Triple Threat: Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate. We all love it. Some of us like it plain. Some of us like it paired with delicious flavours like mint or peanut butter. Some of us like it baked into rich cheesecakes or brownies or cookies or anything, really. Some of us like it sprinkled over our warm cup of coffee, while some of us like it chilled into creamy ice cream. Some of us just like all of the above.

We all have our own preferences for how we like our chocolate. One of my good friends adores white chocolate, whereas my mom swears by the bitter (but delicious) flavour of dark chocolate. If you’re anything like me, you like it white, you like it dark, and you like it all the ways in between. I decided to bake up a batch of cupcakes that satisfied the palates of many. If you can’t choose, why not just devour all three?

I started by mixing up my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. This particular recipe involves dissolving the cocoa in hot coffee before it is added to the other ingredients. Coffee naturally has a chocolatey flavour, so it complements the cupcakes quite nicely. The cupcakes bake up so incredibly moist. They almost dissolve in your mouth.

While the cupcakes were in the oven (producing a rich aroma that spread throughout my entire house), I made a 70% dark cocoa chocolate ganache filling. When they were finished cooling, I cut a small hole into the top of each cupcake and filled each with a teaspoon of the ganache. It seeped into the cupcakes, giving them more moisture and a touch of bitterness. I personally think this was needed to balance out the overwhelming sweetness of the white chocolate buttercream.

I made my favourite buttercream recipe and added in two heaping tablespoons of melted white chocolate. After filling my piping bag, I gave each cupcake a few little swirls to make a flower design. I then sprinkled each with a small pile of edible pearl sprinkles. And voila!

Although triple chocolate may seem a bit decadent for some of you, the various flavours of chocolate actually balance each other out quite nicely. It’s a delicious (and classic) combination of the flavour we all love to love: chocolate!

What’s your favourite type of chocolate?

It’s a Comfort Food Kind of Day: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today. It’s gloomy, rainy, and a little bit chilly. Although today is a perfect day by the standards of an earth worm, for the rest of us it requires curling up on the couch under a cozy blanket with a cup of tea and a film. Days like these call for just a little something to add some sweetness. That something is a baker’s classic.

Chocolate chip cookies are often forgotten. They have become such a common staple in the cookie jar, leaving them highly underestimated. In fact, I kind of forgot about this tasty treat. I’ve made so many chocolate chip cookies in my day that they don’t pose much of a challenge. But that is exactly what I was looking for today. Something simple and quick that could be devoured as soon as possible. Oh, and did I mention that eating the cookie dough straight from the bowl is pretty much the most delicious part?

There are numerous chocolate chip cookie recipes out there. In fact, there are so many that it can be overwhelming to choose which one deserves your butter and your time. I came across this recipe on Pinch of Yum. I initially picked the recipe because of how delicious Lindsay’s photos made these cookies look. But it turns out that it is the best recipe I have found to date! The cookies baked really nicely and came out chewy in the middle and crunchy on the edges. They’re sweet but are sprinkled with a little salt. The recipe won me over with the first bite.

The original recipe requires chilling the dough in the fridge for 24 hours. I, unfortunately, have zero patience so I decided to bake them right up. I have no basis for comparison, but I can honestly say that the cookies taste fabulous regardless. I halved the original recipe and ended up with 24 cookies–the perfect number for both sharing and selfishly devouring.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars together until very light and fluffy. This may require 5-6 minutes of mixing. Add the egg. Mix in the vanilla. In a separate container, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add the chocolate chips. Drop balls (the approximate size of golf balls) onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Allow to bake for 16-19 minutes or until edges are browned. Allow to cool before removing from the cookie sheet.

What’s your favourite comfort food on those slow and rainy days?

Spice it Up: Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

A month or two ago, I was up late into the night tossing and turning. Thankfully something good came from it because when I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to sleep, my mind went into a frenzy as I brainstormed some delicious new flavour combinations. Ever since that night, I have been dying for an opportunity to finally try these guys. The rich flavour of chocolate combined with the bite from the chai had my taste buds watering. This past weekend, I decided that the time had come for my ideas to finally be put to a mixing bowl.

Chai tea is one of the most delicious teas out there. It is a black tea with flavours like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom. Some chai even has a hint of black pepper, most likely giving it an extra little bite. The flavours are often paired with a fair bit of sugar as the sweetness brings out the robust flavours of the spices. Chai tea has always been a very popular drink in India but has more recently gained popularity in North America and Europe.

In order to make these cupcakes, I adapted my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. The recipe usually calls for hot coffee, but I replaced it with concentrated steeped chai tea. I found that the cupcakes were just as moist as the coffee version. If you don’t have any chai tea, you could make a basic chocolate cupcake by using hot water instead. This will most likely not cause any problems for the flavour as long as you rely on the buttercream to deliver the spice.

This recipe is easy to make and bakes approximately 18 cupcakes. An easy chai spice mix is added to a basic vanilla buttercream to make it chai-a-licious. I sprinkled the tops with the remaining chai spice and some chocolate sprinkles. But you could top the cupcakes with anything from chocolate shavings to cinnamon sticks and all that’s in between!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the chai tea and allow it to steep for a generous amount of time. Whisk the cocoa powder and chai tea together until smooth. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the chocolate-chai mixture and the vanilla to the wet mixture and beat well. In a separate container, combine the flour, soda, powder, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Add the sour cream. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Divide the batter into muffin-lined cupcake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Make the chai spice. In a bowl, beat 3/4 cups of softened butter with 2 cups of icing sugar. Add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of the chai spice. Beat all of the ingredients together until it is light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag adorned with a desired decorating tip and swirl a little on the top of each cupcake.

So go ahead. Grab a friend, grab a cup of tea, grab a Chocolate Chai Cupcake and be prepared to spice up your day with a little joy, comfort, and sweet and spicy deliciousness!

Do you drink much chai tea? What other flavours would pair nicely with chai?

Favourite Flavours: White-Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

The summer season is quickly wrapping up, but I’m trying to let the fresh tastes linger. Raspberries have not dominated much of my baking over the past few months, but when an opportunity presented itself to bring some cupcakes to a BBQ, I had just the combination of flavours in mind.

White chocolate and raspberry were destined for eachother. The sweetness of the white chocolate complements the tart raspberry flavour. I baked up some vanilla bean cupcakes from Joy the Baker to use as the base, added a little white chocolate ganache filling to the center, and topped each with a generous swirl of raspberry buttercream. I must admit that I was not thrilled with the way the vanilla bean cupcakes baked, but they did taste absolutely delicious, especially right out of the oven.

What is your favourite flavour to pair with white chocolate?

Birthday Cupcakes (Cookies) and a 90’s Birthday Bash!

This past weekend, I had the privilege of baking some cookies for two of my very best friends. These two are not just awesome friends, but they are also the only girls I know who are worthy enough to have a birthday party that was like so totally 90’s themed. From the “Saved By the Bell” posters that donned the walls to the sweet sound of the Backstreet Boys on the ghetto-blaster, these two threw a pretty rockin’ party that had us all dancing, singing, snacking, and giggling like little girls at a sleepover. Did I mention that costumes were mandatory?

I chose to make cupcake shaped sugar cookies for the special occasion because cupcakes could not be any more “birthday”. Sure, if I had a cutter shaped like the Spice Girls’ bus I would have made those, but unfortunately I have never come across such a cutter (but believe me…I would have it if I ever did!). The cupcakes (cookies) weren’t really 90’s, but they were decorated in honour of the birthday girls. I made two very special zebra print cookies topped with chocolate candles just for them!

The cookies were a great addition to the snack table that was already filled with ring pops, nerds, popeye’s candy cigarettes, and bubble tape. We had a hoot as we blasted to our past and celebrated the wonderful days of our childhood. And yes, people of the world…we spiced up our lives!