Sunday, May 19, 2013

Why Did I Wait So Long?!

I have wanted to make these cupcakes since 2008 when I saw Kristin from The Kitchen Sink Recipes make them. The contrast of the white filling against the dark cocoa cupcake intrigued me. Not to mention that I love anything with chocolate and cream cheese. Add a few fresh strawberries and I'd have the perfect trifecta. 

Yet, for some reason I never made them. I didn't forget about them, but I kept waiting for a special occasion to make them. I don't really know what I was waiting for but earlier this year my aunt made them and texted me a picture of these cupcakes she made and I got jealous. Silly, I know. I was bound and determined to make these cupcakes so once I finished up my cookbook baking I made these cupcakes and they did not disappoint. They were everything I hoped they would be. It's like a moist chocolate cupcake meets cheesecake studded with chocolate chips. 

I'm not generally a fan of warm cream cheese but I ate one of these when it was still slightly warm and the chocolate chips were nice and soft. So good! The only issue I had with this recipe was that it was supposed to make 12 cupcakes, but I had a lot of filling leftover so I ended up making another 1/3 batch of cupcakes. I made the adjustments in the recipe below and you should get about 18 full sized cupcakes. More cupcakes is never a bad thing. Please don't wait 5 years like I did to make these cupcakes!

Black Bottom Cupcakes adapted from TheKitchenSinkRecipes

Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups brewed coffee, cooled 
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For The Filling: Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

For The Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 18 paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine then add the cooled coffee, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir until just combined and no traces of flour remain but try and avoid over mixing the batter. 

Divide the cocoa batter evenly between the paper liners. Then spoon about 3-4 teaspoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of the cupcake. The cups will be about 3/4 full. 

Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the tops are set and the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed. 

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the baking tin before removing the cupcakes to a cooling rack. 

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Note: You can use plain water instead of the coffee if you prefer. Or you can use water and instant coffee or espresso powder in place of the brewed coffee. 

Pillsbury Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Pillsbury Orangesicle and Key Lime Giveaway and a $50 gift card is commenter #120 Gina Wild Orchid. Congrats Gina! Please email me with your address and Pillsbury will get your prize shipped out to you. 

Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Zulka Sugar Winners and Playing In The Kitchen!

The winners of the Zulka Sugar are commenters #48 Sue (Someone's Mom) from I Need Mom! and #53 Debbie from Mocha Me. Both winners were chosen by These two just happen to be some blogger friends that I've followed for quite some time and I've made recipes from both of their blogs. I hope you two enjoy the product. Happy baking!

Please email me with your address and the Zulka will be sent your way! Thank you all for entering. If you'd like to purchase the Zulka sugar, I've seen it on shelves at Wal-Mart for about $2.50.

Also I wanted to share a few blooper pics of me in the kitchen. I was asked by my publisher to submit a pic of me working in the kitchen so my brother came over this weekend and took my picture while I made him his birthday dessert. Don't laugh too hard :-)

Monica h

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day and Mexican Chocolate Brownies

Mother's Day is a bittersweet holiday for me. Of course I have Hayden and he has truly blessed my life in so many ways, but I will always miss my two boys that came before him, Sam and Jack. They made me a mother first, but it wasn't until Hayden that I actually got to experience motherhood. Knowing where I came from and knowing the heartache of losing a child is it hard for me to fully "celebrate" the day. I know there are so many women out there that are missing their children, women who are waiting to become mothers, and then there are children who no longer have their mom's with them on this Earth. To all you beautiful women out there, I wish you a peaceful and loving day. I'm going to spend my day in my pajamas, sipping coffee out of my "Proud Mom" mug and playing with my son. Happy Mother's Day!

As far as these brownies go, they were gone in a day. Chewy, chocolaty and spicy. If you're a fan of Mexican cocoa, you'll love these. 

Mexican Chocolate Brownies from Monica H

  • 4 oz. Mexican chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square dish with non-stick spray and set aside. 

In a small bowl, combine the finely chopped chocolate and the oil. Heat in microwave 30 seconds and stir, Repeat for another 30 seconds until chocolate is melted and the two ingredients are combined. Do not heat for more than 90 seconds. 

In a large bowl, combine the oil/chocolate mixture and the sugar. Stir the ingredients together then add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Add the vanilla. 

Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and espresso powder. Mix until there are no traces of flour, but do not over mix. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. 

Allow to cool before serving. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Zulka Pure Cane Sugar Review (Giveaway CLOSED)

I was contacted by Zulka a few weeks ago and they wanted me to try out their sugar. As I was doing my recipe testing for the cookbook, I was going through sugar like it was going out of style. It could not have been a better time to sample their sugar because I was testing recipes that I have made time and time again, which meant if something tasted different I would know. 

Before I tell you my thoughts on Zulka, let me provide you with a few facts about their product. First off, Zulka is real sugar. It is not an artificial sweetener and it is not a low calorie substitute for sugar- IT IS SUGAR. Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar is a Non-GMO, (genetically modified organism) minimally processed sugar made from freshly harvested sugar cane. The term Non-GMO means that the sugar canes have not been genetically altered and are more natural. Zulka also does NOT undergo the conventional refining process of most granulated sugars and maintains the the appearance and flavor of raw sugar cane. You can learn more about the Non-GMO project HERE.

When I first heard about Zulka sugar, I was think it would be more like Turbinado sugar than white granulated sugar, but it's not. It's somewhere in the middle, though closer to white granulated sugar. I did a side-by-side comparison of Imperial Granulated Sugar, Zulka Morena Sugar and Sugar In The Raw Turbinado Sugar. The granulated sugar was pure white and uniformly fine in texture and the Zulka had more of a natural hue to it and was a bit coarser in texture. The turbinado sugar was even more coarse and similar in size to sanding sugar and was unmistakably golden in color. Cup-for-cup, Zulka can be used in place of granulated sugar and because it's less processed, more of the natural sugar cane flavor is still there. 

I used it in my favorite cake recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake and could not tell a difference in flavor, though it was slightly coarser in granule size. I was sent a 4 pound bag to try out and used in several recipes as well as in our coffee. I would buy it again but I had issues with the packaging. Since it comes in a plastic bag, I would have preferred a zip top closure to seal the bag. If you typically store your sugar in a separate container it's not that big of an issue, I just would have like to seal it up and store it rather than having to find something to secure that bag shut. If you're looking for a more natural product to stock your pantry with, consider giving Zulka a try. 

If you're interested in trying out Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar for yourself, Zulka is offering Lick The Bowl Good readers two chances to win a 4 pound bag of your own. All you have to do is answer the two following questions. 

1). Tell me why you're interested in trying out Zulka sugar  and 
2). Visit and tell me what recipe you would like to make with it. 

I will select two winners at random and announce the winners on May 13th. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. 
Thank you Zulka for the sugar!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tillamook Cheddar Cheese and My Dream Burger!

Did you know that May is National Burger Month? It seems nowadays every day is a new food holiday, but I love burgers, so that's one I can get behind :-)

Tillamook contacted Texas Bloggers to participate in an All-Natural Burger Grillabration and I was one of the lucky ones! As part of the festivities, I received a burger kit that consisted of a t-shirt, an apron, some other fun stuff and award winning Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese Slices. All I had to do was dream up a burger, make it and eat it. Easy enough. 

When we go out for burgers, we like simple, fuss-free burgers with a lot of flavor. Of course I like fancy burgers with a lot of toppings, but I have a problem paying $20 for a burger. When we crave burgers and I don't want to make them at home we go to Top Notch in Austin, Texas for a flame-grilled burger. Their onion rings are the best! That place really is a hole-in-the-wall and it's decor is stuck in the 1970's but that's part of the appeal, it's consistently good and we've been going there for years. 

But this post is about my homemade burger and Tillamook sliced cheddar. We've been buying Tillamook Cheddar for years now and it's the only cheese in our fridge so I was excited to participate in this Grillabration. For the burger itself, I seasoned the ground beef (85/15) with salt, pepper and 4 cloves of chopped fresh garlic. I formed them into 1/3 pound patties then cooked them in bacon grease. I topped them with a slice of Tillamook Medium Cheddar, 2 bacon slices, green leaf lettuce, tomato and a fried egg on a toasted crustini bun. The only thing that could have made this better was a little pesto mayo. This burger was messy and huge but it was so good! 

Tillamook is offering a $1 off coupon for Lick The Bowl Good readers. Click the link to print out your coupon and start creating your dream burger!

“The Tillamook $1 off Natural Slices coupon will be available until May 21, 2013. It will expire within 30 days of printing, so don’t forget to use it soon! Please reach out to Tillamook directly with any questions, comments, or concerns about the coupon: Contact Tillamook []”

 If you could create your dream burger what would it consist of?!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pillsbury Orangesicle and Key Lime! (Giveaway)

The winner of the Pillsbury Funfetti Giveaway who will be receiving an array of Funfetti cake mix and colorful frostings and a $50 gift card is commenter #14  Katie H. Congratulations Katie! Please email me with your mailing address.  

For everyone else, you have another chance to win below. Keep reading to see how!

Pillsbury has introduced new seasonal flavors just in time for warmer weather- Orangesicle and Key Lime! I was so excited to see these fresh and bright new flavors on the grocery store shelves because I am a citrus lover and so is my mom. She would put orange flavoring in everything if she could :-). Pillsbury kindly sent me a package consisting of Orangesicle and Key Lime cake mix, cookie mix and creamy frostings. I wanted to make a special cake for my mom, so I chose to bake the Orangesicle cake mix first. 

My mom is not a huge fan of frosting so I wanted to make a recipe that was simple and fuss-free, but bursting with orange flavor. And because chocolate and orange compliment each other so well, I added in a healthy handful of mini chips in the batter and on top. This cake smelled so good baking in the oven! When I tasted it, I was expecting it to taste like I was biting into a fresh orange, but it didn't. It tasted just like an Orangesicle, just like the box promised! It had a mellow orange and creamy vanilla taste and was so moist. Delicious. I still need to whip up a batch of key lime cupcakes and I'm so looking forward to it. 

Pillsbury is celebrating Spring with these new flavors in order to make your everyday occasions even more special. I started thinking about ways I could do the same with my family. I've been so busy in the kitchen baking and trying to wrap up this cookbook venture that once I'm done we're heading out on a picnic! I'm going to get Hayden to help me whip up a batch of Pillsbury cookie sandwiches (he's becoming a pro at working the KitchenAid!) then we're going to enjoy some fresh air and play at the park. I can already hear his giggles as he goes down the slide. The whole idea behind this celebration is to spend time together, relish in everyday moments and enjoy premium baked goodies. Thank you Pillsbury for helping us make lasting memories!

Orangesicle Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

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  • 1 box (15.25 oz) Pillsbury Orangesicle Premium Cake Mix
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, eggs, oil and juice. Beat til all the ingredients are well mixed; about 2 minutes. 

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the mini chocolate chips. 

Scrape batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan before serving. 

Pillsbury wants you to join in on all the citrusy fun. They are generously offering one lucky reader a Summer Seasonal Celebration Kit including: Pillsbury Moist Supreme Orangesicle and Key Lime Premium Cake Mix, Pillsbury Orangesicle and Key Lime Premium Cookie Mix, Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Orangesicle and Key Lime Frosting as well as a $50 Visa or American Express Gift Card (total value ($60). 

To enter the giveaway: 

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me which flavor you're most excited to try. Please be sure to leave an email for me to contact you if you win.

2. For a second entry "Like" Pillsbury Baking on Facebook

3. For a third entry "Like" Lick The Bowl Good on Facebook. Leave a separate comment for each entry. 

A winner will be selected at random and announced by May 15, 2013. 

To learn more about Pillsbury's new fresh flavors please visit Pillsbury on Facebook. Also visit and Pillsbury on Pinterest

**The J.M. Smucker Company sent me free product samples and other compensation and asked me to promote it's new Orangesicle and Key Lime products. 

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