Monday, October 21, 2013

Candy Bar Bundt Cake with Chocolate Fudge Icing.

It's October. Now is the time to spend way too much money on fun-sized candy bars, smash them into chocolate chunks, and bake them into a candy bar bundt cake. Because you can... and you can get away with absolutely anything in October. Pumpkin spice cookies for breakfast, pumpkin lattes for dinner, candy bars and cinnamon in your popcorn (I can't even) , "just one more" pumpkin spice candle because I'm in love and obsessed/just try and stop me, and spending hours pinning all things pumpkin and then baking absolutely nothing because The Walking Dead is on. This is real life and we're living it!

Aren't you glad too? I'm in love with this Etsy print... and with October. It's the calm before the storm. You know... before we have to deal with candy canes and mistletoe and tangled-up Christmas tree lights.

And a month away from home, at training, where I'm expected to run three miles, study the law, and excel at ground-fighting. Do not major in criminal justice.

In the mean time, we're celebrating that calm by putting down the pumpkin spice and baking a cake. A soft, fluffy, tender, brown sugar-vanilla bundt cake filled with chunks of our favorite chocolate Halloween candy and then completely covered in the thickest, most pure fudge chocolate icing ever.  

And sprinkles. You should never miss an opportunity to use sprinkles. It's the best life advice I could ever give you.

My real life isn't always as sweet, styled, and covered in pumpkin-shaped sprinkles as you would think. Maybe I stress-bake bundt cakes sometimes... because it's who I am, they're a cake-walk to bake, and let me feel completely in control of things for at least 50 minutes.

P.S. Are cake walks even a thing anymore? They were my favorite part of my town's annual Halloween fair growing up. I mean, why try and win a Pixy Stix at the ring-toss when you could when a WHOLE CAKE for walking in a circle?

... this is probably why I run today.

  This bundt cake is the perfect place to start for Everything Ever Baking. As in... this batter smells like chocolate chip cookie dough... and anything can be baked into a chocolate chip cookie! What do you have hiding in your cabinets? Oreos? Chocolate-covered pretzels? Seventeen opened and forgotten bags of chocolate chips?

If you're reading this in November... the answer is probably leftover Halloween candy.

Into this cake went all of my favorite fun-sized chocolate things... 

 Reese's peanut butter cups


 Hershey's Cookies & Cream bars

 Almond Snickers 

I love a good suspenseful cake. With this bundt, each slice was different! The slice above was full of chopped almond Snickers and Rolo halves... making it taste like a rich, moist caramel-vanilla cake with unexpected chunks of chocolate.

My boyfriend ate this slice for breakfast full of nothing but peanut butter cups. He totally thought I'd baked him a peanut butter pound cake.

The secret to this cake's fluffy softness? I almost always swap out the light, golden brown sugar in any cookie or cake recipe for dark brown sugar. Besides adding a deeper and richer brown sugar/caramel taste, it leaves my baked goods so much more tender, soft, and moist.

P.S. This cake came THIS close to having a brown butter icing (my second best life advice tip? Follow that link to my buttermilk pumpkin cake & immediately make it a part of your life). This chocolate icing though? Pure fudge + a good decision. It was similar to the stovetop icing used to ice one of my favorite go-to chocolate cakes: Texas sheet cake.

There's just too many things going on here that I love.

It's fall. Let's smash chocolate and bake cakes!

Candy Bar Bundt Cake with Chocolate Fudge Icing

Printable Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
1 cup vegetable oil + more for greasing
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups assorted candy, roughly chopped & tossed in 2 tablespoons of flour (I used Rolos, Reeses peanut butter cups, and fun-sized almond Snickers and cookies & cream Hershey bars)- 

Chocolate Icing
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 tablespoons evaporated milk
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3 tablespoons evaporated milk or heavy whipping cream, if needed

Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan generously with oil and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.

Mix. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the oil and brown sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Next, mix in the vanilla extract and vanilla Greek yogurt until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the chopped candy bars (tossed in 2 tablespoons of flour).  Pour cake batter into prepared bundt pan and spread evenly.

Bake. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake tests clean. Remove cake and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make icing. In a medium saucepan, bring butter, cocoa powder, and evaporated milk to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and whisk continuously until smooth, about 30 seconds. If icing is still to thick, add extra evaporated milk or heavy whipping creaming one tablespoon at at a time until icing is a pouring consistency. Immediately remove from heat and pour icing over the top of your cake. Work fast- the icing will harden quickly once it's removed from heat!

Source: Candy Bar Bundt Cake inspired and adapted from Scarletta Bakes. Chocolate icing from Brown Eyed Baker.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Gingerdoodle Blossoms.

 These pillowy pumpkin spice blossoms are inspired by two of my favorite and most popular (and pinned!) fall cookies: 

 Cinnamon pumpkin spice kiss blossoms... soft, chewy cinnamon cookies, rolled in sugar, with a white chocolate-pumpkin spice Hershey kiss on top. 


 Gingerdoodles... gingersnaps and snickerdoodles rolled into everyone's new favorite Christmas cookie. 

Anything with a Hershey kiss on top is my favorite thing to bake. That was the first thing I changed when I updated my About Me page! Whether it's peanut butter, chocolate-peppermint, cinnamon spice, or Oreo-stuffed white chocolate raspberry blossoms... I'll be honest: it's all about pressing a chocolate candy into a just-baked cookie and making those signature crinkles.

I love a good sparkling, sugary-crisp crinkle.

This fall, the only thing I wanted to bake (besides everything pumpkin) was a repeat of last year's cinnamon kiss cookies. They were simple, chewy, and full of fall flavor ... and even better when paired with a pumpkin spice latte for breakfast. And after snooping at what you've been pinning lately, I was inspired and determined to combine the sugar & spice swirls of gingerdoodles with the pumpkin spice Hershey kiss of those cinnamon blossoms we're all obsessed with.

There's three parts to these gingerdoodle kiss cookies.

 Gingersnap dough

 Chilled pumpkin snickerdoodle dough

 And pumpkin spice kisses!

Oh... and a quick dunk in a bowl of nutmeg-spiked cinnamon-sugar. I fall.

Rolled together, it's hard to tell we're baking with two different doughs. Don't worry... all your hard work hasn't gone to waste. Here's a sneak peek at the cookie bottoms!

Gingersnaps meets pumpkin snickerdoodles. 

First up, the gingersnap dough.

If you have ten minutes, you can easily mix together a half-batch of the soft-baked, spicy-sweet gingersnap dough used in my original gingerdoodle recipe. Rich with ginger, cinnamon, and molasses, this recipe needed no improvement (except in quantity!).

Next, the snickerdoodle dough.

Because it's October and let me live, I took things one step further by swapping out the snickerdoodle dough for pumpkin snickerdoodle dough. Pumpkin snickerdoodles have been on my fall to-bake list for the past two or three years and I'm so glad I waited for this moment to test the recipe. With the addition of some fall spices, a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree, a little vanilla, and some extra brown sugar, this cookie dough had all the cinnamon-sugar flavor of the classic snickerdoodle, with the subtle pumpkin flavor I plan on craving from now until December.

Because we're baking with pumpkin, the dough is soft and nearly impossible to roll at room temperature. Chilling the dough for at least one hour (I was too lazy to bake and chilled mine overnight) made the sticky-soft dough pliable enough to roll into balls.

As someone who likes her cookies soft-baked and pillowy, the addition of pumpkin turned these blossoms into the fat, puffy, cinnamon-sugar clouds I was hoping for. Where the original gingerdoodle cookies were thin and chewy, these baked up into perfectly soft (but un-cakey) chewy cookies. And they stay soft! Even several days later.

Last... the pumpkin spice Kisses.

The secret to keeping your chocolate from melting? 

1. Freeze your Hershey Kisses.

2. Allow cookies to cool three minutes out of the oven before pressing your Kisses on top.

3. Place the entire baking sheet into the freezer until chocolate sets.


P.S. An anticipated FAQ: I found my pumpkin Kisses at Target. Can't find them in anywhere near you? Try caramel Kisses or use the back of a spoon to make a thumbprint-shape indent and fill with a sprinkle of white chocolate chips!

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Gingerdoodle Blossoms

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Dough
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
Pinch of salt  
Pinch of nutmeg

Make snickerdoodle dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar, softened butter, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. 

Add in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg and mix on low until thoroughly combined. Let dough chill for at least 1 hour (I chilled mine overnight). 

Gingersnap Dough
6 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
4 tablespoons molasses 
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

Make gingersnap dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the molasses and egg and continue beating until combined. 

Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

For rolling & making cookie blossoms 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 package Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses

Freeze pumpkin Kisses. Unwrap pumpkin spice Kisses and place them in a small bowl in the freezer until ready to use. 

Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or spray with baking spray; set aside. 

Sugar & spice. In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and pinch of nutmeg. Set aside.

Combine together. Combine a 1/2 tablespoon of gingersnap dough and a 1/2 tablespoon of snickerdoodle dough together and roll into one dough ball. Toss in cinnamon-sugar and place on prepared baking sheet. Keep snickerdoodle dough in the refrigerator when not using... dough quickly becomes too soft and sticky to handle when at room temperature! 

Bake. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until done.

Stick a kiss in it. Remove from oven and allow to cool for three minutes on baking sheet. Gently press a frozen pumpkin spice kiss into the center of each cookie. The Kisses will start to get shiny and melt after a just few minutes. At this point, just pop the whole baking sheet into the freezer until the chocolate sets.

Source: Cookie blossoms inspired and adapted from my cinnamon pumpkin spice kiss blossoms and gingerdoodles