Sugar Rush

This past quarter, I have had the wonderful opportunity to get involved with YoungLife Capernaum. I’ve fallen in love with the ministry, the leaders, and all of the new friends I’ve made. It’s one of the most joyful and loving and humbling experiences I have had in my nineteen years of life. I cannot wait to continue to grow, meet more amazing people, and take any opportunity I can through this phenomenal organization. 

I brought snack for club this past week…and definitely caused a sugar rush. The reception of my baked goods was overwhelmingly positive and served as a reminder for why I love to bake so much: its a gift of love! There was an abundance of love, smiles, and sugar in addition to the heavy plate of cookies I had. 

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“Slutty Brownies” and M&M cookies were a huge hit with this group. To make the brownies, all you have to do is press cookie dough down in a greased pan, add a layer of Oreos (I used Mega Stuf, and yes, that is a real thing), then pour on some brownie batter. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, let them cool completely, and then cut them out and try not to drool. They’re rich and delicious and you should prepare yourself for all of the mind-blown people you’ll offer them to. For the M&M cookies, I made up a batch of Junk in the Trunk cookie dough and used semi-sweet and mini chocolate chips and M&M’s as my “junk.” You could call me a chocoholic. But you could also bake these and be the one to blame for an epic sugar rush. Your choice!

 

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Gluten Free PB Brownies

So, a lot of people are gluten free now-a-days. It’s a sad life, because I love my carbs. But I don’t want my flourless friends to get left out of the baking I do so often! The solution? I’ve been tampering with gluten free baking. It’s a lot easier, and much more interesting, than I anticipated. I have gotten a lot of great recipes from Baby Cakes NYC— it’s a darling little cookbook with easy to follow recipes! 

But these brownies of which I speak are kind of a cop out. In a way. If you consider Trader Joe’s to be the easy way out. In addition to the pre-made mix, I added in lots of chocolate chips and a hefty swirl of natural peanut butter. And you know what? If I didn’t know these were gluten free, I wouldn’t think there was anything fishy going on! It’s been great sharing some wheat-free love with people who don’t often come across a good baked treat.

Parent Trap Cookies

Remember these? They’re chocolate chip cookies with an oreo inside of them…so, magic, essentially. I decided to take this a step further an incorporate another magical ingredient: peanut butter. In the Parent Trap, the twins bond over the delicious, unconventional combination of oreo cookies dipped in peanut butter. If you haven’t tried it, you’ve got to. Before baking/assembling these marvelous, caloric cookies, I pipped peanut butter onto the non-cream side of an oreo, put the two sides back together, and popped them into the freezer until they were set. It’s an extra step that is so, so worth it. 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Oh, pumpkin, it is so wonderful to see you! Last Fall, I began to fully appreciate the power of the pumpkin, especially in baked goods. This twist on the classic snickerdoodle is a perfectly magical example of just that.

Snickerdoodles are already super yummy (primarily when they are the size of CD-roms), but changing up the game is pretty fun. By adding chocolate and nutella or pumpkin and extra cinnamon, you get a whole new cookie that is still held up by its true, doodley cinnamon sugar coating. Personally, though, I am enamored by any sort of pumpkin baked good. And it’s October for heaven’s sake! Naturally, pumpkin snickerdoodles made a comeback in the kitchen of 312. 

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Happy Fall, everyone! 🙂

Does this count as cinnamon bread?

Once upon a time, a friend of mine asked me to bake cinnamon bread. Okay, simple enough! So I asked him what kind of cinnamon bread he would like. This, as I now know, was not the kind of question to ask a male. “Cinnamon and bread,” he replied, not expecting that I had around 7 other ideas in mind. After the bread argument, I came home determined to find a recipe worthy of his definition. I can happily say that I have most definitely found sweet, cinnamony victory. 

This is a quick bread recipe that is super simple to throw together. A stick of butter and 3/4 of sugar blend together in your mixing bowl while you sift together 1 3/4 cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Once the butter and sugar are light and fluffy, add in two eggs, one at a time, and a bit of vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and alternatively add the dry ingredients with a cup of sour cream (flour, sour cream, flour, sour cream, flour). Mix until everything is just combined and then prepare yourself for the execution of a marvelous cinnamon swirl. 

The cinnamon sugar is easy peasy: 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and a few tablespoons of cinnamon. That’s it! I have been making little individual cinnamon breads in large muffin tins, but the same rules apply. Add some batter, then some cinnamon sugar, then some batter, then some cinnamon sugar. Once you’ve got three of four layers, take a knife and zig-zag each muffin for the swirl. Top with some more cinnamon sugar and pop them in a 350 degree oven until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, around 25 minutes. Then get rid of them before your suitemates realized you’ve baked for the third day in a row. You know what makes sense to me right now? Staying on the cinnamon kick and making cinnamon rolls 😉  

Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Sorbet

Okay, okay. I’m getting a tad involved with the ice cream machine. And, perhaps, I’m posting too much about Hedy Goldsmith and her amazing recipes. I promise that College and Cupcakes is not becoming an ice-cream-cult blog that worships one baker. I can’t promise that I’m done with Hedy and her recipes, though. Sorry! 

When I first read through the recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Sorbet I was pretty skeptical. When I think of sorbet, I think of icy, fruity frozen goodness. I was definitely not expecting a wondrous/creamy/chocolatey concoction. Nope, not at all. But after making my custard, churning, and chilling this sorbet, I was a total convert. The chocolate adds a richness that is unparalleled and the bourbon kicks in at the end and burns your throat ever so slightly. It’s also awesome because it’s dairy free but insanely creamy! I would have never guessed there were no eggs or milk in this. It has the consistency of gelato, pretty much. And because it is so rich you can definitely only handle so much at a time. With that in mind, I decided to serve it in little shot glasses. Of course, we all went back for seconds, but it was still darling! So, the moral of this decadent tale– don’t judge a recipe by negative, preconceived notions. I bet it’ll end up pleasantly surprising you.

Cookie Monster Ice Cream

Sometimes, messing up a recipe has its pay-offs. I was planning on baking some Junk in da Trunk cookies for a few Catalina girls, but I rushed through making the dough and, well, things didn’t exactly go as planned. You see, when you add too much baking soda to cookies they tend to puff up really unattractively and lose their tender texture. Pretty much, I found myself in the kitchen, running late, with flat cookies. I left them behind (read: I dragged myself out of the kitchen in frustration) and thought of the perfect way to repurpose them…ice cream! 

I made vanilla ice cream to go with Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chunk Cookies and it was delightful. These days I’m looking for any excuse to break out my new toy, so I took the opportunity to add doughy-junk-filled cookie pieces to the ice cream I was so eager to make. It’s all pretty simple: make your custard with 1 1/2 cups (each) of whole milk and heavy cream, a hearty pinch of salt, and two vanilla beans (with the beans scraped out, of course). Let that come to a light boil, then take it off the heat and cover it, allowing it to steep for at least half an hour. Once the milk mixture has mingled and marinated for awhile, bring it back up to a simmer and separate 7 egg yolks. To the egg yolks, whisk in 1/2 a cup of sugar. Temper this mixture slowly by adding small amounts of the hot milk and whisking it to release the heat. Then put everything into the sauce pan, grab a handy wooden spoon, and stir the custard until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and hold a line you draw with your finger (no longer than 5 minutes). Once it’s thick enough, pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer and toss it in the fridge to chill completely. This is so so so important for proper churning! I left mine overnight. Then, after your patience is stretched thin, pour the custard into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the machine finishes its hard work, pour in the cookie crumbles! You could also add in Oreos or Nutter Butters or whatever floats your boat, really. Get that beauteous ice cream into a bowl, cover it, and let it firm up in the freezer.

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It should be good to go after a few hours! You could serve it on its own, but I don’t see a problem with serving it on top of a warm, correctly-baked cookie. We are dealing with cookie monsters here, aren’t we?