The Gaming Series: Pokémon Doughnuts

Pokemon doughnutsI remember holding a Gameboy Color in my hands for the first time. My brother had bought it with months of saving up for it and I couldn’t believe the handheld color display. Along with the Gameboy he purchased Pokémon Red, which was just starting to get its hype. I loved that game and spent hours leveling up Pokémon and discovering glitches like the MissingNo.. This glitch let you duplicate rare candies infinitely which you then used to up your team to level 99. Honestly, leveling up your team so high is useless because you can beat the whole game with much less, but bragging rights seem to never go out of fashion. And while Pokémon Red has a special place in my heart, Pokemon Silver has to be the best one out there. (Don’t @ me, please.)
pokemon doughnutsI’ve made Star Wars doughnuts in the past, so I thought it’d be fun to do a Pokémon version. Only this time I decided to make them into Ditto versions. If you didn’t know, Ditto is a Pokémon that copies the abilities and appearances of other Pokémon except for their face.  I guess this was a way of keeping the same simple face while making fun appendages. But honestly, I think they’re very cute in their own right. Just look at all the plushies that are made of them!
pokemon doughnutsIf you follow me on Instagram, you can see the process of making some of these. Click below to be taken to the page:

Pikachu Doughnut Tutorial
Bulbasaur Doughnut Tutorial
Magnemite Doughnut Tutorial

Mini Doughnuts
makes about 3 dozen mini doughnuts

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large egg
½ c. whole milk
¾ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c. all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven 350˚F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on your mini doughnut pan.
    2. In a medium bowl, whip butter, vegetable oil, and both sugars with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
    3.            Mix in egg and milk until completely combined.
    4.            Stir in baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
    5.            Stir in flour until smooth, do not over mix.
    6.            In a piping bag, fitted with a medium round tip, fill each doughnut cavity about ½ full.
    7.            Bake 5-7 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when you touch it. Do not wait until the doughnut is golden brown, you will over bake it.
    8.            Let cool in pan about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
    9.            Repeat steps 6-8 until all of the batter is used.

The Gaming Series: Link Brownies (Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Brownies)

I’ve been taking a lot of baking orders for the past year. Not so often that it’s been unmanageable (or even often enough that I’d say it’s profitable), but enough that most of my spare time was spent creating for others. Only recently did I realize I was in a baking rut. I wasn’t making fun things that were inspiring to me. Yes, I tried out new recipes and that is always good but it never tapped into my creative side. So I’ve made a decision on making things for just me (and you, if you are reading this). What does this look like? Probably a smattering of posts of things that I like but mostly will be centered on a series of subjects that I am a fan of. All of the recipes that I’m sharing will be just as delicious, only that they’d reflect the selected theme. So I’m excited to announce that I’m kicking off this season with The Gaming Series.
I’ve loved video games when my brother got his very first Gameboy. I’m talking about that grey box with the monotone green screen. My three siblings and I would crowd around that one tiny screen and watch each other play for hours. Going forward, my younger brother and sister would eventually lose their interest, but my other brother and I would continue with our fandom for years.
Our very first console was a Nintendo 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first RPG that we played. Because the game is meant for one player, I would be the backseat driver to his playing. And even though I rarely physically held the controller, I was every bit as immersed and taken by the storyline and the gameplay.  I could almost feel the heat of Death Mountain, the cool waters of Lake Hylia and the dryness of the Haunted Wasteland. I wanted to ride on Epona and drink a gallon of Lon Lon Milk. Link was probably my first video game crush. (Even now that blonde hair and blue eyes makes my heart sway a bit.)  So unsurprisingly, my first post is of Link.
First, I have to let you know this recipe is the bomb. The light, crispy, chewy and slightly salty brown butter rice krispy treat offsets the smooth, fudgy brownie base in the best way. Second is that I just love how the candy melts pop against the black background. I have to thank @emilylynncantera because her artwork is what inspired this project.
zelda browniesI hope you enjoyed the post and I’m looking forward to continuing this journey with you. The hint for the next theme has to do with a certain fungi kingdom.

Link Brownies

You will need:

Brownies (recipe below)
Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies (recipe below)
2 to 3 cups Mini Marshmallows
Candy Melts in Black, Brown, Purple, Yellow, Orange, White, Green and Blue
Link Stencil

Instructions:

  1. Bake the layer of brownies. (*Important, the 8 inch pan must be at least 3 inches tall. Otherwise the recipe will not layer into pan.)
  2. When cool, layer the rice krispies being careful not to pack it in too tightly. This results in dense and tough rice krispies.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt and stir 2 c. mini marshmallows (melt 3 if you want your marshmallow layer to be thicker) in the microwave.
  4. Spread the marshmallow layer over the rice krispies layer.
  5. Melt enough black candy melt to spread over the top of the pan. (About ½ – ¾ c.).
  6. Let set.
  7. Put stencil over the top of the pan and using an x-acto knife, stencil the outline onto the candy melt.
  8. Remove the stencil and using candy melts of the right color, fill in the stenciled area. Let set and enjoy.

Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Ingredients:

¾ c. dark chocolate chopped into small ¼ in. pieces
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ¼ c. sugar
¾ c. + 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
½ c. all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F, oil and line an 8” square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate, butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Microwave mixture about 1-2 minutes until mixture is melted and smooth when stirred.
  3. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until batter is smooth and shiny.
  4. Fold in the flour until no streaks of flour remain.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 20-25 minutes until a toothpick poked in the center of the batter comes out with moist crumbs.
  6. Let cool completely before adding the rice krispies layer.

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies

Ingredients:

8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
One 10 oz bag of marshmallows
¼ tsp. kosher salt
6 c. (160 g.) crisp rice cereal

  1. In a medium to large pot, melt butter on medium-low heat. Keep stirring butter with a rubber spatula until the butter foams and small brown bits form on the bottom of the pan. (The butter will smell nutty.)
  2. Once the butter is browned, stir in the marshmallows until the marshmallows melt into a smooth mixture.
  3. Stir in the cereal and salt and spread into the pan with the brownies.
  4. Do not firmly squish the cereal into the pan. This will result in jagged, hard rice krispies. Gently push it into the pan and into the corners. Let cool and set.

Brownie recipe adapted from the Feed Feed.
Rice Krispies recipe adadpted from the Smitten Kitchen.

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

Chocolate Chip Tahini CookiesChocolate chip cookies made with chocolate chunks are the best cookies. There, I said it. I’m not saying I would say no to any other cookie. But, when I have the choice, I will always go with chocolate chip. Why do I say chocolate chunks > chocolate chips? I like the larger bites of chocolate and how they generally taste and look better. So far, my perfect salted chocolate chunk cookies have yet to find a contender. Of course, there are other versions of it that are different and perfectly divine, like this one from a couple of years ago that took the internet by storm.
Chocolate Chip Tahini CookiesSo why the heck am I sharing another chocolate chip cookie recipe, you ask? Because this one is the most delicious “healthy” chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. A ridiculously short ingredient list (8!), gluten free, and refined sugar free make them almost a miracle cookie. You don’t have to refrigerate the dough or wait for butter to soften (because there is none), and the dough comes together quicker than it would take you to read this post.
Chocolate Chip Tahini CookiesI will be honest in saying that no, these do not taste exactly like chocolate chip cookies made with butter and flour, but it is a great alternative to it. Goes great with coffee and is a nice afternoon snack. It also stays soft for days thanks to the tahini. However, just because they are more nutritious than a regular chocolate chip cookie, they are not low-calorie! So please remember to just have a cookie or two and not eat the whole batch (<= This is scarily easy to do. That’s why I pack it up and try to give it away asap.).
Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 13 cookies

Ingredients:

1 egg, large
½ c. tahini
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. almond flour
½ c. coconut sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 ½ oz. chocolate chunks, chopped from a 70% dark chocolate bar
maldon salt, for topping (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix egg, tahini, vanilla extract, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder and kosher salt together until a thick batter forms.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  4. Using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop (or a measuring spoon), space out cookies on baking sheet.
  5. If using maldon salt, sprinkle a bit on each cookie for an extra salty bite.
  6. Bake cookies about 8-9 minutes checking at 8 minutes to see if the tops are lightly golden. Cookies can burn easily so check frequently.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Living Kitchen by Tamara Green and Sarah Grossman.

Toffee Mocha Cake

I used to avoid toffee. It was just too crunchy and the bits of sugar would get stuck in my teeth and I’d have to try and fish it out with my tongue while trying to look like I wasn’t. No? Just me? I could never bring myself to fish it out with my fingers in public, although I’ve seen many people do it without batting an eye. Ick. I’ve always been partial to caramels and their chew until I made my own toffee. Unlike brittle or a not-so-great toffee, good toffee not only breaks into delightful shards in your mouth (as opposed to the jagged, sharp chips) but disintegrates into a caramel liquid that is pleasant on the tongue and doesn’t stick to your teeth.
This cake is an ode to toffee and coffee. I call it a mocha cake because there are layers of chocolate cake in the center and chocolate + coffee = mocha. If I had it my way though, it would really be a toffee coffee chocolate cake. What a mouthful.
The cake itself is well balanced with a salty sweet coffee toffee and its chocolate cake. But if you really don’t want to go through with this over-the-top cake, I’m pleading with you to at least try the toffee. That is one worth taking your time making.

Toffee Mocha Cake
(For a step-by-step video of how I put it together, check out my stories on Instagram (@thebusyspatula)!)

You will need:


Chocolate Cake (recipe below)
Salted Nut Coffee Toffee (recipe below)
Coffee Ganache (recipe below)
Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below)
Espresso Beans (optional)

Instructions:

  1. On a cake board, place one layer of your chocolate cake.
  2. Spread a thin, but even layer of the coffee buttercream.
  3. Spread a layer of the coffee ganache.
  4. Top with the coffee toffee.
  5. Repeat two more times.
  6. Crumb coat the cake with leftover buttercream and set in freezer for about 10-15 minutes or until the buttercream is firm.
  7. Remove cake from freezer and frost entire cake smoothly.
  8. Garnish the bottom of the cake with crushed coffee toffee.
  9. Place cake in freezer until firm, about 20-30 minutes.
  10. While cake is in the freezer, put the leftover ganache in a squeeze bottle and warm up ganache in a cup of hot water. You want the ganache to be runny enough that it will drip down the sides but not so hot that it will melt the buttercream.
  11. Remove cake from the freezer and do a ganache drip down the side of the cake. Fill the top smoothly with coffee ganache.
  12. Place cake in freezer to set.
  13. In a pastry bag fitted with a star pastry tip (I used Wilton’s 1M), swirl buttercream all around the edge of the cake.
  14. Dust the tops of the buttercream with crushed leftover toffee, and garnish each swirl with one espresso bean.

Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients:

1 ¾ c. flour
2 c. sugar
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. buttermilk, shaken
½ c. vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. hot coffee

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ and grease and line the bottom of four 6” cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, both cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder and salt until fully combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. With the mixer speed on low, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Turn off the mixer. With a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the two mixtures.
  6. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the hot coffee to the batter. Once added, raise the speed to medium until completely homogenous.
  7. Divide batter evenly amongst the four cake pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the cake pans halfway.
  8. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of cake pan and move onto wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Salted Nut Coffee Toffee:

Ingredients:

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 ½ tsp. espresso powder
1 ½ tsp. molasses
¼ tsp. kosher salt
nuts (I used walnuts and sunflower seeds)
flaky salt (I used maldon sea salt)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a sheet pan lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. On medium-low heat in a small to medium HEAVY saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, mix butter, sugar, espresso powder, molasses and kosher salt together. (I’m emphasizing heavy because I’ve tried with a lighter pan and I ruined my first batch.)
  3. Whisk mixture constantly until temperature reaches 285˚F.
  4. Pour mixture onto the sheet pan and sprinkle your nuts and then the flaky salt.
  5. Let cool and break into shards.

For the Coffee Ganache:

Ingredients:

120 ml. heavy cream
180 g. white chocolate
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. coffee emulsion

Instructions:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat heavy cream and white chocolate for one minute. Whisk mixture together until it becomes homogenous. If the white chocolate did not fully melt, microwave at intervals of 30 seconds until melted.
  2. Add in espresso powder and coffee emulsion and whisk.
  3. Pour onto the mocha cake layer and put cake in fridge to set the ganache. About 30 minutes to an hour.

Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:

1 ¾ c. sugar
1 tbsp. espresso powder
7 large egg whites
a pinch of kosher salt
5 ½ sticks unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. coffee emulsion

Instructions:

  1. Simmer an inch of water in a medium pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites, espresso powder, sugar and salt together.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture continuously until the mixture becomes lighter and no longer grainy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer the bowl into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  5. Mix on high until mixture becomes white and fluffy, and cool (check for this by seeing if the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch).
  6. Add in vanilla extract and butter one stick at a time until a silky smooth frosting forms.
  7. Add 2 tsp. of the coffee emulsion and whip until light brown and homogenous.

Salted nut coffee toffee recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen and All Recipes.
Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Food Network.

Chocolate Banana Bread

This bread is not healthy. I repeat, this bread is not healthy. It’s interesting how every time you have a fruit or a vegetable in the title of a recipe, it sounds like a healthier option. (Did you know that carrot cake at the Cheesecake Factory is one of their highest calorie count desserts? I’m telling you.. vegetables/fruits in a dessert is a lie!) Instead it’s an indulgent, rich chocolate bread which is full of chocolate chips and banana flavor. I think the role of the banana here is not so much to provide banana flavor (which it does) but to give it a rich, moist crumb that is not heavy.

I’ve seen a lot of banana breads on Instagram that have the floating bananas on top and always wondered how it is done. And the interesting thing is, no one writes how it is done! Even recipes with the floating bananas don’t mention the bananas on top of the loaf, they just mention putting the batter into the pan and bake. WHY?

Turns out, the bananas do not sink into the bread like I worried. But to keep it from turning color, a light brushing of fresh lemon juice will help it keep its pleasing yellow shade. Sprinkle the top with Sugar In The Raw (aka demerara sugar) and it will glisten with crunchy sugar crystals after it is baked.  It really is one of my favorite banana bread recipes and I think I’ll have a hard time turning back to my older one. On second thought, I might on the days I want to be a little “healthier”… that one uses half whole wheat flour. 🙂

Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. Dutch processed cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 large brown bananas (1 ½ c. mashed)
¼ c. (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. packed light brown sugar
1 extra large egg (or large if you don’t have extra large)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. chocolate chips
1 banana, ripe but not browned
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
demerara sugar (sugar in the raw) for sprinkling on top of loaf

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F, grease and line your loaf pan with parchment paper. (I used this gorgeous pan and it is on sale!!)
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and kosher salt in a medium bowl and set it aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, add the mashed bananas, melted butter, and oil and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  5. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add in the flour mixture.
  6. While there are traces of flour in the batter, add the chocolate chips and mix just until combined.
  7. Pour batter into your prepared loaf pan.
  8. Slice your banana lengthwise and brush with fresh lemon juice
  9. Place it side by side on top of the batter.
  10. Sprinkle the demerara sugar all over the top and place into the oven.
  11. Bake banana bread for about 50-60 minutes, checking at 50 minutes to make sure you don’t overbake your loaf.
  12. Stick a toothpick in the center of the loaf to check, making sure to check in a few places as skewering a chocolate chip would make you think the batter is undercooked.
  13. Remove pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before removing the bread from the pan.
  14. Let cool and serve.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

S’mores Cookies

Why is s’mores a “summer” thing? Toasted marshmallows and melty chocolate seem more suited for winter, no? Because I like it so much, I decided to go homemade on all the components of it. I’m not knocking on my ol’ standby of Honey Maid graham crackers, Jet-Puffed marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do some from-scratch projects.
I guess (for most people) the deciding factor boils down to: is it worth it? I won’t lie that the store-bought s’mores are almost as good and are way quicker to make, but do you see the char on that homemade marshmallow? You just can’t get the same toast on a ready-made version. If there was one component of the cookie that is worth making, it would be the marshmallows. The texture and flavor is unbeatable when compared to its commercial counterpart.A couple of notes about making marshmallows: 1) It is very sticky. Do not wrestle with it or try to get every bit out of the mixer. 2) Gelatin smells. When you whip up the gelatin and hot sugar mixture, it will smell awful. It’s hard to explain…but to me, it kind of smells like a farm? (I once took a class in college that required me to take care of a cow. It takes me back to that experience every time.) Either way, it is not a pleasant smell, but it will dissipate when the mixture cools. 3) You NEED a thermometer. There is no way around it. My thermapen might be the most used kitchen gadget and is worth every penny. Please, do not try and buy the $10 thermometers on Amazon. I promise you, you will not regret it.Homemade graham crackers are more flavorful and you can cut them into any shape and thickness that you want. Plus, you know every single ingredient that goes in it. And as for the chocolate coating, you can use way better quality chocolate. Oh! I tried using the sous vide cooker to temper chocolate and I’m not kidding, the best way to do it, EVER. We were having lunch as a group the other day and I was talking smack about my sous vide cooker… how it takes forever, how it’s only good for making steaks. But after this experience, I take it all back. I’m sorry I talked smack about you, I love you forever.
S’mores is one of my favorite cookies because it combines everything I like: crisp cookie, a soft-chewy marshmallow and rich chocolate. So I decided to share it with you guys along with a bunch of other cookies from my very talented blogger friends! Seriously, the list is outrageously delicious. If a recipe stands out to you, please visit and show them some love!

What Should I Make For… – Ugly Sweater Gingerbread Cookies
The Sweet Nerd – Gingerbread Cookies – All Spruced Up
Girl Heart Food – Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies
The Beach House Kitchen- Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
Beyond Mere Sustenance – Brandy-Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate
Seasons & Suppers – Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Ciao Chow Bambina – Lemon Drop Italian Cookies
Contemplating Sweets – Hedgehog Cookies
Salt & Lavender – Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Bars
Meg Is Well – Bradshaw Cookies: A Sour Cream Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting


S’mores Cookies

You will need:

Homemade graham crackers (recipe below)
Homemade marshmallows (recipe below)
8 oz. chocolate, tempered (I used the sous vide method here)
Toppings, optional

Instructions:

  1. Put all the chocolate in a tall container for easier dipping. I used a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup.
  2. Have a sheet pan lined with a parchment paper ready.
  3. Place one square of marshmallow on top of the graham cracker and lower both on an angle so you get a crisp line. Work quickly so your chocolate doesn’t fall out of temper.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate covered side with any toppings you want. Above, I used nonpareils, freeze dried strawberries, royal icing poinsettias, and flaky salt. The flaky salt looked the least impressive, but tasted the best.
  5. Let set. Toast marshmallow with a kitchen torch before eating for best taste. The chocolate melts a little when you toast the marshmallow, giving you the s’mores effect.

Homemade Graham Crackers

Ingredients:

2 ½ c. plus 2 tbsp. all purpose-flour
1 c. dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 c. honey
5 tbsp. whole milk
2 tbsp. vanilla extract

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add in the chunks of frozen butter and pulse until the mixture looks very crumbly, or a coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the honey, milk and vanilla extract and add it to the flour mixture.
  4. Pulse the mixture until the dough barely comes together. Do not over process, the cookies will become tough.
  5. Wrap the dough in a large piece of plastic wrap. The dough will be sticky, so try to avoid using your hands and use the sides of the plastic wrap to form the dough into a large rectangle. Refrigerate the dough for two hours, or overnight.
  6. Take the dough out and divide it in half, refrigerate the half that you are not using.
  7. Roll out the dough (remember, the dough is sticky, so use flour as needed) about ⅛ inch thick, and use a square 2 ½ inch cutter to cut out squares.
  8. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Take the thicker end of a skewer and poke nine holes in each square, like a cracker.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and ground cinnamon for the topping.
  11. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the topping and refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes until firm. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once you cut out all the squares, put the scraps together and re-roll and cut out more squares.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and bake the cookies about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients:

3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1 c. ice cold water, divided
1 ½ c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp, vanilla extract
¼ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Place the gelatin into a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add ½ c. ice water and let bloom.
  2. In a small pot either fitted with a candy thermometer (or not, if you’re using an instant-read thermometer), combine ½ c. water, sugar, corn syrup and salt.
  3. Heat mixture over medium high heat and cook until the mixture hits 240˚F, which should take about 6-8 minutes depending on the type of pot you used and the heat of the stove.
  4. Once the mixture hits 240˚F, take it off the heat and start your mixer on low speed.
  5. Add the hot sugar to the gelatin mixture slowly, avoid hitting the whisk.
  6. Once all of the sugar is mixed in gradually raise the speed of the mixer to high.
  7. Mix for about 12-15 minutes, or until the side of the bowl is luke warm and the mixture becomes very thick. Add in the vanilla in the last minute of mixing, taking care to lower the speed while you add it in, so you don’t fling extract everywhere (like I did. Ha!).
  8. Prepare an 8×8 pan, with high sides (at least 2 inches), by spraying the inside with nonstick spray and lining the inside with parchment paper.
  9. Spread the sugar mixture into the 8×8 pan using a silicone spatula also sprayed with nonstick spray. Try to smooth it down the best you can.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and cornstarch together. Use a mesh strainer to dust the top of the marshmallow mixture and wrap with plastic wrap overnight to cool and set. Save the rest of the powdered sugar mixture for the next day.
  11. When the marshmallow is set, overturn it on a cutting board dusted with the powdered sugar mixture.
  12. Use a 2 ½ in. square cutter to cut out squares of marshmallows. Dust the cutter with the powdered sugar to avoid sticking.
  13. Store in an airtight container.

Graham cracker recipe adapted from the smitten kitchen.
Marshmallow recipe adapted from the food network.

The Best Edible Cookie Dough

I’ve been in a motivational slump lately. Creative juices are at their all-time low, and laziness has taken over my life. It’s not like I don’t have content to share with you, but parking myself in front of the computer and writing a post seemed so pointless and boring I just didn’t have the heart to write. Anyway, I’m working on moving past the slump and onto a more productive track.
These mini cupcakes are vanilla cupcakes that I made from leftover wedding cake batter (a post on that soon) and are topped with a scoop of (what I think) is the best cookie dough, homemade magic shell and flaky salt. While all the parts of the cupcake are delicious, the star of this particular recipe is the cookie dough. What I think makes this cookie dough better others is a key step: toasting the flour.
Did you know that ingesting raw flour can cause foodborne illnesses such as E.coli and Salmonella? I know. I was surprised too. Toasting the flour not only makes it safe to consume, but it also gives the cookie dough a delicious nutty flavor that cuts down the sweetness of the cookie dough too.
Other than toasting the flour, you would need some great quality chocolate chips. Artisan Kettle happened to send me some bags to work with, and they were delicious. I’ve really tried about every brand of chocolate out there, and for the price point, they’re hard to beat. Bonus, they’re organic, fair-trade and gluten free. It’s simple to make and so so easy. I happened to make the cupcakes because I had them on hand, but you can always just make a jar of cookie dough and store it in the fridge for a cold scoop able treat.

The Best Edible Cookie Dough

Recipe for cake can be found here: Strawberry Ombre Cake

Ingredients:

¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. butter, softened
⅓ c. sugar
2 tbsp. heavy cream
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ c. milk chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a small sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Spread flour evenly on the sheet pan and toast in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the flour is lightly browned and smells nutty.
  3. 5 minutes into baking, stir the flour to toast it evenly.
  4. Remove and cool flour before use, about 10 minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar, cream and salt and mix until combined.
  7. Add flour and mix until combined.
  8. Fold in chocolate chips. Either scoop on top of mini cupcakes or store in fridge for easy snacking.

Recipe adapted from espresso and cream.

Chocolate Unicorn Easter Eggs

I know it’s been a while! If you follow my Instagram feed, you would know that I’ve been making some cakes during my weekends off and that took time away from blogging. But I hurried my butt to share this project with you this week, because I could not wait another year for an Easter post.
These unicorn eggs are made of hollow candy melt shells, with swirls of pastel buttercream and adorned with a golden fondant horn and pearls and stars. I originally wanted the eggs to be filled with a rainbow mousse that would have beautiful layers when you cut into the candy melt. But I had the toughest time molding the eggs.
The eggs are made with an egg shaped Jell-O mold that I used for my tiramisu eggs a while back. As much as I appreciate the mold, I have a deep love/hate relationship with it. It fails to close properly unless you use excessive force (this might be because my mold is old), and it’s hard to fill because of the small opening on top. But it does make the perfect egg shape when it is molded properly. The tiramisu had a cracked shell look to it, so I didn’t need a perfect shape. Unfortunately, this project required a whole egg shape and it made it more difficult.
If I’m being honest, I almost gave up after failing to mold the eggs on my first attempt. I wasted a whole afternoon of prepping everything, and gathering all the supplies and decorations. But I just had to make it, even if the mousse was a long lost dream. After trying it a second time, I was somewhat successful and 3 out of 6 eggs were usable, and I was a little worried but the end result was so cute that it made the journey worth it.

Chocolate Unicorn Easter Eggs

You will need:

jello egg mold*
1 c. white chocolate candy melts
½ batch vanilla buttercream
a small amount of white fondant
purple gel food color
blue gel food color
pink gel food color
gold luster dust
vodka
edible silver stars
tiny confetti sprinkles
colored edible pearls
metallic edible pearls
black edible ink marker
white pearl dust

Assembly:

  1. Roll out a small amount of fondant with your palms to create a thin white rod. Twist two rods together to create a horn shape. Taper the end of the rod to create a unicorn horn.
  2. Mix a few drops of vodka with a small amount of gold luster dust and paint the unicorn horn. Set aside to set.
  3. Place white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl/cup with a spout.
  4. Melt the white chocolate melts in the microwave in 15 second intervals until completely melted.
  5. Thoroughly spray the inside of your egg mold with a non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Use the spout of your bowl/cup to pour white chocolate into the egg about ¼ of the way.
  7. Start rotating your egg mold (left, right, and upside down) until it starts to set. (When flipping the egg mold upside down, do so above your melted chocolate so the excess can drip back into the bowl.)
  8. Once set, repeat steps 4 and 5 two more times to ensure through covering and place in freezer to completely set. (4-5 minutes)
  9. While the eggs are setting, fit three disposable piping bags with small star tips (I used wilton tip #16, 15, and 17), color your buttercream and fill your piping bags with each color.
  10. Take the eggs out of the freezer and carefully unmold the chocolate. It may stick a little. Just wiggle it around gently, and it should come out in one piece.
  11. Use the frosting to swirl different colors to give your unicorn a mane. Leaving a small gap at the tip of the egg for the unicorn horn. Tip: Use the largest star tip to give the mane a general shape and use the smaller tip to make the mane fuller. Use the smallest tip to fill in the tiny gaps in between the large and small swirls.
  12. Use a tweezer (kitchen use only tweezers) to place pearls, stars, and confetti sprinkles to give the eggs a little more dimension. You can pretty much use any sprinkle you desire. Just make sure it is small so that you don’t lose the swirls of the unicorn mane.
  13. Place the eggs in the freezer for the buttercream to harden, about 3-5 minutes.
  14. Remove eggs from the freezer and with the edible marker, draw on the eyes.
  15. Use a food-safe brush to brush on pearl powder around the egg to give it some sheen.
  16. Squeeze a little swirl of buttercream right where you want the unicorn horn and place the unicorn horn in the center of the swirl.
  17. Display eggs in an egg carton to really sell the “egg” look.

*After doing extensive research, the egg mold I used has been discontinued. I did find some eBay listings for them. Look up the term “jello egg mold” and it should give you purchasing options.

The Best Mocha Cake

The Best Mocha CakeI rarely ever call anything the “best” because I know there is something out there that’s better. But I’m telling you, this cake is very, very good. Most of the cakes on this website are cakes that I’ve made for my family’s birthday celebrations, and they’ve tasted every single one of them. The good and bad thing about family members is that they are your biggest critics. They’re not too polite to say everything is good when it’s not, and aren’t afraid to tell you that your previous work was better. So when my brother said that it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made and requested the same one for this next birthday, I knew it was a winner.
The Best Mocha CakeThis isn’t your average layer cake where you glue rounds of the same flavored cake with some frosting and call it a day. It’s complex and flavorful. With 5 different layers and a jelly glaze, it’s definitely a labor of love. I’m telling you, even I was worn out after putting this cake together, but oh man was it worth it. It’s rich, soft, buttery, light, crunchy and silky at the same time. You can’t mistake the coffee or the chocolate and one doesn’t overpower the other. They’re perfectly balanced.
The Best Mocha CakeFirst, you have a chocolate cookie crust, then a mocha cake: followed by a coffee ganache and then chocolate crunchies with a coffee mousse on top. The whole thing is covered in a coffee mirror glaze that’s very glossy and jelly-like. I’ve never made a mirror glaze before, but I have to say I’m not impressed by the flavor. Please, feel free to peel it off before consuming your cake.
The Best Mocha CakeYou want to make sure to use the very best white chocolate for the coffee ganache. I feel if you use the waxy cheap white chocolate, the balance of the cake will be off. This is the time to pull out the valrhona or the guittard and savor every bite of it.
The Best Mocha CakeThe Best Mocha Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake

*Because there are so many components to this cake, I’ll put the ingredients and the instructions for each layer. I don’t want you to have to keep scrolling up for each ingredient. Note that each layer is layered in the same 9-inch springform pan.

For the Oreo Crust:

Ingredients:
25 Oreo cookies, crushed
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Stir the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a bowl.
  4. Press the evenly crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan.
  5. Bake the crust for 8 minutes and cool completely before moving onto the next layer.

For the Mocha Cake:

Ingredients:
½ c. strong coffee, room temp
1 ½ tsp. espresso powder
½ c. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c. all-purpose flour
⅓ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. unsalted butter, room temp
½ c. granulated sugar
⅓ c. light brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk coffee, espresso powder, milk and vanilla extract together. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and the granulated and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Turn the mixer on low and add in a third of the flour mixture followed by half of the coffee mixture. Repeat with another third of the flour followed by the remaining coffee mixture. End with the last third of the coffee mixture.
  6. Pour about ¾ of the cake batter onto the cookie crust and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cake is set. Let cool.
  7. *You can bake a few cupcakes with the remaining cake batter to taste test.

For the Coffee Ganache:

Ingredients:
120 ml. heavy cream
180 g. white chocolate
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. coffee emulsion

Instructions:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat heavy cream and white chocolate for one minute. Whisk mixture together until it becomes homogenous. If the white chocolate did not fully melt, microwave at intervals of 30 seconds until melted.
  2. Add in espresso powder and coffee emulsion and whisk.
  3. Pour onto the mocha cake layer and put cake in fridge to set the ganache. About 30 minutes to an hour.

For the Espresso Chocolate Crunchies:

Ingredients:
10 Oreo cookies
¾ bottle of magic shell
2 tsp. espresso powder

Instructions:

  1. Pulse the oreo cookies in a processor until fine crumbs form.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix ¾ of a bottle of magic shell with the oreo crumbs until thoroughly combined.
  3. Smooth on a layer of crunchies over the chilled coffee ganache.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the 2 tsp of espresso powder over the crunchies.
  5. Chill until the crunchies set, about 15-20 minutes in the freezer or an hour in the refrigerator.

For the Espresso Mousse:

Ingredients:
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp. water
1 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. coffee emulsion

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix gelatin with water and set aside to hydrate.
  2. Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Heat the gelatin mixture in the microwave in 10 second increments until melted.
  4. Add in the powdered sugar to the heavy cream and once it is mixed in, add in the gelatin slowly.
  5. Whip until semi-stiff peaks form. Add in the espresso powder and the coffee emulsion.
  6. Whip until stiff peaks form.
  7. Lay a smooth layer of the espresso cream on top of the crunchies using an offset spatula.
  8. If desired, you may use the remaining ¼ of the magic shell from the above recipe and smooth it over on top of the mousse to create a smoother top for the cake.
  9. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about an hour.

For the Espresso Mirror Glaze:

Ingredients:
1 ¼ c. water, divided
3 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. coffee emulsion
white chocolate (for decoration)
gold leaf/ gold flakes (for decoration)
gold sanding sugar (for decoration)
silver dragees (for decoration)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix ¼ c. water with 3 tsp. gelatin and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1 cup of hot water to the gelatin mixture and whisk until gelatin has dissolved.
  3. Add in sugar, espresso powder and coffee emulsion and whisk until smooth.
  4. Once mixture is thickened and cooled, about 20-25 minutes (it should be viscous, I didn’t wait long enough and it wasn’t as thick as I would’ve liked), remove the cake from the refrigerator and unmold from the springpan.
  5. Place cake on top of wire rack with a sheet pan on the bottom.
  6. Pour the gelatin mixture evenly over the cake and let it set. This is a messy move, you will have leftover gelatin all over the bottom of the sheet pan. There is no saving it, just let it go.
  7. While the cake sets, melt about ¼ c. white chocolate in piping bag with a tiny hole cut at the end. Drizzle over one side of the cake in straight lines.
  8. Sprinkle the gold sanding sugar and silver dragees over the same side.
  9. Add the gold leaf.
  10. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Oreo crust recipe adapted from Crazy For Crust.
Mocha cake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge CookiesIt seems like Friendsgiving is kind of a big deal this year, which makes me kind of wish I thought of hosting one. I used to have a Thanksgiving potluck with my church members after Thanksgiving and it was always such a great time. And giving thanks for what we have…twice? It makes you appreciate it even more. Even if you aren’t going to a Friendsgiving, holiday potlucks/parties are just around the corner and these cookies fit the bill.
Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge CookiesI know these cookies aren’t much in terms of looks. But I’m telling you, every single time I’ve made these cookies (for home or for other people to bring to potlucks) they always get a hit review. Super fudgy with a crisp edge and the sweetness is toned down by the tart dried cranberries, which makes it a perfect holiday cookie. Oh, and you can make it in one bowl for easy clean up.
Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge CookiesCan’t believe Thanksgiving is in a few days! Uh… I still haven’t done my shopping yet (except for my two 12 pound turkeys). I’ll probably do the rest today. Wish me luck!

Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Makes about 24 large cookies

Ingredients:
8 oz. (two sticks) butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 egg, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
⅓ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. white chocolate chips (or chunks)
1 ½ c. dried cranberries

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until lighter in color and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla on medium speed and mix until glossy.
  3. Add cocoa and mix until homogeneous.
  4. Change the speed to low and add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in white chocolate and cranberries.
  6. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Dose 1 tablespoon of cookie dough onto parchment paper. Spacing each ball 2 inches from each other.
  8. Bake about 9 minutes, until the edges just set. (Rotating the baking sheet halfway if your oven heats unevenly.)
  9. Let cool and enjoy.