Green Tea Beignets

Green Tea Beignets “Green tea beignets,” my sister said as she shoved her iPhone screen in my face. It is one of Dominique Ansel’s creations in his newest café and she is already making plans in our family group chat to go pay a visit. Even though NYC is just across the bridge, it isn’t simple to make plans and go on a moment’s notice. After all, we all work and have personal obligations. But dang, ever since she said it, I could not get it out of my head. The thought would not stop haunting me, and before I knew it I was googling recipes for beignets and looking up photos of green tea beignets.
Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets Turns out, it was simpler than I thought (which in hindsight, is not necessarily a good thing because it means that I can make beignets on a whim). The dough does not need a mixer or kneading, and it doesn’t even require a second rise! It puffs up beautifully with a honeycombed interior and is just barely sweet. This leaves you with the option to give it a generous shower of powdered sugar.
Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets My matcha is not the highest grade because I didn’t think I would ever need a high quality powder. (In case you didn’t know, matcha can get quite pricey by the ounce.) But for this recipe, I think it is necessary. My green tea powdered sugar does not have the vibrant green that would make it scream, “Hey, I’m green tea flavored!” Instead, it whispers, “I might be something different from regular ol’ powdered sugar, you’re going to have to taste me to see…” This is not the message I wanted to send, but then again you get what you pay for and it is a lesson learned.
Green Tea Beignets Either way, how wrong can you go with fried dough and sugar? The only thing is, you need to eat them within about 4 hours (and that’s with using a low heated oven to keep them warm). Past that, the dough starts to get very stale and loses its magical deliciousness.

Green Tea Beginets

Ingredients:

1 c. water, 110˚F and not from tap
3 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 ½ tbsp. active dry yeast
3 c. all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
vegetable oil for frying
green tea powdered sugar (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Combine water, 1 tbsp. sugar, and yeast in a bowl until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, eggs, and 2 tbsp. vegetable oil until combined. Add the water mixture and stir until a smooth, sticky dough forms.
  3. Spray another bowl with nonstick spray and transfer dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for the dough to rise and double in size, about 1-2 hours.
  4. On a large surface, generously coated with flour, dump out cold dough and roll out to a rectangle that is ¼ in. thick. Cut into 24 squares with a well lubed pizza cutter.
  5. On two baking sheets, set each sheet with a wire cooling rack.
  6. Heat oil in a Dutch oven until 350˚F, fry dough 5 at a time until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes. Keep oil temperature between 325˚F – 350˚F. Transfer fried dough onto wire cooling rack
  7. If you want to wait until all of the dough is fried, keep it warm in a 175˚F -200˚F oven.
  8. Dust generously with green tea powdered sugar and serve.

Green Tea Powdered Sugar

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. matcha (green tea) powder
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Sift matcha powder and powdered together with a mesh strainer and mix until homogenous.

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 1I made this cake for my sister’s birthday last week. As far as sisters go, my sister and I are as different as night and day. We don’t look alike, with the exception that we both share freckles. Growing up, I would be pale from staying in and reading books while she would be as tan as can be from playing outside. She loves the color black while I love white. She is loud and I am quiet. She prefers vegetables, while I prefer steak. She likes things simple and casual while I cannot get enough frills and bows. She favors pants in comparison to my preference to dresses. She is also not partial to desserts whereas I cannot live without them (as evidenced by this blog). I always tell people that whatever she is good at, I lack it and whatever I am good at, she lacks it.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 3I love creating cakes and I look forward to baking one for all of my family members on their special day. But my sister does not like cake. HOW?! As someone whose life (or a good part of their life) revolves around frosting, and sugar and flour, it is hard to understand someone who does not like cake. So every year on her birthday, I resort to an ice cream cake. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t like ice cream?
Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 2Tiramisu was one of my least favorite desserts because I used to rarely drink coffee. If anything, I loved it for the mascarpone cream. (Ah, mascarpone cream… everything you touch becomes a magical milky confection.) But ever since I gave up diet coke, I’ve been leaning towards coffee for my caffeine fix and I’ve managed to fall in love with the bitter brew. My sister’s preferred choice of drink has always been coffee, so tiramisu was a no-brainer when it came to a flavor choice.
layoutI have to say, this cake ranks as one of the best cakes to come out of my kitchen. It features layers of coffee ice cream sandwiched between coffee syrup soaked sponge cake, chocolate almond crispies (!!!), and is covered by a blanket of mascarpone whipped cream and adorned with dark chocolate accents and cocoa powder. I know. It sounds like it is too much work and it is true that there are many components to the cake. However, each part is simple to make!
mascarpone cream I always use high quality ice cream when it comes to ice cream cakes. It is important to have the lower air content so that the ice cream stays firmer, longer. I used Haagen-Dazs in mine. The sponge cake is a standard sponge cake that is divided in half. The coffee syrup is nothing more than a mix of sugar and dark brewed coffee. The chocolate almond crispies provide a crunch and a textural contrast to the smooth ice cream and cake. To make it, you simply stir chocolate almond spread with Rice Krispies cereal until it is evenly coated. The mascarpone whipped cream is a mix of vanilla extract, powdered sugar, mascarpone, and cool whip. I am not a fan of cool whip, but when it comes to ice cream cakes, I think it is superior in terms of spreadability and stability. To make the chocolate accents, simply melt some chocolate and using a small offset spatula, drag a dollop of chocolate over parchment paper and repeat until you have as many pieces as you need. They will not all look uniform, but I think that’s what makes it look slightly “rustic”.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 4I understand if you are a little overwhelmed by it. But trust me, it is worth every minute you spend making it. 😉

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

56 oz. premium coffee ice cream, softened
sponge cake, halved horizontally (recipe below)
coffee simple syrup (recipe below)
chocolate almond crispies (recipe below)
whipped mascarpone cream (recipe below)
dark chocolate, melted (for garnish)
cocoa powder (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Line two 8-inch cake pans that are 3 inches deep with a double layer of plastic wrap that overhangs over the cake pan.
  2. In one of the cake pans, place one half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee syrup. (You do not want to soak the cake, but put enough of it that it is moist.)
  3. Layer 28 oz. of coffee ice cream over the cake base, smooth so that the coffee base is as smooth as you can get it.
  4. Place pan in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the chocolate almond crispies.
  6. Get half of the chocolate almond crispies and layer it over the ice cream, flattening it with an offset spatula to make it as flat, even and smooth as possible.
  7. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  8. In the second lined cake pan, smooth 28 oz. of coffee ice cream with offset spatula evenly.
  9. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  10. Layer the remaining chocolate almond crispies over the coffee ice cream.
  11. Place the second half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee simple syrup.
  12. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  13. On a cake board you are planning to serve, carefully unmold the first cake pan you put together by lifting the plastic wrap off of the pan and unwrapping it completely.
  14. Take the second cake pan and unmold it, and place on top of the first cake pan layer with the sponge cake layer facing downwards. Apply pressure to fuse the two layers together.
  15. Place in freezer to harden for about 20-30 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile, make the whipped mascarpone cream.
  17. Remove frozen cake from freezer and frost the outside of the cake with ¾ of the whipped mascarpone cream.
  18. Place cake back in the freezer and put the remaining whipped mascarpone cream in a piping bag with a plain large round tip.
  19. Remove cake from freezer and use the piping bag to place decorative dollops of cream over the top of the cake by making even vertical rows of cream.
  20. Using a mesh strainer, liberally dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. The cocoa powder will dust the surface of the cake board too, carefully use a wet paper towel to clean the cake board off.
  21. Place cake back in the freezer.
  22. While cake is freezing, make decorative chocolate pieces.
  23. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  24. Using a small offset spatula, drag dollops of dark chocolate to create a streak. Use larger dollops for the bottom and smaller dollops for the top. Place in refrigerator to set for 5-10 minutes.
  25. When set, remove the cake from the freezer and decorate the bottom of the cake with the longer chocolate pieces and the top of the cake with the smaller chocolate pieces.
  26. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. cornstarch
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. sugar, divided
pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease the inside of an 8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour and cornstarch.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and ½ c. sugar on high until thick and pale.
  4. Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Thoroughly wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk attachment.
  6. In a clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.
  7. Slowly incorporate the remaining ¼ c. of sugar into the egg whites and mix until whites are stiff and glossy.
  8. Fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in three additions.
  9. Fold in flour mixture
  10. Transfer batter into the prepared cake pan.
  11. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Cool cake on a wire rack until ready for use.

Coffee Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

½ c. strong, dark coffee
¼ c. sugar

Instructions:

  1. Heat coffee and sugar together until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Cool until ready for use.

Chocolate Almond Crispies

Ingredients:

3 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
1 c. chocolate almond spread (I used this one from Trader Joe’s)

Instructions:

  1. Heat chocolate almond spread until easily pourable.
  2. In a large bowl, mix chocolate almond spread and cereal until cereal is evenly coated.
  3. Cool mixture until ready for use.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients:

12 oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whip Cool Whip and half of mascarpone cheese until smooth with an electric hand mixer.
  2. Add the remaining half of the Cool Whip and mix until incorporated. Do not over whip.
  3. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until homogeneous.

* Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe from Martha Stewart.

A (Belated) Blogiversary, A Funfetti Cake Batter Cake & A Giveaway

Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 3It’s my first Blogiversary! One year ago, I started blogging on this little website with a lot of encouragement from friends and family. I cannot believe that it has already been a year. Each time I am able to share recipes, tutorials or whatever this brain of mine thinks of, I am so grateful to be able to send off a little piece of my creativity into the webosphere.  I’m even more grateful to the all of you who take the time out of your day to read the little bits of me that I post on my wee space on the internet.
funfetti macarons Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 2Because anything celebratory requires sprinkles (or glitter) in my brain, I made a little cake chock-full with sprinkles for this post. It has sprinkles in the frosting, around the outside, and on the macarons. (I originally wanted to do a funfetti cake, but being me I totally forgot to add the sprinkles to the cake batter so instead it went into the frosting.) And because I love all things macarons, I added some funfetti macarons. The cake and the macarons are filled with cake batter frosting. My secret ingredient to making it taste like cake batter? Boxed cake mix. *GASP*I know. I never ever ever ever ever use boxed cake mix but this is the one time exception. And because it uses boxed cake mix, it is definitely on the sweeter side of the dessert spectrum. It also has that nostalgic bake sale cupcake taste that I loved in my youth.
Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 5 Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 6To celebrate my ridiculously belated blogiversary, I’m hosting a giveaway! If you know me at all, Target is one of my favorite places to shop. I’m telling you, I cannot walk out of that store without something in my hand! It literally has everything you need so I’m giving away a $25 gift card so that you too can enjoy a small shopping trip to Target.*  Entering the giveaway is so simple! Simply follow me on Instagram and like my giveaway photo and for an extra entry, like and leave a comment on this post about what kind of cake you like. The giveaway ends on Friday, May 8th and if the winner does not respond within 3 days, I will be selecting another one. Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 4Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake (recipe below)
Funfetti Cake Batter Frosting (recipe below)
Funfetti Macarons (recipe below)
1-2 c. Sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Evenly fill and stack each layer of vanilla cake with funfetti cake batter frosting.
  2. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of cake batter frosting (funfetti cake batter frosting without the sprinkles.)
  3. Place cake in freezer for 5 minutes until the frosting on the outside sets firmly.
  4. Once crumb coat is set, frost the entire cake with cake batter frosting.
  5. Take a handful of sprinkles and slowly cup the outside of the cake, patting it to ensure full coverage. (This part will create a mess. Sprinkles will bounce and fall everywhere.)
  6. Let frosting set in freezer for 5 minutes.
  7. Take cake out and frost little mounds of frosting around the top of the cake and attach a funfetti macaron for decoration.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:
1.5 c. cake flour
1  c. sugar
½ tbsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. salt
¾ c. buttermilk, divided
4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line four 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. On low speed, add ½ c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolk, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogenous.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
  6. Increase speed to medium, and mix until combined.
  7. Evenly divide cake batter into the three cake pans.
  8. Bake about 20-25 minutes until cake is done or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then move onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Funfetti Cake Batter Frosting

Ingredients:
3 c. whole milk
¾ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1½ 1b. (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 c. sugar
¼ c. cake mix
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
½ c. sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and cake mix and mix until combined.
  8. Reserve ⅔ of the mixture for filling the macarons and frosting the outside of the cake.
  9. Mix ½ c. sprinkles into the remaining frosting for filling the cake.

Funfetti Macarons

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
nonpareils for decorating
cake batter frosting (recipe above)

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add the crystalized lemon and 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  11. Sprinkle nonpareils evenly over macaron shells.
  12. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚F, if not then 325˚F.
  14. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  15. Once cool, frost the inside of the macaron shell with cake batter frosting and sandwich with another macaron shell.

* Open to U.S. Residents only. Winner will be contacted via email.

Christmas Wreath Macarons

Christmas Wreath Macarons 1Am I the only person that thinks that Christmas snuck upon us this year? I feel like I was waiting forever for Thanksgiving and then BAM! Christmas is right around the corner. (Did anyone else think of this Friends’ scene when they read BAM?) I’ve been dreaming of these macarons since December started and I finally had a chance to bake them earlier this week.
Christmas Wreath Macarons 2Is it cold where you live? It’s been freezing in NJ and I am not used to working in a cooler kitchen. The weather must’ve been super dry because my macaron shells set before I was able to place my sprinkles, hence the little cracks in the shell where I tried to force each sprinkle in with a pair of tweezers (kitchen-use-only-tweezers). I have to admit I was getting quite frustrated with making them and then this happened:
Christmas Wreath Macarons 4Here are my attempts at his mug shots.
Christmas Wreath Macarons 5The thing is, Bear, my cat loves to watch me bake and prep food on the kitchen table. He demands to sit on his own chair and Petey (my other cat) was occupying Bear’s usual space. Fed up with watching from the floor, he decided to get up close and onto the table where the trays of macarons were drying. If you don’t know already, macaron batter is sticky and it took forever to get the green goo out of his tiny paws. Not to mention the trail of green batter on the floor he left when he ran away from me.
Christmas Wreath Macarons 3Despite my frustrations making this particular recipe, I think the macarons would make a cute addition to any cookie platter and add a bit of holiday flair. You can also change up the look of the macaron with different sprinkles. Just make sure you put them on before the shells dry out. If you don’t, they’ll just bounce off like hail on cement pavement.

Christmas Wreath Macarons

Ingredients:

212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
green gel food color
various sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear. Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks. Add two drops of the green gel food color and mix until batter turns a bright shade of green.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty. From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ¼ in. plain tip, pipe a ring of macaron batter leaving the hole in the center as wide as possible. (If you do not, it will close up when the macaron bakes.)
  10. Before the batter dries, place your sprinkles in the desired area.
  11. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F. If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚, if not then 325˚.
  13. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth. The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  14. Let cool and fill.

Basic Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:
2 c. whole milk
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 1b. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

*Basic macarons adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel.

Cute Halloween Bat Cupcakes

Cute Halloween Bat CupcakesI know I said I would post about my Rebels Party next, but today is Halloween. And if I don’t share this with you now, I would have to wait a whole year to post this! I have a little cousin, J (wait, can I call her “Little J” from now on? A la Gossip girl??), who asks me to make cupcakes for her classroom parties every year. Last year I made these cauldron cupcakes, but it wasn’t an original idea of mine. This year I was bent on doing something unique, and of course every time I thought something was new, Google told me I was wrong. After a solid week of thinking about spiders, cats, ghosts, graveyards, pumpkins, candy corn, witches and other Halloween themed items, I came up with these really cute bat cupcakes.
Cute Halloween Bat Cupcakes 3Start by tinting vanilla frosting to a blue that is similar to the night sky and add some edible gold stars. The bats are made with Oreo truffles which are one of the easiest desserts you can make. You basically mix Oreos and cream cheese and you get these tasty nuggets of goodness. Plus, I used cookie dough Oreos which made them that much more awesome. Stick on some candy eyes, chocolate wings and chocolate covered candy pearls and you’ve got a bat. The moon in the background is made with yellow candy melts sprinkled with sanding sugar to make it glitter. By the way, I hurried my butt to get a few shots of these before the sun went down and that’s the reason I’m lacking more photo content. I love me some fall, but I do not love the short days… no siree.

Halloween Bat Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
¼ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c. Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1. tsp. kosher salt
½ c. vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. strong, hot coffee

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners (24 cups in total).
  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. Fill cupcake liners with 2/3 full with batter and bake about 15-20 minutes. Checking at 13 minutes for doneness with a toothpick.
  8. Let stand for 5-10 minutes when done, then put onto a cooling rack to fully cool.

Night Sky Frosting

Ingredients:

2 c. whole milk
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 1b. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
royal blue gel food color
violet gel food color

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  8. Add blue and violet gel colors until desired color is reached.

Yellow Moons

Ingredients:

yellow candy melts
yellow sanding sugar

Instructions:

  1. Melt yellow candy melts and pour into a squeeze bottle.
  2. On a sheet pan lined with wax paper, draw and fill in 1 inch wide circles with the squeeze bottle.
  3. Sprinkle yellow sanding sugar while candy melt is still melted.
  4. Let set until use.

Oreo Truffle Bats

Ingredients:

36 Oreos
8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
black candy melts
black candy pearls
small candy eyeballs

Instructions:

  1. Put Oreos in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form.
  2. Add softened cream cheese and vanilla extract, and pulse until blended.
  3. Shape into 40 small balls onto a wax paper lined sheet pan and chill until firm.*
  4. Melt the black chocolate candy melt in a tall and narrow bowl or cup and dip chilled truffles using a fork. Let excess drip back into the bowl/cup.
  5. Let the chocolate on the truffle set until firm.
  6. Pour melted chocolate candy melt into a squeeze bottle.
  7. On a separate sheet pan lined with wax paper, draw wings with squeeze bottle. Set aside.
  8. While the wings set, use the black candy melt to adhere candy eyeballs onto the chocolate truffle.
  9. Take a black candy pearl, dip it into melted black candy melt and adhere onto top of the bat’s head. Let set.

Assembly

You will need:

chocolate cupcakes, baked and cooled
night sky frosting
yellow moons
truffle bats
edible gold star glitter
large open star decorating tip

Instructions:

  1. In a pastry bag fitted with a large open star decorating tip, fill with night sky frosting and frost a tall swirl on a chocolate cupcake.
  2. Sprinkle edible gold star glitter all around the sides.
  3. Add a yellow moon towards the back of the cupcake and place a truffle bat (without its wings) onto the center of the cupcake.
  4. Take two wings and position it next to the truffle bat.
  5. Enjoy!

*If mixture is too soft to shape into balls, spoon 40 small separate mounds on a wax paper lined sheet pan and chill.  Once chilled, you should be able to form them into balls.

Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Ina Garten.
Oreo truffle recipe adapted from Kraft.

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread 1There are a few things that scream “autumn”. Pumpkins, apples, fall foliage, football and Thanksgiving are at the top of my list. A couple several weeks ago, I went apple picking with a group of friends and came home with a big ol’ bag of apples. Apples are notorious for lasting along time (as long as they are not bruised) and I have plans for the other ones I have in my fridge. But for now, I have this recipe for you.
Caramel Apple Monkey Bread 2 Caramel Apple Monkey Bread 3 Caramel Apple Monkey Bread 4If you’ve never had monkey bread, you’re missing out on some serious yum. If you took cinnamon rolls but made them bite sized and decided to glue them together with some cinnamon sugar, you’ve got monkey bread. Cut up some fresh apple chunks and stuff them in the sweet dough and you have fall in bread form.
Caramel Apple Monkey Bread 5I have to be honest. I’ve made and shot this recipe weeks ago and I started writing the first paragraph last week, but things became hectic and that’s as far as I got. But to be fair, I threw a Star Wars Rebels themed party and that kept me quite busy for a several days. I’m excited to share it with you on my next post!
Caramel Apple Monkey Bread  6Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

Ingredients:

1 ¼ c. milk
2 tsp. instant yeast
4 c. all-purpose flour
5 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small bits
1 ¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Instructions:

  1. Generously spray the inside of a 10 in. Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, warm your milk, add the yeast and whisk to dissolve. (Do not warm it above 110˚F or you will kill the yeast).
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, 5 tbsp. sugar, egg, and salt until combined.
  4. Slowly add in the milk mixture until combined. Add the 5 tbsp. melted butter and mix until the dough comes together.
  5. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment. Continue to mix on medium speed until the dough becomes silky and tacky, but not sticky, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
  7. Use your clean hands to push down and deflate the dough. Roll out dough in a rough rectangle, ¼ in. thick. Spread 1/3 of apple bits onto half of the rolled out dough. (As pictured above)
  8. Fold dough in half and spread another 1/3 of apple bits on another half of the dough and fold once again in half to form a quarter of its original size. (As pictured above)
  9. Cut dough into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces and roll the pieces into balls (apple pieces may stick out). Place the balls on the sheet pan.
  10. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Place the melted butter in a separate bowl.
  11. Dip one dough ball in the melted butter. Let the excess butter drip back into the bowl, roll the ball in the brown sugar mixture, and place it in the Bundt pan.
  12. Continue this process with each ball, until halfway where you will scatter the rest of the apple pieces.
  13. Wrap the Bundt pan tightly in plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until the dough balls have doubled in size.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  15. Bake until the top layer is deep brown and the caramel coating begins to bubble around the edges, about 30 minutes.
  16. Cool the bread for 5 minutes, then turn it out directly onto a platter and serve warm. If you have any leftovers, reheat them in a 300 degree oven until warm to the touch.

Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Bunny Cake Pops

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When I came across a package of edible grass at Target, a passage from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl was the first thing that came into my mind:

“The grass you’re standing on, my dear little ones, is made of a new kind of soft, minty sugar that I’ve just invented! I call it swudge! Try a blade! Please do! It’s delectable!

Automatically, everybody bent down and picked one blade of grass – everybody, that is, except Augustus Gloop, who took a big handful.”

Filled with nostalgia from my childhood obsession with the wonderful world of Willy Wonka, I immediately grabbed two bags and tossed it into my basket.  From there, it promptly sat on my counter waiting to be used for something scrumdiddlyumptious.

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This is what I have for you. It’s perfect for Easter*, spring and bunny themed parties. I hope you give it a try and wait for the squeals of “It’s so cute!” to follow you for the rest of the day.

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Bunny Cake Pops

You will need:

1 Batch of Cake (whatever flavor you prefer, you may use 1 box cake mix if pressed for time)
1 Batch of Frosting (whatever flavor you prefer, you can use 1 can frosting if pressed for time)
1 Bag of White Candy Melts
Mini Marshmallows
Edible Grass
Heart Shaped Sprinkles
Black Edible Sugar Pearls
Light Pink Sanding Sugar
Lollipop sticks or Striped Party Paper Straws

Instructions:

1.  Crumble up cooled cake until you have very fine cake crumbs.

2.   Add half of the frosting to the cake and mix until it is evenly distributed.  If you can mold the cake into a firm stable ball at this point, stop.  If not, add the rest of the frosting ¼ at a time until you are able to shape it.

3.  Scoop tablespoon sized balls of the cake mixture and shape into an oval (approximately the size and shape of a piece of sushi rice ball).

4.  Chill cake balls in the freezer until firm (this could take anywhere from 15-30 minutes)**

5.  While the cake is chilling:

a. Cut the mini marshmallows vertically, and dip into sanding sugar for the ears.

b. Cut more mini marshmallows horizontally for the tails.

c. Cut edible grass into desired size.

d. Melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave until completely smooth.

6.  Remove the cake balls from the freezer and dip your stick (or straw) into a little chocolate and insert it into the top middle of the cake ball. Place back into the freezer for 5-10 mins until the chocolate has set.

7.  Line a sheet with parchment paper and place tufts of edible grass where your coated cake ball will land.

8.  Once the chocolate has set, take the stick and submerge the cake ball into the melted chocolate and gently tap the excess chocolate off.  Place on the edible grass.

9. Quickly, before the chocolate sets, place the tail on one end and the ears on the opposite end.  Place two black pearls for the eyes and a heart shaped sprinkle for the nose.  You can use a (clean) tweezer to facilitate the placement of the eyes and nose.

10. Let the chocolate set at room temp, or if you’re in a hurry you can place it in the freezer to set it.


*I am aware that bunnies have nothing to do with the meaning of Easter.
**Be careful when chilling the cake balls.  If the cake balls are too cold, it will crack your chocolate when it comes to room temperature.