Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie Recipe

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Blog, Cookies, Recipes | 4 comments

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie Recipe for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

You better believe it. It’s finally here the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I have been looking forward to this since early this summer.  The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is one of my favorite events all year. Not only do I get to share with you this new yummy dark chocolate sugar cookie recipe, but I also get to  try other amazing bloggers cookies. The best part is that as a group we raised over $13,000 dollars for Cookies for Kids Cancer. Now that is what I call a win-win situation.  Originally I was going to do a drop cookie until I saw one of my recipient’s names. I then knew I needed to do decorated cookies. Rachel, from My Disorganized Life, has always wanted to try my cookies. I now had the perfect opportunity to make her some.  Now all I had to do was come up with a new chocolate sugar cookie recipe. I know that a lot of sugar cookies are made with powdered sugar, but could I actually live on the edge with powdered sugar? I decided to forge into the unknown, and give this a shot for my chocolate sugar cookie recipe.  I have to say I believe in the powdered magic.

chocolate cookie recipe


Not only did the food blogging community join in the baking fun, but some great brands supported our efforts along the way. Thank you so much,  OXO, Gold Medal Flour, Dixie Crystals and Grandma’s Molasses.  Take a shout out and say “THANK YOU” for partnering with us and supporting a great cause, Cookies for Kid’s Cancer.

Dark Chocolate Sugar cookies 3 PM

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie Recipe {Printable Recipe}


  • 2 cups unbleached cake flour {I love King Arthur’s}
  • 2 cups unbleached AP flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ¾ cups dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 cups unsalted butter {4 sticks}
  • 1 Starbucks Christmas blend Via
  • 2 ¾ cups confection sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 eggs {room temp}
  • 1 tbsp.  vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ cup buttermilk


  1. Measure out flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt all together in a bowl. Use a whisk to combine all the dry ingredients together.
  2. In a bowl with a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar and Christmas blend Via. Start the mixer on low, when it begins to come together beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes)
  3. Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla bean paste.
  5. Turn the mixer to low-speed. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixture. Add half of the milk. After the first half has been combined add in the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk.
  6. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or roll out into sheets to chill. See blog tutorial for rolling out sheets ahead of time.
  7. Roll out dough  about ¼ inch thick on a lightly dusted surface. Cut the dough into desired shapes.
  8. Chill the cutout shapes in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. All cookies to completely cool before decorating. When the cookies first come out of the oven they are really soft. They will become firm when they are cooled.
  11. Either leave them plain or decorate with your favorite royal icing recipe. We added a few drops of peppermint extract to our royal icing for these cookies.  If you need a great royal icing recipe check out these following links:  Sweetopia Royal Icing, Sugarbelle’s Royal Icing or Alton Brown’s Royal icing.

Dark Chocolate Sugar cookies PM

One of my favorite parts of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is meeting new bloggers.  This year I was paired with three new bloggers.  Let me tell you there blogs are awesome. I have had so much fun looking through their different social media sites.

I got to send cookies to:

I received yummy cookies from some talented ladies.

  • Becky from So Very Blessed made the most amazing cranberry orange cookies. I wanted to go out to the garage and keep these little treasures all to myself. You will definitely want to pop over to the blog to grab this recipe.
  • Emily from Sweet Bella Roos made us yummy peanut butter M&M cookies. My son decided to kidnap this cookie box. It reappeared with a few crumbs to share with the rest of the family. But he wanted to make sure that y’all know these are awesome cookies.
  • Jennifer from My Sweet Sanity made these amazing white chocolate passion fruit meltaways. My husband made off with this box to my chagrin. He LOVES all things white chocolate. He was nice enough to share a few. Can’t wait to add this recipe to my cookie repertoire.

I hope you give your dark chocolate sugar cookie recipe a try. If you do, you will have to pop back and tell us what you think. Enjoy.

Spicy Orange Gingerbread Recipe

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Blog, Cookies, Recipes | 6 comments

Spicy Orange Gingerbread Recipe

Spicy Orange Gingerbread Recipe

It’s my absolute favorite time of the year. The temperatures have cooled down and fall flavors fill the shelves. For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to mix things up a bit and make an orange gingerbread recipe. I wanted to take a classic gingerbread recipe and infuse it with yummy citrus to lighten the flavor.  Life has been pretty busy lately. I know I have been gone from the blog for a few weeks and it is nice to be back. I realized something needed to give. I could not run this crazy cookie business that we have, blog,  take care of my family and myself.  The past week I have been testing out recipes for the 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  There are three different recipes I have been tinkering with: spicy orange gingerbread recipe, pumpkin butterscotch, or a dark chocolate cookie.   I decided against sending the gingerbread out to 3 random bloggers since not everyone likes gingerbread.  How do you feel about gingerbread? Are you are lover or a hater? One of my favorite recipes is a gingerbread cake with vanilla bean icing.

gingerbread recipe


Spicy Orange Gingerbread Recipe {Printable Version}


  • 6 ½ cups unbleached AP flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup butter {at room temp}
  • 2 tbsp. organic shortening {I use Spectrum}
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 1/2 tsp. organic orange extract
  • zest of one large orange


  1. Sift together flour, spices, salt and baking powder and add to bowl. Use a whisk to combine.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix butter, orange zest and brown sugar on low to combine, then increase to medium speed until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in eggs one at a time. Add in orange extract. Scrape down the bowl. Then pour in the molasses.
  4. Wrap dough in disk shape and let it set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours OR roll out the dough and place in sheets on top of one another until chilled in the fridge. See our tutorial link for directions.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out about ¼ inch thick or pull out your pre-made sheets and cut out your shapes.
  6. Let the shapes chill in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
  7. Depending on the size of your cookies you will bake for 10 to 14 minutes.  If you want a softer chewier cookie, cook for 10 minutes.

gingerbread recipe

The cookies are great naked or you can top them with your favorite glaze or royal icing. We use a vanilla royal icing on our cookies. If you don’t have a royal icing recipe here are a few links to some great ones:

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. What are you giving thanks for this season?

gingerbread recipe

Our family has been to too many funerals in the last couple of months.  We were talking at the dinner table last night about not taking for granted the little things.  We are so thankful for health, our close family relationships, and cultivating time to have fun and enjoy life.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.  If you love the helvetica cookie cutters, you can get them as Cakes by Ximena.






Apple Spice Cupcakes {Back to School Cupcake Couture Blog Party}

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Blog, Cupcakes, Recipes | 21 comments

Apple Spice Cupcakes {Back to School Cupcake Couture Blog Party}

Apple Spice Cupcakes Recipe {Back to School Bella Cupcake Couture Blog Party}

School is back in full swing here in Arizona.  Summer is “officially” over and during the school year my husband and son have a fun tradition. On Friday nights they head out for wings. You know, like men do.   Then they come back and watch movies.  What would movies be without the essential movie treats? Guess who caters those treats? It’s hard to believe I wrote one of my first blog posts about this 2 years ago.   I created a special cake for them, you can find the recipe {HERE}. Today I decided to take the recipe, tweak it a tad and make cupcakes. Now in all fairness, while apple spice cupcakes are so delicious they remind me of fall. Needless to say the temperatures do not feel like fall here. Actually, fall won’t arrive until December. But I can dream about cooler temperatures, right?

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Bella Cupcake Couture is a wonderful company which creates cupcake wraps and straw kits. I absolutely love the ones that we received for this blog party. They carry every pattern underneath the sun, from haute couture to holiday colors. The cupcake wraps provided for our blog party are blank.  These blank canvases are perfect for any artist who wants to create their own unique look.  The cupcake wraps pictured on the apple spice cupcakes blog post were created by some amazing students who started school last week. I wish I could draw like they do.

Apple Spice Cupcakes {Printable Version}

Makes approximately 14 standard cupcakes

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Lorann’s Butter Vanilla Emulsion {or sub vanilla extract}
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk {room temp}
  • 2 large honey crisp apples
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • lemon juice


  1. Core and peel both honey crisp apples. Cut up apples into small chunks. Place them in a small bowl.  Sprinkle lemon juice over the apples if you are not going to cook them right away. This will keep them from browning. Sprinkle with a small amount of sugar, cinnamon and a touch of all spice. Add one teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the apple mixture and stir. Cover and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Line standard cupcake pan with liners
  4. In a saucepan, melt out two tablespoons of butter from the 1/2 cup of butter . Add the apple mixture and cook on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
  6. In a bowl of an electric mixer place the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Approximately 3 minutes.
  7. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined.
  8. Add half of the flour mixture on low.
  9. Add the buttermilk.
  10. Add the rest of the flour mixture.
  11. Fold in the apple mixture.
  12. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling approximately 2/3rds full.
  13. Bake at 350 for 20 to 22 minutes depending on oven. {These were made in a convection oven}

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Caramel Buttercream Recipe

  •  3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  •  ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • Caramel {you can make your own, Trader Joes has a great caramel sauce or Ghiradelli}


  1.  To make the frosting, whisk the sugar and egg whites together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water and whisk until the eggs are very hot (160 degrees) and the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. With the whisk attachment, whisk on high until the mixture is light and fluffy and has cooled (~10 minutes) IMPORTANT: when the mixture begins to look frothy, after about 2 minutes, stop mixer add cream of tartar. Then continue mixing.
  4. Drop butter into the mixer 2 or 3 cubes at a time
  5. After all of the butter has been added if it looks curdled or separated then mix on high for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Mix in 2 tsp. of vanilla bean paste.
  7. At this point switch to paddle attachment once the frosting has come together add caramel slowly until swirled.
  8. Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for 7 days or frozen for three months. Set the frosting out 1-2 hours ahead of time and then mix using the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes on medium.

Apple Spice Cupcakes

While most kids bemoan heading back to school, they really should not. I know that it is easy to say, but not always easy to believe. My husband and I do charity work in Africa and we see the effects of a people lacking education. We have such an amazing privilege in this country to be educated. I have realized over the years, that I have so much influence on how my son views school. I can either feel sorry for him, and say I know school stinks.  Alternatively, I can remind him about all the things that he loves that requires an education. My son loves technology.  Technology has not evolved to what it is today by accident. Many people who study math, science and engineering keep learning and studying to bring us our favorite movies, games and applications. Take time to help your kids see that the things that they love and enjoy come from people who work hard and have embraced learning.  Embracing learning is a skill. We are all still learning, growing and progressing as adults.  I am currently learning how to make macarons. While it has been challenging and has required a lot of reading, I no longer have to fly to California to enjoy one.

Apple Spice Cupcakes

In 9th grade Jude found his mustache….next year I am wondering if I will have to fear the beard.   He started 10th grade this year and I love the fact that he is not too cool to take pictures for mom’s blog or it could be the monetary compensation. This year is a big year for Jude; he is learning to drive. will begin prepping for the SAT and all my baker friends are excited that he has to read Pride and Prejudice in school.

We handled our cupcake wraps a little different. I sent them to school with him and of course he handed them off to the girls to doodle away. The only rule I had is that he had to at least draw on one. His response, “girls are so much better at this stuff.”

Jude’s Interview

  1. What is your favorite cupcake flavor?  Vanilla
  2. What has been your favorite moment this summer?  Going on vacation to San Francisco and Seattle
  3. What are you looking forward to about school this year? Summer Break {his answer} Mom’s response: that is not an answer, try again.
  4. What are you looking forward to about school this year {take number 2} ? Tackling Algebra because I am getting better at this subject. I used to really struggle in math. Plus, I have a really good teacher this year which is a huge bonus.

Now you have to stop by my blog post I did two years ago and see the picture of Jude. It is absolutely crazy how much he has changed. Plus if you pop over to the link you will find the recipe for apple spice cake.  You know what is neat about this for me. Not only can I see how much Jude has changed, but I also can see how much my skills as blogger have grown. I am learning to take better pictures, better styling and writing.

If you are bummed about your kids heading back to school, I have just the thing to help cheer you up! A giveaway! Thanks to our amazing sponsors one lucky winner will receive a prize package worth $375.00. After you enter the giveaway pop over to the awesome blogs listed below and you can collect some awesome cupcake recipes, get some great ideas on how to utilize these fun cupcake wrappers and learn a little bit about their back to school adventures.

Apple Spice Cupcakes


Bella Cupcake Couture

Chronicles of a Foodie

Crazy for Crust

Cupcakes Take the Cake

Diary of a Mad Hausfrau


In Katrina’s Kitchen

Love From the Oven

Mesa de Vida

Not Just a Mommy

Sugar Swings! Serve Some

The Baked Equation

The Decorated Cookie

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Thanks to our amazing Prize Pack sponsors for their generous donations! Please, visit their websites to see more of their fabulous products!

Bella Cupcake Couture
The Smart Baker
India Tree
Mesa de Vida
Pretty Party Details
To enter to WIN this Prize Pack, simply fill out the entry form below. Contest opens August 27, 2013 at 7am PST and closes September 2, 2013 at Midngight PST. One winner will be chosen and announced within 48 hours of the contest ending. Winner will be contacted via email by and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. If they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. This contest is open to residents worldwide.

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Apple Spice Cupcakes