A wonderful thing happened today — I bought a copy of Joanne Chang’s new cookbook, Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe. I’m pretty sure have been awaiting the arrival of this book since before Joanne even knew she was going to write it. I worked at the Flour Bakery in the South End location for a summer before I studied abroad in college, and every day when I’d come in for the opening shift, I would marvel at all of the glorious baked goods coming out of the ovens. Joanne is my idol, in every possible way, and I don’t think there are words to describe the excitement I feel at having her recipes to make in my own kitchen! Of course I got right to baking as soon as I got home — it was so hard to decide what my first recipe would be, but I ended up making her chocolate chunk cookies. I’ve had them about 1,001 times from the bakery, but they are just that good that I had to make them myself. Plus, I have a bit of a chocolate chip cookies obsession so…. it just had to happen. The dough is resting in the refrigerator, and tomorrow night, I’m gonna bust it out!
But tonight, I’m going to share another pretty incredible recipe with you. Last week at work, we had a United Way campaign to raise money for the organization, and one of the activities involved in the campaign was a bake-off. Sounds right up my alley right? No, I didn’t win, but to be quite honest I TOTALLY should have with this recipe. Once you see what I have to say, you’ll understand why. These cupcakes are out of this world.
It took me about a week to decide on what I was going to make for the bake-off. I was thinking that something seasonal would be fitting — after I went apple picking and had more apples than I knew what to do with, I thought maybe I could use those, but I wasn’t wowed by that idea. So I went through my increasingly extensive excel spreadsheet in search of an idea. For a while I was set on making a s’mores dessert — cookies, brownies, cupcakes? But I had no Hershey’s bars, so that was definitely a no-go. Finally I decided on my own creation, so I took three different recipes and put them together. Genius idea, let me tell you.
These cupcakes started with a basic chocolate cake. I got the recipe from Pioneer Woman, a recipe claiming to be the best chocolate cake ever. The verdict? It might actually be the best chocolate cake ever. It was light and fluffy and the flavor was flawless.
Next, I made a batch of cookie dough, from a luscious-looking recipe on Blue Eyed Bakers for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cupcakes (note to self: must make these one day). I rolled the dough up into balls, and later placed one in the middle of each of the cupcakes. I finished the cupcakes off with another Pioneer Woman recipe, this time for the best frosting ever. And trust me here, this frosting is INCREDIBLE. Without a doubt in my mind, I’ve never ever tasted anything like it, and I’ve had a lot of frosting in my life. It’s smooth but fluffy, rich but light — I can’t describe it except to say that if you don’t try it, you are a fool! I didn’t whip my butter enough before I added the cooked flour mixture, so I think mine looked a little bit lumpier than it should have, but the taste was unaffected.
Even though the cupcakes didn’t win the bake-off, they were a huge hit in the office, and with everyone else who tried them. The cookie dough was a delicious surprise inside of the unassuming cupcakes, and the frosting sort of brought it all together — they were just so delicious. I will be making them again, without a doubt. I’m thinking next time, a stiff chocolate buttercream would be the perfect contract in taste and texture, but I have zero complaints about this creation!
If it weren’t time for bed, I’d throw some of Joanne’s cookie dough onto a baking sheet and eat some warm, gooey cookies, but waiting until tomorrow might make them even better! You can bet I’ll be sharing that recipe soon — I have this crazy plan to go all Julie and Julia with Joanne’s cookbook, so we’ll see how it goes! I’m aiming for one recipe a week, and I can’t wait!
For now though, I’m SO glad to be back here chatting with you! I missed this, more than I knew. I’m headed home to see my family this weekend, so I’m sure I’ll have some great recipes to share once I get back too. Stay tuned!
With love, and sugar. Enjoy!