Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I set aside a chunk of my Friday morning to read Confections of a Master Closet Baker by Gesine Bullock Prado. I thought I would lay out in the sun for a little (oh how I love southern California) and just read for 20 minutes, but that turned into 2+ hours. After having to force myself to put the book down, the little voice in my head (not that crazy one, but the other one) that says “I’m going to be a baker!” was jumping around and going nuts saying “go bake, go bake, go bake!”

If you like baking, you should read this book. Gesine, unfortunately known to many just as Sandra Bullock’s sister, was a hollywood executive that gave up the high-paid LA lifestyle to pursue her true passion in baking. It’s a hilarious and inspiring memoir. I’ll share with you just this one bit from the book, and then we’ll get to the cookies:

“I didn’t want more stuff. I wanted to be more happy. I wanted to be good. I wanted to stop hating people and start understanding. And the only way I knew how to feel like a good and kind person was through baking.”

I swear, as I read this book I have to stop and put it down for a few seconds every so often because it feels like she is reading my thoughts out loud.

I just want you guys to eat the desserts & food that I make. Plain and simple. I’ll have one, and you have the rest. Well, maybe I’ll have 3, and then I swear you can have the rest.

Those preschool teachers have it right I tell you, sharing is caring.

Here we go – I made some Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I know “chunk” is a funny word, but I don’t use chocolate chips anymore in cookies so I would feel as if I am leading you down the wrong path if I said chips – there is a huge difference I tell you! If you haven’t made the switch to chopped up chocolate in your cookies, you need to now. You know those delicious cookies you get from a bakery that when you break them in half the chocolate just comes oozing out. That’s because they’re not using chocolate chips, which have stabilizers in them to keep their shape. Grab the bar of chocolate and take out some stress on it. Your cookies & taste testers will thank you.

I really wanted a chocolate chip cookie, but after looking through way too many “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipes I decided that there was just too much pressure on something so simple. So I took a different approach. These are like a “look at me I’m all grown up” kinda cookie. They remind me of my Oatmeal Cookies a bit because of the cinnamon that is in it. Overall, they were a nice alternative to the everyday chocolate chip cookie.

Lastly, can we just talk about how ridiculously adorable my little niece is. She says my name now, without me tricking her by repeating it over and over. I swear I will do anything and give her anything she wants as long as she comes running towards me saying “Madddy Madddddy” – my heart is melting just thinking about it…sighhhhh.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Enjoy,

Madeline

Stout & Bailey’s Chocolate Cupcakes {Sea Monster Edition}

A lovely friend from New Zealand, who has an up-and-coming microbrewery in Wellington called the Garage Project (go check them out!), was in town this week and brought lots of beer. I knew I had to revisit those Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes I made last year and test it out with one of the stouts he picked up along the way.

The beer in these cupcakes is an Imperial Stout from Ballast Point called Sea Monster. What an awesome name, and logo. My ocean-loving self is a big fan of the Angler Fish on it. As soon as I opened it up the intense smell of beer filled the kitchen. I was a little worried that this was going to be too overpowering for the cupcake, but they turned out amazing. There is no noticeable beer taste in the cupcake, it just accentuates the chocolate and gives it a unique delicious flavor.

I changed up the recipe this time by using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, which gives the cupcake a deeper chocolate flavor and a seriously dark color. I also used a dark chocolate for the ganache in the center. If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate (although you should be, it’s better for you. Any excuse to make chocolate good for you and Ill take it) you can use bittersweet or even milk, just depends on your taste. It all comes together in the end where the sweetness of the frosting balances out the darkness of the cupcake.

I hope everyone I shared these with enjoyed them!

Enjoy 🙂

Madeline

Rum Cake {Emphasis On The Rum}

I started drinking coffee again.

I stopped drinking coffee & almost all other caffeine back in December. My weird little body started to get confused about how coffee is supposed to make it feel. Instead of feeling perky and awake, you would find me passed out on the couch within 30 minutes. Coffee = sleep. Why? I don’t know. So I figured, hey let’s try and give it up for a while and reset the system, so to speak. (Not like I did anything else to cleanse my system, if anything I up’d the amount of sugar intake)

I never gave myself an end date to this “coffee break”, I just figured one day I would decide it was ready. That day happened five days ago when I was meandering around Cost Plus (honestly, how amazing is that place) to find they now sell Cafe Du Monde’s coffee!

If you haven’t heard of Cafe Du Monde, you should. It is down in Nawleans (New Orleans), and they serve the best beignets. Don’t know what beignets are? Are you ready? Fried dough, covered in a serious amount of powdered sugar. That paired with a nice cup of coffee with chicory….yum.

So here I am, Day 5, and I feel AWESOME. Go Coffee, go!

In honor of Mardi Gras and the copious amounts of alcohol my friends are enjoying down south, I made you guys a ridiculous rum cake. Seriously. My face was tingling a little after eating a large piece. This is most definitely NOT kid friendly.

Mixer, meet Rum. Rum, meet mixer.

The best part of this cake is when you get a bite with the walnuts. When I make this again, I’m definitely adding more walnuts to the recipe, instead of just as a layer on the top of the cake.

Right out of the oven, pre alcohol syrup soaking.

I don’t think you understand how moist and delicious this cake is. You could dial down the alcohol to water ratio for the syrup that is poured over it, and this would still be an amazing cake. So glad I found this recipe over on Always Order Dessert‘s blog.

Enjoy!

Madeline