Chocolate chips and cute creations

April 16, 2008|By Joannah Hill | Joannah Hill,Sun reporter

The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook

By Elinor Klivans

Little Cakes From the Whimsical Bakehouse

Cupcakes, Small Cakes, Muffins and Other Mini Treats

By Kaye and Liv Hansen

Clarkson Potter Publishers / 2008 / $24.95

As a general rule, for me dessert does not need to be cute. The authors of Little Cakes, however, beg to differ.

The cunning little creations in this book are bound to draws ooohs and ahhs for their resemblance to cheerful bumblebees or baskets of violets. But these little treats are more than what meets the eye.

The recipe for Almond Coffeecakes caught my interest because I had some sour cherries frozen fresh last summer. I added cherries to the filling and was delighted with the results.

I used the Spicy Chocolate Cake recipe for cupcakes and paired it with a dulce de leche buttercream. The cool caramel of the frosting was a great match for the cayenne-pepper-spiked cakes.

Just for kicks I tried piping the frosting in the shape of a sunflower. I probably chose the wrong type of buttercream for decoration because my soft melting flowers were more Salvador Dali than Vincent van Gogh. But they were still pretty darn cute.

joannah.hill@baltsun.com

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Makes 30 cookies

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup oatmeal (not quick-cooking)

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

2 bananas, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during the mixing. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. The mixture may look slightly curdled.

On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the oatmeal. Mix in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Use a large spoon to mix in the banana pieces, mixing just until they are evenly distributed and some of the pieces are mashed but most are still visible, about 20 seconds.

Use a tablespoon to drop heaping spoonfuls of dough (about 3 level tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 3 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned and the tops look dry, about 18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

From "The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook"

Per cookie: 142 calories, 2 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 67 milligrams sodium

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