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Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

Shortbread Cookies

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bob’s Red Mill.

Simple, buttery, and delicious, these shortbread cookies made with Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose flour are the best treat to make for the holiday season!

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

I love giving the gift of baked goods, especially shortbread cookies.  There is just something special about a batch of homemade shortbread cookies in a bakery box, tied with a bow, and accompanied by a sweet note that makes the recipients heart happy.

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

So when Bob’s Red Mill asked me if I wanted to bake some cookies using their flour to give as a gift, I  knew the answer was yes! Bob’s Red Mill provided me with the highest quality all-purpose flour I’ve ever used which really made these shortbread cookies shine!

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

As long as I’ve been baking and blogging, I’ve been gifting my baked goods to my friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers.  Whether it was Valentine’s day gifts or biscotti for Emily’s teachers or desserts for soldiers & families at a dinner at an overseas military base in Germany… I know that it feels so good to give to others.

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

I recently read an article that listed the benefits of cooking for others.  This article said that cooking for others:

  • Is an altruistic act, but also so much more…
  • Is a form of nurturing…
  • Can create bonds and build community…
  • Is a form of self-care…
  • Is a practice of mindfulness.

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

Mindfulness is something I try to practice daily and it makes sense why baking and mindfulness go hand in hand.

The article goes on to say… “That’s one of the interesting things about cooking, is that if you look at all the psychological benefits, there’s a cumulative effect: it’s self care, it’s taking care of others, it’s physical care, it’s mindfulness, and it hits on meeting basic needs for yourself and others. There are a lot of pieces that come into cooking a meal for others.”

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

These shortbread cookies were made with one person in mind.  My new boss Kevin at ThanksUSA.  I met Kevin last year because he’s also on the Board of Directors at Dog Tag Inc. where I was a Fellow in their program.   I didn’t know much about him then, but knew that he had accomplished great things as a Lt. Col in the Marine Corp and then as the founder of Hiring Our Heroes.

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

I realized quickly what an incredible leader Kevin is and found myself excited by his ability to see the leadership potential in me.  For me, this meant everything.   The last 3 years have been full of uncertainty and for Kevin to see so clearly in my abilities was the reassurance I needed that I had made the right decision to take a full time position with ThanksUSA.

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

So, one Friday after a busy morning of presentations and meetings… I stopped Kevin in the parking lot and said I had a gift for him.  I handed him the box of shortbread cookies with a note and told him I baked them, hugged him and wished him a good weekend.

It felt good to acknowledge how much his leadership meant to me.  It felt good to do something nice for him.  It felt good to bake something that I know would brighten his day.

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

And that… that is why it’s so important to bake and give to others.

The past week on two separate days, I had cookies and brownies for all the neighborhood kids as they got off the bus after school.  One of the mom’s looked at me and said, “Oh… so you’re THAT MOM.”

Shortbread Cookies | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com #sponsored #BobsRedMill #Bakesgiving

Yes.  I am that mom… and nothing will ever change that.

Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 8 dozen
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4½ cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
  • nonpareiles
  • melted chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cold butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add the salt and 3½ cups of the flour and mix on medium-low speed until combined.
  4. Replace paddle attachment with the dough hook. Sprinkle ½ cup flour and turn the mixer on low-medium. Allow the hook to knead dough adding as much of the remaining ½ cup flour as needed to make the dough soft, pliable, and similar to play-dough, not sticky.
  5. Divide dough into three sections and pat into a disc. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until slightly firm enough to roll out.
  6. On a floured surface, roll disc of dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough and place each cookie inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. If decorating with sprinkles, pour sprinkles into a bowl and press the side of each cookie into the sprinkles and then place on the baking sheet.
  8. Using a fork, poke holes in the top of each cookie.
  9. Bake 12-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. The bake time will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. Smaller shapes 1in-2in will need 12-15 minutes - while larger shapes will need up to 20 minutes.
  10. Repeat with the remaining dough, working in batches so dough stays chilled and workable.
  11. Cool completely on wire rack before serving.
  12. Store cookies in an air tight container at room temperature.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bob’s Red Mill.
Easy Samoa Cupcakes - Chocolate cake topped with brown sugar frosting, toasted coconut, chocolate syrup and a Samoa cookie | JavaCupcake.com

Easy Samoa Cupcakes

Impress your friends with these super easy Samoa Cupcakes!  Made with my tried and true chocolate cake recipe, these cupcakes are topped with a brown sugar frosting, toasted coconut, chocolate drizzle and a Samoa Cookie!

Easy Samoa Cupcakes - Chocolate cake topped with brown sugar frosting, toasted coconut, chocolate syrup and a Samoa cookie | JavaCupcake.com

This past Saturday, my neighbor Doris invited me and the kids over for a BBQ to help the time pass before my husband comes home from Afghanistan.  It was a last minute invite, seeing it was already 4:30pm and I was in my sweat pants with no make-up on so I hesitated at first about coming over.  I mean… it’s one thing to be in sweats in front of my neighbor, but in mixed company… I wasn’t too sure.

After a little convincing, I decided I’d toss the kids over the fence and join the neighbors, their kids and another family for a BBQ dinner.

Easy Samoa Cupcakes - Chocolate cake topped with brown sugar frosting, toasted coconut, chocolate syrup and a Samoa cookie | JavaCupcake.com

My mom taught that when someone invites you for dinner, you bring something to the table.  You don’t come empty handed.   So, I ran into the kitchen and did a quick inventory of what I had on hand to make.  I always have supplies for cupcakes, but what could I throw together that would have that “WOW” factor?

I still had a few boxes of Girl Scout Samoa cookies left, so I decided I’d do a play on those for the cupcakes.

I started with my favorite chocolate cake recipe for the cupcakes.  Then, I topped the cupcakes with a brown sugar frosting.  I didn’t have any caramel, so I wanted to incorporate the flavor of caramel into the frosting… brown sugar was the easiest way to do that.

Easy Samoa Cupcakes - Chocolate cake topped with brown sugar frosting, toasted coconut, chocolate syrup and a Samoa cookie | JavaCupcake.com

While the cupcakes were cooling, I toasted some sweetened coconut and pulled the Hershey’s chocolate syrup out of the fridge to come to room temperate.  I halved a few Samoa cookies and I was ready to put it all together.

On top of the swirl of brown sugar frosting, I sprinkled a generous amount of toasted coconut.  Then, drizzled the chocolate sauce over the coconut and garnished the entire cupcake with half a Samoa Cookie.

Easy Samoa Cupcakes - Chocolate cake topped with brown sugar frosting, toasted coconut, chocolate syrup and a Samoa cookie | JavaCupcake.com

Easy Samoa Cupcakes! The entire process took less than two hours… most of which was spent waiting for the cupcakes to cool enough so the frosting wouldn’t melt!

Happy Baking!

Easy Samoa Cupcakes

Easy Samoa Cupcakes

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 16 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • Use THIS RECIPE for the chocolate cupcakes
  • NOTE: For this recipe I used a caramel flavored brewed coffee

Frosting

  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1lb powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk

Garnish

  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Samoa cookies, halved

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Make cupcakes according to the directions in THIS RECIPE

Frosting

  1. Cream the butter and brown sugar together until smooth - about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
  3. Add the cream/milk and beat until smooth, light and fluffy. Add more milk if you desire a looser consistency.

Assembly

  1. Using a Wilton 1M piping tip, pipe a swirl of frosting on to each cupcake.
  2. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top then drizzle chocolate sauce over.
  3. Garnish each cupcake with 1/2 a Girl Scout Samoa Cookie.
Strawberry Crumb Bars - Start your day off right with these fabulous oat and berry bars seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg! | JavaCupcake.com

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Start your day off with a sweet treat of oats and strawberries with these delicious Strawberry Crumb Bars.  They pair perfectly with your morning cup of joe!

Strawberries & oats make for a simlpe, delicious breakfast treat in these Strawberry Crumb Bars! | JavaCupcake.com

I bought a couple bags of frozen strawberries for a project a few weeks back that I never ended up using.  And, instead of wasting them, I decided I needed to come up with something delicious to make them them!

These Strawberry Crumb Bars were just the thing!  My daughter, she’s 14, doesn’t always like to take the time to eat breakfast in the mornings.  She’s too cool for that.  Haha! So, I figured if I baked something that was semi-healthy that she would be excited to eat it!

These bars start with a layer of flour, butter, sugar and oats and has a center of strawberry jam and sliced strawberries.  They’re topped with more of the oat mixture then baked until golden brown.  One bowl and super easy to make!

Strawberry Crumb Bars - Start your day off right with these fabulous oat and berry bars seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg! | JavaCupcake.com

Serve these Strawberry Crumb bars with a side of milk (or a mug of hot coffee for me) and we’ve got a delicious, easy breakfast that even my teen will like!

The original recipe I saw for these bars had a raspberry filling, so if you have another flavor of jam that you like you could easily replace the center with that.  Peach would be delicious! Mmmm with some fresh peach slices! I guess I know what I’m making during peach season!

Happy Baking!

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Yield: 9 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup seedless strawberry jam
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries, frozen or fresh

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line a 8x8in metal baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges. Spray the foil with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, oats, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar.
  3. Cut the room temperature butter into pieces and add the the bowl. Using a pastry blender, combine the butter into the flour mixture until no more flour is visible. This process will take about 5 minutes.
  4. Spread 2 cups of the mixture evenly across the bottom of the prepared pan. Press it flat making sure it goes into the corners and edges.
  5. With an offset spatula, evenly spread the strawberry jam across the entire the bottom layer.
  6. Gently press sliced strawberries into the jam.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly on top and gently press into the strawberries.
  8. Bake for 35-38 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into square.
  10. Store in an air tight container.

Notes

Recipe inspired from allrecipes

Homemade Brown Sugar by BranAppetit for JavaCupcake.com

Homemade Brown Sugar

Learn to make rich and delicious homemade brown sugar with just two simple ingredients and only 10 minutes!

Homemade Brown Sugar by BranAppetit for JavaCupcake.com

Hi everyone! I’m Brandi from BranAppetit, and I’m so happy to be here sharing one of my favorite kitchen fixes.

If you’re anything like me, you forget to buy things at the store pretty regularly. Even when I have them on my list, sometimes I miss the aisle or I start thinking about something else that I need and I completely miss things like eggs or sugar or coffee. All necessities.

Homemade Brown Sugar by BranAppetit for JavaCupcake.com

Let’s say you just got back from the store and are ready to make a batch of cookies. You reach for the brown sugar and realize you don’t have any. What do you do? If you’re like me, you’re not going to want to put shoes on again and drive into town for sugar.

So what do you do if you need brown sugar right-this-minute?

1. Pray that you have enough white sugar to do this.

2. Get out the same amount of white sugar  – need 3/4 cup of brown sugar? Get 3/4 cup of white.

3. Grab that molasses that you barely use.

Homemade Brown Sugar by BranAppetit for JavaCupcake.com

This will save you.

And you may never go back to store-bought brown sugar.

This stuff smells incredible! Like…so good that you’ll just want to make it your new face scrub, right then, and forget about baking cookies. You’ve been warned.

A big THANK YOU goes out to Brandi for sharing with us her great, simple recipe for making homemade brown sugar!   But you’re in for a treat… Brandi is sharing another amazing recipe with us later this week!  So be sure to come back for that!  If you want to see more of the deliciousness that Brandi has make, visit her blog BranAppetit!  You can also find her on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest

Homemade Brown Sugar

Yield: 1 cup - Multiply as needed

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp molasses

Instructions

  1. Pour sugar into a medium bowl and drizzle the molasses on top.
  2. Stir together with a fork, mixing the molasses into the sugar. The sugar will clump up with the molasses – don’t freak out! Just keep mixing.
  3. Fluff the sugar with your fork a few times once all the molasses is mixed into the sugar. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container.
Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies

A twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie, these Cinnamon Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies are full of flavor, chocolate and are sure to please everyone!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

If you’ve been reading Java Cupcake for a while, you may know I kind of have an obsession with buying seasonal candy for baking.  Yesterday, I may or may not have bought 10 bags of Christmas candy.  Ya, I know.  I may have a problem.

Think there’s a Holiday Candy Lovers Anonymous group?  Maybe I should ask Crazy for Crust or Love From the Oven… they seem to have the same problem I do. #foodbloggerproblems

Anyhoo… I realized last week that I had bought Fall themed M&Ms and have yet to use them.  And with Thanksgiving just a few weeks away I figured I needed to jump on that train and make some cookies!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

Tonight, I’m Snack Mom for my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop.  I asked Emily what the other moms had been bringing for snack and she told me they had deli sandwiches, fruit, chips and drinks.

Woah.  That’s a lot of  “snack”.

My idea of a snack is cookies or fruit or popcorn or granola bars.  Something homemade, even.  So yeah… these girls won’t be getting deli sandwiches.  They’ll be getting cinnamon chocolate chip M&M cookies with milk.  Lots of cookies.  Lots of milk.

I started with my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe for these cookies.  This recipe makes a cookie that’s crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle and has chunks of chocolate chips perfectly running through them.  Yeah… they’re bomb.   But, because it’s Fall… I wanted to add another layer of flavor to the cookies and decided to add cinnamon to the batter.  YUM!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com`

Also, because I didn’t have all day for these cookies, instead of chilling them in the refrigerator, I popped them in the freezer for a couple hours the baked them.  The butter int he dough just needed to bet set up enough so that the cookies didn’t run all over the pan when baking.   I place a couple extra M&Ms on top of each ball of dough, just to make them pretty and BAM… Cinnamon Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies!

Perfect for Girl Scouts.  Perfect for Fall.  Perfect.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 24 Tbsp (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks, large
  • 2 Tbsps vanilla
  • 1 bag M&Ms in Fall colors, divided
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, corn starch and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars until no more clumps remain. Add the butter and continue whisking until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Reserve 1/3 cup M&Ms then add the remaining with the chocolate chips and fold together.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours. If you have time refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  7. When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 F degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Roll 6 large balls of dough and place evenly on the prepared cookie sheet. Press 3-4 of the reserved M&Ms onto each ball.
  9. Bake 11-13 minutes or until the tops are a light golden color. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Remove immediately.
  10. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Repeat process with all the cookie dough.
  12. Eat warm! Store cookies in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

Espresso and Toffee Chip Brownies plus
Deployment Care Package #1

Naturally, my husband forgot to pack a few things when he left for Afghanistan and asked me to send those things to him ASAP.  Obviously, this care package must include something delicious and baked… so these Espresso and Toffee Chip Brownies were created!

Espresso and Toffee Chip Brownies by JavaCupcake.com

This is Dave and his Platoon literally hours before they hopped on buses in Vilseck, Germany to Ramstein Air Base in Germany then to Manas, Kyrgystan then Kandahar, Afghanistan!

2nd Platoon, Fox Troop, 2/2 CR - Vilseck, Germany by JavaCupcake.com

Since I had to come up with something on the fly, I needed to utilize what I had on hand in my kitchen… plus make something I know my husband would like.  Dave mentioned once he got to Kyrgyzstan that he really enjoyed the espresso brownies that I made for his deployment night goodie bag so I thought I’d make those again, but put a little spin on them.

The original recipe for the brownies from from the book “The Secret Lives of Baked Goods” by my friend, Jessie Oleson of CakeSpy. (Link to buy the book is below!) In the brownies for the deployment goodie bags I added espresso powder,  butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips.  They were thick, rich, full of espresso flavor and the white/butterscotch chips added some extra crunch and sweetness.  YUM!

Espresso and Toffee Chip Brownies by JavaCupcake.com

These Espresso and Toffee Chip Brownies have even more espresso in them and then are topped with a toffee & chocolate chip combo that makes these brownies OUT OF THIS WORLD!  They are rich, chewy, fudgey and full of espresso flavor… the toffee bits give them a yummy little crunch too! YUM!

This care package will also be the first of MANY that I’ll be sending down range.  I’ll be documenting each care package through the process too as well as post some care packages from some of my favorite Food Blogger friends!  Sweet!

Check out what’s inside and some tips for packaging these brownies at the end of this post!

Enjoy!

Espresso & Toffee Chip Brownies

Espresso & Toffee Chip Brownies

Yield: 16-24 brownies - depending on size
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (I used Hershey's - link below)
  • 1/4 cup espresso powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups toffee & chocolate chips (I used a bag of Hershey's - link below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 9x13in baking pan, line with parchment paper and grease the paper.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt the cubed butter.
  4. While the butter is melting, combine the sugars in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the sugars on low until there aren't any lumps.
  5. Pour in the melted butter and mix with the sugars until completely combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs.
  7. In three parts, add the eggs the sugar and butter and mix well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in the vanilla.
  8. Slowly, add in the flour and cocoa with the mixer on low speed. Mix until just combined and there is no more dry flour visible.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  10. Sprinkle toffee & chocolate bits evenly over the top of the batter. Press a knife gently into the batter and swirl it back and forth to gently distribute the bits into the top layer of the batter. NOTE: You don't want to completely cover the bits, just get them into the batter with about half of them still showing.
  11. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven and cool in a pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
  13. Flip brownies out on to a cutting board and cool completely before cutting into square.

Notes

Original brownie recipe from "The Secret Lives of Baked Goods" by Jessie Oleson of CakeSpy.com

Deployment Care Package #1 by JavaCupcake.com

Deployment Care Package #1 by JavaCupcake.com

Inside this care package:

  • Vibram 5 Fingers (hubby forgot them!)
  • Sling that holds all his pouches that he wears over his body armor – this is called his “kit”.  (forgot this too!)
  • Haribo Ginger and Lemon & Colorado gummies – his favorite!
  • Photos from home – I printed some of my favorite pictures of Dave and the family from the weeks before he left
  • Card from his kids

TIPS for packaging Brownies:

  • Use a disposable Ziploc-type storage box to package the brownies.
  • Place wax paper between the layers of brownies and on top.
  • Place a half a piece of regular white bread in the box with the brownies – this will help them from drying out.
  • Use packaging tape around the edges to make sure the lid stays closed during transit.
  • Inside the box, try to place items around the box of brownies to protect it from bouncing around.  I placed the Haribo on the bottom and wrapped his kit around the edges with the 5 Fingers on top.

 

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