Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

chocolateraspberrythumbprintLaura, my cube wall-mate, accepted a new job in our company and is moving to a new office. In case you’re not familiar with the cube wall-mate (CWM), this is the person who sits on the other side of the wall that separates one section of office cubes from another, who you can hear but not see, as opposed to your cube mates, who are in the same cube row as you. Laura has been an awesome CWM; she’s very good at selective eavesdropping, always willing to say “hey, I wasn’t trying to listen in but I couldn’t help hearing and you actually need to talk to so-and-so about that,” has a top-notch sense of humor, and shares my fondness of kooky sayings like “those cookies are the bee’s knees.”

Laura and I have talked extensively about baking – she makes a mean chocolate pots de creme – and she requested a chocolate raspberry combo as her celebratory farewell cookies. And so, we have these chocolate raspberry thumbprints. The original recipe from Good Housekeeping neglected one very important note in preparation…you have to melt your 2 ounces of baking chocolate before you incorporate it into the dough. Which makes me wonder…how many people tried to make this recipe without melting their chocolate?

Farewell, Laura! We shall meet again on social media and in outside-work-life!

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • About 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add sugar; beat until well-combined and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, chocolate, and cocoa powder mixing well, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.

Slowly add flour mixture, beating until fully incorporated.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

Using your 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, press a thumbprint well into the center of each cookie. Fill with 1/4 teaspoon raspberry jam.

Bake for 14 minutes, until jam is bubbly at the edges. Remove from oven and cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature; if stacking, place waxed paper between the layers.

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

raspberrylemonadeccA few days ago Mike brought home a raspberry lemonade for me and I thought, hmm…this would make a great cupcake. Raspberry and lemon are a great flavor pair, and as always I wonder who first decided to put them together, and why some flavors goes so well together, but would be disastrous with others. For example, raspberry goes well with both lemon and chocolate…but you’d never put lemon and chocolate together, would you? Blegh.

In any case, this cupcake is a delicious, sweet creation with just the right amount of tartness. You can use basic ingredients that you’re likely to have in your pantry and fridge, except maybe for the lemon extract. Trust me, lemon extract is absolutely worth it; you cannot achieve the same level of lemon-ness with juice and zest alone. As followers of this blog know very well, I’m a huge fan of lemons; and yes, that’s a vintage lemonade sign on the wall of my kitchen that you see in this photo. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Lemonade Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons milk (about 7 ounces)

Raspberry Lemon Buttercream

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375. Line cupcake tins with paper liners; this recipe makes 15 cupcakes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon extract until light and fluffy.

Add egg and lemon zest and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.

Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour, beating until combined. Scrap the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl well to make sure everything is fully incorporated.

Using a cookie scoop, fill cupcake tins about half-full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately remove from cupcake tins; cool completely on the wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting, place butter and 2 tablespoons raspberry jam in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes, then on high speed for another two minutes, until mixture is fluffy.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar, mixing on low, then medium speed, until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add additional tablespoon raspberry jam and lemon juice, beating on medium speed until well combined.

Frost cupcakes using a small offset spatula; store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Raspberry Buttercream

dark choc with rasp buttercreamThere are many recipes out there for raspberry buttercream that require fresh raspberries. Since it’s winter and raspberries aren’t in season, I searched out a recipe that could use raspberry jam instead and found one very similar to the recipe below, which I adapted in quantities to reach both the consistency and flavor I wanted.

The great thing about this frosting is that it is so easy to make, with just three ingredients; just be sure you use seedless raspberry jam. Pairing-wise, this frosting is a great match for dark chocolate, but it would also complement regular chocolate, white, almond, or lemon cake or cupcakes very well.

If you’re after a more brilliant pink shade, just add a few drops of red food coloring or a bit of pink gel paste food coloring to help it along; just be careful not to thin the frosting too much with liquid food coloring or it’ll be too thin to pipe well.

The recipe below frosted 24 miniature and 10 regular-sized cupcakes, so it would probably be enough for 24 regular-sized cupcakes, depending on how much frosting you like per treat.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and jam until very well-combined, about two minutes; the mixture will be lumpy, but that’s okay.

Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes between each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Continue to beat until frosting is very smooth.

Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe onto cupcakes. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Lemon Raspberry Whoopie Pies

lemon raspberry whoopiesSome of my fondest memories from our time in DC involve my dear friend Kelly. If I had a nickel for every time she and I went to Starbucks together, neither one of us would have to work anymore.

When we met, Kelly and I were 20-somethings working our fingers to the bone to establish ourselves professionally. During one lunchtime excursion, as a wedge of lemon sat on one of our plates, we discussed the challenges of working for a newly-merged nonprofit where the processes, procedures, lines of communication, and chains of command were still in development. We decided that it was sort of like being told to take care of a lemon, making that lemon into lemonade, then being told by a different supervisor that we should have made lemon pie, while another person wanted us to make lemon cookies. While this story is likely not funny to anyone but Kelly and me, we continue to reference it to this day.

Kelly has worked overseas for the past few years, and I’ve certainly missed her. Yesterday, during her visit to Pittsburgh, she and I made these lemon raspberry whoopie pies, which are admittedly more like lemon raspberry sandwich cookies. Either way, they involve lemons…in the best of senses.

Lemon Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and lemon zest until very light and fluffy.

Add egg, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.

Add half the flour mix, then buttermilk, then remaining flour mix, beating until just combined after each addition.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets – they will spread when baking.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are set.

Allow to cool completely before filling and assembling.

Raspberry Filling

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 7-ounce jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 1 to 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar

Preparation

Combine butter, marshmallow fluff, jam, vanilla extract, raspberry extract, and 1 cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and beat well. Add another 1/3 cup powdered sugar if your mixture is too thin; you want an easily-spreadable consistency but not one that is too runny.

To assemble cookies: using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop filling onto one half of each cookie and spread with a knife, leaving about 1/4 inch around the edges. Top with another cookie; filling will spread slightly. Store in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread

 

 

 

 

 

Shortbread is a great cookie, and this thumbprint version is very easy to make, despite its somewhat fancy appearance.  The dough is basic; you could probably use any flavor jam or preserves for the thumbprint, and the almond glaze is optional.

Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
  • Almond glaze (see recipe below)

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Add granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon almond extract and beat until combined.

Beat in flour.

Cover and chill dough for about one-half hour, until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place raspberry jam in a small bowl and stir it slightly to make it easier to spoon.

Shape dough into one-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about two inches apart.

Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

Spoon about one-half teaspoon of jam into each indentation, filling it completely.

Bake 10-14 minutes, until edges are light golden brown.

When completely cool, drizzle with almond glaze.

Almond Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract

Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon water, and almond extract.

Add enough of the remaining water to make a drizzly consistency.

Drizzle over cookies and allow glaze to harden before serving.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

My friend Alex wants chocolate raspberry cake for her wedding – not a chocolate cake with raspberry filling, but a literal chocolate with raspberry flavoring in the batter.  Several bakers have told her this isn’t possible, so I decided to prove them otherwise.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Ingredients

10 tablespoons butter, slightly softened

1 ¼ cups sugar

4 eggs

¼ teaspoon almond extract

2-3 teaspoons raspberry extract (depending on your preference)

1 ½ cups flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup milk minus about 2 teaspoons (depending on how much raspberry extract you use)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Mix in eggs, almond extract, and raspberry extract.

Add flour mixture alternatively with milk, beating until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop for even portions, scoop batter into muffin tins.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until tops spring back when lightly pressed.

Cool on a wire rack.

Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened

3 to 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted

¼ teaspoon salt

1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

Preparation

Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes using the paddle attachment.

Add 3 cups powdered sugar.  With your mixer on low, incorporate the powdered sugar into the butter.  (Hint: I find that placing a kitchen towel over the mixer during this stage prevents a powdered sugar blizzard.)

Increase speed and add 1 tablespoon vanilla, salt, and milk.

Beat for 3 minutes, then taste.  If you’d like a stronger vanilla flavor, add the second tablespoon of vanilla, along with the additional ¼ cup of powdered sugar.  Beat until combined.

For thinner buttercream, add additional milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.