Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

The other day, my husband suggested making cupcakes topped with cookies in some way. I found this recipe the next day! I love the idea and now hope to try other variations.

My daughter and her sidekick (bestie) were baking together over the summer and spent an afternoon on this deliciousness. Everyone was quite pleased with the results. The cupcakes were very moist and tender and the cookies on top were crispy and delicate. Perfect.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart Living; we modified the proportions and method. Next time, I may reduce the size of the cookie on top and chill the cookie dough prior to baking.

Yield: 18 cupcakes

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Base & Cookie Topping:

  • 1 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light-brown sugar, packed
  • 6 T granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

To Make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Base:

  1. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
  2. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. On low-speed, beat in the egg.
  4. Add flour mixture in 3 additions.
  5. Beat in vanilla.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips.
  7. Chill dough while preparing the cupcake batter.

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T whole milk
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Base (see above), including 18 (1.5-inch) cookies
  • Simple Vanilla Frosting (see below)

To Make the Cupcake Batter:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line 18 muffin tin wells with baking cups.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low.
  4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla.
  5. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour.

To Layer & Bake the Cupcakes:

  1. Press 1 tablespoon cookie dough into bottom of each baking cup. (At this point, I used a small cookie scoop (1/2 T) to ration the remaining cookie dough and put it back in the refrigerator.)
  2. Top each with 1.5 to 2 tablespoons batter. (I used a cookie scoop.)
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. (Keep oven on to bake the cookies for the topping.)
  4. Transfer tins to wire racks; let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks. Let cool completely.
  5. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting and bake the cookies for the topping.

For the Simple Vanilla Frosting:

  • 2 sticks plus 2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups plus 6 T confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • pinch coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 T whole milk

To Make The Frosting:

  1. Beat butter and 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to medium-low; gradually add the additional 2 1/2 cups plus 2 T confectioners’ sugar.
  3. Add milk and vanilla; mix to incorporate.
  4. Raise speed to medium-high and continue to beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

To Finish & Decorate:

  1. Place the chilled scoops of cookie dough on 2 parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets.
  2. Bake in the pre-heated oven until edges are dark gold but centers are pale gold and look a bit underdone (for chewy) or until centers are set (for crisp). (We baked ours for about 7 minutes.)
  3. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes; then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, or as desired.
  5. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, and top each with a cookie.

Shortbread Jammers

Over the summer, I brought these fabulous cookies to the beach when we went to enjoy the sunset. They transported very well and everyone loved them. 🙂 Any type of thick fruit jam or marmalade can be spread over the top of the cookie base. By using raspberry jam, I thought that they could be renamed “Easy Linzer Cookies.”

The recipe was adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion via The New York Times, contributed by Vanessa Vichit-Vadakan. I baked the cookies in a 9×13-inch pan, per the original recipe; The NYT recently modified the recipe to bake in an 8×8-inch pan. I thought that they were perfect as is, but may “have to” try the thicker version to compare. 😉

Rice flour is suggested to make the cookies more tender. I used all-purpose flour instead and was pleased with the results.

Yield: 24 cookies (9×13-inch pan) or 16 cookies (8×8-inch pan)

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup rice flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted)
  • 1 cup thick fruit jam, preserves or marmalade (I used raspberry preserves)
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly butter a 9×13-inch or 8×8-inch baking dish. Line with parchment and butter the parchment. (I used a lined, metal 9×13-inch baking pan.)
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar at medium speed for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined.
  5. Add the flours and continue to beat until the dough comes together.
  6. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface. Prick it with a fork in about 20 places.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, or until golden around the edges. Slide a dull knife along the edges. Cool for 5 minutes. (an 8×8-inch pan may require a longer baking time)
  8. Using the parchment, lift the slab of shortbread out onto a clean surface.
  9. With a knife, trim 1 inch from one of the sides. Crumble the trimmings into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Cut the rest of the shortbread into 24 squares (9×13-inch pan) or 16 squares (8×8-inch pan) and allow to cool.
  11. Spread a thick layer of jam on each square. (I kept the cut cookies together and spread the jam over the top of the entire surface.)
  12. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the top.

Note: Layered between plastic wrap or wax paper in an airtight container, the cookies will keep for 3 to 4 days.

Creamy Corn Ice Cream with Caramel

Caramel corn ice cream? Yes! Sweet summer corn is puréed, strained, and cooked down into a sweet pudding before it is incorporated into the ice cream base. The caramel drizzle was an essential finishing touch.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jesse Houston. The original recipe was “no churn” but I did churn it to expedite the freezing process.

After using a Vitamix to purée the corn and significantly increasing the cooking time, I had double the volume of corn pudding required for the ice cream. I’m planning to use it for another batch. 🙂 I may layer it with caramel or dulce de leche prior to freezing next time so that it will have a caramel swirl.

Yield: about 8 cups (2 quarts)

Vanilla-Sour Cream Cake with Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

I have had my eye on a couple of easy sheet cake recipes. My indecisiveness led me to combine them. 😉 It was a successful combination! This cake was moist and delicious.

The simple vanilla cake is from Food 52, from their book Genius Desserts, contributed by Jami Curl. It was proposed to serve it topped with strawberry compote & butterscotch whipped cream. I included these original topping recipes below- just to keep my options open.

The frosting recipe is from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. It was originally from an easy sheet cake recipe with a “reverse creaming” technique. Of course, I’ll have to try this cake as well at some point. 🙂

For the Vanilla–Sour Cream Cake:

  • 3 1/3 cups (400 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 T plus 2 tsp (20 g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 g) kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227 g) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (105 g) canola oil
  • 1 T (18 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) boiling water

For the Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • sprinkles, for garnish, optional

To Make the Vanilla–Sour Cream Cake:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection. Line the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper. Spray with cooking oil spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and sour cream with a fork, mixing until smooth. Add the oil and vanilla and use the fork to mix until they’re incorporated. The mixture will be smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and continue to stir until the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated. The batter will turn very thick.
  5. Add the boiling water and stir until the batter is smooth and uniform with no traces of unmixed ingredients remaining.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth it evenly into the corners.
  7. Bake the cake for 35 (to be safe- check even earlier) to 40 minutes, until it’s golden, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.

To Make the Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Make icing while cake cools.
  2. Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add powdered sugar, sifted cocoa powder, and salt and beat again, scraping down sides of bowl, until completely smooth.
  4. Add vanilla and continue to beat until fluffy and lightened in color, another minute.
  5. Smooth icing over top of cooled cake (it should not be at all warm to the touch, or else the icing will melt).
  6. Top cake with sprinkles, if desired.
  7. Cut into pieces and serve.

Do Ahead: Cake can be baked and frosted 2 days ahead. Chill until icing is solid, then cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For the Alternate Cake Toppings:

For the Strawberry Compote & Butterscotch Whipped Cream:

  • 4 cups (600 grams) frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups (800 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (480 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (72 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) pure vanilla extract

To Make the Strawberry Compote:

  1. Combine the strawberries and vinegar in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the fruit is soft and has released some juice.
  2. Add the granulated sugar 1 cup (200 grams) at a time, stirring between additions until the sugar disappears.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and bring the fruit and sugar to a boil. Boil for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the compote cool before using.

To Make the Butterscotch Whipped Cream:

  1. Chill a bowl and a whisk.
  2. Pour the cream into the bowl and add the brown sugar and vanilla.
  3. Whisk the cream until stiff-ish peaks form. Take care that you don’t turn it into butter by overwhipping.(You can use a mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the cream.)
  4. Use immediately.

To Serve the Vanilla Sour-Cream Cake with Compote & Whipped Cream: **Two Options:

Option 1: Spoon the Strawberry Compote over the cake. Top the compote with the Butterscotch Whipped Cream, using the back of a spoon to give it some pretty swirls.

Option 2: Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled cake out of the pan. Cut the cake into 12 equal pieces. Spoon some Strawberry Compote over each piece. Top with a generous dollop of Butterscotch Whipped Cream.

Note: The Vanilla–Sour Cream Cake will keep, tightly covered at room temperature, for several days. Once assembled with the Strawberry Compote and Butterscotch Whipped Cream, plan to enjoy this cake the day you assemble it. That said, if you cover and refrigerate it, it will not disappoint the next day or the day after that. Especially for breakfast.

Sourdough Pancakes & Waffles

I apologize in advance for bombarding everyone with sourdough starter recipes. 😉

During this extended time at home, I decided to make a sourdough starter but started regretting throwing out the discarded starter on a daily basis- a twice daily basis. So, I started saving it to make other goodies. (I am keeping it in a jar in the refrigerator!)

These sourdough pancakes may be some of the best pancakes I’ve ever made. AMAZING. The first sourdough waffle recipe is a wonderful way to use an excess of starter without incorporating a lot of other ingredients, and, finally, the cinnamon-sugar sourdough waffles were a close second to the pancakes in terms of deliciousness factor. All great!

The recipe for the sourdough pancakes was adapted from theperfectloaf.com. I weighed the ingredients and used whole wheat flour and full fat Greek yogurt. We ate them topped with fresh berries and drizzled with pure maple syrup.

Sourdough Pancakes

Yield: about 16 pancakes

  • 2 large eggs
  • 245g (1 cup) whole milk
  • 61g (1/4 cup) Greek yogurt
  • 250g (about 1 1/2 cups, stirred down) non-fed sourdough starter
  • 4g (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
  • 180g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose and/or whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
  • 6g (1 tsp) baking soda, sifted
  • 4g (1 tsp) baking powder
  • 5g (1 tsp) fine sea salt
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 63g (1/4 cup, 4T, or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  1. Beat eggs in a medium bowl.
  2. Add milk, yogurt, sourdough starter, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  4. Add dry mix to the egg mixture, mixing well.
  5. Stir in melted butter.
  6. Let rest for about 30 minutes to let your sourdough starter get going just a bit. Adjust the consistency of the batter, if needed. (see note below)
  7. Lightly grease a hot griddle. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  8. Ladle the batter onto the griddle and cook until light brown and bubbles start to appear on top, then flip to cook the other side. Refrain from flipping multiple times.
  9. Serve with fresh berries and pure maple syrup, as desired.

Note: You may need to adjust the amount of milk depending on the stiffness of your sourdough starter and your preferred batter consistency. The above ingredients worked well with my starter; if you’re using a stiff starter, you might want to add around 1/2 cup more milk.

These sourdough waffles are the perfect option if you have a lot of starter to discard. I made them plain but plan to try them with incorporated fresh or frozen blueberries next time. We ate them topped with sliced bananas and pure maple syrup.

Sourdough Waffles

Yield: 8 waffles

  • 2 cups (454g) milkshake-thick sourdough starter discard (non-fed)
  • 4 T canola oil or melted butter
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated or light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda, sifted
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • milk, if needed to adjust the batter consistency
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, optional
  • sliced bananas and/or fresh berries, to serve
  • maple syrup, to serve
  1. Combine starter, oil/butter, vanilla, sugar and egg in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  2. Add baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Adjust the batter consistency with milk, if necessary.
  3. Fold in berries, if using.
  4. Lightly coat the waffle iron with cooking spray.
  5. Ladle some of the batter into the waffle iron to fill the pan. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
  6. Transfer to a cooling rack for a minute or two and then to a cutting board. Separate and keep warm.
  7. Repeat with the remaining waffle batter.
  8. Serve with fruit, drizzled with maple syrup, as desired.

These cinnamon-sugar sourdough waffles were very special. The recipe was adapted from Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading by Emilie Raffa, via epicurious.com. I used white whole wheat flour and incorporated vanilla extract.

We ate them with cubed pineapple and fresh berries. My son sprinkled them with additional cinnamon-sugar. 🙂 Fabulous! I actually made a double batch.

Cinnamon-Sugar Sourdough Waffles

Yield: 7 to 8 waffles

For the Cinnamon-Sugar:

  • 1⁄4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (3 g) cinnamon

For the Waffle Batter:

  • 1⁄2 cup (120 g) leftover starter (non-fed)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk, whole or 2% (I used 1%)
  • 3 to 4 T (42 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour and/or whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 T (12 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 g) baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
  • cooking oil spray, for coating

Optional Toppings:

  • cubed fresh pineapple
  • mixed seasonal berries
  • coconut flakes
  • pure maple syrup, to serve (we ate them without syrup)
  1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Combine the leftover starter, milk, 2 tablespoons (28 g) of melted butter, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  4. Add the sugar, baking, powder and salt and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the flour and continue to whisk until smooth. If the batter seems too thick, add more milk to thin out the texture. (This will all depend on the consistency of your sourdough starter.)
  6. Lightly coat the waffle iron with cooking spray.
  7. Ladle some of the batter into the waffle iron to fill the pan. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack for a minute or two and then to a cutting board.
  9. Brush lightly with some of the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle with reserved cinnamon sugar to coat the top.
  10. Repeat with the remaining waffle batter.
  11. To serve, top your waffles with the pineapple, mixed berries, and coconut flakes, as desired. Enjoy with sweet maple syrup on the side. (We ate them without syrup.)

Note: Once completely cool, these waffles can be frozen for up to 2 months. Cover in plastic wrap and a layer of foil before freezing. Bake frozen at 350°F (180°C) until warmed through.

Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Like many others, when I started panicking about running out of bread yeast, I started the process of making a sourdough starter.

When I lived in South Carolina (in a former lifetime!), I had a sourdough starter that absolutely flourished. This go-round, in Long Island, it has been taking extra-long for my sourdough starter to achieve it’s full potential in my cold house. Because I’ve been feeding it for days, I have a lot of discard readily available. Thankfully, there are many different ways to put it to good use!

This recipe was adapted from Amanda Rettke of iambaker.net. I used a stand mixer, incorporated whole wheat flour, modified the cookie size, and baked the cookies in a convection oven. Very cakey and chocolatey.

Yield: 30 cookies

  • 14 T (1 stick + 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup (227gsourdough starter, unfed
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (125g) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda, sifted
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. In to bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl, combine the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer. (Make sure the butter is soft enough to mix with the sugar by hand.)
  2. Add the egg to the mixture, stirring until incorporated.
  3. Stir in the sourdough starter and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, being careful to not over-mix.
  5. Incorporate the chocolate chips.
  6. Let the dough rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or refrigerate or up to overnight (in the refrigerator). (I have made them without refrigeration and they get more cake-like in texture.)
  7. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection. (Let the refrigerated cookies come to room temperature.)
  8. Drop spoonfuls (2-3 tablespoons) of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (I used a 3 tablespoon ice cream scoop.)
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes for a cake-like cookie or 6-8 minutes for a chewier cookie. The cookie may appear a little wet in the center and that is ok. It will continue to bake and be cooked throughout after being out of the oven for a few minutes. (Rettke recommends baking for 6-8 minutes- next time!)

Exceptionally Creamy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I have made many tried and true dinners and desserts during this quarantine period- more than usual. I was surprised to realize that I’ve never posted our gold standard and absolute favorite ice cream. This is it. 🙂

The recipe is from Food and Wine, contributed by Jeni Britton. I have made it for years! According to the recipe, the ice cream is exceptionally creamy from the inclusion of cornstarch to help thicken the base and cream cheese to make it more scoop-able. I confirm the results. Fabulous.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.  (I use a stainless steel bowl.)
  4. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean and seeds.
  5. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes.
  6. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  7. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
  8. Whisk in the salt.
  9. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
  10. Strain the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (I churn it in the ice cream maker for 25 to 30 minutes.)
  11. Pack the ice cream into a plastic container or loaf pan.
  12. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid or with additional plastic wrap.
  13. Freeze the vanilla ice cream until firm, about 4 hours.

Note: 1 tablespoon of Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste can be substituted for the split vanilla bean.

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