chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. Try saying that five times fast.

Yeah, it’s a mouthful. No pun intended! (Okay, fine. Pun completely intended. I even spent a good three minutes setting that one up!)

But seriously, bad jokes aside — these cupcakes are too die for. For some reason, my friends and I all have an incurable obsession with cookie dough. It’s delicious and honestly who wants chocolate chip cookies? The batter is ten times better! (Try saying that five times fast too!) But I digress.

When my friend first proposed the idea of making these, I scoured the blogosphere for a good recipe to try out. Many called for baking the cupcakes first and cutting a hole in the baked cupcake to insert the cookie dough, but I wanted to find a recipe where the dough was actually baked inside the cupcake. I finally came across this recipe on Lovin’ From the Oven. (Well, it’s actually three separate recipes she compiled from various sites. This girl’s a genius!) They are not nearly as beautifully decorated as hers, as I am not skilled (at all!) with piping frosting. I can assure you they tasted heavenly though!

I used these adorable cupcake holders, which you can’t really make out on the finished cupcake. If you doubled the holders, though, I’m sure you would be able to see the pattern clearly.

You can see the cookie dough center here (although it blends in with the cake somewhat). I would recommend using mini chocolate chips if you can, as the larger chips can be a bit much. Also, the frosting is divine. A little sweet, but it balances the cupcake quite nicely and is fluffy and has the perfect subtle hint of cookie dough. Don’t skimp on this stuff!

The recipe I used was for 12 cupcakes, so I doubled all the ingredients to make 24. You will want to make the eggless cookie dough (for the filling and in the frosting) the night before. With the doubled recipe, I set aside about 3/4 cup — 1 cup dough (if you want a stronger cookie dough flavor use more) for the frosting and put that in the fridge. I then added the chocolate chips to the batter and rolled out 24 balls of dough and put those in the freezer overnight. You have to make sure they’re frozen before you make these, otherwise they’ll bake in the oven if they’re not cold enough!

Another thing I found was that I had a lot of extra cupcake batter (because the dough balls in the cupcakes displace some of the batter) and plenty of frosting (perhaps from doubling the recipe?) so if you want to make more cupcakes, make a little extra cookie dough and you’ll probably get 5-10 more, depending on how much batter you put in the cupcake holders.

These cupcakes require a little extra work than your run-of-the-mill chocolate and vanilla treats, but they are well worth the effort!

{ Source: Images by me. Please feel free to use — just leave a credit/link! }

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hibiscus and hazelnuts


OH YES.

About a week or so ago, I had my first adventure in the ice cream making world, and let me tell you — I am never looking back on store-bought ice cream. The Cuisinart Ice Cream maker (which works just as well for frozen yogurt, sorbet, etc etc) had been sitting in the kitchen for months unused — I suppose simply because no one really wanted to put in the effort (or time) to figure it out. But recently, I hauled it out (and legitimately had to dust it off) with the intention of making some ice cream/gelato to accompany my favorite chocolate cake for a dinner party. (And just for the record: I swear by this chocolate cake — it’s absolutely to die for. It’s incredibly easy to make and the leftovers in the fridge 3 days later — if there are any, of course — still taste delicious.)

I chose two recipes from  Sweet Scoops by Shelly Kaldunski, a book that has been lying around the kitchen for approximately the same amount of time as the ice cream maker. First up: lavender ice cream with honeyed pine nuts (page 58 in the book … I haven’t reproduced it here due to copyright issues but you can always email me if you want it). I didn’t have any lavender (or so I’d thought — I found some after I’d finished making the ice cream) so I decided to use dried hibiscus instead and nix the pine nuts for a more citrusy ice cream. The result was a very smooth and creamy ice cream. The texture and consistency was perfect. The flavor itself was a little too sweet for my liking, and I think the hibiscus got lost a little in the 1/4 cup of wildflower honey in the recipe, so next time I’ll be cutting back on the sweetness factor. But overall — a definite success.

I did not have as much luck with my second recipe: mascarpone-hazelnut gelato (page 46 in the book), which was somewhat disappointing considering hazelnut gelato is one of my favorite foods of all time. Instead of the traditional egg yolks, this recipe called for 3/4 pounds mascarpone cheese. The process was simply enough: throw all the ingredients in a blender for prep, chill them, and then put them through the ice cream maker. However, the author neglected to mention that “mascarpone can become grainy if overwhipped” until the paragraph after the blender was used. I suppose I should have read through the recipe more carefully before I started or perhaps somehow known mascarpone was liable to revert to grain-like tendencies? But I’m not even an amateur chef; what do I know?

Because I had destroyed my recipe with a mere 20 seconds in the blender, I was extremely careful the second time around and probably didn’t end up mixing the ingredients enough. But the “gelato” tasted delicious enough, even though it wasn’t nearly as smooth or creamy as the hibiscus ice cream — in fact, it tasted more like “ice cream” than the first recipe did. It was very nutty and a little coarse (the hazelnuts in the gelato weren’t fully ground), but that was fine with me — I ADORE hazelnuts. However, I think I might have been the only one at the table who actually consumed all their hazelnut gelato despite the small size of the scoops on each plate … maybe this is a taste only I am partial to? Perhaps a re-make is in order.

Have you ever made ice cream at home? How did it churn (ha!) out?

{ Source: Images by me … feel free to use as long as you leave a credit/link! }

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