Thin Mint Cupcakes

Well the milk was still good today* so I followed through and made the cupcakes. This recipe gave me some grief but in the end it was all worth it !

So starting with the cupcake ingredients, she calls for a box of white cake mix but doesn’t say how many ounces that mix should have (I used Pillsbury 15.25 oz. box of moist supreme white cake mix). The recipe calls for butter but doesn’t say if it makes any difference on using salted or unsalted so I played it safe and chose to use unsalted butter. Five egg whites are also gonna be needed, I just presumed that she meant egg whites from large eggs. Her ganache calls for chocolate chips. Since it didn’t specify a type of chocolate, I went with semi-sweet since that was the only kind I already had at home. I’ll talk about the frosting later on. Her calling for 24-48 Thin Mint cookies gets confusing with the directions.

She naturally starts off with preheating the oven but then she mentions putting a Thin Mint in the bottom of the lined cupcake pans. At first I figure she means there’ll be 24 cupcakes but I wanna make sure so I watch the video that comes with the recipe & she only shows one (probably ’cause showing two would seem like wasted time but still, seeing two would’ve made me more confident). This little issue started to make me doubt myself so I just decided I’ll start with 12 and keep adding more paper cups and Thin Mints as needed. Time for making the cupcake batter. I accidentally screwed up and put all the batter ingredients in at the same time. Still kept to the 2 minutes suggested for blending it all together (since there was no speed recommended, I went with low speed). I thought I was filling up my cups 2/3 full with the batter but in the end I only had enough batter for 18 cupcakes so I’m no closer to knowing whether this recipe was meant to yield 24 cupcakes or not. For baking time, you’re told to just follow you own cake mix box directions but that hers took 16-17 minutes. I forgot to check the cake box and just automatically went with her time. Using the toothpick test, mine took about 17 1/2 minutes. Thank God I went with that ’cause according to the box I eventually got around to looking at, these cupcakes should’ve been done in 19-23 minutes. I mean yeah, there was just a little bit of batter sticking when I called it good but I know that there’s still a little bit of residual cooking that goes on and at 19-23 minutes, I don’t know if I would’ve ended up with dry, overdone cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes are out of the oven I move onto making the ganache. I was a little unsure if I got it to “almost a boil” or I actually did reach a boil, even if it was just for a second or two. I let it sit for the time called for and then… oops. Just as I’m typing this up y’all, I realize it says to chill the ganache. I don’t know why but when I looked at it before, I thought they just wanted the ganache to sit on the counter and cool down. This makes so much more sense now as to why it says not to let it firm up completely ! My ganache was so thin compared to what it should’ve probably been (I think it actually started to get absorbed into the cupcake when it got added later on). You’re given multiple options on how to core the cupcakes. I used a plastic knife but the cupcake corer would’ve given me a more equal amount of cake removed across all 18 instead of how they turned out. Was easy to get the cake out with the plastic knife though. I poured the ganache into the hollowed out center and was ready to move onto frosting.

The frosting… I was a little frustrated with the directions on this. The frosting ingredients called for are cream cheese, butter, 6-7 cups of powdered sugar, 2-4 tablespoons of Creme de Menthe “(to taste”, 2-4 tablespoons of milk “to reach desired consistency” and optional green food coloring. The instructions say to blend the “softened” cream cheese and butter. I’m sorry, come again? Nowhere in the ingredients list does it mention the cream cheese and/or butter should be softened, seems like it should be though. Now the powdered sugar is supposed to be added in slowly (so I only put one cup in at a time) and be alternated with Creme de Menthe until the frosting reaches “desired taste, color, and consistency”. I felt like maybe the line could be misinterpreted as just saying all you need to now get alternatively mixed in was the powdered sugar & Creme de Menthe. Just so happens that that was all that I added. I was 4 cups of powdered sugar in and had just blended in the 4th tablespoon of Creme de Menthe when I decided to take a taste of it. The sweetness was noticeable but not sickly sweet and I could taste the mint flavor but it was more subtle than I wanted it to be. Afraid of losing the mint flavor if I added anymore powdered sugar in, I decided to stop where I was. Downside to this though was that the frosting wasn’t as thick as it should’ve been. I was using a 1M frosting tip to apply the frosting onto the cupcakes and as I putting the frosting into the piping bag, it actually started to drip out of the piping tip ! I just had to fill up the bag quickly and have the piping tip facing up to the ceiling while I carried it over to frost the cupcakes. The frosting was pipeable but it didn’t have as much height to it so it was harder to get the additional Thin Mint cookies you’re supposed to decorate with to stay upright. Between the frosting and the heat/humidity of a southern kitchen in the summertime, some of the cupcakes started out looking like this:

and in the matter of 5, maybe 10 minutes if I’m lucky, they looked like this:

If you check out the original recipe you’ll notice you’re supposed to sprinkle on chopped Andes Mints but when I tried it out on one, it just looked messy and it’s called “Thin Mint Cupcakes” not “Andes Mints Cupcakes” (but that does sound delicious like a delicious cupcake though) so I skipped on adding it to the other cupcakes. Well it was finally time to taste these cupcakes and thank God they were delicious ! You get the mint without it feeling like you’re eating toothpaste or something and the chocolate ganache oozes out when you bite into the center. The cookie at the base of the cupcake didn’t lose its texture so it provided a nice textural contrast to the creamy frosting and the soft, tender cupcake. Even though this wasn’t the most easily understood recipe, the flavor will have me coming back to make this again.

*Even though this post is getting finished today, I started writing this yesterday.

If you’re interested in the original recipe, click here.

I wasn’t paid in any form to promote/mention Thin Mints, Pillsbury, Andes Mints, or Intensive Cake Unit.

Take care y’all !

Cake Batter Popsicles

Hey everybody, I’m finally posting the popsicles I mentioned over two weeks ago !

I tried out this recipe because I figured, if I love cookie dough, why wouldn’t I love cake batter? Add to that the fact that it’s too effing hot here already, made me excited for these popsicles ! The recipe says this is only supposed to make six servings so I figured I only needed enough to fill 6 popsicle molds but when time came to fill those molds, I still had more of the ice cream mixture left so I just drank it like a milkshake. Turned out pretty good except when it came time to eat the sprinkles. The sprinkles were so freaking sweet that I had to call it good when they were pretty much the only thing left in my glass. Weeks later I finally pull the popsicles out and realize that on the outside, it looks like all the sprinkles sunk to the bottom:

Thankfully when I bit into the popsicle I saw there were still sprinkles hidden within:

As far as flavor goes, the popsicle wasn’t bad but I couldn’t get over the sweetness of so many sprinkles. For myself at least, if I made this again, I’d skip on the sprinkles or cut down on them drastically.

If you want to try this recipe out yourself, click here.

I wasn’t paid in any form to promote just add Sprinkles.

Take care y’all !

Work In Progress: Oreo Milkshake

This is a milkshake recipe that I made up myself. This is how the milkshake turned out:

Mommy and me both really liked how this came out ! I’d like to try making it a few more times to see if it can be made any better but if there’s one thing that surprised me while I made this was the whipped cream. I know it was whipped cream from a can so I shouldn’t have had the expectations too high but it actually didn’t make the shake better to me (didn’t make it worse either) but this was the first shake I’d had in ages where I thought “This milkshake doesn’t need any garnishes, it’s great all on its own.”

I wasn’t paid in any way to mention Oreo.

Take care y’all !

I forgot to take pictures, I was too focused on eating.

I decided to try out delish’s recipe for “best-ever chocolate chip cookies” from their cookbook “Insane Sweets”. You can actually find it on their website but there it’s called “Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies“. Both versions call for packed brown sugar but don’t say whether to use light or dark so I used light brown sugar. Both call for 3 ounces of chocolate chopped but the book adds on that it’s supposed to equal out to about 1/3 cup… it won’t. It’ll be more than 1/3 cup but you better believe that I went with the ounces rather than the 1/3 cup (I love chocolate too much to pass on chocolate simply ’cause it didn’t fit into the measuring cup).

I’m not used to recipes saying they want cookies to be spaced 3 inches apart but once the cookies baked I understood why, these are big cookies ! The cookbook version ends with the baking time but the online version tells you how long to leave them on the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack. Kind of important information that I wish they’d included in the book !

Not gonna lie, I was a little nervous to try these. I’ve loved eating Toll House cookies for so many years thinking they were the best chocolate chip cookies that I never tried other chocolate chip cookie recipes figuring I’d just be disappointed. Boy was I wrong ! The edges of these cookies have a little crispiness to them but the middle was soft. The chopped chocolate wasn’t all soft or melted like the chocolate chips so it added another texture to the cookie. These were at their best when they’d just come out of the oven but mommy and me were still enjoying them long after they were cooled down. Oh yeah, totally not related to what it’s like eating these cookies but this recipe says you’re supposed to get 15 cookies from this but I actually got 20. I swear that I followed their amounts called for and used a 3 tablespoon cookie scooper but alas, I got more cookies out of this recipe than they did. Considering how awesome these taste, I ain’t mad about that at all !

I wasn’t paid in any form to promote Toll House or delish.

Take care y’all !

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake?

My mom and me both love chocolate so when I came across this recipe, I wanted to see if it lived up to it’s title or not.

For the ingredients, there’s only one thing you get to choose between: “1/2 cup canola oil or melted coconut oil”. I chose to go with the canola oil. For the frosting, even though they say 1/4-1/2 cup of almond milk, it’s actually only 1/4 cup that goes in and then the remaining milk is there for adding in if you think the frosting is too dry.

I was able to make the cake and the chocolate buttercream frosting and just needed to assemble. This cake is really moist but that makes it so tender that you can easily have the cake start to break if you’re not careful. Thankfully, this recipe produces so much frosting that any cracks will easily be hidden once it’s smothered with the frosting. The recipe never mentions having to level the cake but since mine didn’t come out with a flat surface, I figured I needed to ! After trying to level out my cake by hand, I’ve come to realize that I either need to invest in a cake leveler or accept that I’m gonna have a lot of tilted cakes until I get better. Wasn’t sure how much frosting to use between the two layers and still have enough for the outside of the cake so this is how the finished product came out looking:

As you can tell, I could’ve used some more frosting between the layers ! Finally tried a slice and the first bite is so good ! This is a chocoholic’s dream cake and the “buttercream” frosting is silky smooth. After the first bite though, all that frosting started to make the cake too sweet. I scraped off a lot of the frosting and tried another bite and the sweetness was much more manageable ! This is a rich cake so you’re probably not gonna be able to enjoy more than one slice at a time but what a delicious slice it’ll be !

The recipe for this cake came from noracooks. If you’d like the recipe, click here.

I wasn’t paid in any form to promote noracooks.

Take care y’all !

Copycat McDonald’s Shamrock Shake Recipe

It’s been years since I went to a McDonald’s but even then, it was never at the right time to try out their Shamrock shake so when I saw this copycat recipe online I figured, why not?

I tried it out and this is how it turned out looking:

This came out having a thick, creamy consistency but I did find out that to fully enjoy it, you gotta take small sips. Too big a sip and you start to get that artificial taste in your mouth from the extract. Smaller sips just give you a nice minty flavor. I used extra creamy whipped cream from a can which I had no problem with flavor or texture-wise but it sucked at supporting the weight of the maraschino cherry ! That cherry started to sink down as soon as I placed it on top of the whipped cream so if you’re going to make this yourself and plan on posting pictures of it, move quickly !

The recipe for this came from delish. Click here if you’d like the recipe.

I wasn’t paid in any form to promote McDonald’s or delish.

Take care y’all !

Glazed Orange Loaf

This was the first baked good I made after deciding to go towards being vegan and I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out but it looked like it was worth a try !

In their ingredients list, they call for soy milk (I used plain unsweetened), flour (I used all-purpose flour), and “juice of 1 medium orange”. I have no clue what a medium-sized orange is ! They don’t sell oranges in stores based off their size so I just grabbed an orange and measured out the juice in a liquid measuring cup (got about 1/3 cup worth of juice). The recipe also calls for orange zest but they list it down at the very end so don’t do what I did and forget to read the whole list, throwing away the first orange after it was juiced and having to use up another orange just for the zest.

The directions are easy enough to follow. Using parchment paper did make it easy to pull out the loaf when it was done baking however I couldn’t get the paper to stay smooth when I was lining the pan so my loaf came out looking… different than the shape of the actual pan.

I left the loaf in the pan while pouring the glaze over it, causing the bottom of the loaf to look a little soggy but it didn’t ruin the texture of the dish.

Finally the loaf was cool enough to cut and I couldn’t wait to try a piece (which is why you’ll see one end missing in the first picture). Oh my god, this was good. You could definitely taste the orange in this, the glaze made it sweeter but not so sweet that you couldn’t enjoy it for breakfast, dessert or just as a snack at any given time !

One piece of advice though, after you slice this, wrap it up (I used plastic wrap). The loaf will start to lose a little bit of its moisture and tenderness after it’s cut (not instantly but still).

This recipe came from “Vegan Junk Food” by Lane Gold (expanded edition).

I wasn’t paid in any form to promote the cookbook or Lane Gold.

Take care y’all !

Buttermilk Cake with Strawberry Icing

Still had buttermilk left from making the biscuits so I decided to try out this cake recipe.

The ingredients list was easy enough to follow. I hope I followed the directions like they wanted you to. I was trying to add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in the portions that they called for but each time I went to mix them, some of the flour would shoot out or the buttermilk would splatter a little outside of the bowl. I spread the finished batter out as evenly as I could in the baking dish and let it bake in the oven for 25 minutes. When I pulled it out the cake looked so pale on top that if it hadn’t been for doing the toothpick test, I would’ve thought it was still raw ! To be honest, even though the toothpick looked clean, I was still expecting it to look like liquid batter under the surface when it eventually came time to cut the cake. Regardless, I left the cake to cool for a couple of hours before making the frosting.

The directions for making the frosting are simple and easy enough to follow. I would suggest trying to make a mark or something for every cup of powdered sugar that you measure out or add straight from the bag into the mixing bowl so you don’t lose track ’cause while I’m pretty sure I added the 5 cups called for, I started to get distracted and do wonder a little if I only added 4 cups instead.

The frosting was made and it was time to assemble the cake and cut it afterwards:

Oh man was I relieved to see that the cake was fully cooked ! The frosting did seem a little looser than it did in the picture that went with the original recipe but boy did it taste good. Between the cream cheese in the frosting and the buttermilk in the cake. The frosted cake had a nice tanginess to it to balance out the sweetness. The recipe never says whether to refrigerate the cake after it’s made so I stored half of it on the counter and half in the fridge. As humid and warm as it is around here, the counter cake had a good texture on the cake (still light, soft and tender) but the frosting was a little loose. The cake from the fridge however had the opposite problem. The cake had turned dense in the fridge but the frosting firmed up more which I liked. Oh yeah, I don’t know if it’ll happen to you but my frosting turned out a really light shade of pink compared to what the magazine’s version was. Don’t know if I just used a different brand of strawberry preserves or what, but the difference in color didn’t affect how good it tasted.

This recipe came from a special collector’s issue of Taste of the South titled Southern Cakes. It’s supposed to be on display until July 27, 2020. Unfortunately there’s no online version of this recipe.

I wasn’t paid in any way to mention Taste of the South.

Take care y’all !

Southern Biscuits, take one

I have something to confess… I’ve lived in the South most of my life and this was the first time I’ve made biscuits from scratch. I did make a copycat version of Red Lobsters’ cheddar biscuits one time years ago but that doesn’t feel like the same thing as making the kind of biscuits you look forward to making a breakfast sandwich with or spreading some butter, jam or jelly on. Seeing all the layers these biscuits were supposed to have convinced me to try tackling biscuit making.

When you get to the ingredients list, you’ll see that she doesn’t specify what kind of salt to use so I went with table salt. She also says that the 1/2 cup of unsalted butter is supposed to be in one stick. I don’t know about you but it’s already too hot where I live and using two half sticks of butter allows me to be grating half the butter while keeping the other half chilled. Even on a half stick the butter starts to smear on the grater rather than becoming strands near the end of the stick (it’s just that hot and humid here). This is still after the first stick’s been in the freezer for 15 minutes.

The dough is mixed together and it’s time to start shaping it into a rectangle. I lay out the parchment paper, place the dough on it, flour my hands and get the dough into a rectangle shape. I cut it into thirds and as I’m starting to try and stack the dough, I notice I’m having a hard time lifting the dough, like it just wants to stick to the paper. That’s when it hits me… I forgot to flour the freaking parchment paper !!! I have to try and scrape all the dough off so I can flour the paper like I was supposed to at the very beginning. When the dough was back on the parchment paper, it looked like it was a big blob-like mess so instead of cutting and stacking the dough 3 times, I decided to do it 4 times. You can choose to use one of the bigger circular cutters but I went with the 2 1/2-inch circle cutter.

Finally the biscuits are in the oven and I check on them at the 10-minute mark. The biscuits looked too pale so I checked on them after another 5 minutes (15 minutes was the maximum suggested time, otherwise it’s suggested to bake them until they look “golden”). At 15 minutes, it definitely looked done ! I was afraid I’d burnt the bottom of the biscuits ’cause they looked like this:

Surprisingly the biscuits didn’t taste burnt at all ! They were buttery with a bit of crunch on the bottom and yeah, most of them didn’t rise up and look like a proper biscuit:

but these turned out well enough that I’m gonna keep making them until they all come out looking good !

If you’d like the recipe for this, click here.

I wasn’t paid in any form to mention Red Lobster or a recipe from little figgy.

Take care y’all !

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I’m a sucker for soft and/or chewy cookies so when I came across these in a Taste of Home magazine, I knew I was gonna make them !

The ingredients list doesn’t leave much room for interpretation with the exception of the salt and the butter. They never say if you should use unsalted or salted butter (I went with unsalted) and they don’t say what kind of salt to use (table? kosher? sea salt? I went with table salt).

When you make this, part of the instructions mentions gradually adding the flour into the butter mixture, mixing after each addition. As soon as I started mixing the flour in I understood why they said to do this gradually ! In small portions the dough gets thicker, harder to stir and risks a little bit of flour flying out of the bowl. Had I ignored the directions and dumped everything in all at once, the dough would’ve been too hard to blend and probably had half of the flour end up outside the bowl.

Once the dough is blended all together, you have to shape it into “1 1/2-in. balls” (I used my 1 1/2 Tbsp. cookie scooper), roll it in the sugar and then place it on an ungreased baking sheet. I didn’t want to deal with a possible cookie getting stuck to the baking sheet so I lined the sheet with aluminum foil before placing the sugar coated balls on it.

It goes into the oven looking like this:

and 10 to 12 minutes later (10 in my case), they come out looking like this (picture was taken after the cookies were placed on a cooling rack):

When I ate one straight off the baking pan, not giving it time to cool down, the cookie lived up to its name on being soft. Once they cooled down, the bottom half of the cookie firmed up, giving them a crispy texture while the top half was still soft. Now, full disclosure, I started writing this post last night and fell asleep while I was writing it. Woke up, made sure the cookies were in a sealed Ziploc bag & decided to just finish the post today. I ate another one of these cookies and the crispiness from the first day was gone ! All that was left was a wonderfully soft and chewy cookie. The flavor of this cookie just screams fall to me. It has all the wonderful spices of a pumpkin pie without the actual pumpkin (or the heaping amounts of whipped cream that I would be putting on a slice of pumpkin pie). Before I gobble up all these cookies, I’m gonna try seeing how these serve as cookies in an ice cream sandwich !

If you’d like the recipe for these cookies, click here.