Saturday, May 15, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

These are just the perfect definition of Summer! After I made these I realized that I probably could have just made a french vanilla cake and added lemon juice and zest and it would be just as good or even better. Also, the original recipe called for a strawberry buttercream frosting, but after seeing how involved it was I opted to just use my own strawberry cream cheese frosting and it was delicious. Either way, the combination of lemon with strawberry is just awesome!!

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 Tbsp lemon zest (from 3 lemons)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1-1.5 lemons)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Strawberry Cream Cheese frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare muffin tin by either spraying with baking spray or lining with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Turn mixer to the low, and add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated.

Fill each muffin cup ~3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 t vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup strawberry feezer jam (homemade is the best way to go, but if you don't have it, you can get it at any grocery store)

Cream cream cheese and butter until there are no lumps. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add jam and beat again until well incorporated.

*Cupcakes from Dinner and Dessert

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chocolate Cream Cheese Toffee Bars

I saw these when I was watching the Food Network and knew I needed to make them! They are so easy because you use already prepared everything pretty much. In the original recipe she used only 2 toffee bars, but I upped it to 4 because it didn't seem like enough. She also used toasted almonds on top, but we're not much of the nut type, so I left them out. These are absolutely divine! I think it's my new favorite dessert by far. The proportions are so perfect...with the cream cheese, chocolate and cookie. The toffee bar is so perfectly crunchy too!! LOVE THEM!!
1 pound refrigerated sugar cookie dough
4 toffee bars, chopped (I used Heath bars)
1/2 t vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (8oz) cream cheese, room temperature

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 8x8-inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Lay a 6 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the cookie dough, 1/2 of the chopped chocolate-toffee candy pieces and vanilla extract. Using damp fingers, gently press the dough into the prepared pan. Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes.

Place the chocolate chip in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted. Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes. Whisk in the cream cheese until the mixture is smooth. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate-toffee candy pieces over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate layer is firm.

Peel off the parchment paper and cut into 1 1/2 by 2-inch bars. Serve at room temperature.

*From the Food Network