bridal mania pt 1 – buttermilk chocolate vanilla buttercream cupcakes

12 Sep

My friend Shirley asked me to make truffles and such for her cousin’s wedding for the wedding favours. However, I was going to be in Vietnam at the time of the wedding. Instead, I ended up baking for the bridal shower! I made 30 chocolate cupcakes and 30 vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream icing. Simple and classy. And of course she wanted 40 mini strawberry oreo tarts as well as 75 oreo truffles. It was the first time I’ve baked such large quantities, and I would say that it was smooth sailing – except it wasn’t. I forgot how difficult it is to bake in the summer while your kitchen is swelteringly hot. Ridiculous. Anyhow, it was a race against time to keep everything from melting. For these buttermilk chocolate cupcakes, I found a really amazing recipe and only had to slightly modify it. The vanilla buttercream icing was easy to whip up, but not to easy to keep from drooping off my cupcakes after piping. And let’s not talk about the chocolate hearts – it took forever for them to set, and when I popped them on the icing, they started melting just from the heat of my fingers. Anyhow, all the sweat (and tears) paid off. Shirley, and her cousin, were happy. This is part one of what I baked for the bridal shower. Part two will come shortly!

so pretty and so simple. and of course, delicious.
so pretty and so simple. and of course, delicious.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 1/2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter. softened
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup milk

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease your muffin tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 15 second intervals, making sure to stir in between. Set aside to cool down for a bit.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes, until it is pale and thick.
  5. Add in the butter. Mix until combined.
  6. Add in the melted chocolate.
  7. Now, add in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated.
  8. Add the flour mixture in 3 increments and beat until smooth.
  9. Divide batter into the cupcake tins. This batter made 20 cupcakes for me.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
  11. In the meantime, with your electric beater, whip the butter until it is creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, making sure to scrape down the sides until fully combined.
  12. Add the vanilla bean paste. Slowly, add the milk and continue beating on medium speed until fully combined, for approx. 5 minutes.
  13. Put icing into piping bag and decorate to your heart’s delight.
  14. As for the chocolate hearts, I just took chocolate wafers, melted them, put the chocolate into a ziploc bag. Snip a small corner off and start drawing hearts onto wax paper. Let cool and set, peel them off and top the cupcakes off!

xo dessertchick

nutella pinwheelies

11 Sep
Life is too short to be square. That’s why all the good things in life are round – like cookies! How many square cookies really come to mind? I mean, okay, yes, there are square cookies but the best kinds (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin cookies, ginger molasses cookies, snickerdoodles, macaroons, macarons, etc etc) are all round, or at the very least spherical. Anyhow, let’s not get philosophical right now, but the bottom line is that these nutella pinwheelies are one of the most delicious and perfect things that could come in a round package. They are super easy to make – and a recipe that gives you the chance to lick a nutella covered spoon is the best kind of recipe. Enjoy the simple things in life – enjoy these nutella pinwheelies.
happiness in bite-sized format

happiness in bite-sized format

nutella pinwheels are the best kind of pinwheels.

nutella pinwheels are the best kind of pinwheels.

good things come in small packages

good things come in small packages

Recipe

Pssssst, this makes a LOT of cookies. Feel free to halve, although more cookies = more fun    =)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup nutella or any other chocolate hazelnut spread

How-to:

  1. In a bowl, beat the sugar, vanilla sugar if using, and egg together on medium until incorporated.
  2. Now is the time to add the vanilla extract if that’s what you have on hand.
  3. Cream in the butter, and beat on medium-high until it is nice and smooth.
  4. Slowly, add in the flour and salt, and continue mixing until a soft dough forms.
  5. Scrape off the sides, and using your hands, form the dough into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge and start rolling one disk out on a well-floured surface.
  7. Try to shape the dough into a rectangle, going no thinner than 1/4 inch.
  8. Cut the large rectangle in half. Using half the nutella, spread it evenly over both rectangles, trying not to go too close to the edge, or else it’ll make a huge mess.
  9. Slowly, starting with the long edges, roll the dough into a firm log. Make sure to seal the edges – you can easily do that with your fingers, since the buttery dough is easily manipulated. Repeat with second rectangle.
  10. Cover the logs and refrigerate for another 20 minutes. This will make sure that, once cut, the cookies will keep their pretty swirls.
  11. Repeat steps 6 through 10 with the second disk of dough.
  12. Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare your baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or using a silpat.
  13. Cut the logs into 1/2 inch pieces, and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes for a chewy cookie, or 15 minutes for a crispier one.
  14. After your timer goes off, remove from the oven and let the cookies rest for a minute or two before removing them and placing them onto your cooling rack.
  15. Enjoy with a nice cold class of milk.

xo dessertchick

easy peasy brownie whoopie pies

10 Sep

I’ve been storing these photos for a while now, because the summer was just too hectic in order to write up these posts. I’m trying to catch up now, so check back often for”new” updates of all the goodies I baked in the summer. I made the super easy brownie whoopie pies a couple of weeks ago, and they were delicious. I was a bit reluctant to make them because it requires you to buy marshmallow fluff – which is a very dangerous thing for me to have around my kitchen. I nevertheless couldn’t pass up the opportunity to combine marshmallow filling with dense brownies. So, tada! Let me present you my super delicious & super easy brownie whoopie pies. I adapted and slightly changed my brownie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, since she is my hero.

The brownies basically look like those two-bite brownies and taste exactly like them – if not a bit fudgier and denser and…better. Homemade is best, isn’t it? Once they finish baking in your mini muffin pan, it’s simply a matter of letting them cool while you whip up the frosting. The assembly is as easy as 1,2,3. Cut, fill & top it up.

Enjoy!

so innocent looking.

You take a brownie....

...you cut the brownie in half...

...you cut the brownie in half...

...garnish with a generous dollop of cream filling...

...garnish with a generous dollop of cream filling...

....and top it all off with the brownie's other half.

....and top it all off with the brownie's other half.

Repeat process as often as desired....

Repeat process as often as desired....

...and chomp in.

...and chomp in.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all-spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped.
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow fluff
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

How-to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Prepare your mini or regular sized muffin tins.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, all-spice and salt.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter slowly over low heat. You don’t want the butter to burn on you.
  4. Once the butter is melted, add 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate and stir until fully melted. Add the instant coffee and continue to stir until everything is incorporated.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool down, between 5 and 10 minutes. One at a time, whisk in the eggs into the butter/chocolate mixture.
  6. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until just incorporated. Try not to overmix.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin tins. You can fill the, 3/4 of the way up, since these babies don’t rise much.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing them to a wire rack – otherwise your brownies will break. In the meantime….
  9. In a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy.
  10. Add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract and continue to beat the mixture until it is fully combined.
  11. Spoon mixture into a piping bag.
  12. Cut the cooled brownies in half. Pipe a generous dollop of fluff onto the bottom half and then top with the remaining brownie half.
  13. Share & enjoy!

xo dessertchick

incommunicado while eating salad

4 Aug

I’m truly truly sorry for not updating my blog in one month but between school, work, prepping for the trip, more work and work and work, I’ve been able to fit in baking but not the actual uploading/updating/writing of blog posts. I think I have about four blog entry drafts in the form of pictures but sadly, I haven’t had time to write down recipes/stories/rants just yet. And I’m leaving for Vietnam in 4 days, so I don’t know if I’ll have time to update/upload those four entries. If not, please forgive me, and check back on Chocolatefool after Thanksgiving. In the meantime though, keep in touch and read about my tasty travels in Vietnam =)

On another note: The other day I was starving and enjoying my first day off in a year, so I decided to throw anything and everything I had in my fridge to make this scrumptious salad. Yes, I’m featuring a salad on a blog dedicated to dessert. I also haven’t blogged in a month, so chalk this one up to guilt. If I remember, this spinach salad consisted of baby spinach, avocado, strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.
be one with nature, and eat this delicious salad on your balcony

be one with nature, and eat this delicious salad on your balcony

simple and fresh, this salad is to die for

simple and fresh, this salad is to die for

xo dessertchick

birthday cookie madness

4 Jul
The month of June is always super busy with at least one birthday every week, or, like this past week, with three consecutive birthdays in one week. In order to not break the bank (especially since I’m saving up for my trip), I decided that people like to be happy on their birthday, and cookies make people happy, and therefore, cookies as presents for birthdays make people doubly happy. Right? And what could be better than cookies for your birthday? A birthday cookie card cake! Or rather, just a really gianormous cookie cake that has the birthday message written on it. Mrs. Fields sells them, but it seems like a cop-out to buy one. Instead, whip up your friend’s favourite cookie recipe, double or triple it, roll it out to fit your biggest cookie sheet (round or rectangular), and watch your friend’s eyes light up at the size of their cookie card! I’m going to apologize for the poor piping job on this particular cookie card – I was running out of time, and out of icing, but it’s the thought that counts, right? The cookie card was for one birthday, the oatmeal raisin cookies for yet another birthday, and the gluten-free oatmeal chocolate toffee cookies for the third birthday. The oatmeal raisin ones are currently making their way to cottage country in a care-package for my babycakes Calla since she’s not in Toronto for the summer and I love her very much. I hope they arrive in one piece and within their freshness timelimit. Remember: broken cookies equal broken dreams – but in the end, broken cookies still taste good.
say Happy Birthday with a giant cookie card cake!

say Happy Birthday with a giant cookie card cake!

chewy oatmeal raisin cookies make great birthday presents

chewy oatmeal raisin cookies make great birthday presents

and gluten-free toffee chocolate oatmeal cookies to keep the rest happy!

and gluten-free toffee chocolate oatmeal cookies to keep the rest happy!

Recipes

Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookie Card

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (or more….!!)

How-to:

  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using your stand mixer of a handmixer, cream together the butter and sugar until very light – about 4 minutes.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mixing thoroughly after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Reduce speed, and add in the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. Add in the chocolate chips, and mix until just combined. It’s important not to overbeat the dough.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, and crumble the cookie dough all over the sheet. Using the palm of your hands, lightly press down to form the cookie dough into one solid rectangle (or circle, depending on your baking pan of choice), trying to cover the whole surface of the sheet pan as uniformly as possible.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, making sure to keep an eye on the giant cookie. I found that I had to rotate the sheet halfway through to ensure even baking and browning. Take the giant cookie out when the sides are just starting to brown. Let the cookie cool on the sheet.
  9. Whip up your favourite frosting, and pipe whatever your heart desires onto the cookie card! In my case, I used a really easy and simple cream cheese frosting that I tinted blue with food gel.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg and set aside.
  3. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.
  4. Slowly, add the flour mixture to the butter mix. Using a spatula now, add the oats and the raisins, mixing until just combined.
  5. Drop rounded tablespoons onto baking pans lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly beginning to brown. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
  • 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 toffee pieces
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix together the quinoa flakes, rolled oats and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Lastly, add the peanut butter.
  5. Slowly, add the dry mix to the wet mix until just combined.
  6. Add in the toffee pieces and the chocolate chips, mixing until just incorporated.
  7. Using a tablespoon, measure the dough and roll the dough into balls. Place onto your baking sheet that’s been prepped with parchment paper.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, being careful not to overbake.

xo dessertchick

taking a baking hiatus in one month!

24 Jun

Don’t let the title worry you!

On August 8th, I’ll be flying out of Toronto and into the heart of Vietnam, leaving behind good ol’ Canada for two months! I’m going to backpack from South to North Vietnam for the first three weeks, from Ho Chi Minh City until I eventually arrive in Ha Noi. Once in Ha Noi, the real reason I’m leaving for Vietnam will finally kick in: I’m interning at Vietnam’s VTV6 television news station for six weeks, as part the requirement for the final year of the Journalism Broadcast program at my university.

While I won’t be able to bake cakes or cookies, or indulge in my chocolate/oreo cookie addiction overseas, I decided that food is too big a part of my life to abandon for two whole months. While I won’t be able to bake and therefore update this blog, I’ve decided to keep a blog/diary/photoblog of my adventures in the motherland. You can follow my culinary travails at Chocolate Fool’s Tasty Vietnamese Tales, and read about my take on the Vietnamese people, culture, life and food.

I return back to Toronto on October 8th, and will then vicariously delve back into my baking (and updating this blog) again =)

However, between now and August 8th, I’m sure to update/post on Chocolate Fool at least 4 or 5 more times! Keep checking back for more goodies, and make sure to read about my Vietnamese tales!

xo dessertchick

picnic-perfect strawberry oreo pies

24 Jun

Seriously, I have an Oreo addiction, and hereby I solemnly promise to hold off on any more Oreo recipes – right after this post! Summer has finally kicked in for us Torontonians, and the last thing you want to do on a hot and humid day is turn on the stove or the oven. That’s why this recipe is too simple and too delicious to pass up on – the total baking time is 10 minutes! And it’s even more tempting since it combines oreo cookies, strawberries and whipping cream in the deliciousness that is a picnic-perfect pie!

I got this idea from My Baking Addiction and just tweaked it a little bit to embrace the summer and my tastes. I used a salty graham cracker crust to cut through the sweetness, added cut strawberries and strawberry puree to the filling, and used mini oreos instead of the original ones.

These pies refrigerate very well and keep for at least a couple of days – if they last this long. Pop them into the freezer for an hour if you’re planning on taking them to a picnic, and these babies won’t melt on you! It’s light and airy, with the crunch and sweetness of Oreo cookies and strawberries. Enjoy alongside the harbour front!

one pie, two pies, three pies, four pies, all my pies!

one pie, two pies, three pies, four pies, all my pies!

but I guess I can share - if you ask nicely

but I guess I can share - if you ask nicely

serve by the poolside for a delectable dessert...

serve by the poolside for a delectable dessert...

....while sipping on your mimosas and catching up on gossip.

....while sipping on your mimosas and catching up on gossip.

or, take with you to a picnic by the lake...

or, take with you to a picnic by the lake as a cute dessert...

....and dig in while washing it down with refreshing lemonade!

....and dig in while washing it down with refreshing lemonade!

Recipe

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt

Filling

  • 1 bag of mini Oreo cookies (roughly 2 cups), save 24 for decorations, and cut the remaining ones in half
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipped cream or 2 cups cool-whip
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped into small pieces (save 2 for decoration)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and pureed

How-to:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and salt. Press into two 9-inch pie crusts. I wanted mini pies, so I used four smaller pie pans – but I’m not sure of the exact size of them. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, and then let cool.
  2. In a bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add in the strawberry puree and mix until well combined.
  3. Switch over to a spatula, and gently fold in the whipped cream or cool whip. Lastly, add in the cut oreo cookies and chopped strawberries.
  4. Spoon evenly into your two (or four) pie crusts and smooth down. Decorate with the oreo cookies you set aside, and top with half of a strawberry.
  5. Refrigerate or eat right away, the choice is yours! Or grab your picnic blanket and go outside with one of these pies!

xo dessertchick