Annnnd I’m back!

It’s been a long time, but Suzy Bakes is back with a new look and a new mission. I will still be baking treats and posting recipes, but will also be extending coverage to savory dishes and the occasional restaurant review and soirée wrap-up (my friends are REALLY great hostesses).

So, thanks for sticking around! Can’t wait to get started again!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for years. I’ve had plenty of amazingly delicious chocolate chip cookies, but have never been able to make the recipe my own. Some people swear by the Toll House recipe on the back of the package of chocolate chips. Others have a recipe that’s been passed down in their family for 723 years. But for some reason, a good chocolate chip cookie has alluded my baking repertoire, despite the recipes and tips that have been thrown my way. They’re either too flat, too hard, too gooey, never perfect. I am a bit of a chocolate chip cookie snob, and have dejectedly defended my lackluster attempts…until these.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

At the ripe age of 26, I’ve realized I’m just like a little kid. I like to play outside, I still dream of being a marine biologist, and my favorite foods are pizza, grilled cheese, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This was mostly my inspiration for this week’s treat. When things in life start to suck, who doesn’t want to revert back to the good old days when your biggest problems were which friend to sit next to in class or deciding which Pokémon is best?

Most peanut butter and jelly cookie recipes I researched were peanut butter cookies with a thumbprint filled with jelly. Um, that’s not like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I know. I need my PB&J cookie to be a sandwich, too. Deliciously creamy peanut butter mingling with sweet strawberry jelly between two pillows of carbs. Well, I imagine anything between two pillows of carbs would be delicious.

I could have just put regular peanut butter in the middle of these, but who are we kidding. I need to buttercream-ize everything. Plus it made it easier to pipe it all nice on the inside of the cookies with it looking like a kindergartener made them. See?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

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Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

I have been waiting to make these cupcakes for several months now.  Being fiercely proud of my Irish heritage (and also a huge fan of Guinness), I knew that I had to make these for the international holiday of my people, St. Patrick’s Day!

My friend Ashley made these cupcakes a few years back, and the first thing I noticed was how unbelievably moist the beer makes the cupcake. Baking with beer is nothing new, but the combination of chocolate and smooth, malty Guinness is just amazing. I revisited the recipe on Smitten Kitchen and decided to give them a whirl.

The original (and many subsequent) recipe calls for a chocolate whiskey ganache, but since I was making these for coworkers, I figured I’d leave the Jameson for our happy hour. Even with just Guinness and Bailey’s, by the time these were devoured, my coworkers had dubbed them “boozecakes”. Next time, I’ll definitely fill these with ganache, and decide whether or not I want my recipients to be hammered.

Being a huge nerd, I decorated these things like crazy. And also listened to “The Wild Rover” on repeat.

I wonder what other treats I can make with beer and liquor?

Guinness Cupakes with Bailey's Frosting

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New Recipes Coming Soon!

Suzy Bakes has been on a little hiatus after the holidays. In attempt to shed some of those winter pounds (and due to an upcoming trip to Florida), the kitchen has not been used to its potential the past few months. Don’t want to be mistaken for a beached whale, after all. But never fear! I’ve got a couple recipes ready to post (including some AMAZING chocolate chip cookies), plus, my pièce de résistance: Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. The final recipe is still in the works, but expect this amazing treat to appear on St. Paddy’s Day!

Reindeer Cake Balls

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’d heard about cake balls from Bakerella’s blog a while ago, but always assumed they were just that: balls of cake. Big whoop, I thought. Then, my amazingly talented friend Jen made some cake balls.

I know I’ve said simply “wow” for a lot of things, but wow.

Possibly the most amazingly perfect things I’ve ever tasted. If there was a cake ball diet, I’d be on it. I’d buy stock in cake balls if they were publicly traded. If it wasn’t a terrible idea, I’d name my firstborn Cake Ball.

The secret is that the frosting is INSIDE the cake ball, mixed with the cake. I know, right?! Genius.

I tried making reindeer cake pops (à la Bakerella), but their little heads were too top-heavy and I couldn’t keep them on the pops. Maybe next time.

Turned out pretty cute, yeah?

Reindeer Cake Balls

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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

December is here, which means it’s almost time for Christmas cookies! I’m planning on taking a whole Sunday in the next week or so and just baking  a few different kinds of cookies. I love doing some traditional Christmas cookies (sugar cookies, gingerbread people) and then experimenting with some new ones (last year I tried my hand at Linzer tarts). Still trying to finalize this year’s cookie list.

My most favorite cookies to make at Christmastime are peanut blossoms. You know, peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s kiss pressed into the center. I’ve been making them for years and they’re always the first cookie to disappear.

This year, I decided to try something a little different: mini Reese’s peanut butter cups instead of kisses. And wow. Wow.

Wow.

These are absolutely amazing. I baked the cookies in a mini muffin tin, since the peanut butter cups are a little taller than the kisses.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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Nutella Brownies

I had originally intended on making macarons this week. I bought everything I needed and set out to make them when I got home from work. I checked out some of the posts from Crystal at Windshield Diaries because she is a macaron baker extraordinaire, and…well, I guess I didn’t realize they were so intense. Even though they only consist of four ingredients, baking them perfectly is an art form. A lot of recipes call for “aged” egg yolks set out at room temperature for 24 hours. And there are dozens and dozens of troubleshooting guides. Then I saw this quote from The Times posted in Not So Humble Pie’s Macarons 101:

Even the professionals struggle with macaroons, says Meike Beck, chief home economist at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Three seconds of overbeating and they’re ruined.” The institute spent a month making hundreds of batches of macaroons, trying to perfect a recipe. In the end it gave up. “They’re best left to the professionals. Macaroon recipes do work. But they are not consistent.” – Times Online

Sigh. Clearly I hadn’t properly prepared myself. Maybe I’ll try these…another time.

So I have the cocoa and eggs and big ‘ole jar of Nutella I was planning on using for the filling of the macarons. What to make, what to make…

Nutella brownies? Ok, sounds good.

I had seen a recipe for Peanut Butter and Nutella Brownies on Noble Pig a while back, but decided to tweaked it a little bit to make it extra Nutella-y.

Nutella Brownies

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Mini Pumpkin Pies

These are hands-down the cutest things I’ve made. Ever. The fact that they are actually shaped like little itty bitty pumpkins just sweetens the deal. Oh, also? They are so freaking easy to make!

I’ve said before that I like bite-sized baked goods. Once you break out plates and forks and spoons, it becomes too much of an ordeal. Things like cookies, cupcakes, and mini treats are easy. You could grab one and walk away. Or walk back and grab more than one. Or sit down and eat a lot because they’re so small you’re allowed to eat more of them. Whatever works.

I had seen Bakerella make some pumpkin pie bites and swore I would try my hand at it, too. While I used a different recipe for the filling, I did use her idea of shaping the pastry dough into little pumpkins. Love it!

Also, I cheated a little bit. I used refrigerated pie dough. To a purist like me, it feels like I bought some Tollhouse Break-and-Bakes, stuck them in the oven, and pretended they were my own. But pie crusts have never been my forte so I’m totally fine with using refrigerated dough. Really, I am.

I drizzled melted vanilla chips on some. Adding some pecans or walnuts for garnish would also be cool.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yes, pumpkin cupcakes again. It’s officially autumn, so pumpkin cupcakes will make an appearance at least one more time this season. Since I’ve already gone on and on and on and on and on about pumpkins in my previous posts, I’ll keep this one simple.

Ogle the beautiful pumpkiny goodness and find the recipe after the jump. I used the classic pumpkin cupcake recipe and this time topped them with cream cheese icing.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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