Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Velvet Cookies

In honor of St. Patrick's day, when everyone is a little Irish, I decided to make some Green Velvet Cookies. These are exactly like Red Velvet Cookies or cake, but you add green food coloring instead of red. My enabling co-worker had brought some of these wonderful cookies in several months ago, and I thought they were fabulous! I tried making them with a cake mix instead of doing them from scratch...the results were less than satisfying. I mean, they weren't terrible cookies, but they weren't great either. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of these cookies, but they were much flatter and drier than this from-scratch recipe.

So, with no further ado...Happy St. Patrick's Day. velvet cookies chocked full of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips and topped with cream cheese icing. I'm sure there is something that is better than this, but I haven't found it yet!

The recipe is pretty simple, even if it does have quite a few ingredients. Personally, I hope to never have to make another batch of cookies where I have to stir them by hand. I'm in love with my Kitchenaid stand mixer and couldn't live without it. Although, I think it wouldn't be bad to mix these cookies up by hand. They aren't too stiff like come cookie dough can get. This is more like a firm cake batter instead of a stiff cookie dough. Depending on the size of cookie you make, you can get 2 or 3 dozen cookies out of on batch. It is also very easy to make a double batch.

I used about a tablespoon for each cookie. This makes a nice bite-sized cookie. Sure, it looks huge in the picture, but in reality, each cookie was only about 1.5 inches across (2 inches if I got a little crazy).

They don't spread out very much as they bake, so you can cram them onto the cookie sheet if you want. It is also very hard to tell when the cookies are done. My co-worker recommended just baking them for the full 11 minutes and said they should be firm when touched. I used a toothpick like you would with a cake on the first couple of sheets to test for doneness and that worked pretty good. If it came out clean, then they were done. I also found that she was correct on the took about 11 minutes for them to be done. After the second cookie sheet's worth, I just set the timer and took them out when the buzzer went off.

I'd never made cream cheese frosting before and was really surprised that you don't have to add any liquid. You have to add milk or cream when making butter cream (thus the name butter...cream) icing. This icing came out nice and creamy, not to mention yummy! There was just the right amount of icing, too, which was nice. I hate it when I run out of icing half way through a batch of cookies. Very annoying!

To summarize, this is one instance where you just can't use a box cake mix as a substitute and expect to get the same result. I'm sure might be able to come close, but I just don't have the patience to mess with it. I'd much rather just make this recipe from scratch!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (1 ounce) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1.5 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and then spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave. Start with 30 seconds, then stir. Then do 15 seconds and stir until the chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the butter, crown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed until smooth.
  4. Add the baking soda and salt, and resume beating on medium until incorporated. Add the egg and beat until batter is smooth. Add the food coloring and mix for about 30 seconds or until evenly distributed.
  5. Scrape down bowl. Then add the melted chocolate and mix for about a minute at medium speed. Scrape down bowl again. 
  6. At low speed, add half the flour (1 cup). When the flour is incorporated, mix in the sour cream.
  7. Scrape down the bowl again and add the rest of the flour. Beat until the flour is fully incorporated.
  8. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  9. Use a teaspoon to spoon the dough onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets. 12-16 cookies per sheet, depending on the size of the sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 9-11 minutes, or until they rise and become firm. Slide parchment from the cookie sheets and onto a wire rack. Let cookies cool on the rack before icing. (Note: You can reuse the parchment paper if you want).

Cream Cheese Icing

  1. Mix the softened (but not melted) butter with the room-temperature cream cheese. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar in half-cup increments (at low speed) until the frosting is of proper spreading consistency.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Monster Themed Cupcakes

I always volunteer to make all the birthday cakes for my family, with the exception of my brother's cake. My sister-in-law always makes that one. Well, this year my nephew requested a "monster" cake. I had this brilliant idea of how to make a furry monster cake. It ended up being a lot more difficult to make, and the results were far below my original expectations. And, as usual, I was doing it late at night and at the last minute. He loved it though, and that's what counts.

He also requested that I make some monster themed cupcakes for birthday party at school. These turned out much better. I use the grass tip for the yellow icing. The arms were pretzel sticks. The eyes were white icing and sparkly piping gel. I used a triangle of strawberry fruit roll-up for the tongue. They turned out looking rather happy and totally unscary. He said that his friends LOVED them. Score one for Auntie!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Queen Dink!

Let me just start this post by announcing that I am the WORST Aunt ever!!! Remember all that careful planning I mention in my posts? Well, it doesn’t amount to anything when you neglect to look at the planner! The day of my niece’s birthday my sister-in-law looked at me and said, “She does have a cake, right?” My answer was a horrified, “NO!!!”

Yes, it’s true. I forgot to bake my niece’s birthday cake. I’m a total dink! Queen Dink, that's me. Now, everyone was upset with me, and since we were already on our way to work, there was no way I could bake the cake myself. Luckily, my mom agreed to go get all the stuff from my house and bake the cake while I was at work. The tricky part was going to be getting it decorated since we had plans to go out to eat before opening presents and eating the cake. Eating the cake was purely theoretical, since there WAS no cake at this point.

It worked out in the end, but I didn’t have time to ice the cake the way I had planned. It was done in a very, very quick manner and topped off with a Darth Vader candle. Personally, I think it looked like Vader is stuck waist deep in a big pile of poop…

Overall, I think the cake looked nice for the very minimal amount of time that was put into it. I still feel really bad about forgetting to bake it, but thankfully my niece is a sweetheart and she forgave me!

I would like to point out that me forgetting the cake wasn’t simply because I did nothing during the days leading up to her birthday. I had made a zillion cookies to give as gifts to coworkers (Alas, I have no pictures of these). Seriously, I made so many cookies that I have no clue how many dozens the total was once I was done! I also had two work functions to attend the Saturday and Sunday before her birthday. I was running around like a nut trying to get everything done, and the birthday cake was apparently just one thing too many for me to keep in mind. Frankly, I was lucky that I remembered which day her birthday was. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the NUMBER for her birthday…the DAY OF THE WEEK that it fell on was where I was having trouble.

My husband was helpful enough (please insert sarcastic tone) to inform me that this mistake was due to my tendency towards overdoing things; he would be correct, but that’s beside the point!

Giant Christmas Tree Cupcake

Please note: This post was written a while ago but not posted, so the yesterday I mention is not really the day before I posted this. See bottom of post for more information.

I saw a picture online of a Giant Cupcake done up as a Christmas Tree and just HAD to find a reason to make one. I also bought the red “Big Top” silicone version of the Giant Cupcake pan and need an excuse to try it out, too. Luckily yesterday was a friend’s birthday, and I decided to hit two birds with one stone. It also helped that my husband was away from the house at work and I would have plenty of time to clean up all the baking evidence. I seized the opportunity and this was the result.

I usually am able to plan ahead when I bake and therefore I bake the cake one night then decorate it the following night. This cake needed to be done all in one night and I couldn’t get it in the oven until after my daughter went to bed at around 8:00 p.m. With my daughter safely and quietly sleeping, I anxiously unboxed my new silicone “pan.” I’ve never used silicone bake ware before but was really more interested in the face that the thing was in two pieces. Wilton’s pan is just one piece and the top always cooks faster than the bottom. It annoys me terribly! This new one is in two pieces so if the top gets done first…I can simply remove it from the oven. What a novel idea! The bottom portion of the pan also has a fill line on the inside, which is helpful for those of us who hate to measure or are otherwise disinclined to figure out on their own how much to put in each side of the pan (Um, that would be me). And to make this version even better, the kit includes a nifty little top that you put on the bottom section of the pan so that when you bake the cake, there is a built in recess for a filling. How awesome is that. No scooping necessary.

So, after discovering all these new and interesting things about my new bake ware and doing a dorky little happy dance, I mixed up the cake batter. In an effort to try something new, I decided to add some mini M&Ms to the batter. I thought this would add some color to the inside of the cake…I was wrong. You couldn’t even tell that I had added anything to the chocolate cake mix. Total bummer, but the cake baked up nicely and came right out without a problem. So, I decided not to get too down about the M&M issue.

In the interest of getting to bed at a decent hour, which didn’t happen by the way, I threw the cake in the freezer to help speed up the cooling process. It ended up being in there for about 45 minutes and perhaps that was just a little too long. When I took it out the edges were really crispy. Turns out it wasn’t just due to being frozen. It was a combination of that and the fact that I was watching television when I was baking the cake and neglected to take it out of the oven on time. Dang! Oh well, I could just tell people it was the new pan’s fault, right?

Anyway, I mixed up the icing and merrily got to decorating. It went together very quickly and turned out quite nice. I kind of wish that I had used the “grass” tip instead of a leaf tip. Maybe next time. I used more mini M&Ms to decorate the “tree” and added some yellow icing on top for the star.


Well, I started typing up this post before Christmas, but got distracted by an unexpected event, and then work got really, really busy. It is obviously after Christmas now, but I figured I would go ahead and post. I would like to add though, that I’m glad I didn’t use the “grass” tip (233 I think) instead of the “leaf” tip. I used the grass one last night on my nephew’s birthday cake and was very annoyed (more on that subject later).

This cake inspired my cousin to use her newly purchased Giant Cupcake pan. She and her niece had a great time decorating their cake.

I can also add that this cake was a huge hit with my friend and tasted very good. I didn't even notice the crispy edges at all.