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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oreo Cupcakes

Did you know that New Jersey is actually quite hilly?  Up until a few weeks ago, I didn't realize this either.  I came to this revelation after boyfriend and I decided to take a ride to the zoo on our new bikes.

This was a few weeks ago, just after boyfriend and I had assembled our brand new bikes.  Personally, I like to just go out and ride my bike.  Boyfriend is more of a destination rider.  He likes to have a goal, rather than an open-ended ride.  It helps him strive to get there faster, since he knows there is an end in sight.  It was a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon and boyfriend suggested we head to the zoo for an afternoon of animal watching and llama petting.

The ride looked totally feasable, just over five miles, pretty direct route and wide sidewalks, this would be a breeze.  Too bad we didn't plan properly for the ride we were about to take.  First, the temperature quickly topped ninety-five degrees over the course of our ride.  Next, to make the extreme heat even worse, we managed to leave our water bottles on the counter. 

Things only got worse as we continued biking away.  With the mercury in the thermometer bursting out the top, our final right turn brought us onto a freshly black-topped road.  Heat was emanating off of the dark road, you could see waves in the air.  And there was one last bit of torture for the ride...

That's right, a big, scary hill.  I just about died.  We kept thinking that the hill would eventually come to an end.  Or that we would find a convenience store where we could buy some water.  Or that someone would be watering their lawn and we could lay down in the sprinklers.  Sadly, the hill went on and on. 

Yet when we made it to the top (not without stopping to walk our bikes for a good portion!) we were proud to make it to the top and happy to see a McDonalds.  These days we are sure to bring lots of water with us when we hit the road and to check a topographical map before we leave home!

One Year Ago: Raspberry Truffles

Oreo Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcakes!

When I asked boyfriend for a little dessert inspiration, he asked for something with Oreos.  I bought a packet of cookies and planned on making them the following weekend.  One problem, when I went to make the cupcakes, there were a whole lot of cookies missing.  I had to go to the store an buy more.

I ate one of these cupcakes and sent the rest of them with boyfriend to work.  I couldn't be trusted around them!  My favorite part about the cupcakes?  After sitting in the fridge for a day, the cookie on top of the cupcake gets all soft, like it's been soaking in milk.  Mmmmm...

20 Oreo cookies, crushed in the food processor
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweeted chocolate
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 18 muffin tins with paper cups.  Add 1 tbsp of cookie crumbs to each cup and tamp down with the bottom of a glass.  Add 2 tsp chocolate chips on top of the cookie layer.

Place unsweetened chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and zap on half power for 30 seconds at a time until melted.  In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth.  Scrape the sides of the bowl down.  Drizzle chocolate into the butter-sugar mixture with the mixer on low.  Turn the speed up to medium and add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla.  Beat for 1 minute, until the batter is creamy.

Add Greek yogurt and mix until all of the streaks are blended in.  Turn the mixer down to low and add half of the flour mixture, mix to combine.  Add water and mix in.  Add remaining flour and mix until smooth.

Add 1/4-cup of batter into each cupcake liner.  Bake cupcakes for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Take cupcakes out of the pan and let cool completely before frosting.

Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 Oreo cookies, crushed in the food processor

Combine cream cheese and butter and blend until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Once all of the sugar is incorporated, add vanilla extract.  Add crushed cookies and fold in until evenly distributed through the frosting.  Transfer to a piping bag with a large circular tip and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes, or slather the frosting onto the cupcakes with a knife.  Top frosting with a whole cookie.
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