It had been awhile since I made cupcakes, so the other day I sifted through my bookmarks and found this delicious recipe. There's no time an Oreo cupcake won't do the trick. It's different than a plain old chocolate or vanilla cupcake, and pleases a crowd like no other. If I had my kit of Wilton tips I'm sure these could've also come out looking really classy with the oreo on top (at least that's what I'm telling myself). 

I actually made these twice in one week. Once to try for myself and then I made a tray for my family's annual holiday party. The icing is more time-consuming than a standard buttercream, but it's worth every second. It tastes to me like cookies and cream ice cream in icing form. As I was first making it I was contemplating all of the ways I could've made a better icing and spent a quarter of the time on it. Do you ever do that? I was muttering to myself how I wish I had just picked another recipe, but I hadn't even seen or tasted the final product. 

When it was finished I had to pry myself away from the bowl to avoid eating it by the spoonful (something I shockingly never do with icings). It's light and airy, not too sweet, and a great complement to the cupcake itself. To me, that's the perfect cupcake. You're not trying to get a bite that's mostly icing or mostly cupcake -- you want a great big bite of both. Enjoy!

Oreo Cupcakes 
Recipe from Confection Ink
For the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package instant chocolate pudding
3 eggs
1cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (or strong brewed coffee – I would have used this but my coffee maker isn’t working!)
24 Oreo cookies, with one side twisted off and reserved for the frosting.
Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pans.
In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pudding mix. Add oil, eggs sour cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes) Continue beating while slowly adding in the boiling water. Beat about 30 seconds after adding the water.

Put the Oreo with one side twisted off cream side up and fill cupcake liners about 1/2 way. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Let them cool completely on cooling rack.
* I had extra batter after 24 cup cakes. I made cup cake bites using mini Oreos. I also used some mini Oreos as a garnish.

For the icing:
1 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter -at room temperature
1/2 cup Crisco
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
24 Oreo cookie tops -crushed
 Place milk in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle the flour over the milk, 1/4 cup at a time and whisk until smooth.  Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick pulls into a ball.  Remove from the heat and put ball into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture and tuck around it to make sure there is no exposed parts.  Refrigerate until cooled to room temperature or colder (at least 30 minutes). In a large bowl, cream the butter and Crisco.  Add the cooled flour milk mixture and beat until well blended.  Mix in the vanilla.  With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the sugar and then continue to beat the icing a
fter adding the sugar for an additional 10-12 minutes until noticeably whiter and creamy. Add Oreo crumbs and mix until just blended.

Hold on to your pants, folks. This is a healthy...yes, healthy...cookie pie. I am skeptical of any delicious food that's not completely terrible for me. I have long stood by my theory that to possibly be deemed an amazing food, something has to forfeit its healthful qualifications. It's just a sad truth. Sure, some healthy foods are good, but we all know that at the end of the day cream, butter, sugar, or whatever fits with the dish would bring it up a notch.

My second bit of skepticism towards this recipe was its secret ingredient: beans. I don't want beans in my cookies. That's just that. Alas, I decided I would give it a try because a healthy cookie recipe could be life-changing for me. Results? Bean Cookies-1. Sarah-0. It was great. If I had the metabolism of a 10 year old boy I would still choose a regular cookie any day of the week, but that's not the case.

My roommates thought this was just about the most groundbreaking thing I'd ever made. When college girls can justify a dessert you better watch out. I chose not to mention that there is still a good portion of brown sugar and chocolate chips in here. "Everything in moderation." It's not like we're eating celery, here. It lasted all of 24 hours (which I realize is kind of disturbing considering the blog I found it on said she got 20 servings out of it). My roommate and I decided that you could slightly taste the texture of the beans, but not enough that it was a deterrent. I probably should have processed them up a bit more before throwing them in. Anywho, if you get around to making this let me know your thoughts!

Healthy Deep Dish Cookie Pie
Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie

  • 2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (500g total, once drained)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (Seems like a lot, but this makes a big pie. I think we got like 20 servings from it! You can try adding less, if you’re used to healthy desserts; I chose to use this much because the people to whom I served it are used to “normal” desserts. Also, white sugar will work if you don’t have brown.)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Blend everything (except the chips) very well in a food processor. Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan (I used a 10-inch springform pan, but you can use a smaller pan if you want a really deep-dish pie.) Cook at 350F for around 35 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

75 percent of the time I'm a very decisive person. I like to call the shots when no one else will, and I almost always have some sort of opinion (bearing in mind that those opinions are not correct all the time). The other 25 percent, I'm exactly the opposite. For example, I will ponder what to order from a restaurant for as long as humanly possible. No, I'm not one of those people who sits and waits to look at a menu until the waitress' third go around. I look at it...and then look at it more...and then pick about four things I'd be happy with. This even happens at restaurants with only a few options (or really at any restaurant that includes mushrooms, feta and avocados on the same menu). I usually just open my mouth and see what comes out to the waiter or waitress. I figure that's probably what I wanted the most anyways. 

This pie is for the indecisive people out there, but it doesn't require you to choose one. Hooray! The bottom layer is cheesecake. The middle layer is pumpkin pie. The top layer is pecan pie. I made this for Thanksgiving dinner #2 with my family. Like with my Thanksgiving dessert #1, I took a shortcut. I used store bought pie crust. My food processor was in Chapel Hill, so I like to say that's why I didn't go through the trouble of making the homemade crust. Truthfully, my family isn't picky when it comes to desserts, so I didn't see a need to spend the extra time (though I'm sure it would be well worth it).

All-in-all this pie came together relatively painlessly. The layers themselves are much simpler than if you made a real cheesecake, pumpkin pie or pecan pie. The best part is that people are beyond impressed with a three layer pie. 

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Flaky Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks and frozen
1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening, frozen
6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water

Cheesecake Layer
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg

Pumpkin Pie Layer
2 cups unsweetened fresh cooked or canned pumpkin (If using canned, strain in a fine mesh sieve for several hours to overnight, covered, in the fridge)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (you can use evaporated milk, if you prefer)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pecan Pie Crunch Topping
1 1/4 cup mix of whole and coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons melted butter

1. Place the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse on and off until combined. Scatter the butter pieces and the shortening, in large chunks, over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine on and off until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water and process until the mixture just starts to come together. If the dough seems dry, add the remaining 2 tablespoons water as necessary. Do not allow the dough to form a ball on the blade, or the resulting crust will be tough!  You want a raggedy mess of crumbly dough, with lumps of butter showing.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it in half, and shape each half into a disk – gently pressing each raggedy mess together, (DO NOT press into each disk or try to squeeze it together so the dough is uniform – it will come together in the refrigerator). Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. You will only need one disk for this recipe, so you can freeze the other disk for later use.
3. Lightly flour a large work surface. Allow the dough to soften at room temperature just until it is pliable (about 10 minutes). Place 1 disk on the floured surface and sprinkle some flour over it. Roll the dough from the center out in every direction, flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. You want a round of dough that’s about 1/4 to 1/8 inch and about 3 inches greater in diameter than the pie pan/plate you are using.
4. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan (if you don’t use a deep-dish pan, there will be some filling left over) by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling it carefully over the pan. Press the dough first into the bottom of the pan and then against the sides. Patch any holes or cracks with dough scraps. Trim the edges of the dough with scissors, leaving about 3/4 inch of overhang. Fold overhang over and crimp as you please.  Place shell in the freezer and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. When oven temperature is at 400 F, remove the pie shell from the freezer and line the pie crust with a large sheet of lightly buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down, covering the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t get too brown. Fill the lined crust with pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice. Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Prick the bottom of the crust well with a fork and bake the crust for another 7 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, but the crust is not fully baked. Cool the pie crust on a wire rack while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar, then add vanilla and 1 egg. Beat mixture until smooth.
2. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the par baked pie shell, spread evenly, then freeze for about 15 -20 minutes.
3. In the mean time, in a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, heavy cream, 2 lightly beaten eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt. Mix thoroughly until uniform.
4. Remove the pie shell with cream cheese from the freezer and pour the pumpkin mixture on top of it. Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning.
5. Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 60 to 75 minutes (It really depends on your oven.  In one oven I used, it took 75 minutes, in another, 60 – so keep checking for it to be sturdy, but still a tad jiggly).
6. When pie is in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, combine all the ingredients for the pecan pie topping.  Set aside.
7. After pie has been in oven for 50 – 60 minutes, remove from the oven and remove silver foil around edges of crust. Sprinkle pecan pie topping evenly over top – the pumpkin pie layer will sink a bit because the pecan goo is heavy, do not worry!  Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the pecan pie topping is bubbly.  Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for several hours before serving.
8.  Drizzle with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache for extra decadence!