oreos, finely crushed (I used my food processor)

In a large bowl cream butter, vanilla and milk. Slowly add in powdered sugar until creamy and fluffy. Mix in crushed oreos until well combined. Frost cupcakes and top with half of an Oreo cookie. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls

Here's my round 2 puff pastry recipe. I bought some earlier this week for my tomato and goat cheese tart...and now I'm making cinnamon rolls! The original recipe is based on one by Ina Garten but I cut the butter way down. The woman knows how to cook, but healthy is not her style. I also opted for no raisins and just added the pecans to the filling.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold your sheet of puff pastry. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1/2 inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle the sheet with the brown sugar/pecan mixture. 

Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.

Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces (I made mine smaller and was able to get 9 pieces). Place each piece, spiral side up, in a muffin cup. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden on top and firm to the touch. 

The best part about these cinnamon rolls is the smooth mixture of butter and brown sugar that is on the bottom of the muffin pan before the cinnamon rolls are put in. After baking, you invert the rolls onto a tray to reveal that this yummy mixture has created a caramel glaze that pours all over the rolls. OH MY YUM! Way better than regular old icing! 

It's pretty much amazing. And wait until you taste the puff creates a buttery, flakey roll that is soooo good. I also love that they are smaller than normal - they are perfect with a cup of coffee. These are so easy to make and perfect for any old Saturday morning!

Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe adapted from the Barefoot Contessa 

3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted 
For the filling:
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans, slightly toasted

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Divide this mixture between the bottom of the muffin cups.
  • In a bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans
  • Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold your sheet of puff pastry. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1/2 inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle the sheet with the brown sugar/pecan mixture.
  • Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
  • Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces (I made mine smaller and was able to get 9 pieces). Place each piece, spiral side up, in a muffin cup.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden on top and firm to the touch. 
  • After baking, invert muffin tin onto a baking sheet. The cinnamon rolls should come out easily with the caramel sauce over each.
If you're a fan of cinnamon, be sure to also check out my Cinnamon Roll Pancakes! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

summer + tomatoes = perfection. 
There's nothing better than fresh, home-grown tomatoes. And thanks to my sweet mother, I have a TON of tomatoes. 
Even though we still have an entire month of summer left, mine is starting to come to an end. It's kind of hard to believe that I actually have to go back to work in less than 2 weeks! I'm really going to miss these lazy summer days of watching Food Network and HGTV. 
All summer I have been obsessed with cooking things and building things. 
As I was watching my usual line up on Food Network yesterday...Rachael, Giada, and Ina...I saw a yummy recipe for a tomato and goat cheese tart. Let me tell you, the Barefoot Contessa has done it again with another amazing recipe.
This tart would be a perfect lunch with a salad, or you could make smaller ones for an appetizer. It does take a little extra effort to caramelize the onions, which is something you could do ahead of time. 
This delicious recipe combines some of my favorite ingredients: puff pastry, goat cheese, caramelized onions, Parmesan, and tomatoes…add a glass of wine, and life is perfect! :)
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
Recipe adapted from Food Network

1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted 
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
4 ounces goat cheese  
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or you could use whole tomatoes, sliced)
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out puff pastry to a 12-inch square; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Place the onion mixture evenly over the puff pastry, about a 1/4 inch from the edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Top with the tomato slices. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, sprinkle Parmesan all over the tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roasted Edamame

I came across this recipe in a Rachael Ray magazine a while back and then saw it again on Pinterest. It caught my eye and I realized it's sort of like the roasted chickpeas I made a few months ago. 

This little snack or appetizer is smoky, salty, and very addictive! They're crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy in the middle. It is super simple to make...just throw all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and spread them out on a baking sheet. 

Roasted Edamame
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

2 cups fresh or frozen edamame
*If using frozen edamame, rinse beans under water and place on paper towels to dry completely. If using fresh edamame, dry the beans as well as possible.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place edamame in a mixing bowl. Combine olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Drizzle over edamame and stir to combine. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once or twice, until beans are completely dry and slightly crunchy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Twix Brownies

What comes to mind when you think of your favorite candy bar? Butterfinger, Snickers, Kit Kat...I mean there really is no such thing as a bad candy bar is there? 

But when it comes to favorites, for me, it's Twix! Mostly because of the shortbread.  And the caramel.  Plus the chocolate.  Okay, so I like all of it.  So naturally, I also liked the concept of the homemade Twix bar that's made with a shortbread base, a brownie layer, topped with a caramel layer and then topped with a chocolate layer.  Yup, you read that right...this is what I'm talking about!
The buttery shortbread layer, combined with the gooey caramel and fudgy brownie is so ammaaaazzingly delish! Just like eating a candy bar! They really do taste just like a Twix, and the brownies make them all the more delicious. :)
Twix Brownies
Recipe adapted from Jasey's Crazy Daisy

Crust Layer
1 (12.8 oz.) package of Simply Sandies Shortbread Cookies
6 Tablespoons butter

Brownie Layer
1 box of brownie mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 vegetable oil

Caramel Layer
1 (14 oz.) bag of caramels
2 Tablespoons milk

Chocolate Topping
1/2 (11.5 oz.) bag milk chocolate chips
1 Tablespoons butter
1/8 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil for easier cutting.

Using a food processor, pulse cookies until they resemble sand. In a medium bowl, melt 6 Tablespoons butter. Add cookie crumbs, stirring until all crumbs are moist. Press into bottom of prepared pan.

Combine brownie mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Pour batter on top of cookie crust and bake as directed. Cool.

Place caramels and milk in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until caramels are melted smooth and creamy, stirring constantly. Pour over cooled brownies. Spread the caramel evenly across the brownie surface. Let cool until set.

Melt chocolate, butter, and milk together in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until melted and creamy. Pour over cooled caramel layer and spread evenly. Cool until set.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oven Fried Okra

Last weekend my mom loaded us up with some fresh veggies from her garden. We had cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and okra. Evan and I loooooove fried okra, but don't ever fry food at home. So we opted for oven fried instead. All you have to do is slice up the okra, soak it in a buttermilk and egg mixture, then toss it around in some breadcrumbs, which has a hint of paprika, and bake it for about 40 minutes. They came out golden and had a great crunch...this recipe is super easy!

Oven Fried Okra 
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light 

1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh okra pods, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch slices (about 3 cups)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Combine breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and paprika in a shallow dish; set aside.
Combine buttermilk and egg in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add okra; toss to coat. Let stand 3 minutes.
Dredge okra in breadcrumb mixture. Place okra on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Lightly coat okra with cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.