Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So Many Choices

See's Candies opened their first shop in 1929 in Los Angeles, California. My mother-in-law grew up in Los Angeles and one of her favorite places to go was the See's candy shop. She said the smell of chocolate wafted from it for miles around and it was heavenly. Her earliest memories of going to See's was for Easter treats. Mainly she and her siblings got jelly beans and such in their Easter baskets, but her parents took them to See's to pick out one nice piece of Easter candy, usually a chocolate covered marshmallow egg, for their baskets.

To this day, See's is still my mother-in-law's favorite chocolate and a treat for our family, too. When a nice person from See's wrote and asked if I'd like a box of chocolates to play with and blog about, it was a no-brainer to say yes. The only part that required brain cells was what I'd do with the chocolates when they came (besides eat them, I mean). Should I chop them up and stir them into brownies or add them to cookie dough? Maybe slice them and sandwich them between cookies? (Or just eat them. No, must restrain myself!)



When the chocolates arrived and I opened the box, I decided they were too pretty to chop up and hide. So I used them to garnish devil's food cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting (after sneaking just one from the box- mmm). I liked the idea of serving them at a party, so guests could pick their favorite chocolate and get a cupcake, too!



I must say that I had a lot of help with this project. I mean a lot. It seemed like everyone was eager to be a helper when there was an open box of chocolates nearby. And after I was done taking pictures, I had a lot of offers to help with the clean up. Lick the bowl? Check. Lick the spatula? Check. Help eat the chocolates? Check, check, check.

Thanks, See's for the fun treat! But, dear reader, don't be pouty that you're only looking at delicious chocolates, not eating them. I get to give away a $25 gift certificate to See's! If you'd like to win, leave a comment with your favorite treat from See's (or that you've never tried See's candies). I'll draw the winner over the weekend and announce it next Monday. And if you post a link for the contest on Facebook, MySpace, or on your blog, you can come back and leave a comment telling me about it for an extra entry.

Chocolate Box Cupcakes
- adapted from More From Magnolia by Allysa Torey

These are really good cupcakes. Light, yet moist, and very chocolatey.

2 cups cake flour
1 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter; softened
1-1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line three 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

2- Sift together the flour, cocoas, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. Set aside.

3- In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it's smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4- Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and the vanilla. After each addition, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake papers, filling them about 3/4 full.

5- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Rotate the pans top to bottom halfway through the baking time.

6- Cool in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.



Creamy Vanilla Frosting
- also from More From Magnolia by Allysa Torey

This is my new favorite frosting. It's smooth, creamy, not too sweet, without the harsh edge that powdered sugar can impart to a frosting. It's a bit persnickety to make, but totally worth it for the creamy, dreamy taste and texture. I'm going to use it as filling next time I make Twinkies!

6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1- In a medium saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, press waxed paper directly on the surface, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

2- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.

3- Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat at medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes exactly (set a timer). Use immediately.

I had leftover frosting and put it in the refrigerator. I set up like a brick. It softens again at room temperature, but I haven't figured out yet if the creamy quality can be regained by beating it again.

57 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

HOLY FREAKING YUM ENTICEMENT!!!

Janelle said...

I used to work at See's during the holiday season. Unfortunately, I now live in the east, and we don't have See's out here. :(

I love the chocolate covered peanut brittle from See's. I have too many favorite candies to name them all (that, and I don't remember all their names).

Janelle said...

I just tweeted about the contest (Twitter)...does that count for an extra entry?

Ali said...

I love the caramels :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Janelle - Yes, Twitter counts, too, so you're down for two!

Sarah said...

I'm deprived! I've never tried See's!

powerrail said...

I've never tried See's, but I sure would like to!

Sarah said...

I tweeted too. :)

Melinda said...

I must try your creamy vanilla frosting.
I love See's chocolate caramels. I miss those.
I like these extra treat cupcakes.
What is your favourite chocolate innards, Lynn?

Heather I. said...

Yummy, I loooove See's!! My favorites are the peanut crunch, peanut butter cup and butterchew. But, any of them will do just fine!

Sean said...

Mmm, See's... At the very least, I'm sure that a certain little boy would be delighted to help you with that burden of extra frosting. =)

southern daze said...

This cupcake + frosting combo is a huge family favorite. I've been baking them since picking up "More from Magnolia" a few years ago. I always experiment with others but keep coming back to these...YUM!

My favorite See's candy is, hands down, the Scotchmallow (brown-sugar caramel + marshmallow + dark chocolate). Uh oh...now I'm craving one (along with a batch of my favorite cupcakes!)

Marysol said...

Lynn, we're talking about chocolate, so no restraints are allowed.

I love your See's cupcake topper idea, but I don't think those chocolates would stay in their box long enough for my creativity to flow.

Natashya said...

I have heard lots of great things about these chocolates, you chose a great way to showcase them! Looks yummy!

Emskyrooney said...

Oh those look so tasty! I've never been fortunate enough to have See's- would LOVE to have the chance to try some though!

Maria said...

Love the cupcakes you made, too cute! I love the toffee, everything is good though, it is chocolate!

Diane said...

I am so glad you posted this because even Steve (the European too-sweet-is-not-for-me) liked the frosting. He also liked it with the chocolate cupcake, which is saying a lot.

On the other hand, I feel rather slighted now, knowing I was given cupcakes with frosting, but no chocolates. I am quite dismayed that I was snubbed -sniff, sniff-, despite the fact that I had come to your door -sob- (are you feeling sorry for me yet?) -sniff-

My favorite has and will always be the maple creams. I love the hard crunch of the chocolate only to discover the yummy, sweet gooey filling.

Diane said...

Facebook, Live Spaces & Twitter (LadyDiBelle) :).

Nicole Flake said...

These are so cute! See's candies are my grandma's favorite too. She used to buy us a cake egg with our names written on top for Easter, but my favorite would have to be the maple cream chocolates.

Anonymous said...

Yummy! Who wouldn't want Sees candy?

marci said...

I discovered See's after I met my husband. His family loves them, and now so do I!

marci said...

Sorry, my url was wrong above...

Mama JJ said...

I have never tried their chocolates, but they look quite tasty. I grew up close to Hershey PA, you know, the town with the Hershey Kiss street lamps, and the smell was dreamy.

I just ate two chocolate chip cookies with my coffee, so I'm feeling quite fond of chocolate at the moment. I would love some more...

Scorps1027 said...

I love anything milk chocolate with nuts from See's. They are literally my favorite chocolatier!

Scorps1027 said...

I just tweeted about the contest too! http://twitter.com/scorps1027/status/1312055195

Anonymous said...

I love the coconut ones!!! Heck, I love all of them.

gtchick05@yahoo.com

Mermaid Sweets said...

Wow those are pretty. I am going to have to try the chocolate cupcake recipe - I am in to trying new ones. Thanks,

Carolyn G said...

I love see;s but we don't have one close to our house. I miss their chocolate lollipops!

JohannaB said...

My favorite are the carmels. I like making them last as long as possible. The closest thing we have to chocolate here is Russell Stovers, can't believe I typed that in the same breath with See's.

Brilynn said...

I've never tried See's before, but those cupcakes look awesome!

Aimée said...

I've never heard of See's before, but I could probably take care of a couple--dozen that is!

The Queen of Quite a Lot said...

I don't think I've ever had See's, but I am more than willing to try!

Jill said...

I haven't tried See's, but I'd love to. Caramel is usually my favorite, with peanut butter a close 2nd!

Amber said...

Oh yummy. See's is by far a favorite and I would love nothing other than to get a factory tour one day (not sure if they offer these).
My favorite is probably Cashew Brittle or Butterscotch Square.

-Amber
ajveranth@hotmail.com

luiez said...

I've only ever tried an assorted box of See's Soft Centers... and they were amazing! It was the first time I had a lemon cream-type chocolate. Yumm.

And those cupcakes are genius. Hard to go wrong :-)

Elyse said...

Man, do these cucpakes look gorgeous! No wonder everyone wanted to help out: look at the amazing end result!! My favorite See's are their toffee crunch candies! Mmm, but everything is so good. I was in their store the other day, and all of the Easter candy is just beautiful!

Grace said...

excellent candy usage, lynn! i've eaten a lot of chocolates in my day, but i've never been lucky enough to sample see's. sad, isn't it. :)

Baking Soda said...

Decadent added to delicacy... Yum!

erinbee said...

oh man. those look scrumptious!

Sarah said...

Sam and I always get the yummy peanut butter patties that they have. They give you three for one. It's AWESOME. They remind me of summer's, holding the cute little sees bag, and going for a walk with Sam. Mmmm.

CookiePie said...

OMG - delicious cupcakes, and then TOPPED with fabulous See's candies??!! Yum Yum YUM!!!

CindyinTempe said...

We have See's but never tried them. Would love to, though.

BellaMolly said...

Well, I don't comment all that often Lynncredible, but I certianly do read and try some of your wonderful recipes! But seeing the chance to win CHOCOLATE??!!! That is what mollytopia is all about!

See's a Christmas traditionin our family now. And when my grandparents were still alive every Easter all of the grandkids would receive a special See's Egg. I always hoped I would get the fudge filled one and would slowly nibble away at mine, slicing it with a knife in small pieces... :)

Elle said...

What a great way to showcase these great chocolates. I love See's and my favorite is the butterscotch square. The easter eggs are great, too. I also like their peanut brittle.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

These are perfection! See's has been my candy of choice since I was a kid.

Rachel and Jessica said...

Yum! I have never had See's chocolates before! How did I miss out on this?! Please enter me! =:) Thanks! I would love to try some!

~Rachel P.~

Kim said...

how fun! my favorite are the molasses chips. :)

Reneé said...

I love their lollipops! YUM!

chuck said...

Lynn, Lynn, Lynn I'm in love with those cupcakes topped with delicious chocolates. I can tell you that the frosting would never make it to the refrigerator in my house lol. Love it!!

One Thrifty Mamma said...

We love See's candies! My extended family used to buy boxes of the Nuts and Chews for gifts for the rest of the family every year for Christmas. And, they are a common fundraiser with their yummy candy bars! I think my favorite is the chocolate with toffee bits.... Yummy!

One Thrifty Mamma said...

Added a post about your contest (and amazing site) to my blog - http://onethriftymamma.blogspot.com/2009/03/great-recipe-and-great-contest.html

Deborah said...

The best part about going to the mall is going to See's and buying a couple chocolates! What a great way to use these!

breadchick said...

Lynn, my great aunt Nora (Anadama bread recipe aunt) loved See's too. I always think of her when I eat them and I know she would have loved these!

Elena said...

I don't know if I'm too late, but my favorite is the California toffee. My sister used to send it to me on my birthday every year.

Peabody said...

Heck yay...that's the way to make a cupcake even better. Swoon!

Cher said...

Boy, this post about See's Candy brings back memories. About a hundred years ago, more or less, I was a mere tadpole working on a US military base overseas. There was no lack of scrumptious local chocolates to enjoy, but my Californian suitemate was crazy about See's Candy. Her stateside relatives would mail regular fixes of See's. Makes me smile, remembering. Wow, both See's and I have been kicking around this old earth a long time.

Anonymous said...

These cupcakes were FABULOUS!!!! I really loved the frosting on these. THANK YOU!!