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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chocolate Filled Cookies and Cream Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting

There is just not much to say about these beyond YUMMY!! It's my favorite way to make cupcakes because I love the added texture that the Oreo's give to it, plus...anything with Oreo's is just downright delicious! I took these to our Martial arts class that the hubby and I are taking. There is nothing like grown men that have been working out to devour cupcakes! It was actually kind of funny. Thankfully I was able to send the rest home with our instructor, so  he and his wife and daughter could consume the calories instead of me. Everyone loved them and I didn't have to eat any of the calories. That's definitely a win-win situation.

Makes 24 regular sized cupcakes

1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 large bag Oreos
2 Tbsp flour

Chocolate Frosting in the spray can (sold on the baking aisle at most grocery stores)
*It's like the spray cheeses that are sold by the crackers. It's tall, skinny and has a long "shooter" type nozzle

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cube butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°
Place paper liners into your muffin tins. Twist 24 Oreos apart. Place the Oreo half with the filling, filling side up into the bottom of the muffin tins. Cut the other unfilled Oreo halves in half with a sharp knife. Save half of the cut up halves for crushing for the garnish and the other half to stick in the top of finished cupcakes. Follow the instructions on the cake mix and prepare the batter. Cut or break the whole Oreos  that are left in the package into quarters or eighths. It really does not matter. They will be placed into the batter and won't really show. I just liked smaller chunks in my cupcakes).

Mix the cut up sections of cookies (from the last step above) in a small bowl with 2 Tbsp flour. (this  keeps them from sinking in the cupcake, while it's baking) Stir the floured Oreos into the cupcake batter. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for about 16-20 min. When toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they are done. Remove from oven and let cool until they are completely cool.

When the cupcakes are completely cooled, fill each cupcake with the filling by placing the nozzle of the frosting spray container, deep down into the middle of each cupcake. Spray and lift the frosting nozzle at the same time, so the frosting fills up and begins to come out  the top of the hole in the middle of the cupcake.

Now it's time to frost the cupcakes. Mix together the cream cheese and butter until blended well. Mix in the vanilla. Add sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time and blend well after each cup. You can use 3-4 cups depending on the frosting texture that you want. I tend to use closer to 4 cups because I like the piping consistency of thicker frostings, but it does make it much sweeter.

Grind up half of the Oreos that you halved earlier. Dust the top of frosted cupcakes with the Oreo powdered crumbs. Place the other half of the saved Oreo halves into the cupcake for decoration.
**Tip: The halved cookie that you place into the frosting tends to soften and fall over very easily. I suggest only placing this into the cupcake right as they are being served. Or you can just leave this step out. 

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

It's not too often that I post a recipe that includes red meat. It's just not my favorite thing at all. I usually avoid it like the plague! So when my fitness trainer suggested this recipe to me, I kind of thought I would just make it for my hubby and I would make something else for myself. But as I was making it, it smelled so good and I actually got anxious to taste it. When it came out of the oven and I saw that hot bubbly cheese all over the top, I decided to give it a try. Oh boy am I glad I did! This meal was wonderful and it will definitely be made over and over again at this house. This summer, when my red bell peppers are ripe in my garden, I will try making it with those also. So thank you Randi, for the recipe suggestion. This one is a keeper!!
Right before I stuffed the peppers
Right after they came out of the oven. Gotta love all that cheesy goodness!
 Recipe Source:

Makes 3 servings

1 lb top sirloin steak, very thinly sliced
6 slices provolone cheese (you can use extra slices on top if you want yours extra cheesy)
3 large green bell peppers
1 red onion, sliced
8 oz white mushrooms sliced
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt/ pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°
Slice the top off each pepper and remove the ribbing and the seeds. Slice up the onions and the mushrooms.
In a large skillet, heat butter, olive oil, salt and pepper. When it's hot, add the sliced onions and sliced mushrooms. Continue to cook on low-med until the onions are caramelized, about 25-30 min.

Salt and pepper your steak slices. In a separate skillet, cook the steak in just a small amount of olive oil, for about 5 minutes, just until it's no longer pink. Add the steak to the onion, mushroom mixture and stir together.

Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of Provolone cheese. (see first picture above if needed). Fill each cheese lined pepper with steak, mushroom mixture until they are very full and overflowing. Top each filled pepper with a slice of Provolone cheese. Bake in 400° for approx 15 minutes or until the cheese on the top is a golden brown.
Serve warm.

Samoas Cookie Bars

Have you ever craved Girl Scout Cookies when it's NOT that time of year? Nope...neither have I! haha...but seriously, sometimes you just have a craving for one of those good old Samoa cookies that they sell. I knew when I found this recipe, that I would have to try them. It took me a long time to actually accomplish trying them, but I finally did it. Now it's taken me almost a month to get them onto this blog. Between working at my job, working out, and taking a Martial art a few nights a week, I am one busy gal! When I made these, I promised myself to only try one little bite and I actually succeeded. I took them to work and the students and staff gobbled them up fast enough that I didn't have to fight my temptations.
Woo Hoo!! Thank goodness, because if they hadn't, I am positive I could have consumed the entire pan all by myself. Yes...they are THAT good!

Recipe Source:

Makes 30 bars

For the cookie base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla 
 2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Start by  making the cookie base. Preheat your oven to 350°
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter, until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla. Put your mixer on low speed and gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. It will probably look somewhat like wet sand.
Pour the crumbly dough mixture into your greased pan and press it all out into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it is set and the edges are lightly browned. Cool completely before before putting the topping on.

For the topping:
3 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
1 (12 oz) pkg of Kraft caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp milk
10 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 300°
Spread out the coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast the coconut for  20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the coconut is a light golden color. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place them in a large microwave safe bowl. Add the salt and the milk. Cook on high for 1 minute and stir. Cook 1 more minute and stir. Continue this process for 3-4 minutes until the caramel is all melted.
When the caramel is smooth, fold in the toasted coconut with a spatula.
Using a spoon, plop dollops of the topping all over the cookie base. Using a spatula, or the back of a spoon, spread the topping into an even layer. Let topping set until it is completely cooled.
When it's all cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter.
Once the bars are cut, melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl by heating on high for about 30 seconds and stirring. Then heat them 15 more seconds and stir. Continue until they are completely melted, but be sure to stir in between or they will scorch and burn.
Dip the bottom only, of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Place the remaining chocolate  into a Ziploc baggie. Snip a small corner off with scissors and you can now drizzle the chocolate over the bars to finish them. .
Let chocolate completely set.
Store in an airtight container.