Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day weekend and is out there wearing green today! I celebrated by going to a potluck brunch with friends and then heading downtown to see the Chicago River in all of its green glory. The river is really as neon green as it appears in the photos (check out this nifty time lapse of the river being dyed green if you don't believe me).

I went a little nuts with the St. Patty's Day baked goods this weekend, but I think my favorite recipe out of all of them was this one for Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Unlike some recipes that say they contain an ingredient but don't actually taste anything like said ingredient, these cookies are chock full o' Irish creamy goodness. The smell of Bailey's will absolutely permeate your house while the cookies are baking. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Gimme Some Oven

Makes about 6 dozen cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour (I used 2 cups all purpose and 2/3 cup whole wheat)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy. Add in the Bailey's one tablespoon at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl to be sure that everything is well combined.
4. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, and continue mixing until well-mixed. Fold in white chocolate chips.
5. Drop the dough by the tablespoon onto a greased baking sheet, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes (center will still be slightly soft but will set as the cookies cool). Let sit 3 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

I enjoyed them so much that I could barely keep it together for the photo shoot.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Two Year Blogging Anniversary!

I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate something that almost went completely unnoticed.

Today is the two year anniversary of the Science & Cupcakes blog!

I can't believe it has been that long already. Two years ago, I was still taking classes, Andy and I were living in Evanston, and I was in a frenzy getting ready for my summer away in New Mexico/California to work at Sandia National Laboratories. Now, the end of grad school is coming into view, we've moved into a great apartment in Lakeview, and Andy and I are in the midst of planning our wedding. So much has happened in these past few years!

Thank you to everyone who follows my posts. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in baking and grad school as much as I enjoy writing about them. Nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy than hearing that people make and enjoy the recipes I post here and that my words can make their day a little brighter.

Here's to many more posts in the years to come!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Black Forest Cupcakes

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I can tell it's going to be one of those days that just sort of drags on. I basically started counting down to my department's weekly 4 PM coffee hour as soon as I got to my desk this morning. Usually, I can tell what kind of day it will be by how early in the day I realize that it's Thursday and therefore, coffee hour day. On a good day, I make it to 3:45 and then remember "oh man! Thursday! Awesome!." On the less-than-great days, I realize that it is Thursday immediately and begin the 6 hour countdown. Ooof.

In honor of coffee hour, I'm bringing out another recipe that I made for one of our department functions - in this case, the MatSci holiday party. As much as I like making complicated, homemade recipes, sometimes I really just want to make things from a box. There's no better way to handle dessert if you're cooking for a crowd, especially a not-very-discerning crowd (aka a department of people who will eat just about anything) than dumping a bag of mix into a bowl and throwing in some eggs and water. There is no shame in this, as boxed cakes and brownies are almost as good as the real thing with a fraction of the effort. Fancied up cake mixes (e.g. adding pudding, chocolate chips, and the like) are one of the easiest ways to take something simple and give it a little bit of oomph.

This black forest cupcake recipe comes from my first foray into making filled cupcakes. I really wanted to make a simple, cherry-filled cupcake. Most every recipe on the interwebs seemed to have a compote component, unnecessary chopping, or nonsense like this involved. That sort of defeats the whole purpose of making something easy, no?

I decided to go semi-homemade here, and the resulting recipe is as easy as it gets. Cake mix. Pie filling. A little mixing to make a super simple whipped cream frosting. The results are amazing for how easy it is. You can say you made it from scratch. I won't tell. :)

Black Forest Cupcakes

Cupcake recipe/filling: S&C original
Frosting from Hoosier Homemade

1 package devil's food cake mix (preferably with pudding in the mix or if not, add a small box (~3.4 oz) of chocolate pudding yourself)
20 oz can of cherry pie filling

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red sprinkles and cocoa powder (optional, but awesome)



1. Line a regular-sized cupcake tin with baking cups. Prepare cake mix as recommended on the box. Pour into cupcake liners, and bake as directed. Let cool completely.
2. Using a knife or a cupcake corer, remove the center of each cupcake. (See my tutorial if you need help) KEEP THE REMOVED CUPCAKE CENTERS. You will put them on top of the cherries to prevent the filling and frosting from mixing and turning pink.
3. Fill each cupcake with about 1 tablespoon of cherry pie filling (2-3 cherries worth of filling). Gently press down on the filling to get it further into the cupcake.
4. Place the cupcake center removed in step 2 on top of the filling, and press it gently into place. It is okay if it sticks up a little bit.


1. Pour whipping cream into a large mixing bowl, and beat on medium until it starts to thicken.
2. With the mixer running, add powdered sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, beat on high until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat the mixture.
3. Fold in vanilla extract.
4. Using a piping bag with a large tip (2A or 1A) or a gallon-sized ziploc bag with the corner cut off, pipe the frosting into a swirl on top of each cupcake. Top with red sprinkles and cocoa powder. Keep cold until ready to use to maintain integrity of the frosting.

Note: I would recommend making these at most one day prior to their consumption, as the cake will absorb some of the cherry filling overnight. You don't want them to get soggy!