Archive | March, 2009

cupcakes with bite pt 2

30 Mar

So after all the prep and the waiting (the how-to for these cupcake bites can be found here), the dipping and decorating was the most time consuming but also the most fun! I found that letting the chocolate drip down a little bit made these cuties look more like authentic cupcakes. I also came across cute mini easter cupcake liners, so I used them for these cupcake bites.  Here is what mine ended up looking like =)

my workstation

my workstation

colourful spoons!

colourful spoons!

my army of cupcake bites! Let's meet them:

my army of cupcake bites! Let's meet them:

Simple Bites: topped with m&ms

Simple Bites: topped with m&ms

Hippie Bites: flower power

Hippie Bites: flower power

Glamour Bites: crystallized sugar and m&m jewels

Glamour Bites: crystallized sugar and m&m jewels

Clown Bites: confetti lovin'

Clown Bites: confetti lovin'

Pretty Bites: butterflies

Girly Bites: butterflies

Kooky Bites: round sprinkles galore!

Kooky Bites: round sprinkles galore!

Dream Bites: pastel star sprinkles

Dream Bites: pastel star sprinkles

the entire cast!

the entire cast!

up close and personal with lemon chiffon

up close and personal with lemon chiffon

up close with oreo truffles

up close with oreo truffles

let's find out what's up with strawberry shortcake

let's find out what's up with strawberry shortcake

and this is where all of these babies are going!

and this is where all of these babies are going!

Once more, the recipe is here =)

xo dessertchick

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cupcakes with bite pt 1

30 Mar

I’m not gonna lie: I went a bit crazy with taking pictures for this latest project, so this post will be a two-fer. This first part will be the prep work and such. I’ll include the recipes for another one of Bakerella’s amazing concoctions with a little bit of my own added twist.  The second part will pretty much just show how my cupcake bites ended up looking! I still don’t think they are as cute as Bakerella’s but practice makes perfect, right?

I had to travel to the other end of the city once more to grab baking supplies, and wasn’t able to find the candy molds that Bakerella uses. Hers have ridges and are shallower than mine, but because I was adamant about making these cupcake bites, I decided to improvise. I bought candy molds that are a lot deeper but decided that if I filled them up more and made the cupcake balls bigger, it should work out.

The chocolate candy melts came in a variety of colours but since I made three different flavours for the bites, I thought I should colour coordinate. So, lemon chiffon bites are yellow, strawberry shortcake bites are pink, and the Oreo truffles are blue. As you can see by my earlier post, I also went sprinkle crazy =)

I loved the way the oreo truffles turned out, so I wanted to try out a different variation. I searched a couple of grocery stores, and finally bought a box of strawberry cream sandwich cookies. I used the same technique/idea for the oreo truffles with just one small addition to make the strawberry shortcake truffles.

Bakerella’s famous red velvet cake balls look delish, but I wanted a lighter and more refreshing bite. So I went ahead and baked a lemon chiffon cake, which I then crumbled and mixed with cream cheese frosting.  Tada! Easy peasy! The hardest part was the decorating – and trying not to eat all of these goodies! Recipes are right after the jump!

naked lemon chiffon cupcake balls

naked lemon chiffon cupcake balls

nekkid strawberry shortcake cupcake balls

nekkid strawberry shortcake truffles

and more nakedness: oreo truffles

and more nakedness: oreo truffles

chocolate candy melts: the best invention ever

chocolate candy melts: the best invention ever

filling the candy molds with melted chocolate

filling the candy molds with melted chocolate

popping the tops on

popping the tops on

out of the molds, but with nothing to wear... yet!

out of the molds, but with nothing to wear... yet!

Recipe

Oreo Truffles:

This post has the recipe AND the instructions, and will make 20 medium sized truffles.

Strawberry Shortcake Bites:

The recipe should make 20 to 25 medium sized bites.

  • 1 box of strawberry cream sandwich cookies
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam
  1. Break cookies in half and put them into your food processor. Pulse on high until you’ve ground them pretty fine, roughly like bread crumbs.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese using your hand mixer or KitchenAid stand mixer, and add the crumbs until combined. Add the strawberry jam and continue mixing.
  3. Roll your mix into 1inch balls and refrigerate for as long as possible.

Lemon Chiffon Bites:

This should also make between 20 to 25 medium sized bites.

  • The recipe can be found here for the lemon chiffon cake – just omit the raspberries for this recipe.
  • 1/2 jar of cream cheese frosting. I was going to make my own, but decided Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker frosting will do for now. Don’t judge me =)
  1. When the cake has cooled completely, you want to crumble the cake as fine as possible.
  2. In a bowl, put half of the cake in and tear it apart with two forks until fine. Then add in the last half, and repeat the process.
  3. Finally, add in cream cheese frosting and combine until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and refrigerate again.

Cupcake Bites Assembly:

  • Oreo truffles
  • Strawberry Shortcake bites
  • Lemon Chiffon bites
  • 2 cups dark/semi sweet/milk chocolate candy melts
  • 1 cup of each: blue/pink/yellow chocolate candy melts
  • sprinkles
  • mini m&ms
  • candy molds
  1. Melt the dark/semi sweet/milk chocolate either in the microwave or using a double boiler. For the microwave, heat on high in 30 second intervals, making sure to mix thoroughly between each round.
  2. Spoon each candy mold 1/3 full. Don’t fill all of them at the same time, or else the chocolate will start to harden before you can finish. I usually did 4 molds at a time.
  3. Take your Oreo truffles/strawberry bites/lemon bites, and put one into each mold, making sure to push down slightly so that the chocolate will get squished and rise up. That way, your bites will attach securely to their chocolate bases.
  4. Once all the molds are filled, refrigerate for 10 minutes. When hardened properly, the cupcake bites will pop out quite easily. I just gave them a little push from the bottom to pop them out.
  5. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the truffles and bites.
  6. Once all your tops have chocolate bottoms, the fun can begin! Melt the chocolate melts in the microwave. It’s best to work through one colour first before moving on, or else the chocolate will just harden up again. I colour co-ordinated, but don’t feel like you have to!
  7. Dip the cupcake bite tops into the chocolate. I found that using a spoon can help the melted chocolate cover the entire top. You want to make sure that it overlaps or at least meets the chocolate base so that you don’t see the truffle or the bites. Swirl it around a bit to get rid of the excess chocolate. Top each bite with an m&m and sprinkle accordingly to your wishes.
  8. Once they are hardened, you can nosh away!

xo dessertchick

gimme gimme more sprinkles

30 Mar
As I may have mentioned before, I have a sprinkle addiction. My most recent adventure to buy baking supplies led me to these treasures, and I just wanted to share them with you! Enjoy this eye candy!
butterfly sprinkles

butterfly sprinkles

easter variety: bunnies, chicks and eggs

easter variety: bunnies, chicks and eggs

confetti!

confetti!

they are called snowflakes, but look more like pretty flowers

they are called snowflakes, but look more like pretty flowers

xo dessertchick

lemon raspberry chiffon deliciousness

25 Mar

I really really really want spring to come! I am sick of dreary winter weather, of dull skies, and whipping winds. I was feeling restless yesterday, and wasn’t craving chocolate for once. The Boy was over, but was too busy being a big nerd on the computer with my brother, so I decided to bake something to pass the time. I still had a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer, and had a couple of lemons and limes. And nothing tastes better and reminds you of spring than raspberries and lemons/limes. Here’s a very quick and easy treat if you feel like something sweet and fresh tasting without the heavy feeling that dense chocolatey treats can bring – not that there is ANYTHING wrong with dense and chocolatey =)

raspberries taking a swim

raspberries taking a swim

slices of ridiculously lemony heaven

slices of ridiculously lemony heaven

up close and personal: rasperry bottoms

up close and personal: rasperry bottoms

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons and 2 limes
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup frozen/fresh raspberries

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; put aside for later. Prepare your pan – I used a regular 9×13 inch pan, but ideally, you should use a 10inch tube pan with a removable bottom.
  3. In bowl, combine oil, water, egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest. Using a whisk, beat until well mixed. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the batter is smooth.
  4. In a clean bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a stand mixer of a hand mixer , beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form.
  5. Using the spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the whites into the batter until almost fully incorporated. Add the remaining whites  as well as the raspberries. Fold in just until combined – the batter should be smooth but foamy.
  6. Pour batter evenly into tube pan. Bake cake until toothpick comes out clean, roughly 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and invert the pan onto a wire rack – make sure air can circulate freely around the cake. Let cool completely, upside down in the pan  for about 45 minutes.
  8. Remove cake from pan.
  9. Now, if you’re feeling up for some more deliciousness, add a citrus glaze!

Recipe for citrus glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted; + extra, if needed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice + extra if needed
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and cream until the sugar dissolves and the glaze is smooth. Add a few more drops of lemon juice if it’s too thick, or a little more sugar if too thin.
  2. Leave cake on the rack, and slip a half-sheet pan under the rack to catch the glaze. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Let dry, and dig in!

xo dessertchick

identity crisis: cookie or not?

22 Mar

Currently, school is KILLING me. Just today, I spent the majority of 6 hours trying to procrastinate writing the English essay that’s due this week. Why am I so on top of the ball, you ask? I’m not. It’s due Thursday, but between all the editing, Satrbucks work and classes I have to do, I knew I didn’t have time. So I sat my ass down today to write my essay – and ended up baking identity crisis-ridden cookie/cakes for Tasha. I made these toffee oatmeal cookie bars a while back and Opie & her boy, Tasha and their dad really liked them. Tasha’s birthday is this week, and since I won’t have time during the week, I decided to bake them today, and get them to her asap. However, since it’s going to be a present, I didn’t want to simply make these bars, I wanted them to look prettier. Therefore, I decided to go ahead and make them as I usually do, but roll them into balls and bake them in muffin tins! And then, create a little crater filled with toffee goodness! tada! identity crisis oatmeal toffee cookie/cakes! They are waaay bigger than cookies but waay chewier than (cup)cakes!

yum yum in my tum tum! I think I was “writing my essay” and eating these at the same time. It didn’t make the writing come any faster, but it sure eased the pain.

You can probably use your favourite oatmeal cookie recipe in here. I couldn’t find buttermilk in any of my grocery stores, so I couldn’t use my favourite/standard oatmeal recipe today. Instead, I’ve tried out a new one.  Feel free to add raising and/or chocolate chips, but I decided to add some cinnamon and keep it simple. I find the toffee is plenty sweet enough as it is. If you like the bars, then just squish the mix into a pan. The key is to bake it pretty much through before sprinkling the toffee on top, or else it’ll become too bubbly!

Did you know that oatmeal cookies trace their ancestry to the oatcakes, or bannocks, made by the Scots and the British?  The popularization of the modern oatmeal cookie can be attributed to Quaker Oats, which published a recipe for these yummy cookies on all their oats containers in the early 1900s, and have enjoyed a connection with these cookies ever since! Ha, this is what I researched instead of researching Socrates! Who says that baking isn’t educational?

Enjoy the sugar attack!

the not-so-secret ingredient: Skor toffee pieces!

the not-so-secret ingredient: Skor toffee pieces!

what are they! cookies? cupcakes? cakes?

what are they! cookies? cupcakes? cakes?

whatever they are, they are soo addicting!

whatever they are, they are soo addicting!

can you see the nice layer of melted, crunchy toffee?

can you see the nice layer of melted, crunchy toffee?

...and this is what happens when I go to answer the phone!

...and this is what happens when I go to answer the phone!

sealed in for freshness & just waiting for a pretty box, tissue paper and a bow

sealed in for freshness & just waiting for a pretty box, tissue paper and a bow

Recipe

Makes about 4 dozen regular cookies, 16 identity crisis cookies or enough for 1 baking pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups old-fashioned/quick oats (but NOT instant oats!)
  • 1/2 Skor toffee pieces

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking pan or muffin tins with parchment paper/cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon into a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  5. Add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. With a spatula or a big spoon, stir in oats (and raisins and/or chocolate chips).
  6. Depending on how you’re baking them, scoop out table-spoon sized balls of dough and drop into prepared muffin tins OR dump the mix into your baking pan and evenly spread it out with your hands.
  7. For muffin tin, bake for 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, press down the middle a bit to create a crater/indent and spoon in the toffee on top. Return to oven for another 3 minutes. Take the pan out and let cool.
  8. For baking pan, bake for 20 minutes, testing for firmness. Sprinkle liberally with toffee and return to oven for another 3 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. You want to start cutting the bars before it cools completely because the toffee makes your job very hard otherwise.
  9. Enjoy warmed up or cool, with a nice glass of cold milk!

xo dessertchick

have a caramel soaked cuppa cake

19 Mar

I have been torturing myself by looking at all the glossy, delicious pictures of the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book that Savo gave me for Christmas. Finally, I caved and decided to bake even though Tasha’s birthday isn’t until next week – which was when I had initially allowed myself to bake again.

After some foodie soul searching, I decided I wanted to make cupcakes because a) they are delicious, b) they are perfect portions, c) they can be so pretty, d) I just bought cupcake liners and e) I could give them away really easily. I wanted chocolate and caramel, that was for certain, but didn’t feel in the mood for caramel filled cupcakes. Instead, here are caramel soaked cupcakes. The only difference was that the caramel sauce wasn’t too thick so that once filled, the cupcake would just absorb all that sugary goodness and be very very moist and caramelly without being gooey. I left “gooey” to the vanilla buttermilk frosting.

I discovered that I have a ton of sprinkles, and have been adding more and more to my collection without realizing just how many different kinds I already have. I’m on a neverending search for kitchen cuteness – one of my many vices.

The recipe may seem very complicated and involve a lot of steps, but I think it took me only just over an hour to make everything, including the caramel sauce, the cupcakes, the butter cream and the baking & decorating time. Anyhow, let me present you my caramel soaked cupcakes!

sprinkles, sprinkles...

sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles everywhere! seriously, everywhere!

mini cupcake sea

sea of deliciousness

cupcakes = happiness

cupcakes = happiness

one giant & two minis

one giant & two minis

the bottom of the cake is darker because it's soaked in caramel!the bottom of the cake is darker because it’s soaked in caramel!

no sprinkles no' mo'

no sprinkles no' mo'

Recipe

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

How-to:

  1. Combine butter, cream, brown sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and thicken.  Meanwhile, make the cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

How-to:

  1. Line muffin or mini muffin pans with liners. If you’re using pretty ones, make sure to use two liners per cup (a colourful one and a plain white one on the inside) so that the liners stay pretty and don’t become translucent after baking.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high until fluffy and light in colour. Next, on medium high, beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add in the flour mix, alternating with the buttermilk, making 2 additions of flour mix and one addition of milk. Mix util just combined, and don’t over mix or else the cupcakes will turn out tough.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling only 2/3 the way. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, depending on the oven. You want the cakes to be firm to the touch or have a cake tester come out clean in the middle.
  7. Let cool while making the vanilla butter cream frosting.

Vanilla Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp water

How-to:

  1. Beat together butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Once well combined, add vanilla and water. Continue beating until smooth.
  3. Set aside and go back to prepping the cupcakes.

Final Assembly:

  1. Take each cupcake and carve out a hole in each top, making sure to keep each cupcake with its corresponding top piece.
  2. Squeeze the caramel sauce from a bottle, or spoon the sauce into each center of the cakes, making sure to be generous because the cakes will just soak the caramel sauce right up.
  3. Replace each top to its rightful owner.
  4. Outfit pastry bag with proper nozzle (I used a huge star tip) and fill with frosting. Decorate each cupcake with frosting, and if you want something more fun, sprinkle sprinkles on top!
  5. Nosh away!

xo dessertchick

the cutest cupcake kit in the world

15 Mar

This post is not about something I’ve baked. At the moment, I’m slightly too preoccupied (it’s sad, really) with school and chores to find time to bake. Soon, though, Ipromise, soon I will bake again!

In fact, I have two projects in mind at the moment: a surprise treat for Tash, and copying the Godiva Spring Raspberry Truffles I’m currently in love with. These truffles are orgasmic and sinful and heaven and your life will be complete upon tasting them. They have this delightful fresh and tart raspberry centre that is then enrobed in a crunchy white chocolate layer which melts in your mouth. Drool. Needless to say, I would like to copy them because buying their truffles at $3.50 a pop is simply too much for me.

But back to why I’m writing this post. I was browsing the cooking/baking section today at Indigo, and came upon the cutest cupcake kit in the world. I know that I may say this a lot about a lot of things, but even Umi, who has heard me exclaim this particular phrase dozens of time, agreed that I wasn’t exaggerating. And many many thanks to Catherine for this!

Take a look at the cutest cupcake kit in the world, which comes with 250 cupcake liners, a pastry bag, pastry tips as well as a small cupcake recipe book.

cup1

too many choices....

cup2

....too little time.

cups3

a closeup just because I'm still experiementing with my new camera!

last picture, I swear!

last picture, I swear!

Okay, I’m done gushing now.

But aren’t they adorable???

xo dessertchick