By the time you’re reading this post, I’ll be in the middle of my fourth move in five years! Yes, I got an awesome new job in June; and I’ll be finishing my transition in the first week of September. It is an awesome opportunity because I get to continue doing what I love, with the same company, in a new location (bigger city with real malls!). The only draw back is that well, I have to move my family! Now, the other bonus was, I had a new boss who is a very super cool person. She is someone that I would categorize as the super duper ideal person to work for. She’s there for guidance, support, and back-up; but she lets you make your own mistakes, grow from it- and just move on. And she’s just plain nice. Sounds good to be true? Of course. Because that lasted for about three weeks or so. Sniff. Sniff. Then what? Well, she moved on to another job. I wanted to make something special for her last day, and I knew that she loves chocolate. So I was in the kitchen with my sous-chef making a batch of this very popular (and well-loved I must add) chocolate cupcakes. This Beatty’s Chocolate Cake was my go-to chocolate cake. I had converted my friends (and even myself) to love chocolate cake. And the sour-cream frosting was just to die for. But my heart (and tummy) is always open for new recipe. And this recipe didn’t let me down. I have a hard time deciding which recipe that I like better now.
The batter was very thin that I had to scoop it out using a soup ladle But no worries. They will bake beautifully into these beautiful cupcakes with soft crumbles and rich chocolaty flavor. I was also surprised that I only ended up about 24 cupcakes instead of 30 cupcakes like what the recipe says since it’s normally the other way around with most recipes. Now let’s talk about the frosting: velvety, smooth, sinful… a perfect chocolate frosting. If you haven’t tried them, you must. Simply must. I will be whipping up another batch of this cupcake as soon as I can get access to a kitchen again (and all of my stuff!).
Adapted from Hershey’s
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.
Yield: 24 cupcakes
I hope you still have room in your tummy for another ice-cream recipe; because this one is another new favorite that I wish that I had discovered sooner. I actually made one batch earlier this summer and we finished the whole batch (“we” = me, the hubs, my 13-mo daughter, and her nanny) in probably four days. I didn’t even get to take pictures for the blog (duh!). But no worries, I had NO problem making another batch. This ice-cream was incredibly creamy and RICH, thanks to generous amount of whole milk, heavy cream, and egg yolks in its ingredients. Using vanilla bean also gave this ice-cream a beautiful pure vanilla aroma and flavor. Find the best ingredients for this ice-cream since you can really taste the purity coming through each scoop. I had a little stash of gorgeous 80% cocoa chocolate and used them all up for this ice-cream. Totally worth it.
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 oz of your fave chocolate, chopped fine, to be melted (I used Callebaut with 80% cocoa)
Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the ice-cream is churning, melt the chocolate in a small bowl to a consistency that can be poured (either over double boiler, or microwave).
Pour about 1/3 of the churned custard into your ice-cream container, then drizzle about 1/3 of your chocolate. Stir the chocolate into the mixture slightly to break up the pieces. Repeat until all of the custard and chocolate are gone.
Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.
Yield: 1 quart
I love ice-cream, and love dark chocolate. The funny thing is, chocolate isn’t necessarily the first flavor that I would consider as a favorite ice-cream flavor. Most of the chocolate ice-cream I have enjoyed have been mediocre, until this one. My hubby Red on the other hand loves chocolate ice-cream, and when we were picking out flavor of ice-cream to make, he convinced me that we should try chocolate. I had bought a big block of gorgeous Callebaut with 75% cocoa, and decided to use that in this ice cream. This chocolate ice-cream is really everything that you’d want: creamy with bold chocolate flavor, smooth and that slight lingering flavor of cocoa that I know only can be found in freshly churned homemade ice cream. I am spoiled that I have access to organic eggs, milk and heavy cream from our local dairy farm store; so I always use those ingredients in my ice cream. Perfection in an bowl!
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)
Yield: 1 delicious quart
I actually made these scrumptious cookie bars a couple of months ago when I was craving a cookie that is just a little bit special. These chunky bar cookies has everything that you would want when you feel like indulging… big chunk of chocolate, melted marshmallows, chewy caramel, toffee chips… oh, and white chocolate chips to add even another layer of sweetness. If there is such thing; I almost wanted to say that it was so rich that I had to cut them in smaller pieces than what the recipe called for. But whichever way you like your cookie, this was excellent pairing with a glass of cold milk or black coffee–take your pick. Happy Baking!
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for buttering baking pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dark-brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped
18 squares individually wrapped caramels, coarsely chopped
1 cup toffee chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom of the pan and to overhang the longer sides. Place the parchment in the pan, butter the parchment, and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in half of the marshmallows, chocolates, caramels, and toffee chips.
Using an offset spatula, spread the batter in the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining marshmallows, chocolates, caramels, and toffee chips over the surface of the batter. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out almost clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled. Using the overhanging parchment paper, remove from pan. Place on a baking sheet, and chill in the refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator, and peel off the parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, cut into 15 irregular-shaped bars. Stack bars vertically. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Yield: 16 cookies
The March’s What’s Baking Challenge was baking something from my heritage. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of luck finding ingredients for any of the Indonesian recipes that I had. Since I still wanted to participate, I decided to blog about these muffins instead, because the flavor reminded me of a similar cupcake/muffin recipe that I grew up eating in Indonesia (minus the chocolate chips). The quick cooking oats were moistened by the buttermilk; and really added a nice delicate texture to these muffins. These muffins, however, aren’t very sweet, which is why the chocolate chips are important if you have a sweet tooth, or just skip them if you want something less sweet :) To see what delicious goodies everyone else baked up this month, check out our host Amanda’s round up, on Our Italian Kitchen. Happy baking!!
Adapted from Sweet Savory Southern as seen on And then I do the Dishes
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Handful of chocolate chips (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, soak the quick cooking oats in buttermilk for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.
Mix in eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla in the oat and buttermilk mixture.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into oat mixture just until moistened.
Fill prepared muffin tin three-fourths full. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if using. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean.
Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
Yield: 16 muffins
Recently, I hosted a dessert theme baby shower for a friend and co-worker. After a lot of discussions on theme and menu, we agreed on having a dessert and drink shower for a small group of her co-workers. There were only two desserts that she requested: carrot cake or cupcakes and lemon bars; and I was basically left to go with the rest of the menu. I wanted to take more pictures of the party; but really ran out of time but here are a few pictures of the desserts I made. I thought that this was really a fun idea for a baby shower.
In addition to the desserts I listed below, her family made dessert crostini with ricotta spread, sliced strawberries and balsamic vinegar glaze and baked brie with apricot jelly, sugar cookies and Italian fried cookies (I have no recipes for those). For drinks, we had coffee, iced tea, cold soft drinks, and bottled water.
Here are the desserts I made:
S’mores Pops (recipe coming up soon, I promise–these were divine!)
Lemon Bars (No pictures)
Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipster (No pictures)
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (No pictures)
I have amazing co-workers, and I really mean it. A few weeks ago, our group had to cover some super early morning meetings, like 5 and 6 o’clock meetings *blah* and we couldn’t really get away from them. There are three of us who were responsible to do these, and between the two of them, they volunteered to cover those early slots for me so I didn’t have to disrupt my daughter’s morning routine. Isn’t that amazing? One of them actually took all three of my morning slots three days in a row. When I asked him what was his favorite treat, he said chocolate scotcheroos. I was glad to bake these for him and brought them to work. He was kind enough to share with the rest of the people in the office, but happy to have four big pieces himself. I really don’t think I need to “review” this recipe… if you have had them, you know how addictive they are! Happy baking!
Adapted from Mrs. Sullivan
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cup rice krispies cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup butterscotch hips
Place corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.
Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add cereal, stir until everything is well coated.
Spray a 13x9x2 baking pan with cooking spray. Press mixture into the pan. Set aside.
Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in large 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2×2 inch bars when cool.
Yield: ~24 bars
My brother in-law sent me a text one afternoon asking me for a brownie’s recipe. Of course, I quickly suggested Ina’s Outrageous Brownies which won a lot of nods from my crowd. I warned him that it makes a ton. When Red heard that we were talking about brownies, we just realized that since we loved these Outrageous Brownies so much, I have never really felt the need to try any new recipes. However, his text got me thinking about brownies so much that day, I ran to my stack of cookbooks and quickly saw this recipe that I just had to try This brownie was chewy and chocolatey, with a hint of espresso, which I loved. The smokey coffee really enhances the chocolate flavor. This brownie is slightly less moist and much less cakey than the Outrageous Brownies; and even closer to fudgy. They were also very rich; therefore the recipe recommended smaller pieces for serving.
Our What’s Baking Group Challenge is hosted by Dunne from With a Cherry on Top, with a theme of “Baked with Love”. I think first of all, nothing says love more than home cooked meals and homemade baked goods. This fudgy and chocolatey espresso-hint homemade brownie recipe definitely fits the bill! Happy Baking!
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1-1/2 tablespoons instant espresso, or coffee powder
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups (8.75 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons salt 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inches pieces of foil-length wise to measure 7 inches wide. Fit one sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan (overhang will help in removal of baked brownies). Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.
In medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost simmer water, melt chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cocoa and espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with wooden spoon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners, and level surface with rubber spatula; bake until slightly puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with small amount of sticky crumbs clinging into it, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan using foil handles. Cut into 1-inch squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve; brownies can be wrapped in plastic in plastic and refrigerated up to 5 days).
Yield: (64) 1-inch squares
It seems like as soon as we hit the month of February, we’re surrounded by chocolate. I definitely want to take advantage of it by baking something chocolatey! (Not that I need any reason really to bake, as my friends have probably noted!) Nothing seems to say “love” or “Valentine” like chocolates, so here comes the Chocolate Cream Pie. One thing that I would like to make a note is that recipe highly recommends good quality chocolate like Callebaut semisweet and unsweetened chocolates or Hershey’s Special Dark and Hershey’s unsweetened. I chose the later, because I didn’t have access to the gourmet store that carries Callebaut.
This classic diner pie, with its luscious chocolate cream topped with light whipped cream sitting on a bed of cooled Oreo crumb crusts is really a special treat… whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day tomorrow, or any other occasions that require that special treat that you may not normally take the time to make. This light, airy and very chocolatey dessert was a perfect treat for our house! Happy Baking!
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Chocolate Oreo Cookie Crumb Crust
16 Oreo cookies (with filling), broken into rough pieces, about 2-1/2 cups
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Chocolate Cream Filling
2-1/2 cups half and half
1/3 cup (2.3 ounces) sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
6 large egg yolks, room temperature, chalazae removed
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped Cream Topping
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled, preferably pasteurized organic
1-1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
For the Crust
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process cookies with fifteen 1-second pulses, then let machine run until crumbs are uniformly fine, about 15 seconds. (Alternatively, place cookies in a large zipper-lock plastic bag and crush with rolling pin). Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle with butter, and use fingers to combine until butter is evenly distributed.
Pour crumbs into 9-inch Pyrex pie plate. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Once crumbs are in place, line pan flush with large square of plastic wrap and use spoon to smooth crumbs into curves and sides of pan. Refrigerate lined pie plate 20 minutes to firm crumbs, then bake until crumbs are fragrant and set, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack while preparing filling.
For the Filling
Bring half and half, salt and about 3 tablespoons sugar to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon to dissolve sugar. Stir together remaining sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Whisk yolks thoroughly in medium bowl until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over yolks and whisk, scraping down sides of bowl, if necessary, until mixture is glossy and sugar has begun to dissolve, about 1 minute. When half and half reaches full simmer, drizzly about 1/2 cup hot half-and half over yolks, whisking constantly to temper, then whisk egg yolk mixture into simmering half-and half (mixture should thicken in about 30 seconds). Return to simmer, whisking constantly until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy; about 15 seconds longer.
Off Heat, whisk in butter until incorporated; add chocolates and whisk until melted, scraping pan bottom with rubber spatula to fully incorporate. Stir in vanilla, then immediately pour filling into baked and cooled crust. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of filling and refrigerate pie until filling is cold and firm, about 3 hrs.
Just before serving, spread or pipe whipped cream over chilled pie filling. Cut pie into wedges and serve.
For the Whipped Cream Topping (~ makes about 3 cups)
Chill deep bowl and beaters of electric mixer in freezer for at least 20 minutes. (If freezer is too crowded to fit bowl, place beaters in bowl, fill bowl with ice water and chill on counter). When bowl and beaters are well chilled, dump out water and dry thoroughly).
Add cream sugar, and vanilla to chilled bowl. Beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds for soft peaks or about 30 seconds for stiff peaks. If necessary, finish beating with whisk to adjust consistency. Serve immediately or spoon into fine sieve or strainer set over measuring cup and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Since I discovered these addictive Oreo Truffles, I learned how easy it is to turn your favorite ingredient into these delightful little treats. And just about anything covered in chocolate has to be good right? Then I saw Jen from Beantown Baker turning her leftover slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake cake into truffles… brilliant!!! I didn’t quiet have a leftover cake, but I did have some trimmings from my Red Velvet cake when I tried to stack the layers together and some cream cheese frosting left, so I went to work on making these! I brought these to work to the excitement of my co-workers who called them divine and dangerous… because they were quite addictive! There is really nothing that can go wrong with bits of red velvet cake mixed with cream cheese frosting, dipped in chocolate… Many thanks to Jen for the inspiration.
3 cups of crumbled Red Velvet cake
1/4 cup of Cream Cheese Frosting
1/3 lb of melting chocolate
Mix all of the crumbled cake and cream cheese frosting together. Form them into a 1/2-inch diameter balls. Refrigerate for approximately 10 minutes.
In the meanwhile, melt chocolate either in microwave (at 50% power), or over double broiler.
Dip cake balls into melted chocolate. Let set for a few minutes and store them in airtight container in the refrigerator.
Yield: approximately 2 dozens