PMS Brownies

This may be my most requested treat. I’ve been making these for years but have only recently perfected the recipe by finding my secret ingredient. Because I believe recipes are made to be shared, I’m going to share my secret with you…

Instant Espresso!

Vegetable oil cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and spray 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into a small bowl. Stir in the instant espresso powder and set aside.
2. Fill a medium saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate and butter in a double broiler or large heat-proof bowl and set over the simmering water. Turn the heat to low and melt the chocolate and butter. Stir frequently until completely smooth.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Stir in the flour mixture until it’s just absorbed.

4. Pour the batter evenly into the pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. A crust should form on the top, but the center should be somewhat jiggly. Cool in the pan and then refrigerate. Serve in one inch squares.

Despite the name, the men in your life will enjoy this treat as well. Espresso+chocolate, what’s not to love? Although, be warned ladies you may start craving these and do you really want to share?

This recipe was adapted from Today’s Kitchen Cookbook.

Drunken Cupcakes

Was your Valentine’s Day a little rough? Need to drown your sorrows? Put on your apron and make these Drunken Cherry Cupcakes! I’ve been eyeing this recipe since I flipped through the Betty’s Betties Calendar. This calendar features staff from the Betty’s Family of Restaurants and some seriously delicious recipes.

These were made as a special birthday treat. First, some confessions while shopping for ingredients. I was not entirely sure what maraschino cherries were. Yep, embarrassing. I thought they came in a jar, but I checked the produce and baking sections just to be safe. I was ready to ask a random shopper when they appeared in front of me with the ice cream toppings. Next Confession: While checking out I felt judged for buying whiskey, which is ridiculous, I know–but I still felt it necessary to detail exactly why I was buying whiskey to the cashier. I like to over-share.

Dry Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
2 large eggs
1 egg white
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whiskey
2 1/2 cups maraschino cherries

1. Soak cherries in 2 cups of whiskey in 2 cups of whiskey in fridge for two hours. Strain and chop cherries. Set the whiskey aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
4. Beat eggs and egg white until lightly frothy. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and 1/2 cup of remaining whiskey and mix until combined.
5. Mix in dry ingredients slowly until batter is even consistency. Add cherries.

6. Fill cupcake pan with liners and fill 3/4 with batter.
7. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.

The next step is to add icing once the cupcakes have cooled. I’m not usually a fan of frosting but I wanted to give it a go. Disaster. Homemade chocolate buttercream frosting is quite the task. My entire kitchen was left with a coating of cocoa powder and powered sugar. The hand mixer and I were not friends. The end result was somehow tasty but my disastrous methods leave me no words of wisdom to pass on. It did, however, inspire me to purchase a stand mixer. More and hopefully, less messy baking ahead! Have you experienced a kitchen disaster?

Birthday Cake Pops

The Cake Pop. Chances are you’ve seen one of these bite sized treats. Starbucks started carrying them and now there is an appliance designed especially for these treats. The Cake Pop craze began with the wonderful Bakerella. These treats and her blog started my baking obsession.

I’m far from mastering the art of Cake Pops, but it seemed appropriate that my first post be dedicated to what started inspired this delicious hobby of mine. These were made a few weeks ago for a birthday party. I used yellow cake mix, vanilla frosting, chocolate coating and dark chocolate sprinkles.

9×13 in boxed cake
16 oz. ready-made frosting
48 oz. candy coating
Lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block

  1. Bake a boxed cake before you want to make the pops (it needs to be cooled). You can even bake the cake and freeze it so you’re ready when the Cake Pop occasion arises. One cake makes about 50 pops, so I often freeze half the cake.
  2. Crumble the cake, using your hands is really the best way to do this.
  3. Add 3/4 of a frosting container. Mix it into the cake until it’s moist enough to hold a round shape. Start rolling and place on a baking sheet covered in wax paper.
  4. Pop them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Or, if you have some time, a few hours in the fridge.
  5. Heat the candy coating in a deep microwave safe plastic bowl. Trust me, use plastic. Ceramic bowls get too hot! Follow the instructions to melt the candy.
  6. Dip 1/2 inch of the lollipop stick into the coating and then into the cake ball. Hold the stick and dip the rest of the cake ball in the candy coating.
  7. Excess coating will be on the pop, tap your wrist to slide the coating off.
  8. Add sprinkles quickly. I’ve found it’s best to do this over a large bowl.
  9. Place your finished pop in a Styrofoam block to dry.
  10. Package and enjoy!