I’m Dreaming of a (Sugary) Sweet Christmas

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I was showered with oodles of baking-related gifts yesterday. I was spoiled beyond words. As I opened my new cupcake carrier, baking utensils, baking pans, and cupcake corer, all I could do was dream about the tasty treats I couldn’t wait to bake. It took all of the self-control I possess to resist baking on Christmas Day–not because I couldn’t but because I had already devoured so many treats that I knew I would be sick if I ate one more sugary thing.

But when I woke up this morning, it was a new day. And new days call for new adventures.

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The holidays are filled with delicious flavours. These cupcakes were inspired by one of my personal favourite Christmas treats–candy canes! I made classic chocolate cupcakes, filled them with a chocolate-mint ganache, and piped each with candy cane speckled buttercream. The chocolate pairs nicely with the peppermint, preventing it from overpowering the cupcake.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the cocoa and hot coffee until smooth. Set aside. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Also set aside. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Add half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing just until combined. Add the sour cream. Add the second half of the dry mixture. Do not overmix the batter. Spoon into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes and remove when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tins, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips and peppermint extract in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan and immediately pour over the chocolate. Stir until all the chips are melted. Mix in the butter, continuing to stir until combined. Place in the fridge to cool. Be sure to stir it every 15-20 minutes until it thickens.

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Cut a small hole in the top of each cooled cupcake. Fill each with a spoonful of ganache filling. Replace each hole with the piece of cupcake you removed.

For the candy cane speckled buttercream, beat 3/4 cups of softened butter. Bit by bit, add 2 cups of icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add a pinch of salt, 3 tablespoons of milk, 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract, and a 1/4 cup of crushed candy canes. Beat until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a desired tip and swirl over cooled cupcakes.

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I hope you all had an incredibly blessed Christmas. I can’t wait to share even more of my baking adventures in the new year. Now enjoy every last bit (and flavour) of Christmas while you can!

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Deck Your Plates With Lots of Cookies

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Angels and snowflakes and trees, oh my! This joyous day is finally upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with friends and family and a big plate of cookies? My kitchen has resembled what I imagine Mrs. Clause’s kitchen to be these past few days as I’ve finished up some last minute baking orders for the holiday season. But beyond the hustle and bustle of the holiday season (and last minute cookie scramble), this time of year is the perfect time to reflect on the peace in our lives and the people who bless us with love and care. I hope you all have some special people to celebrate this special day with. After all, that’s what Christmas is all about.

Well, that and sweets of course.

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‘Tis the Season: 2012 in Review

2012 has been an incredible year. It’s hard to believe that another holiday season has come and will soon be gone, reminding us that a new year is upon us and new opportunities await. This year, I had the opportunities to accomplish a few of my baking goals. I never would have imagined that I would fall so head-over-heels for cupcake baking, finally enter some baked goods into the local fair, or even just delve even deeper into my baking experiments and dreams. Looking over some of the (Instagram) photos from the past year gives me a very nostalgic feeling and inspires me to push myself even further in 2013.

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It was such a treat (no pun intended) to be able to make all of these things. Some of my favourite creations from the year include mocha latte cupcakes, ice cream cone sugar cookies, the results of baking adventures with my sister, flower-inspired pink cupcakes in an array of flavours and shades, and the baseball cookies I baked for my big brother and his awesome baseball team.

My Un-Official Baking Goal List for 2013 includes improving my cake decorating skills (or maybe just gettingĀ cake decorating skills), getting better at documenting my baking adventures with real photos instead of just Instagram photos, developing unique cupcake flavours and combinations, and attempting petit fours.

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I hope you all have an incredibly blessed holiday season. ‘Tis the season for family, singing, cuddling, hot cocoa, and (of course) baking!

A Little Break From Christmas Baking: Yoga Cookies

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Christmas is just around the corner and I can’t wait to start filling my kitchen with the delicious smells of gingerbread, peppermint, and chocolate. But before I do that, I had a few cookie orders to complete. These cookies were made for my friend Ellen who just completed a yoga course. Congratulations, Ellen!

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