Oreo-Bottomed Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Oreo Frosting + Third Blogiversary!

Happy third birthday to my little blog!  Each year, I try to make something a little special (and so far, sweet) to commemorate the occasion.  Last year it was The Buckeye State Ice Cream, and the year before that it was Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreos (both seriously delicious).  This year is no different.  I’ve been eyeing these ridiculous cupcakes on Lauren’s Latest since they were first posted back in May.

Oreo-Bottomed Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Oreo Frosting | A Nerd Cooks

I used Lauren’s Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe for the cupcakes, and this for the frosting and method.  Note: the cake recipe produces about 30 cupcakes, while the frosting recipe makes enough for 18 cupcakes.  So you can either halve the ingredients for the cake or double the frosting.  Or just have some extra cupcakes hanging around!

You’ll need:

For the cupcakes -

  • 18 Oreo cookies (or as many Oreos as the number of cupcakes you plan to make)
  • 2 cups milk, plus 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

For the frosting -

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-4 tbs milk
  • 6 Oreo cookies, pulverized

For the drizzle/garnish -

  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • Extra Oreos for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and deposit 1 Oreo cookie into the bottom of each liner.  Set aside.

Combine the milk and vinegar.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whip the oil and sugar together.  Add the vanilla.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk all of the dry ingredients together.  Little by little, in an alternating fashion, add the dry ingredients and milk/vinegar to the sugar mixture, stirring to combine after each addition.

Pour the cake batter into the lined muffin pan, over the Oreo cookies that are in the bottom of the liners, filling to 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center of the cupcake, comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, combine butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat for a minute or two on low speed.  Slowly drizzle in the milk until it’s moistened and has come together.  Once it comes together, beat for a couple of minutes until the frosting is fluffy.  If you accidentally thin it out too much with the milk, you can always add a little more powdered sugar until you reach the consistency that you’d like.  Stir in the Oreo bits.  Frost the cooled cupcakes generously.

To make the drizzle, microwave the peanut butter and maple syrup until it’s warmed up and thinned out (30-40 seconds).  Use a spoon or a squeeze bottle to drizzle this over each cupcake.  Top each cupcake with half of an Oreo cookie.

Do yourself a favor and make these cupcakes right away.

I mean, come on.  Look at this.

Inside of cupcake

Gahhhh… Oreo-Bottomed Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Oreo Frosting | A Nerd Cooks

Chocolate Chip Scones

I had a craving for scones over the weekend, so I searched through the recipes I’ve had bookmarked for a while and came across this one.  The results were excellent.  These scones are tender, and not overly sweet.  Sean and I each had one for dessert, and I plan to have them for breakfast this week as well.

Chocolate Chip Scones | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from Food Librarian‘s blog.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, cold and cut into smallish cubes
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.

Add the butter to the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of small peas.  (As a side note: sometimes I will put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Then I’ll add the butter and pulse some more until the butter is well-incorporated and, again, the size of small peas.  This is faster but results in more cleanup).

Now add the heavy cream and chocolate chips.  Using a spatula, mix until everything is well-combined.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, and shape it into a disc.  Transfer the disc to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle, pretty liberally, with sugar.  Cut the dough into eighths.

Bake 14-16 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Chocolate Chip Scones | A Nerd Cooks

Broccoli Pesto – Updated!

As you can see, I’m continuing to update some older posts.  With this one, I’ve updated the photo, and also tweaked the recipe slightly.  The addition of feta cheese, along with the parmesan, is just what this pesto needed.

This pesto has no oil, and is packed with nutrients from all of the broccoli.  The Greek yogurt adds a nice bit of protein, too.  Even though all of the carb-y pasta probably isn’t ideal, you can still feel a bit better about this healthier sauce.Broccoli Pesto | A Nerd Cooks

My original blog post for Broccoli Pesto Pasta can be found here.

You’ll need:

  • 4-5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 lb short cut pasta (I used penne)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium-large pot, bring water to a boil on the stovetop.  Boil the broccoli florets for 4-5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a blender or food processor.

In the same pot, add the pasta.  Cook according to package directions until al dente.

While the pasta cooks, pulse the broccoli until it’s chopped up a bit.  Add the garlic, cheeses, and basil.  Process until the mixture is relatively smooth.  Add the Greek yogurt and process until the mixture is creamy and smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot.  Add the pesto to the pasta and mix until the noodles are well coated.  Top with a little extra cheese and enjoy!

Classic Waffles

What are your thoughts on breakfast for dinner (i.e., brinner)?  Sean and I are big, big fans.  In fact, we had brinner tonight!  I’ve made these waffles a few times now, and they’re fantastic every single time.  They’re a “classic” version of waffles that can easily be dressed up any which way you choose.  Want to add other spices?  Maybe some chocolate chips or nuts?  Feel like going crazy with toppings?  Do it.Classic Waffles | A Nerd Cooks

I found this recipe on the blog Average Betty.

You’ll need:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg whites, whipped until stiff

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

Pour the milk, beaten egg yolks, vegetable oil, and vanilla over the flour mixture.  Whisk until just combined.  The batter will be lumpy; never fear.

Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.  The batter will still be lumpy.  This is still okay.

Pour batter into your waffle maker and cook until they reach the desired color.

Top with whatever your heart desires.  I went with butter and syrup for these photos, and then later sprinkled them with mini chocolate chips.

Classic Waffles | A Nerd Cooks

Oreo Chocolate Chunk Cookies – Updated!

I’ve started updating some of my old blog posts (take a look at the new S’mores Cookies post here), taking new and more appealing pictures to go along with the delicious recipes.  These Oreo Chocolate Chunk Cookies have been some of the best I’ve made so far.  I’m heading to the beach this weekend with Sean and his family, and made a batch of these cookies to bring along.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we will!

 Oreo Chocolate Chunk Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

I found this recipe on the blog Butter Baking.  My original blog post can be found here.

You’ll need:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 15 Oreos, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla until well-combined.

While creaming the butter and sugars, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium-sized bowl.  Little by little, add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar.  Scrape down the sides of the stand mixer bowl as necessary.

Add the chocolate chips and Oreo chunks and mix until just combined.

Scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are just golden.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them to wire racks to finish cooling.

S’mores Cookies – Updated!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!  I have blogged about these amazing S’mores Cookies before, but wanted to update the post with new, prettier pictures.  Our friends Adrienne and Matt are visiting for the weekend.  Age asked for these cookies, and who am I to refuse a pregnant friend’s request?  ;)

S'more Cookies | A Nerd Cooks S'more Cookies | A Nerd CooksThe original post can be found here.

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 sleeves of graham crackers, broken into squares
  • 11 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 3-6 regular-sized Hershey’s chocolate bars, broken into pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lay the graham crackers out side by side on the parchment paper, as close to one another as possible.  Depending on the size of your baking sheets, the amount of dough you have, or how thick or thin you want your cookies to be (you’ll put more dough on each graham cracker square if you want thicker cookies), you might need to use more than two cookie sheets.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until it is light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until everything is well-combined.

While this is going, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Little by little, add the flour mixture to the egg/butter/sugar combo.  Stir on low, making sure that everything is well combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Fold the marshmallows and chocolate chips in.

Using a cookie scooper, or two spoons, drop cookie dough by the tablespoon onto the middle of each graham cracker square.  Press the dough down with your finger tips a bit.

Bake the cookies for 5 minutes.  Remove them from the oven, and press the Hershey’s bar pieces onto each dough blob.  Put as many little chocolate bars on each cookie as you can fit/as you want.

Bake the cookies for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges.  Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on cookie sheet, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Try to not eat all of them immediately.  Or heck, do it.  I’m not here to judge.

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken

I have a serious weak spot for Chinese takeout.  Like, I shouldn’t be trusted to be in a room alone with it.  I would also order it a lot more if Sean wasn’t (very rightly) the voice of reason.  In an effort to save some money, and still enjoy takeout-esque goodness, I decided to try and make some at home.  This dish is super easy to make (God bless the inventor of the Crockpot) and yields delicious results.

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from the blog Table for Two.

You’ll need:

  • 1-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sesame seeds
  • green onions, sliced thinly
  • white rice, for serving (optional)

Place the chicken thighs in the insert of a crock pot.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, vegetable oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes.  Pour this mixture over the chicken.  Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours, or on high for 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the crock pot and cut into chunks.  While the chicken is out of the crock pot, whisk the cornstarch and water together, and add it to the sauce.  Put the chicken back in.

Serve the chicken and sauce over rice, topped with some sesame seeds and green onions.  Enjoy! =)

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken | A Nerd Cooks