Archive for the 'Chocolate' Category



Chocolate-Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes with Candy Cane Icing

Ever since I began baking cupcakes, I’ve been drooling over this blog. But I was vegan for so long that I never got to try any of the recipes as they were intended. I was searching for the perfect mint chocolate cupcake recipe for Christmas Eve dinner, and realized I could look at Cupcake Bakeshop. I found her dark chocolate cupcakes with mint chocolate ganache and mint icing, decided right away that they would be the perfect cupcake for tonight. I was right. With a few substitutions and additions, here is my version:

I’m not going to post the recipe (you’ll have to look here for the gorgeous process pictures and full recipe) but I’ll give you the deets about my own changes:

Cupcakes: recipe the same, except I substituted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Mix instead of wheat flour.

Ganache: recipe the same, except I didn’t include the mint leaves at all.

Icing: recipe the same, except I used Earth Balance margarine and added 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract.

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (aka: Brownie Bites)

We found this recipe about a week ago here, and have made 3 batches since. They are too good to stop sharing with friends, or to stop eating them ourselves. They’ve been taken to numerous events, and everyone gobbles them up immediately, asking for more. One friend said he came to our housewarming party just because he heard we would have these cookies here (I think/hope he came to warm our house, too). These cookies are gluten-free, but not vegan. They have whipped egg whites which makes a crunchy outer layer around a gooey middle (like a dense flourless cake filling). Make these cookies with caution: they are fudgy, crispy, and unstoppably delicious.

Lemon, Chocolate, Champagne, Oh My!

Bria and Dave’s wedding was fantastic and fun – the perfect mix of serious, thoughtful, goofy and joyous. I was honored to bake them their wedding cake and cupcakes! In three flavors, no less! I’m sorry I don’t have the recipes right now as links but you can look them up in my blog archives.

There were three flavors of cupcakes:

1. Chocolate Raspberry (chocolate-raspberry cake with a homemade raspberry filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting)

2. Lemon Almond (gluten-free almond cake with a homemade vegan lemon curd filling and a lemon cream cheese frosting)

3. Champagne (vanilla champagne cake with a white choclate filling and fluffy champagne frosting)

We made at least 200 cupcakes (some didn’t quite make it to the wedding…oops). And they were seriously enjoyed! Just take a look at the happy couple:

I’ve Got My Eye On You…

What do you get when you add your chocolate-loving housemate’s birthday, a request for Raspberry Blackout Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, and an only-sometimes-functioning-oven? Add into the mix an emergency run to the nearest TJ’s for dark chocolate chips, an extra pair of hands for rolling, and a lot of freezer space?

Cake Balls!

Now, I will tell you honestly that Cake Balls are delicious and worth the time spent making them no matter whether you’re whipping them up from scratch for the sole purpose of eating a perfectly crunchy outer shell with moist soft cake inside, or if you’re problem-solving a baked cake that wouldn’t detach from the pan like I was. Cake Balls are bite-sized, tasty, cute no matter how they are decorated, and pretty hip right now. Why not?

However fun these birthday desserts were, I am so glad our new oven is being delivered today! No more baking “disasters”!

Chocolate Raspberry Marbled Cupcakes

These cupcakes look beautiful and received “wows!” from kids and adults alike. If you have favorite chocolate and vanilla cupcake recipes, then these cupcakes couldn’t be easier to make. Find your favorite recipes* (as long as they have a similar batter consistency) and make them in separate bowls. You can about a cup of raspberry jam to the vanilla batter, and mix it in thoroughly. When you are ready to put the batter into the paper liners, use two 1/4 cup sized measuring cups and take a scoop of each flavor batter each measuring cup. Pour the batter into the paper liners from each measuring cup at the same time  (one into each half of the liners) until the liners are 3/4 of the way full. Use a butter knife to swirl the batter around, or you can leave it half-and-half if you like that effect. Follow your cupcake recipe for baking times (usually cupcakes bake for 20-22 minutes). I topped my cupcakes with a Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting (by adding raspberry jam to my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe). Top with curls of chocolate and a fresh raspberry, and you’re set to impress!

*I used the basic vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

Under The Sea

Ariel: [singing] Up where they walk / Up where they run / Up where they stay all day in the sun / Wanderin’ free / Wish I could be / Part of that world…

In the midst of wedding cake preparation craze, I have baked a sweet treat to take to my friends Kate and Lesley’s birthday party. And, more miraculously, I have found the time to take pictures and post them with a recipe for you, before the event! I am never this timely with my posts, sometimes waiting days or even weeks before posting the recipe and pictures. However, somehow I have managed to get these uploaded onto the computer and they’re itching to get to your screens, eyes, kitchens, ovens, and finally into your mouths and bellies.

The party is taking place at a local lake (okay, okay, so “Under The Lake” would probably be a more correct title for this post…), and I know these fabulous women from my elementary teaching credential program, so it seems like a fitting occasion to bust out my Little Mermaid cupcake wrappers and crack a few smiles when I deliver them tomorrow! Hopefully, the cupcakes will also crack a few smiles on my friends’ faces and in their tummies – one of them is gluten-free, so these cupcakes are too. A crunchy rich Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake topped with a Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting, and extra toasted hazelnut crumbs sprinkled on top…Well, I can’t imagine a better birthday dessert!

Scuttle: It’s a dinglehopper. Humans use these little babies… to straighten their hair out. See? Just a little twirl here and a yank there and voila. You’ve got an aesthetically pleasing configuration of hair that humans go nuts over.

Ariel: Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? / Wouldn’t ya think my collection’s complete / Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl / Girl who has everything / Look at this trove, treasures untold / How many wonders can one cavern hold? / Looking around you’d think / Sure, she’s got everything / I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty / I have whoozits and whatzis galore / You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty / But who cares? No big deal / I want more.

I have a few reliable fall-back gluten-free cake recipes that I always use. However, I wanted to add a hazelnut twist to a chocolate cupcake, and to do that I wanted to add both hazelnut meal (to get a little crunch) and hazelnut butter (to disburse and reinforce the flavor). I had to change the amount of liquid, oil, and flours to accommodate for the nut butter addition to the recipe, and I honestly wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I put these babies into the oven. When I was finally brave enough (and couldn’t stand the suspense anymore!) I peeked into the oven…and the cupcakes had risen beautifully, created lovely cracked tops, and didn’t show any signs of sinking down middle syndrome! They are a little dense because of the hazelnut butter, but dense in a good way, if you know what I mean. Like, nutella-dense. Mmm.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1/3 cup hazelnut butter
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 Tblsp. ground flax seed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup toasted hazelnut meal
1/3 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/2 tsp. xantham gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Pre-heat your oven to 350º F. Place cupcake wrappers in a muffin tin. Set aside.

Measure out your almond milk into a medium sized bowl, and add the vinegar. Mix vigorously, and set aside to curdle. Once it is curdled, add the oil, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and mix to combine.

In a large bowl, sift the tapioca flour, cocoa powder, sorghum flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the xantham gum, flax seed, and hazelnut meal. Stir together so everything is evenly distributed.

Create a well in the dry ingredients, and pour the wet mix into it. Mix with an electric mixer, or by hand with a whisk until there are no lumps. Because this is a gluten-free recipe, you don’t have to worry about mixing too much. Once there are no more lumps, add the hazelnut butter by the spoonful, and continue mixing until the batter reaches a smooth consistency.

Fill your cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Sebastian: Ariel, please! Will you get your head out of the clouds and back in the water where it belongs?

Look at these beautiful brown toasty hazelnuts:

Ariel: I’ve never seen a human this close before. Oh… he’s very handsome, isn’t he?
[Scuttle looks at the dog and scratches his neck]
Scuttle: I don’t know, he looks kind of hairy and slobbery to me.
Ariel: No, not that one. The one playing the snarfblatt.

Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup Earth Balance shortening, room temperature
3/4 cup Tofutti Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Beat the margarine, shortening, and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. When you have a smooth, fluffy consistency, add the vanilla bean paste and confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Mix until fully combined. Add more sugar if you want a thicker frosting, but be aware that it can get quite sweet quickly!

I piped the frosting directly onto the cupcakes, and then sprinkled some extra hazelnut meal on top to make a pretty addition, as well as add some extra flair and crunch to every bite.

Sebastian: Down here all the fish is happy / As off to the waves they roll / The fish on the land ain’t happy / They sad ’cause they in the bowl / But fish in the bowl is lucky / They in for a worser fate / One day when the boss get hungry…
Fish: Guess who gonna be on the plate?

Salted Caramel Cupcakes


I recently ate at a vegan chocolate truffle shop in New York City. One of my favorite flavors, although not incredibly original like their other choices, was their salted caramel truffle. Messy, sticky, gooey, it was a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and dark chocolate. I had to recreate it in cupcake form when I returned from my vacation.

This is what my friends thought about the cupcakes:

Becca: Yum yum yum

Zoe: Intense rich chocolate flavor

Both Zoe and Becca: The caramel was to die for!

Rosa and Rachel thought these were the best cupcakes they’d ever eaten, hands down.

Julie: The caramel was like taffy and perfect. The chocolate cupcake was intense and not too sweet. A nice chocolatey-ness. The caramel was gooey and chewy and I couldn’t stop eating it!

Just thinking about these cupcakes again made all of us hungry, and we had to make a snack!


Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
4 Tblsp. very dark, or black, cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup caramel (recipe below)

Caramel Ingredients:
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup brown sugar
¼ almond milk

Note: Make the Caramel before you make the cupcake batter.

To make the caramel:
Melt the Earth Balance margarine in a saucepan over a medium flame. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Allow the caramel to begin boiling and bubbling, and stir intermittently until it thickens considerably. Meanwhile, heat the almond milk in a small pot until warm or hot to the touch. When the caramel is as caramelized as you would like, add the heated milk and stir rapidly until fully combined. Turn off the burner but allow pot to sit over the heated stove and preheating oven while you prepare cupcake batter.

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Line a twelve-muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl combine the almond milk, oil, maple syrup, sugar, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat this wet combination until fully combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing as you go. Beat until there are no lumps.
Fill your cupcake tins just under ¾ of the way full. Now it is time to spoon about a tablespoon of caramel onto the top of each cupcake. Dollop the caramel in, and let it rest on the top of the cupcake.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes sit in the pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Earth Balance brand is good)
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel, or to taste (see recipe above)
3 pinches of rock salt, or to taste, to put on top of your finished cupcakes

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
Add 2 cups of sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Don’t add the third cup of sugar yet, until after you add the caramel when you can decide if you want the frosting to be sweeter or fluffier.
Add the vanilla and the caramel, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. If the frosting has a weird lumpy consistency because of adding a warm caramel to the cold margarine and shortening, then you can mix everything together and then refrigerate for about a half hour. Take out of the fridge, and whip using an electric mixer until you have a fluffy consistency. Add more sugar if you want a thicker frosting, but be careful to not make it too sweet since the caramel already has a good amount of sugar in it. Pipe onto the tops of your cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle rock salt over the tops, and enjoy!


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Photos, Original Recipes & Text ©cookiesandcandids 2008-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. If you repost any material from this blog, please give credit by including a link back to me. Thank you!
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