Happy Thursday friends! Today I am sharing my first cookbook review of 2014 and it is a good one!
My friend Monica, who blogs over at Lick the Bowl Good, just wrote her first cookbook! You know I love supporting other bloggers, especially bloggers who have become my friends on the internet and in real life too!
Because Monica and I are friends outside of the internet, I saw and heard about the entire cookbook writing process. I saw first hand how much heart and soul she poured into her cookbook, and today I am happy to share her cookbook with you and a tasty recipe straight from her book, Lick the Bowl Good: Classic Home-Style Desserts with a Twist.
Below is my official cookbook review, that I do for all cookbooks and if you check out the bottom of the post you will find the recipe for Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes!
Pictures: Yes, this cookbook is filled with beautiful photos that Monica took herself. Each and every single recipe has at least one, sometimes two color, full page photos.
Prep Time, Cooking Time, and Number of Servings listed: Yes and no. There is no prep and cooking time specifically listed for each recipe. But almost all of the recipes have the number of servings or how much it makes listed at the bottom of the recipe.
Nutritional Information provided: Ha! No! (This is a question I use in all my cookbook reviews.) And if you are like me, you try to ignore this information when enjoying a special treat! ; )
Clear, easy to follow directions and ease of preparation: Almost all the recipes are fairly easy to make, some just require some advance prep. I love that the recipes are listed in two columns. The recipe ingredients on the left side of the page and the directions on the right. To me, this makes everything easy to read. I also like that Monica clearly breaks down recipes that have multiple components and under the directions has these steps clearly labeled. For example, the directions for a cake are clearly labeled and then the steps for the frosting, filling, etc. are then clearly labeled and separated. I also love that almost every recipe has a “Baker’s Note” highlighted at the bottom of each recipe with a baking tip or fun presentation idea that corresponds specifically with that recipe.
Easily available ingredients and budget friendly: Yes! Even though the theme of this book is classic desserts with a ‘twist’ there are not any exotic ingredients used. All the ingredients, and any baking tools, are all common ingredients found at all grocery stores and in most stocked home kitchens.
Variety of recipes: This is a dessert book, so all the recipes within are sweets. But there is a wide variety of desserts; which include cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies and bars, pies and tarts, puddings and creams, and even a section of breakfast sweets.
Special feature: As I mentioned earlier I love that almost all the recipes have a “Baker’s Note” with a tip or suggestion specifically for that recipe. I also like that Monica included sections at the beginning of the book called “Baking Essentials: Tools of the Trade” and “Baking Essentials: Ingredients.” In these sections Monica shares detailed information, definitions and her recommendations for these “Baking Essentials.” And just like her blog, in the Lick the Bowl Good cookbook, Monica shares her personality and some personal stories and thoughts all throughout the book.
I have tried several recipes from this book and have so many more I want to make! I was fortunate to be one of Monica’s unofficial taste testers while she was writing the book and was able to try several of the treats while she created and developed them. I highly recommend the Browned Butter Toffee Almond Blondies (OMG!) and Brown Butter and Spice Rice Crispy Treats! I guess that is sure proof Monica and I are friends, as we both love our brown butter!
One treat that I have shared with Monica over the years, are my Peanut Butter Blossoms. She loves them and put her own spin on them (remember desserts with a twist!) and made them into Peanut Butter and Jam Thumbprint cookies. I love these cookies and her version is a fun twist with classic flavor pairings! (She even mentioned me in her book!! Smile.)
Since getting the cookbook, I have also made a number of recipes including the Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese Blondies, which is one of the recipes I remember talking about one day when we met up for coffee, and it was so fun to watch her create and develop it.
We also love these Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes. I have made Oreo Frosting before (classic buttercream with crushed Oreo cookies stirred in) but Monica took it to a whole new level by putting a full Oreo IN the cupcake, along with a rich and creamy cheesecake filling and then topping the frosted cupcake with ANOTHER Oreo! Yes Oreo lovers (like me) these are the cupcakes for you!
Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes Wait Time: 2-3 hours Bake Time: 16-20 minutes Makes: 24 cupcakes
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 Oreo cookies
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons milk
3-4 cups powdered sugar
14 Oreo cookies, finely crushed in food processor
24 whole Oreo cookies, for garnish
For Cheesecake Filling:
Combine softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium sized bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese mixture until blended and smooth.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until well chilled. Keep chilled until needed.
For Chocolate Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with 24 paper liners. Place one Oreo cookie into the bottom of each liner and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together until all the dry ingredients are blended thoroughly.
In a small bowl stir together oil, milk, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until well incorporated and no lumps remain.
Place 1 tablespoon of cupcake batter over each Oreo cookie in the cupcake tins. Place approximately 2 teaspoons of the chilled cheesecake filling on top of the batter. Top cheesecake filling with approximately 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of additional batter.
Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake (not the cheesecake filling) comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in cupcake tins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Oreo Buttercream:
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk, mixing until light and fluffy.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until desired sweetness and consistency is achieved. Add additional milk, if needed, to thin buttercream to reach piping consistency.
Stir in crushed Oreo cookies.
Pipe or spread Oreo Buttercream onto cooled cupcakes. Top with additional Oreo cookies for garnish. Serve cupcakes at room temperature, allowing to cool fully for several hours before serving.