Pomegranate Chocolate Cupcakes

I was watching Iron Chef the other night, and it was Battle Boar. Which totally doesn't interest me, because that's on the List of Animals I Won't Eat. But one thing that caught my attention was the marinade that either Bobby Flay or the contender used: maple syrup and pomegranate. I instantly turned to Dave and said, "What do you think of pomegranate cupcakes? Is it possible?" He shrugged and switched it back to the baseball game during the commercial. LOL

I started searching, to see if anyone else had the same thought, and had some luck. On the POM Juice website, they had a recipe.

Once mixed, the batter was very... soupy, for lack of a better word. I was half convinced it'd be a failure like the Carrot Cupcakes of last weekend. (Which we shall not speak of again LOL) Thankfully, they turned out very well, and I am Happy. :)

(Oh, and I halved their recipe, just in case it wasn't a winner LOL)

edited to add: I can't believe I forgot to mention the taste! I'm glad that I didn't cut the pomegranate juice down to half a cup. I think it keeps a good balance between the chocolate and the fruit taste. It's very yummy, I'm quite pleased with it. :)

1½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup pomegranate juice
½ cup boiling water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vinegar
½ Tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in mixing bowl, making a well in the center.

In a large measuring cup, combine pomegranate juice and boiling water. Add oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and stir.

Pour liquids into flour mix, beating to combine. Fill muffin cups half full.

Bake at 350F for 23-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla, milk, and sugar, and beat until frosting is of spreading consistency.



Remember the good ol' days? When it was rolling towards September and you had both that mixture of sadness and excitement over the quickly-approaching first day back to school? (Alright, it's September back home. Out here, it's next week, I think.) I was one of those kids that actually enjoyed school, so it was definitely a mix of feelings. On one hand, I'd be going into (whatever) grade, and somehow I always got the teacher that I wanted, all the years of elementary school. But at the same time, when I think back on my childhood summers, it's all very vivid greens and blues and flowers. Sleeping in, playing house/restaurant/school/whatever with April or Erin, swimming in the pool, etc. Sometimes I really miss my childhood, and I do hope that when I have kids, they wind up with the same fond memories.

I digress. Of course. LOL

Really, those words and the recipe are connected, I swear. I think it's because the flavors of the bars remind me slightly of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, even when there's no peanut butter. It's just a very comforting taste, and it works out well that's so super-easy to make. And, as I pointed out, there are oats in it, so therefore, there's healthiness. :)

½ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats (not the 'quick-make' version)
1 cup jam (any flavor)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.

Beat butter, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until smooth and creamy. Add in oats.

Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Spread the jam over this layer (close to edges, but not touching edge of pan as the sugar will burn). Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top and press lightly.

Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into bars. Makes about 16 bars (depending on the size you cut them. I cut them small, thus making more, just because they seem better when bite-sized) :)


Marbled Peanut Butter Brownies

In my quest last... whatever day it was that I made the blondies, I came across this recipe, but didn't have any cream cheese. This is what I first thought of for Myriam's Browniebabe of the Month contest. I didn't think it'd happen, so I just entered the blondies. But, yay, there was time enough, so after I post this, I'll be sending another email to Myriam. :)

These came out surprisingly well. My previous marbling experiences usually wound up... over-marbled, so I'm quite pleased with these. The peanut butter taste isn't too overwhelming, and it's a good balance between peanut butter and chocolate. I asked Dave if he wanted to bring some into work tomorrow, and his words were, "These aren't going to work. They're staying here!" Which made me happy, of course. I'll sneak some to my guinea pigs at work, though.

Peanut Butter Filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk

1 cup butter, melted
2¼ cups sugar, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

For peanut butter filling: Beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, egg, and milk until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 13x9-inch pan.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa; beat until well blended. Add dry ingredients, beating until well mixed.

Remove 1 cup batter; set aside. Pour remaining batter into prepared pan. Spread Peanut Butter Filling over surface. Drop reserved chocolate batter by teaspoons over filling. Using a knife, gently swirl through top layers for marbled effect.

Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. About 36 brownies.


Cinnamon Blondies

I admit, it took me a while to come up with these. It wasn't until I went digging through the "pile o' morsels" that this clicked into my head. I'm not the biggest fan of Hershey's Cinnamon Chips, at least pre-baked, but they worked out really well in these. In fact, the flavor seems like it should be in something bread-y or muffin-y. Definitely not in bar form. Which is what I think is so great about these. Oh, and they're "guinea pig approved", too. I should make them a logo or something. :)

Anyways, I like these. Much better than the ginger blondies I previously made. These can be just a snack, or heated up and topped with ice cream. Ooh, a cinnamon ice cream would go perfectly! *covets* ;)

These are also for Myriam's Browniebabe of the Month event. :)

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (add more, if desired)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
3 to 5 oz. Hershey's Cinnamon Chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

Beat brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in cinnamon chips. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes about 16 bars.