cupcakes we can believe in

Coconut Cupcakes Title

Even though Obama ate more custards than cupcakes during his first term in office, there are few desserts more “DC” right now than cupcakes. We took a tropical, Hawaiian twist on the DC favorite with these Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes. What makes these cupcakes extra-special is they use crushed cookies instead of flour. You read right…cookies! One bite of these coconutty, cookie cupcakes & you’ll want to forget flour all together!

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes Ingredients

For the cupcakes: (makes about 22)
1 stick unsalted butter
½ c coconut oil
2 c sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
6 eggs
1 c sweetened coconut flakes
¼ c crushed pineapple
1 box of crushed vanilla wafers, crushed into a fine crumb
½ cup of pecans, crushed into a pecan meal

For the icing:
8 oz cream cheese
4 tbl butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 c powdered sugar (or until reaches desired thickness)
2 tbl pineapple

Coconut Cupcakes 1

Start by creaming your coconut oil & butter together with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Once your fats are combined and a nice pale yellow, add your sugar & continue creaming.

Coconut Cupcakes 2

Splash in your vanilla & then start adding eggs. Add eggs one at a time allowing enough time for each egg to integrate (scraping the side of the bowl as necessary). Once you’ve added all six eggs, your mixture should look almost custardy.

Coconut Cupcakes 3

At a slow speed fold your coconut and pineapple into the batter. Once combined, add your vanilla wafer & pecan meals to the mix thickening it all up. Scrape the sides of your bowl and give your mixture a final few paddle rotations.

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Prep your favorite cupcake pan with liners.

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Fill close to the top. These cupcakes will rise a little bit, but not too much, so be generous with your fill!

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Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until they’re golden and pass a toothpick test.

For your pineapple cream cheese frosting, start by creaming softened butter & cream cheese together. Add vanilla & pineapple. Begin gradually adding powdered sugar until your frosting reaches your desired thickness (we erred on the thinner side). Once your cupcakes have cooled, frost ’em up!

Excellent room temperature or chilled, we dare you to eat just one!

xoxo,

Hungry Texans

white chocolate walnut fudge

white chocolate walnut fudge

Looking for a last minute holiday treat for your Christmas festivities? Whip up a batch of this super simple white chocolate walnut fudge and you’ll be a hit. You need 6 ingredients and just over 6 minutes (plus time for the fudge to chill), and you’ll have a delicious non-cookie, non-chocolate sweet treat that will easily travel and makes a great gift!

Ready, set, fudge!

1 1/2 bags white chocolate chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 generous tsp of vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

a big pinch of salt

3/4 to 1 cup chopped walnuts (pecans would also be yum!)

white chocolate fudge steps

In a true (or makeshift!) double broiler, melt your chocolate chips. Stir continuously to facilitate the melting until the chips are all beginning to soften & get creamy. Add your sweetened condensed milk & vanilla. Keep stirring until it’s all melty, combined, delicious white goop and stir in your soda & salt. Once everything’s all mixed, remove your white-chocolate wonder from the heat & stir in your walnuts. Quickly pour into a parchment-lined pyrex & then chill. Once until the fudge is frigid and solid, cut into your desired sized pieces & enjoy!

Variation: You could easily use this same base for a peppermint bark! Substitute the walnuts for crushed peppermints or candy canes & swap 1 of the tsps of vanilla for a tsp of peppermint extract! Yum!

texas birthday cheesecake

texas birthday cheesecakeCheesecake was far and above my favorite dessert when I was growing up & I was lucky enough to live right next door to the best cheesecake baker in all the land. My neighbor baked her delicious cheesecakes for a handful of Houston restaurants by the dozen, and was always quick to share samples of new flavors or the very rare cratered cake that was still scrumptious but wouldn’t win a beauty contest when plated at the restaurant. Elizabeth’s cheesecake is and always will be my gold standard, but miles and miles away from the expert I attempted my own and it came out better than I could have ever imagined! The impetus for this particular baking extravaganza was Boston Boy’s surprise birthday party. You see, Boston Boy doesn’t like sweets as much as this Hungry Texan, but he always says if he had to pick a favorite dessert it’d probably be cheesecake; and with that resounding enthusiasm who wouldn’t want to humor his tastebuds!

Cheesecake has always been super intimidating to me (you read about water baths and thermometers…stressful!), but this recipe is all things considered pretty “set it and forget it”. After texting with the expert, I also learned a couple of tricks that helped alleviate some of my fears!

  • Make your cheesecake a few days early if you can! I made mine Wednesday evening for Friday evening and it was delicious after a few days of rest in the fridge.
  • Once your cheesecake seems solidly cooked (the inside can & should be a little jiggly), turn off your oven and let the cheesecake cool in an oven whose temperature is very slowly decreasing opposed to the volatile elements of your kitchen. The slower your cake cools, the less likely it is to crack or crater!

To recreate this Texas cheesecake (that admittedly isn’t the most-Texas, but these HungryTexans couldn’t flaunt a “New York” cheesecake!), you’ll need:

For the crust:

8 graham crackers pulverized to crumbs in your food processor

2 tbl butter melted, plus additional for the crust

cheesecake ingredients

For the filling:

4 1/2 packages of cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

2 tbl lemon

1 1/2 tbl vanilla

1 1/2 c sugar

8 eggs (6 full, 2 yolks)

*note: half & half is pictured, but I didn’t end up using any!

Start by preheating your oven to 400 then make your crust! Pulverize your graham crackers, melt your butter, & combine. Press your crumbs into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan (already assembled). Pack your crumb crust in tight and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust begins to golden.

cheesecake filling_steps

Turn your oven up to 500 and get working on your filling. Start by creaming your softened cream cheese with the paddle attachment of your mixer (it helps to cut the sticks in half). Cream for 3 minutes or so until the cream cheese is sufficiently soft. Add half of your sugar & keep mixing. Once that’s combined add the second half. Add your lemon & vanilla followed by the cup of sour cream. Keep mixing, mixing, mixing until everything’s smooth (being sure to frequently scrape the sides of your bowl). If you want to taste the filling, I recommend doing so now because your risk of salmonella poisoning is about to increase 8-fold! Now, los huevos! I had NO IDEA how many eggs go into a cheesecake! Sooooo many eggs! Count ’em e-i-g-h-t, delicious little pre-birds. Start by adding your two egg yolks and then procede to add your six whole eggs two at a time until everything’s combined. Give the sides of your bowl a few good scrapes and confirm everything’s combined. Your mix should be soupy, creamy, wonderful.

Put your crust pan on top of a cookie sheet (just in case) and pour your filling into the prepared crust. Pop into the oven and bake for 12 minutes at 500 before lowering the heat to 200. Check on your cake in an hour to see how it’s doing (but try your hardest to look and not touch…opening the door and changing the temperature of the oven even a little bit will increase its propensity to fall). Your cake will probably take ~an hour and a half to be sufficiently cooked. At this point, you might need to bite the bullet and give it a little poke. If everything seems like the appropriate cheesecake consistency (except maybe a little jiggle in the middle), shut off the oven and let the temperature fall while the cake cools. I left mine in the oven over night & plastic wrapped and popped it in the fridge the next morning.

I left my cake in at heat for a few minutes too long or opened the door too many times and it cracked (bummer!), but it was nothing a creative strawberry topping couldn’t cover. Remember when cakes give you cracks, get creative!

Say cheese!

inside-out peppermint patties

inside out peppermint patties

I’m sure you all have many a nostalgic childhood memory of York Peppermint Patties (who doesn’t?). Maybe your grandmother always had peppermint patties on hand or there was one of these cardboard dispensers at one of your favorite restaurants. My favorite burrito cart–Pedro & Vinny’s–hands out peppermint patties to soothe the palette post-over-indulgence in the spice of their famous goose & spicy cilantro sauces, and this simple & satisfying after-meal sweet helped rekindle my love for these shiny silver treats & I encountered the homemade inside-out version at a friend’s Thanksgiving party. Assembly is slightly time-consuming, but preparing the components of these PepPats couldn’t be simpler!

Peppermint Patty:

1/2 a stick of softened cream cheese

2 tbl butter

1 lb box of powdered sugar

2 tbl peppermint extract

Chocolate Ganache:

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate

1/2 cup half & half

Peppermint Patties_patty

Start by creaming together your cream cheese & butter, then gradually begin adding your powdered sugar. Add the peppermint extract and take a taste to make sure the minty-ness suits your tastebuds. Chill your creamy patty mixture. Then, make your ganache. Chop, chop, chop your chocolate and heat your half & half in the microwave. Dump your chopped chocolate into the hot milk and stir, stir, stir like crazy. Your mix will be pretty thick, but I recommend chilling for at least 30 minutes in the fridge or 15 minutes in the icebox.

Once both have had an opportunity to chill, start rolling & piping. Take a small spoon and scoop tiny balls, roll them between your palms (you may want to lightly grease your hands with a neutral oil). I rolled ~6 at a time and then piped the chocolate ganache on top. You could of course use a real piping bag, but these HungryTexans prefer Ziplocs. Put your ganache in the bag, snip the tip, and start piping. Just a dollop of chocolate on each patty! Voila, inside-out peppermint patties.

I recommend keeping these PepPatts chilly. These treats will make everyone from coworkers to mingling singles smile.

Put some “pepp” in your step!

basics: homemade nutella

 

Admission: This Hungry Texan is not so hungry.  After an incredible, veggie-rich thanksgiving dinner at Boston Boy’s family in New York (the Lone Star State was a tad far for me to travel for just a couple days), plus leftovers, PLUS some amazing bagels, I’m totally stuffed.  But that doesn’t make this recipe for homemade Nutella any less appealing.  I whipped this up with sister Emily, here forth known as Lemur Lady- she spent the last few months in Madagascar with a cast of lemurs and the girl knows a thing or two about baking.

I get it- people are crazy for nutella.  There are probably entire religions devoted to Nutella.  And when you can get a vat of it at Costco, it may seem silly to make your own.  But trust me, this homemade version is an incredible rendition- sweet from the dark chocolate but with no sugar added, nutty and rich from the toasted hazelnuts.  Plus, this comes out silky instead of becoming congealed  like the jarred stuff- double win!

Also, it takes 5 minutes to make.  So you have no excuses.  To the recipe!

You’ll need:

10 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate (if you want something sweeter, use a milk chocolate or your favorite)
1 cup hazelnuts
1 tbs oil
1 tsp salt

First, you’ll need to make your fancy double boiler.  Fill a medium saucepan 1/4 the way with water and heat to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and fit an appropriately sized stainless steel bowl over the saucepan.  Add your chocolate to the bowl and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  

Take the chocolate off of the heat and toast your hazelnuts with 1 tbs of oil in a large pan for about 4 minutes.

Add your hazelnuts to a blender or food processor and pulse 5-10 times, until the hazelnuts are ground.  Add your chocolate to the blender and blend until smooth.

Serve immediately or in a jar in the refrigerator (who are we kidding).  We ate it over fruit, but decided that the silky delight would be perfect drizzled over popcorn, spread on toast, or over pecan pie (ok, i did that).

xoxo,

the hungry texans

Boozy Chocolate Nut Balls

The title leaves no surprises. These ‘lil babies were quite boozy, so boozy you almost feel bad bringing them to the office an asking your coworkers to indulge in a flavorful bomb of chocolaty rum before 5 pm on a Tuesday. They say “candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker, ” but with these treats you don’t have to choose one or the other! If I made these again, I think I’d try Bourbon, and I think I’d try serving them alongside after dinner drinks, but with this basic recipe in our back pockets the opportunities to innovate upon it are endless.

Start with:

1 package chocolate teddy grahams

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup rum

1 tbl vanilla

3 tbl cocoa powder

1 1/2 tbl honey

All you need to do is mix your teddies and nuts in the food processor until you have a coarse crumb. In a separate bowl stir together your rum, cocoa, honey, and powdered sugar, then dump your crumbs to the liquid mix. Mix, mix, mix it all together and then chill until the dough is cold and you’re ready to ball. Shout out to RyBei who rolled this dough into perfect little balls. Once you have your balls, roll in powdered sugar and they’re ready for eats. These balls are super forgiving, chill well for days, and would be pretty precious stacked on top of each other in a cellophane bag and a red ribbon tied around them (#Holidays2012, I’m just sayin’!).

tres leches

The man chefs made Mexican brunch today (nom nom nom), so this lady baker opted for a classic Mexican cake to bring for dessert. I’ve made tres leches a time or two before, but this was by far the fastest (most recipes call for a multi-hour soak!) & most successful. The cake was so spongy that it sopped up lots of liquid in a relatively short amount of time, and I know it’ll be even better tomorrow!

To recreate this sweet, make sure you have the following:

5 eggs, separated

1 c & 3 tbl sugar

1 c flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

vanilla

1/4 c whole milk

1 pint + 1/4 c heavy whipping cream

1 can condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

cinnamon

 

Preheat your oven to 350 & prep a large rectangular pan. Start by mixing your yolks & 3/4 cup of sugar until they’re pale yellow. While that’s mixing, mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk & as much vanilla as you want to the pale yellow mixture & then gently fold into your flour mixture. Next, take your egg whites & the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and mix those until the peaks are stiff. Be patient and wait for those peaks, then gently fold that into the mix. Pour into your prepped pan and bake for 30ish minutes or until you pass the toothpick test.

Let your cake cool & then poke holes in it with a fork. Combine 1/4 c heavy whipping cream, evaporated & condensed milks in a pitcher & pour it all over the cake watching it slowly sopp up all this sweet milky mixture. Let that cake relax and make your whipped cream topping. I made a simple whipped cream with 3 tbl. sugar, 1 pint heavy whipping cream, and vanilla & cinnamon to taste. Try to be as patient as possible to let the flavors absorb, but slice this baby whenever you please.

¡Buen provecho!