Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fudge Cupcakes

I had been mulling over this recipe for quite some time.  I wanted to make these cupcakes ever since I read the book Fudge Cupcake Murders by Joanne Fluke.  I even went so far as to take the Eden Lake Cookbook out at the library to get the recipe.  I photocopied this recipe and held onto it for months.  I finally decided to make them about a week ago.  My husband and I each ate one without the frosting.  It wasn't very exciting but after they were frosted, zowie they were great!  I don't know why but the frosting adds the needed zing.  Try them, you'll like them!

From Fudge Cupcake Murders
By Joanne Fluke


4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (1 oz. each)
½ cup raspberry syrup (for pancakes – Knott’s red raspberry)*
¼ cup white sugar (granulated)
1-2/3 cups flour (don’t sift)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature (one stick)
1-1/2 cups white sugar (not a misprint – you will use 1 and ¾ cups sugar in all)
3 eggs
½ cup milk


1.       Line a 12-cup muffin pan with double cupcake papers.  Since this recipe makes 18 cupcakes, you can use an additional 6-cup muffin pan lined with double papers, or you can butter and flour an 8-inch square cake pan or the equivalent.
2.       Microwave the chocolate, raspberry syrup and ¼ cup sugar in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave again for another minute.  At this point, the chocolate will be almost melted, but it will maintain its shape.  Stir the mixture until smooth and let cool to lukewarm.  (You can also do this in a double boiler on the stove.)
3.       Measure the flour, mix in the baking powder and salt, and set it aside.  With an electric mixer (or with VERY strong arms), beat the butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  (About 3 minutes with a mixer – an additional 2 minutes if you are doing it by hand.)  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to make sure they are thoroughly incorporated.  Add approximately 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the milk.  (You don’t have to be exact – adding the flour and milk in increments makes the batter smoother.)  When that is all mixed in, add another third of the flour and another third of the milk.  And when that is incorporated, add the remainder of the flour and the remainder of the milk.  Mix thoroughly.
4.       Test your chocolate mixture to make sure it is cool enough to add.  (You don’t want to cook the eggs!)  If it is fairly warm to the touch but not so hot you have to pull your hand away, you can add it at this point.  Stir thoroughly and you are done.
5.       Let the batter rest for five minutes.  Then stir it again by hand, and fill each cupcake paper three-quarters full.  If you decided to use the 8-inch cake pan instead of the 6-cup muffin tin, fill it with the remaining batter.
6.       Bake the cupcakes in a 350 degree F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  The 8-inch cake should bake an additional 5 minutes.

*If you can’t find raspberry syrup, mix ¼ cup seedless raspberry jam with ¼ cup light Karo syrup and use that.


2 cups semi-sweet (regular) chocolate chips (a 12-ounce bag)
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

18 cupcakes or 12 cupcakes and 1 small cake, cooled to room temperature and ready to frost

If you use a double boiler for this frosting, it is foolproof.  You can also make it in a heavy saucepan over low to medium heat on the stovetop, but you’ll have to stir it constantly with a wooden spoon or a heat-resistant spatula to keep it from scorching.

Fill the bottom part of the double boiler with water.  Make sure the water does not touch the underside of the top.

Put the chocolate chips in the top of the double boiler, set it over the bottom, and place the double boiler on the stove top at medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the chocolate chips are melted.

Stir in the can of sweetened condensed milk and cook approximately 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the frosting is shiny and of spreading consistency.

The cupcakes are even better if you cool them, and let them sit for several hours (or even overnight) before frosting them.

Hannah’s Note: If you want to make these in mini-cupcake tins, fill the cups 2/3 full and bake them at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.


The Creative Cook

Monday, June 16, 2014

Billionaire Blueberry Blondies

I'm sure that I have mentioned a few times that I am a big fan of food-related mysteries.  I adore Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson and Cleo Coyle.  This recipe comes from the latest Coffeehouse Mystery by author Cleo Coyle who, as Wikipedia will tell you, is the pen name for author Alice Alfonsi, who collaborates with her husband Marc Cerasini to write the Coffeehouse Mysteries.  The book is called "Billionaire Blend" hence the name of this recipe Billionaire Blueberry Blondies.  Her recipes are always great and this recipe is no exception.  You go girl!  

Billionaire Blueberry Blondies
By Cleo Coyle


2 large eggs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (Do not Omit! The cider interacts with the eggs to create the proper texture.)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup white, granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (grated rind of lemon, yellow only, no bitter white pith)
¼ teaspoon table salt (+ a generous pinch)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1/8 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries


Step 1 – Prep oven and pan:  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Because this is a relatively low fat recipe and blueberries secrete juice as they bake, the best way to prevent sticking is to create a parchment paper sling for your 8-inch square pan.

Step 2 – One bowl mixing method: Into a large mixing bowl, break 2 eggs, add the cider vinegar, and whisk well.  Add the brown and white sugars, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and salt.  Whisk until well blended.  Add melted (and cooled) butter and the baking soda.  Whisk again until smooth.  Now add the flour and switch to a spoon or spatula, stirring well.  (Do not over-mix at this point.)  Gently fold in the blueberries, trying not to smash or crush them.

Step 3 – Bake: Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan and bake in your well pre-heated 325 degrees F oven for 30 to 40 minutes (exact time depends on your oven).  The low temperature and long cooking time helps with even baking.  The Blondies are done when you see the top is golden brown and displaying slight cracking.  To be sure the Blondies are done; insert a test toothpick into the middle of the pan.  It should come out with no wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs or blueberry juice are okay, just not wet batter).  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before gently lifting by the parchment paper handles.  Cut into 16 squares and serve.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

TKS Blondies

This recipe comes to me from Chef Christine of The Kitchen Studio Frederick.  My son and I have taken several cooking classes at TKS and my son did camps there for several years.  Christine is well-known for her chocolate chips and blondies as well as all her other amazing dishes!  

TKS Blondies
by Chef Christine

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but they're delicious!)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spray an 8" x 8" pan with non-stick cooking spray. Tear a piece of foil approximately 18" long, then fold to fit bottom of pan, leaving excess hang over opposite sides to form a sling. Spray foil lightly with non-stick spray.

Place melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl and stir to combine. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl, and stir well to combine (it will seem a bit dry, but just keep stirring until it is all just combined). Add chocolate chips and walnuts, then stir to combine again. Spread batter in pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, until center no longer jiggles when shaken, and edges are puffed and beginning to brown.

Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Use sling to remove Blondies from pan and place on rack to cool completely before cutting.


The Creative Cook

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars

I found this recipe online at Food & Wine.com a few weeks ago.  I thought my son might enjoy them. He did. I made these cookie bars for an end-of-school get-together for him and his buddies.  I got rave reviews on them.  One of my son's friends said "it tastes like a pretzel rolled in a cookie" which is exactly right.  

Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars
·         ACTIVE: 15 MIN

            2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
 2 large eggs
 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12-ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups mini pretzels, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles

        Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on the 2 long ends.
       In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chips and pretzels.
        Spread the batter in the pan and top with the sprinkles. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden; the center will still be a little gooey. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
        Run the tip of a knife around the side of the pan and lift the bar out using the parchment paper. Cut into 24 squares and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


The Creative Cook

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sally's Sunny Vegetable Salad

This recipe comes from one of my favorite book series authors, Joanne Fluke.  I made this salad for an outdoor dinner we had with some friends that stopped in from out of town.  It was very successful.  Everyone really enjoyed this salad.  Kudos to Joanne Fluke!

by Joanne Fluke

5 cups chopped broccoli florets
5 cups chopped cauliflower florets
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp)
½ cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
2/3 cup chopped green onions (scallions)

½ cup white granulated sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons red wine or raspberry vinegar

6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (or ½ cup bacon bits)
¼ cup shelled, salted and toasted sunflower seeds

Chop the broccoli and cauliflower florets into tiny bite-sized pieces.

Combine the broccoli and cauliflower in a large salad bowl.  Add the shredded cheese and mix it with your fingers.

Mix in the raisins or cranberries and the scallions.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, mayonnaise and vinegar.  Mix it with a rubber spatula or a whisk until it is smooth.

Pour the dressing you just mixed over the top of the salad.  Toss it or stir it with a spoon or spatula until the vegetables are coated with the dressing.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 or more hours until ready to serve. 

Sprinkle bacon bits on top.

Sprinkle with sunflower seeds on top of that.

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chicken Schnitzel

This is a big favorite of my son's.  He has been asking for it for about two weeks now.  I finally made it and he loved it.  I didn't have any white wine so I just used extra chicken broth.  Apparently, it worked for him.

Chicken Schnitzel
from food.com


2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
coarse salt
ground pepper
1 cup fresh breadcrumb (made from 3 slices white bread)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 (6 oz) chicken cutlets, pounded to an even 1/4 inch thickness
4 tablespoons olive oil


1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1.   Beat eggs in a shallow bowl with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
2.   In a separate shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
3.   Dip each cutlet into egg mixture to coat completely, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, patting it on to help it stick.
4.   For each 2 cutlets, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
5.   Cook 2 cutlets at a time until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
6.   Transfer the cooked chicken cutlets to an oven-proof platter or pan, and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining cutlets and making the sauce.
7.   Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels.
8.   Heat butter until melted and add wine.
9.   Heat 30 seconds and stir in broth and lemon juice.
10. Season with salt and pepper.
11. Simmer 2 minutes.
12. Pour broth mixture over cutlets and serve.


The Creative Cook