Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies by twocarolines.com

This is a chocolate cookie CLASSIC! I call them chocolate crinkle cookies, but I’ve heard loads of cute names for them, such as “crackles” or my favorite “snow on the mountain cookies”.  They are SOOOOO good, super chocolatey and just lovely with the way the sugar gently breaks when they bake – I’m pretty sure they are responsible for a solid 3 lbs of weight gain in just a few days – just be warned that control is difficult around this level of deliciousness.  I used a pretty traditional recipe, but I added chocolate chips because: obvious.  A cool bonus is that you can make the dough and keep it in the fridge and bust out hot cookies anytime!

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

  1. Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl in the microwave on defrost or in 20 second increments until it looses it’s shape and you can whisk it smooth.  Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Beat the butter on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat until smooth.  Add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.  Add the egg, vanilla and chocolate chips until all combined.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in batches beating well after each addition so it’s all incorporated.
  3. Transfer dough to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, a few hours or as long as overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 and either grease or parchment line 2 baking sheets.
  5. Place the confectioners sugar in a small bowl.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls (I use a small ice cream scoop for this and it works great).  Roll each ball in the confectioners sugar coating heavily.  Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for about 7 minutes – until the sides bounce back when lightly touched but the middles still look a little doughy.
  6. Cool cookies on the baking sheets a few minutes – 4 or so, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from “chocolatiest crinkles” in Luscious Chocolate Desserts by Lori Longbotham.

Coconut Snowball Cake

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Coconut Snowball Cake by twocarolines.com

It’s been years since I posted this twocarolines classic and the birthday of my dear friend Steph last weekend reminded me how delicious her favorite Caroline cake is. I’m far away from her so I can’t bring her snowball cake this year so I’m posting it instead in her honor.

This cake is inspired by my brother in law Bob. I asked him what cake he would most want for the wedding reception of his beautiful daughter Aly and he said “white cake with pink frosting” – didn’t sound that good to me TBH. This combination reminding him of convenience store treats of his youth, like Grandma’s Cookies, Hostess Zingers and Snowballs, the nostalgic memory of these childhood treats inspired me! I decided to make a white coconut cake, with this coconut frosting I usually put on chocolate cake then just smother it in coconut flakes so it has the effect of a hostess treat, but with homemade goodness.  The result was a resounding success, people went nuts for it!  And just to make life easy I was able to doctor a cake mix for the cake and it was honestly so perfectly moist, bouncy and delicious I’m glad I didn’t make the cake totally from scratch.   I used some pink dye just for Bobby J, but this would be extra pretty keeping all ingredients white as well, do what makes you feel good.

For the Cake:
1 package white cake mix (I used pillsbury, but any should work)
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons warm water
3 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

For the Frosting:
16 ounces or 1 box powdered sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup butter
4 ounces cream cheese cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon coconut
1 drop red or pink food coloring if using
3 cups shredded coconut (I mix normal sweetened coconut with unsweetened wide flake coconut I buy from Sprouts because I think it’s so pretty)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 – spray or parchment line two 9 inch baking pans.  I spray and parchment line because I’m careful like that, but do what works for you.  It’s also a good time to get out your cream cheese and butter for the frosting so they can come to room temperature.
  2. Mix sour cream, oil, water, extracts and eggs one at a time making sure they are all incorporated, then add cake mix and mix for a few minutes making a consistent batter.
  3. Pour into your prepared cake pans trying to get them as even as possible (I put them on a scale but that’s because I’m a dessert blogger and want my business to look legit – you could probably eye ball it and get close enough to even).  Bake for about 25-28 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cakes are risen and browned nicely.  Let cool 5-10 minutes then turn out of pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, butter and boiling water then start to slowly add the powdered sugar making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, last mix in the coconut extract.  Put your frosting in the fridge to get it a little thickened for 20 minutes or so.
  5. To frost, cut the round top off your bottom layer, then turn, cut side down onto a cake board or plate.  Pile a big glop of frosting onto this layer and spread out being sure to only touch your frosting spatula to the frosting and never to cake, just to the ends.  Next even out your next layer by cutting the round top then plop that on top of your frosted layer cut side down.  Put most of your frosting on top of the cake and spread out slowly – being careful to only touch the frosting and not the cake so you don’t pull up crumbs.  If you do, wash off our spatula and get more frosting to cover, there will be some left over.  Spread the top so it goes past the border of the cake then take frosting and scoop it on to your spreading spatula as you go along the sides turning your cake so you get a nice even layer all around the sides.  Last do a nice back and forth or a circular swirl on top then before it hardens press your coconut into the top and sides of the cake.  It’s helpful to have something under it so clean-up is easier.  Serve at room temperature – keeps for a good 3 days or more if you keep it covered.

 

Blueberry Crumble Pie

 

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Blueberry crumble pie by twocarolines.com

I’m here to tell you with conviction that you can eat berry pies all through the winter!  Blueberry pie is not always the most popular, people kind of love it or feel ehh about it, but I’m a fan, and I felt that instead of double crusting it, a nice heavy oat crumble would do wonders with some blueberry goodness.  I was super right about that.  Not only did this pie have amazing flavor with the sweet berries, lemon, cinnamon and sugar, but the texture was fruit pie perfection!  Whenever you make a fruit pie you must send up a prayer that it sets up and you don’t end up with soup.  This little number sets up like a champion every time! Sturdy slices, but still so juicy and with that delicious oatmeal crunch on top, hands down best blueberry pie I’ve EVER HAD! And frozen blueberries are just fine, put them in the fridge the day before and STRAIN ALL JUICES! Trust me on that one, and be sure to have some good quality vanilla ice cream on hand because that combination will send you! -CK 2.0

Crust:

  • Traditional 9″ Pie Crust – we like King Family Pie Crust the best, but make or buy whatever crust you like and line a 9 inch pan.

Filling:

  • 6 cups blueberries fresh (or frozen works too as long as you thaw them and drain ALL the juices.  You will probably need to measure 8 cups frozen because once they thaw the volume goes way down)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I reduced because there is sugar in the streusel, but if your berries aren’t sweet go to 1/2)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamon

Oat Crumble:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (if you don’t have the above spices, just increase cinnamon to 1/2)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes at room temperature

 

  1.  Make your crust and roll out into a 9″ pie pan.  Keep in fridge or freezer while you prepare your filling.
  2. To make the filling: Put the blueberries first in a strainer to make sure you have no extra juices, then place them in a bowl with the lemon juice and stir to coat.  Separately combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and cardamon.  Mix them thoroughly then add them to the blueberries stirring until all combined.  Take filling out of bowl with a slotted spoon leaving any extra juices out of your filling.  Spread filling into prepared crust and put it in the refrigerator to set while you make your crumble.  The recipe says to let it set 30 minutes, but mine set up perfectly and it was only in there about 15.
  3. Set oven to 425.  To make the oat crumble stir together all the ingredients except the butter in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the butter pieces and toss to coat.  Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is chunky but not homogeneous.  Put on your pie and let chill for another 5 minutes or so.
  4. Bake (on a baking sheet if it looks pretty full so you don’t leak onto the oven) for 20 minutes at 425 then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and your crumble is a gorgeous brown.  I put a pie shield on my crust or you can put some little foils strips around the edge to avoid the crust getting too brown on the outside.  Cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours before slicing, then chill in the fridge.  Serve with a really thick vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Blueberry Pie recipe adapted from Mrs. Rowe’s little book of Southern Pies and Oat Crumble from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book 

Tres Leches Cake

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tres leches cake by twocarolines.com

Prior to this I had never even had Tres Leches Cake and didn’t think I particularly needed to, but I was randomly watching Pioneer woman one day while folding laundry and she whipped up one of these and it looked super amazing and unique.  I followed her recipe except for adding some cinnamon to the whip cream frosting because it’s an insanely delicious secret I learned from 1.0’s amazing Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse Pie.  Also I used strawberries instead of maraschino cherries because those are kind of yuck but strawberries are summer fruit central and tasted delicious!  I fed this cake to a crowd and they went nutso for it – I always enjoy seeing my bakes disappear with a quickness.  I’m sure you’ll have a similar result because this cake was such a pleasure to eat.

Cake:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs – separated
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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tres leches slice by twocarolines.com

For the tres leches mixture:
1/4 cup heavy cream
one 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
one 12 ounce can evaporated milk

For Icing:
1 pint heavy cream, for whipping
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (scant) teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
strawberries to decorate

  1.  For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch cake pan.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, set aside.  Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar on high speed until the yolks are pale yellow. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
  3. Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Fold the egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
  4. Bake until the cake is done, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan, and then turn out (upside down) onto a rimmed platter.
  5. For the tres leches: Combine the heavy cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk in a small pitcher. Pierce the surface of the cake with a fork several times. Drizzle the milk mixture over the top and allow the cake to sit and absorb the milk mixture. Don’t worry about totally soaking the cake! That’s what you want.
  6. For the icing: Whip the cream with the sugar and cinnamon if using. Spread it evenly over the top and sides of the soaked cake and decorate with strawberries.  You can use as many or as few as you choose.  I was more minimal for pictures, then I gave the rest of the strawberries to my 3 year old and she plastered it how she saw fit, which tasted great!
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    Millies decoration for tres leches cake by twocarolines
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Several hours is fine. The cooler the cake, the better!

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman tres leches cake on foodnetwork.com.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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chocolate zucchini cake by twocarolines.com

I’m well known for my love of cakes, so people often ask me my favorite, well HERE IT IS! Caroline’s world famous Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting.  I just deeply love and adore this cake.  It’s the dessert I crave the most often, there’s something about it, that really sends me.  Usually when I make it, I bring it directly to an event of some sort and never get a decent picture, it’s just that once it’s done, everyone wants to eat it so fast photos seem unimportant! I’m not ashamed to admit that this is a ‘doctor the mix’ cake, with a mix foundation that tastes better than many from scratch cakes, there are no ego’s allowed in my kitchen! The cake itself is soooooo rich and chocolatey, the zucchini makes it ridiculous moist.  And the frosting is a legit, dreamy dark chocolate buttercream just poppin off chocolate flavor like nobody’s business.  I like to put nuts on half my cake so nut haters can still enjoy but man alive does a pecan or walnut just belong on this beauty! I also adore this cake with a white sticky frosting, but if you make it that way you need to eat it day of, because the white sticky tends to break down after a day or so.  I’m so excited to share this and I hope you love it as much as I do!

Chocolate Zucchini cake:
1 package devils food cake mix (I use the pillsbury one and it always tastes great)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Chocolate buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup butter melted
3/4 cups cocoa
1/3 cup milk (or cream)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup or so walnuts or pecans (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350.  Grease and line 2 9 inch round cake pans (or it bakes up beautifully in a 9×13 – just pay attention to doneness rather than bake times).
  2. In a large bowl blend cake mix, cinnamon, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and eggs and beat for a few minutes.  Add zucchini and mix until thoroughly combined and then add chocolate chips.
  3. Distribute evenly into your cake pans and bake for about 22-25 minutes depending on your oven.  It’s done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Let cool before frosting.
  4. For the frosting, mix the butter and cocoa then add the milk, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar mixing on high until totally uniform and combined.  I use a cocoa mix with 1/3 special dark cocoa and the rest regular cocoa for an ultra decadent flavor.  Add more powdered sugar, or milk alternatively to get the desired texture.
  5. Cut off the top rounds on your cakes with a large bread knife then put the first one cut side down on a plate or cake stand.  Spread 1/3 of your frosting on that layer, then put your next cake on cut side down and spread the rest of your frosting, starting at the top and being careful to never touch your frosting spatula or knife to the cake itself but only on the frosting so you don’t pull crumbs.  Spread over the sides and around the edges.  Garnish with pecans or walnuts if you would like.
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chocolate zucchini cake by twocarolines.com

 

Quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Quintessential chocolate chip cookies by twocarolines.com

What is more all American than classic chocolate chip cookies?  These are my Momma’s famous CCC’s – it’s an honor to share this family classic.  It’s possible they taste a lot like your Mom’s chocolate chip cookies, but to me, they taste like home, and a Mother’s love, and that time our dog Beamer jumped up on the kitchen counter and ate the cookies while they cooled (don’t worry, he was fine), and seriously so many great memories.  Just thinking about them brings joy to my heart.  They are always on point, so melty, amazing texture of chewyness with a tiny crunch on the end, to me, they are a simple cookie in it’s most perfect form.

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons room temperature water
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup choppped walnuts (1 1/2 if you you’re doing nuts in all the cookies, but Mom always makes half “non-nutty” for the littles)

  1.  Prepare 2 cookie sheets with baking spray, parchment or a silpat (Mom uses the wrapper from the butter to grease the sheet) and preheat the oven 350.
  2. Chop up walnuts so there are some good sized bits, but not huge chunks, otherwise known as coarsely chopped.
  3. Cream butter with sugars, then add eggs and vanilla until totally combined.  Add water and mix well.  Next Add your flour salt and baking soda (you can sift them if you want, but they are fantastic either way).  Mix until just combined then fold in your chocolate chips, and if you’re making cookies sans nuts for people who are “not enlightened” as my Mom puts it, now is the time to drop your cookies in about 2 tablespoon plops with room to spread on to your prepared sheet and while the first batch is baking, add your nuts for the next.
  4. Bake about 8-9 minutes – bake time is not important, doneness is.  You want these cookies out of the oven when they are still shiny and doughy looking in the middle, but the edges are brown at the bottom and starting to set.  If you overbake them, just give them to a neighbor you don’t like because you’ve done a terrible thing to an otherwise perfect chocolate chip cookie!  They will bake a little longer as they cool on the cookie sheet and after 10 minutes or so, move them to a cooling rack.  I would tell you to let cool before serving but that’s just adorable non-sense.  Eat them as soon as they don’t burn your mouth!  They keep for a day or two in a well sealed container, but I often end up freezing what we don’t eat the first day or two and then you can defrost them for 20 seconds and re-live that fresh out of the oven feeling.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cake by twocarolines.com
Pumpkin Spice Cake by twocarolines.com

Yes the pumpkin spice thing is really popular this time of year and probably getting a bit played, but don’t front like you don’t want to put this in your mouth.  Also, let’s not pretend you don’t have more than one can of pumpkin in your pantry right now dying to come out and make your house smell good.  I made it for my brothers family and they felt strongly that this was a cake you could easily eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, it didn’t last long.  It’s the perfect cake for Fall, all warm and cozy and tucked in nicely with a magical sweet/sour/touch of cinnamony cream cheese sweater.

pumpkin spice set up twocarolines.com
Pumpkin Spice Cake set up by twocarolines.com

Pumpkin Cake:
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it)
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cardamon

pumpkin spice cake prebake twocarolines.com
pumpkin cake before the bake by twocarolines.com

(if you don’t have all of these spices don’t get stressed out, just use a little more or less of something you do have until it tastes good.  I think clove is such a strong flavor that I used less of that and added cardamon which I love in baked goods, you could even use a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice instead of those last 3 if you’d like)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable or coconut
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites seperated

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup (or one stick) butter at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (but keep some extra on hand to make sure you get the right consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of cinnamon

For the Cake:

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 and position a rack in the center.  Butter a 9 inch round cake pan (if yours is 9.5 or 10 that’s okay, just start checking for doneness 10 minutes earlier). Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and butter that too.  If you’re making the frosting same day you might want to take out your butter and cream cheese so they can come up to room temp before it’s time to make frosting.
  2. Sift (if you’re really concerned about lumps, but I didn’t sift the first time and it was just as good) the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl and set aside
  3. In a large bowl mix pumpkin, oil, sugar and salt for a good 3-4 minutes until it’s all combined.  Remember to periodically scrape down the sides of your bowl.
  4. Mix in egg yolks one at a time then add the dry ingredients but stop mixing as soon as the flour mixture is just combined.
  5. Whisk the three egg whites until they are frothy and white.  Fold them into the batter using a rubber spatula until they are no longer visible, but just barely, you want your whites to stay fluffy so your cake is springy.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake on the center rack in the oven.  Begin checking the cake after 40 minutes, could take up to 45 – the center will continue to set as the cake cools in the pan, but still don’t take it out until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let the cake cool at least 20 minutes before inverting it to a wire rack to completely cool.

For the Frosting:

  1. Beat together the butter and the cream cheese until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is smooth with no dry traces of sugar.   You can use a little extra powdered sugar if you like your frosting thicker and sweeter, but I like the sourness of the cream cheese to come out as much as possible.  Add a pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla and beat until incorporated.

I liked it best served with chopped walnuts, but the original recipe (link below) made carmalized pumpkin seeds, which would probably be boss, but I don’t usually have those lying around and nuts can be somewhat polarizing in a family with kids so I usually add them at serving time for grown ups and littles who have refined taste.  Let us know how you like it

Recipe adapted from Food 52 Sarah Jampel’s Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Caramelized Pumpkin Seeds

A couple of Caroline Kings here to make your day as delicious as possible.

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