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 🙂


Oreo Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling {Happy 100th Birthday Oreos!}

Did you know that Oreo’s are celebrating their 100th birthday? I had no idea that they have been around since 1912, that blows my mind a little bit. Before I get further into this post, I just need to tell you that they have these special edition Birthday Cake Oreos in honor of their 100th…and I’m telling you if you like Funfetti Cake & Oreos you need to go out and buy these right now. They’re like a dream come true in my eyes.

As a kid, I don’t remember being especially infatuated with Oreos. I would eat them if they were there, but I don’t recall begging for them at the store, my mother can correct me if I am wrong.

Problem is, I’ve turned into that kid. It all started up when I was living in the dorms. Maybe it was because there was no kitchen to make my own cookies, but oreos became quite a bit of an obsession. I always had a package of Double Stuffed Oreos hidden in one of my drawers and a jar of peanut butter next to it. It was common knowledge around the dorm that I had a problem with Oreos.

I knew I needed to make an Oreo/Cookies & Cream style cupcake at some point, but I had this delicious idea as I was driving home along the coast stuck in traffic: Peanut butter! Inside! Peanut butter inside the cupcake! Genius Madeline, genius. When I got home I had to run the idea by a friend to make sure it wasn’t strange, and that other people like that idea too. [She approved 😉 Smart lady]

So here we are. This cupcake is a serious chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter filling and an Oreo cream cheese frosting. When I took a bite into the cake and got a little bit of each component of the cupcake…sigh…it just clicked like I was back in the dorm studying with a jar of peanut butter in one hand and 10 oreos sitting in front of me ready to be downed. Nostalgia at its finest.

The frosting, oh the frosting. It was as if I scraped out all of the cream in between each one of those oreos and made a beautiful pot of oreo insides just for you. It is so good. SO good.




Dark Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Treats {Valentine’s Day Edition}

You know it was a good day when you have chocolate under your fingernails.

Today it rained and I wasn’t upset by it, except while walking to class while holding an umbrella and trying to eat one of these…I just wanted to stop and say “Can you hold on just one second so I can finish this, please?”

I use to really hate when it rained. I think I was stuck in that SoCal “oh my god this is not sunshine, what do I do” kind of mentality. Or maybe after all of these environmental classes I’ve finally realized that rain is good and it’s sole purpose isn’t to ruin our day. Or maybe I just like wearing rain boots. Whatever the reason is, I like the rain now. Progress.

I completely forgot that I was given a whole bunch of different chocolate transfer sheets to play around with from the head pastry chef at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, so I decided now was a better time than any to give that a try. Chocolate transfer sheets are sheets of acetate paper that are printed with fun designs in cocoa butter. When you spread the chocolate onto the sheet and let it cool, it picks up the design onto your chocolate. If you’re interested in trying it out, you can find them on Amazon.

Pardon the quality. Taken with iPhone.

They look really impressive, but don’t require a huge skill set to master it. The key to making it look nice is spreading it as evenly as possible (unlike mine above). I used a little heart cookie cutter to make the hearts, but you could also use a knife and score whatever shape you want into it.

Pile ’em up, pile em up!

I cut them into squares and then dipped them into the chocolate. You could also leave them in the pan and pour the chocolate on top, but then you’ll have harsh lines on the sides when you cut into it. It’s just a matter of preference.

More things should be dipped in dark chocolate. You know we have come a long way when chocolate dipped bacon is now considered acceptable, but theres always room to grow. 

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day fellow sugar lovers,


#67 Superbowl/Football Themed Chocolate Cupcakes

I like football, I really do. My problem is that I need someone to say “Hey, lets go watch the Raiders game” otherwise I’m not going to watch it. I make an effort to watch College Football, particularly USC, but I’m not so great at watching the NFL. Maybe it is because I can relate more to College Football, who knows but there is just something less exciting about the NFL to me.

Anyways, even though I’m not a crazy NFL fan, I was born into a Raiders family so that is just who I root for. It’s kind of like being raised a certain religion; I was raised to worship the Raiders and the USC Trojans.

Since the Raider’s didn’t make it to the Superbowl, my second option was to root for another California team to make it. That didn’t happen either. Now it’s between the Giants and the Patriots, and I frankly don’t really like either of them.

Instead of deciding which non-california team I should care about, I made some ridiculously delicious Football Cupcakes that will be festive regardless of which team you may support, yay!

I know I could have done an adorable little grassy patch on top of this cupcake and topped it with a fondant little football or a helmet, but I am not a fan of fondant. Why put something on a delicious cupcake that tastes like crap? I just don’t get it at all. Say no to fondant!

Besides, this is rustic.  Rustic tastes better. Rustic feels better. Rustic sounds better.

This recipe is from the New York famous Magnolia Bakery. They put out a cookbook with their recipes, which I question how true to the real thing they are, but they’re fabulous. The cake itself isn’t very sweet. Yeah, I ate a cupcake without frosting. This frosting is so beautifully silky and chocolatey, I just wanted to slather it on everything. On its own, the frosting is pretty sweet but combined with the cake, it matches up together perfectly.  Then I ate another cupcake with frosting and I’ll probably have another one later on this evening. The life of a sugar addict/food blogger; when eating 3 cupcakes in a 2 hour period is considered acceptable.

How amazing does that batter look?

Don’t have Buttermilk? Neither do I, ever. At my store, the smallest size of buttermilk you can get is too much for me. This is a buttermilk substitute that I have used time and time again and it has yet to fail me. Take 1 cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon of White Vinegar to it and let it set for 5 minutes, then it’s ready to use. Beware, it will be a little chunky, don’t worry.



#62 S’mores Bars

Honestly, who doesn’t love s’mores? I’ve been thinking about making these bars for weeks, and now that I think of it, I dont know what took me so long. I made a version of this a few months ago but it didn’t turn out the way that I wanted it to, so I decided to do some research and make it better.

My perfect s’mores bar: thick layer of a graham cracker crust, a chewey chocolate layer, topped with lots of marshmallows that are lightly toasted in the oven.

I used a flame torch (one that you would use for creme brûlée) to toast some of the marshmallows a little bit more. The recipe originally was a no-bake recipe, but one of the best parts of s’mores is the fluffy toasted marshmallow. The oven was already on at 350 so I popped the s’mores in for a little bit until they were fluffy and then finished off with the flame torch for that classic charred s’mores taste.

Verdict: Delicious. The chocolate layer is creamy because of the condensed milk in it, and compliments the chewy marshmallows and crumbly crust. If you’re craving s’mores, this will definitely satisfy. Be sure to grab a napkin when you’re eating these, they can be a little sticky! 🙂

Tip: Run a large knife under hot water before cutting into squares to try and prevent the marshmallow from sticking to the knife.



#56 English Toffee [Homemade Holiday Gift]

I love this time of the year. All of the wreaths, the little gingerbread men, and nutcrackers – I love it all. Christmas decorations just make the house look complete to me. Whenever it hits the new year, and the decorations get put back into their sad little boxes, the house just looks so cold and empty.

On the left is my baker nutcracker, he’s quite adorable. And on the right is my gingerbread man that I made when I was in Kindergarten. He’s looking a little ratty these days since he comes out every year. I think he use to have buttons on his eyes…poor guy.

Whenever my Granny visits she always brings with this amazing toffee. I sadly didn’t know how amazing this toffee was until a few years ago because my parents always told me that I wouldnt like it. Turns out that they were just trying to keep me away from it so they had more for themselves!

Since I had issues last time I made anything with a candy thermometer, I was a little apprehensive about making this. I used the holiday’s as an excuse to just go for it and I was surprised how simple it really was. All you really need is a candy thermometer! I have this cheap one from the grocery store, it isn’t great but it does the job well enough for how little I use it.

Break it up into pieces and put the toffee into little bags, voila! Makes a lovely home made gift for the holidays 🙂 and it’s quite delicious too.

Enjoy! I’ll be posting another home made holiday gift soon! 🙂


#52 Chocolate Cream Pie with a Cookie Crust

I think Thanksgiving this year was my favorite yet. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was so involved in cooking this year’s feast, or maybe because it was a more intimate Thanksgiving. Whatever it was, I have never been so happy with this holiday.

I dont know about you guys, but I felt like I lived in the kitchen the day before and the day of Thanksgiving. The grocery store, the kitchen, and me — we were the three best friends.  (I go through self check-out when even I go to the store now because I’m embarrassed by how often I frequent that place.)

Although Thanksgiving tradition generally requires Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie, this family needs chocolate. (Don’t worry I made Pumpkin and Apple too) I made a Chocolate Cream Pie last year for Thanksgiving, which was good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it. The major difference between the two recipes is the crust. This time, I chose a cookie crust, rather than a pastry dough crust. This pie wins, hands down.

While making the filling, dont walk away! You’re cooking eggs here people! If you aren’t watching this pot of love, you’ll have scrambled eggs in your pie. Imagine that. Seriously. The thought is just repulsive.

As you were looking at that last picture you were probably thinking that I forgot the chocolate. 🙂

Before you put the filling into the fridge, press down some plastic wrap onto the filling. This way you wont have any film on the top when you take it out. I wish I knew this when we made pudding when I was a kid. I would always scoop off the top of it because it was so weird!

After it has chilled a little bit, pour it into the pie crust.

Tip: If you’re serving the pie right after making it, go ahead and whip up the cream and put it on top before placing it all back in the fridge. BUT if you’re making this ahead of time, wait to whip the cream until serving. Also, remember to keep a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pie while in the fridge to keep that film forming on top!

Side note: I slightly overwhipped the cream (awkward), but it still was amazing. Just don’t make the same mistake as me, and you’ll have a beautiful pie!


You’ll love this pie!




#49 Caramel Pecan Brownies

A friend asked me the other day what my favorite dessert is and instantly I float into this fake little dessert world. In this world, there is a big plate with a slightly undercooked brownie in the center of it, dripping with salted caramel, topped with toasted pecans, with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Im melting into my chair as I think about that….give me a second…

Alright I’m back.

But really, how delicious does that sound?

So you know what, I made it! Well, a slightly less decadent version…but the taste has not been sacrificed, I assure you that.

Since we (sadly) don’t all have that time to sit down with that giant plate of dripping caramel, this brownie has a layer of caramel and chopped pecans on top. This way, you can chop it into a square and grab it as you go sink into the couch, under a warm blanket.

My favorite part of brownies - the wooden spoon!

Bubbling sugar

Let it get to an amber color (a little past this point)

Video of Bubbling Sugar. I just had to include this.

After you’ve made that caramel topping, you’re going to look at that pan and think “Oh man this is going to be a pain in the butt to clean”. Fear not, I have a great tip!

TIP TIME: Fill sugar encrusted pot, and any utensils covered in sugar, with water and heat to a boil. This will boil away the hardened sugar and make it easy to clean off.




PS: I apologize in advance for the future delay in posts. It’s college essay time! Bear with me 🙂





#48 Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Happy One Year Anniversary to Thursday Night Baking Blog!! 

I can’t believe it was a year ago today that I decided to start on this crazy adventure! The positive feed back I have received from all of you has been beyond humbling. I love this blog, I love you guys. In the past year I’ve gone from a spare time Wordpress blog to having my own domain name and making it on to FoodGawker and TasteSpotting. I smile so big just thinking about it. Thanks for being so awesome! Cheers to going strong! ::clink::

In honor of this fabulous day (although it’s raining here in So.Cal) I thought I would share with you these absolutely delicious cupcakes! Chocolate and Peanut Butter is the ultimate combination for me. I could bake just Chocolate and Peanut Butter goodies for the rest of my time and be quite happy. But imagine Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or Tagalongs if you’re a Girl Scout Cookie eater (so good…). This is a moist chocolate cupcake with a silky smooth Peanut Butter Frosting. It’s heaven in your mouth, I kid you not. I’m considering making this frosting and keeping it on hand to put on oreo’s when I am too tired to bake – it’s that good.


#38 Chocolate Caramel Cream Pie

My apologies for the delay. I just realized that I have not turned my computer on in 4 days, and if you know me that is kind of crazy.

Last week I made this Chocolate Caramel Cream Pie out of the Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts cookbook that my lovely friend Danielle got for me. I went through the book and have put Post-it notes on a ton of pages that I want to make, to the point where the Post-it notes are almost pointless because they’re every other page. This pie actually caused a lot of grief on multiple levels, but I think there was just something going on and the kitchen gods were not wanting me to have an easy time or something.

Day 1: First, I made the dough and wrapped it up and put it in the fridge. Then, I started looking through the recipe and realized that the pie needs 5 hours to refrigerate and I was starting at about 7:30 PM. As much as I would love to wait until midnight to eat pie, I also had to be up at 7AM the next day. So I put the pie on hold until the next day, and made something else (post to come later).

Day 2: I end up working all day at the aquarium and do not get home until around 5:30 pm. Too exhausted and in the same situation as yesterday with timing. Around 11:30 PM that evening the oven starts making beeping noises and has an error on the screen….oh no…. I just pressed the off button and went to sleep.

Day 3: The last day that I can use this dough, I have to make it. Go to look at the oven. Broken. Still has an error code flashing on it and it wont turn on. After I had already at this point given up all hopes in making this pie, my mother tells me that the microwave has a convection setting on it. Before you get all weirded out and delete my blog from your list, I was just as reluctant as you are. I made fun of her for a few hours “You want me to cook a PIE in the MICROWAVE! Are you crazy?” I know it is considered a convection oven, but it felt like I made the pie dough in the microwave which felt like a whole new level of wrong.

Pie crust ready for the oven!


After the milk and chocolate have heated up, and you have added the sugar and cornstarch, the mixture will have a very thick pudding like consistency.


I have this whisk that my friend Torey gave to me a few years ago and it really is a very cute whisk BUT it is lopsided. I dont know who designed it, but I would love to write a letter to them letting them know how frustrating it is. You can’t leave this whisk sitting in the bowl because things like the whisk flying out of the bowl, flinging chocolate all over the kitchen and leaving chocolate behind in slightly cracked open drawers. The worst thing about it, is that I forget that its lopsided every time. Every. Time. I really should just hide this thing somewhere, or hang it on my wall, but that just might frustrate me every time I look at it.


Stupid whisk. The picture does not do its justice. I had to clean out chocolate from 5 drawers.


Still working on the chocolate curl business..getting a little better but not really.



In the end, this pie was a 3 day effort but it was not the pie’s fault really. Although 5 hours of chilling in the refrigerator is hard for anyone with a sweet tooth to wait for.

Tip: When making the caramel cream topping, be sure to watch your sugar as your caramelizing it. If you let it get too dark it will be too strong and overpower the whipped cream. You want a light amber color.

Chocolate-Caramel Cream Pie

Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts


For Dough:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent to 70 percent cacao), finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the topping
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
For the dough:
  1. Pulse flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolks and vanilla, and process until mixture just begins to hold together (no longer than 30 seconds)
  2. Shape dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days)
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll pate sucree to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Trim edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Tuck overhang under dough so edges are flush with rim, and crimp edges. Lightly prick bottom of dough with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line dough with parchment, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges begin to look dry, 20 to 22 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment. Bake until crust is darker around edges and bottom looks dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Chocolate crust can be stored overnight.

For the filling:

  1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Heat milk and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate melts.
  2. Whisk 1 cup hot milk mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Whisk milk-sugar mixture into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, 4 to 5 minutes total (about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil).
  3. Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Pour in milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it just begins to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Let custard cool in saucepan on a wire rack, whisking occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour custard into chocolate crust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard. Refrigerate until custard filling is chilled and firm, at least 4 hours (or overnight).
For the topping:
  1. Prepare an ice-water bath. Heat sugar, water, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is amber. (Do not let caramel burn.) Carefully pour in 1/2 cup cream in a slow, steady stream down the side of the saucepan, whisking constantly, until smooth (caramel will bubble).
  3. Remove from heat, and place saucepan in ice-water bath. Let caramel mixture cool, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
  4. Whisk remaining 3/4 cup cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold caramel mixture into whipped cream, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
I know there seems to be a lot of steps to this, but all it requires is time and some waiting in between cooling of things.