Late Night Baking Party – Cheddar Chive Cornbread

The first Late Night Baking Party on Nina’s Cooking Journey was a huge success!  There were submissions from several bloggers and NCJ Peeps and I cannot thank you all enough for joining me in this weird experiment of mine.  All the recipes looked amazing and I can’t wait to try some of them myself.  I even Ustreamed during the party and got to know some of you all a little better and hopefully you got to know me.  I will definitely be hosting another party so if you have any ideas for a fun virtual party please let me know!  I wasn’t able to share all of the posts but here are some of the recipes from some of my favorite blogger friends.  Feel free to check out a few more posts from NCJ Peeps on my Facebook Page.  A big thanks to you all…you rock!


Banana Pumpkin Nutella Bread from Christine’s Kitchen Chronicles


Old Fashioned Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce from Noshing with the Nolads


Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes from Tortillas and Honey


Maple Bacon Busciuts from Dixie Chik Cooks


Chickpea Chocolate Cupcakes from I Breath…I’m Hungry

Apple Spice Cake from Cooking with Elise


And finally, my contribution Cheddar Chive Cornbread.  My mom makes THE BEST cornbread from scratch and usually doesn’t deviate from her recipe.  So I was extremely surprised when she put this on the dinner table one night.  I thought it would be perfect with the Spicy Chili I made the other week and I was right.  It adds a Tex-Mex feel to a traditional southern dish.


1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1¼ cups buttermilk
¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), melted over low heat and set aside
½ cup sliced scallions (about ¼ inch wide)
4 oz. sharp yellow cheddar, shredded (use more if you prefer)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Using a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.   Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisking well to combine.  Add melted butter to the batter, stirring slowly to incorporate.  Finish by folding in chopped scallions and cheddar cheese.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter and then pour in batter.  Bake until edges are a little crispy and top is golden brown, about 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and place skillet on a cooling rack.  The cast iron retains its heat and will continue to cook the cornbread.  Let cool a bit before serving to allow the cornbread to set.

Recipe adapted from Garden & Gun

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Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

You all know (or maybe you don’t, but now you do know) I LOVE chocolate so when I was trying to figure out what to make for my next post a light bulb went on right above my head.  Not literally but you know what I mean, lol.  Me and chocolate have a love / love relationship and it’s hands down my most favorite flavor of all time. From chocolate ice cream (what do you know about Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food?) to chocolate candy to chocolate cake; ok I think you get my point.

The ganache icing is the star on this cupcake.  I iced mine while the ganache was still warm by holding the cupcake upside down and swirling it in the bowl to create a thin layer of icing.  But if you like a thicker more substantial frosting simply refrigerate for about an hour, stirring every 5 minutes, to allow the frosting to thicken.  You will be able to frost your cupcakes just like you would with butter-cream.

Also, using coarse salt is very important.  I know it may seem counter intuitive but adding salt to sweet dishes actually brings out the sweet flavor.  When I ate these cupcakes every once in a while I got a little salty zing on my palate that made everything that much more yummy!  I will be making these at least once a month if only to satisfy the little chocolate monster inside of me.

Makes about 32 


For the cupcakes:

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
For the frosting:
1 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tbsp chocolate sprinkles for garnish
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
For the frosting:
Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.  Beginning near the center and working outward, stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture is combined and smooth (do not over stir).
Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes, until frosting just barely begins to hold its shape and is slightly lighter in color. Use immediately (ganache will continue to thicken after you stop stirring).  Garnish with chocolate sprinkles.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

It’s kind of funny when I make these cookies everyone loves them and always asks for the recipe.  Little do they know it’s on every package of Nestle chocolate chip bags in the store!  I’ve included some tips that I’ve learned along the way but really it’s just a basic cookie recipe.  Adding toffee was something I came up with one day after finding a bag of toffee chips in the cabinet.  I figured, hey why not?  And a star was born.


Makes about 3 dozen



  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toffee chips


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until pale and creamy. On the Kitchen Aid mixer I use speed 4 four about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate and toffee chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop by rounded scoops onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. I usually bake for exactly 10 minutes so their still browned but will be soft once they cool.  Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Make sure you don’t let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for more than 2 minutes because the bottoms will continue to cook and become hard.


Slightly adapted from Nestle Toll House:


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Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

I have a confession, I used to hate mint chocolate.  I’m not a fan of Thin Mints, or Frango Mints or Andes.  I always felt like I was eating toothpaste!  But when I asked my friend and owner Shayna of Lizzie Lu Sweets in Atlanta to share one of her recipes I figured maybe, just maybe since it’s in cupcake form I might like it.  Cupcakes make everything taste better right?  Well I am proud to say that I am a changed woman because these cupcakes definitely have just the right amount of mint so it’s not too overpowering but you can still taste (and enjoy) the chocolate flavor.  And if you love mint then these are just right for you.  These cupcakes are a hit every time I make them.  I usually pair them with White chocolate cream cheese, regular cream cheese or vanilla buttercream frosting.

*Please note I have made some changes and the recipe below has been slightly adapted from the original. 


Yield: Makes about 24 cupcakes


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mint chocolate chips divided
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • 2 ½  cups, plus 5 tbsp of cake flour (do NOT sift!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½  cups water

For the Frosting:

  • 4 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

For garnish:

  • Andes mints
  • Edible pearls

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and ½ cup mint chocolate chips and butter together in a double boiler over low heat.  If you don’t have an actual double boiler you can simply use a glass bowl that will fit over the top of a sauce pan.  Melt the chocolate in the bowl stirring frequently.  Be careful not to let the water touch the actual bowl or to boil.  Pour melted chocolate into mixing bowl.  Add eggs, vanilla extract, mint extract and water and stir until blended.

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In a separate bowl combine sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.  Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the mixing bowl and blend on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Repeat this twice with 1/3 of the mixture until well blended.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

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To make the frosting beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Mix in white chocolate and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is fluffy on high speed for 3 minutes. Mix in heavy cream.  Frost the cupcakes as desired and top with 1/2 of Andes candy cut diagonally and edible pearls for decoration.


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Slutty Brownies

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I LOVE chocolate.  I could probably do without candy like skittles and starbursts but I absolutely have to have chocolate at least a few times a week.  So during one of my major cravings I found the recipe for Slutty Brownies and the name had me from jump!

Basically it’s one layer of chocolate chip cookie dough, oreo cookies and brownie mix all baked together to form one deliciously sinful treat. I thought to myself what could be better than three of my favorite desserts together and why didn’t I think of this before!!  I know it may seem like cheating since everything is not made from scratch but hey sometimes you need something quick without a lot of fuss.  Well I’m glad I found the recipe so I could share it with all of my NCJ Peeps 🙂

Since this was my first time making them I had to “test taste” them right out of the oven and when I tell you they were good…that doesn’t even begin to describe it!  Luckily I was by myself because I’m sure me wolfing down that brownie was not a pretty sight.  After I realized how good slutty brownies were I knew I had to get them out of the house or else I might eat the whole pan.  So I brought them for my friends and coworkers…just sharing the love/calories!  The only thing that could have made it more perfect would have been a big bowl of vanilla ice cream.  Mmm…maybe I should make just a small pan this weekend 🙂

Yield: 1 9×9 brownie pan

Serving Size: 16 brownies per recipe




For the Brownie layer: 2 packages of Betty Crocker brownie mix prepared according to the package

For the Oreo layer:1 package of Oreo cookies, regular

For the Cookie Dough layer: 2 roles of Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan with tin foil and then spray the tin foil with a layer of baking spray.
  3. Layer about 3/4 of the cookie dough on the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan, pressing down to form the bottom of the slutty brownies.  Feel free to add the remaining dough if you want a thicker layer like I did.
  4. Layer as many oreos that will fit on top of the cookie dough. No need to overlap. One single layer will do. If the oreos do not fit all the way around the edges of the pay, cut them to fit inside the pan so as much of the cookie dough is covered as possible.
  5. Pour the brownie batter on top of the oreo layer and make sure it’s evenly layers on top. You might have extra batter so just pour enough so that you end of with a smooth layer on top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test with a tooth pick or knife to see if the center is done. If the knife comes out clean, let the brownies rest before serving. If the knife comes out with batter still on it, allow the brownies to bake about 5 minutes more.
  7. Serve with ice cream 🙂


Source: What’s Gaby Cooking (


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