Thursday, December 18, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes

I enjoy cream cheese, and I enjoy cheesecake. These little beauties--breathtakingly delicious, if you're into that kind of thing.

Take 8 ounces of softened cream cheese... large, room-temperature egg....

...and a third-cup of sugar....

...and cream together in your mixer.

Finely chop two ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, and add to the cream cheese. If you need to use chocolate chips, that's okay too.
Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, add one and a half cups of flour.... cup packed brown sugar...

...five tablespoons natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process, although America's Test Kitchen says it makes no difference at all)... teaspoon of baking soda, and a quarter teaspoon of salt.
Whisk together, and make a well in the center.
Mix in one cup of water, one-third cup of vegetable oil, one tablespoon of vinegar, and one teaspoon of vanilla.
Divide the batter into the cupcakes, then dollop the cream cheese filling on top.

Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.

I definitely did NOT devour the missing cupcake ten minutes after it came out of the oven. They're freaking delicious. Enjoy!

Takes about an hour.
Makes 12 cupcakes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinner rolls!

Tim and I went to his sister's for Thanksgiving, so I didn't really get to cook anything, and I definitely didn't get a fridge full of leftovers. So the Sunday after, we did our own little Thanksgiving dinner, and I made rolls. Behold! (This recipe makes approximately 40 rolls; feel free to halve the recipe if you need to.)

To begin, pour four cups of milk into a large pot. Add one cup of sugar and one cup of vegetable oil. Stir. Then, scald the mixture (heat it up over medium-low until right before it boils, then turn off the burner). Then, walk away. The mixture needs to cool down to lukewarm before we do anything else. Go fold laundry. Build a snowman. Mow the lawn. Knit a sweater. And come back when the side of the pan is comfortably warm.

Add four cups of flour...
And five teaspoons (two packages) of active dry yeast.
Add in another four cups of flour.
Stir some more.

(I don't have pictures for this next part, because the process happened over a couple of days and I forgot I was taking pictures.)

Allow to rise for an hour or so, covered. Add one more cup of flour, one heaping teaspoon of baking powder, one teaspoon of baking soda, and two tablespoons of salt. At this point, the dough is good to go. You can keep it in the fridge for a day or two before you make the rolls, as long as you remember that it's still going to rise and you'll have to punch it down every now and then.

When you're ready to make the rolls, butter a couple of muffin tins.

Then pinch off pieces of dough, roll into balls, and put three balls in each hole.

Like so. Let them rise for another couple of hours, and when they look big and puffy enough, bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

And enjoy. These suckers keep well enough, but just make sure you store them in an airtight container so they don't get stale and rock-hard.

Takes about four hours, what with all the rise time.
Makes about 40.
Difficulty: 2.