• Easy Chocolate Cupcake Decorating

    How to make Easy Chocolate Cupcake Decorating

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    Tempered chocolate (tutorial here)

    OR

    Melting, decorating, or dipping chocolate, melted (should contain NO cocoa butter)

    Directions

    For piped designed:

    Use a printable guide inserted into a sheet protector or placed under semi-translucent parchment or wax paper to get started, if desired.

    Transfer the tempered chocolate to a squeeze bottle or small piping or ziptop bag with a small hole snipped in one corner. Hold bag about 1-inch above the sheet then gently squeeze, tracing the designers. Squeeze with even pressure but stop before you think you should as the chocolate will continue flowing.

    Fill any gaps with the tip of a toothpick. Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.

    For shard or shaped designs

    Scoop chocolate onto a small sheet of parchment paper and spread out evenly with an offset spatula, keeping about a 1-inch border on all edges. Pick up and gently drop the parchment on the counter a few times to spread out evenly and release any air bubbles. Sprinkle with sprinkles, decorations, or finely chopped candy.

    Allow the chocolate to set just until it’s dry to the touch but still flexible. Use a knife to square off all the edges. Make cuts into the chocolate into shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could also use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the cookie cutter is sticking, allow the chocolate to set and harden for a few more minutes before continuing with the shapes.

    Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.

  • How to Make Belgian Liege Waffles

    How to make Belgian Liege Waffles

    Yield: 10 waffles

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
    1/3 cup water, lukewarm
    3 teaspoons instant yeast
    2 large eggs, at room temperature and beaten
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    2 tablespoons honey
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon fine salt
    3 2/3 cups (16.5 ounces) bread flour
    2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) pearl sugar (or sugar cubes, broken into pieces)

    Directions

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk, water, yeast, eggs, honey, vanilla, sugar, and salt. Mix until well combined.

    On low speed, add in all but 1 cup of flour and mix until combined. On low speed, add the butter, one cube at a time, thoroughly kneading in each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed before adding in any more butter. Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the remaining flour and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

    Remove the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch the dough down, cover again with plastic, and place in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.

    When ready to cook, heat up a Belgian waffle iron. Remove the dough from the fridge and knead in all of the pearl sugar. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

    Place first ball of waffle dough on grid and cook according to waffle maker’s instructions. Cook until deeply golden all over, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer with tongs or a fork to baking sheet.

    Keep waffles warm in a 200°F oven if you plan to eat them right away. These waffles must be served warm or the pearl sugar will harden. Freeze any leftover waffles and reheat in a 200°F oven until warmed through.

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  • How to Make Butterscotch Sauce

    How to make Butterscotch Sauce

    Yield: about 3/4 cup

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook: 5 minutes

    Ingredients

    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 to 2 tablespoons dark liquor, optional

    Directions

    In a medium heavy saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, salt, and cream and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Without stirring, let the mixture cook at a bubbling simmer for three minutes. Be careful not to boil too long, or you’ll end up with chewy butterscotch candies instead of a sauce.

    Remove from heat and let cool slightly before stirring in the vanilla extract. Pour into a resalable container, preferably glass. Don’t scrape the sides of the pan into the container or you may end up with gritty pieces of undissolved sugar.

    Serving and Storage: The sauce should be served warm. It can be stored in a jar, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. Reheat the butterscotch sauce in a saucepan over low heat.

  • diy Cookie Butter

    How to make diy Cookie Butter

    Yield: about 14 ounces

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 0 minutes

    Grind cookies in a food processor or high powered blender until very fine ground. Remove any fillings (such as Oreo crème) before processing.

    Ingredients

    Method 1:

    2 cups (8 ounces) cookie crumbs
    2 tablespoons granulated or brown sugar
    1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more if desired
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

    Method 2:

    2 cups (8 ounces) cookie crumbs
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
    1/4 cup evaporated milk
    Cookie filling (such as Oreo crème), if any

    Directions

    Method 1

    Stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, cream, and butter until well combined. This can be done in the bowl of your food processor or blender. Add more cream for a thinner, more pourable or dippable consistency.

    FOR CRUNCHY BUTTER: At this time feel free to add in larger chunks of cookie crumbs for a crunchier texture.

    At this point you can remove the cookie butter to a mason jar and store in the fridge for up to 14 days. Let sit at room temperature until softened.

    Method 2

    Place the cookie crumbs in a large heat-safe bowl.

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cookie filling, if any. Cook until melted. Remove from heat and pour about 1/2 cup into the cookie crumbs. Stir with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the liquid mixture very gradually to the cookie crumbs just until it is wet enough to hold its shape.

    At this point you can remove the cookie butter to a mason jar and store in the fridge for up to 14 days. Let sit at room temperature until softened.

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  • Easy Cookie Icing

    How to make Easy Cookie Icing

    Yield: enough icing for 1 batch of cut out cookies

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 1 day 20 minutes

    The iced cookies will need to dry for 24 hours before they can be safely moved or packaged.

    Ingredients

    For the border icing:

    1 cup (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons water or milk
    Food coloring, if desired

    For the flood icing:

    1 cup (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 tablespoons water or milk
    Food coloring, if desired

    Directions

    For the border icing:

    In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. Beat in the food coloring, a few drops at a time, until colored to your liking. The mixture should be very thick but still pourable.

    Transfer the border icing to a squeeze bottle using a funnel. You can also scoop into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip. Before you begin icing any cookies, take a few moments to practice on a piece of parchment paper to get the feel of the icing.

    Holding the bottle or bag tip directly over one corner of a cookie, begin tracing an outline of the cookie, squeezing gently and using both hands if needed to maintain consistent pressure. I prefer to allow a little slack in my icing line as I go. If you mess up, simply wipe the icing off and start again. Allow the icing to dry slightly before continuing with the flood icing.

    For the flood icing:

    In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. Beat in the food coloring, a few drops at a time, until colored to your liking. The mixture should still be pretty thick, but will drizzle more freely than the border icing. If needed, add additional water or milk to loosen until the consistency is pourable. Pour the flood icing into a squeeze bottle or into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip.

    Prepare as many batches and colors of flood icing as you need to decorate your cookies.

    Begin filling the interior of the border drawn on each cookie with the flood icing, being careful not to add too much that it overflows the border icing. Use either the nose of the bottle or a small toothpick to push the icing evenly over the cookie and up against the corners.

    Leave the iced cookie to dry for 24 hours. The cookies are dry when the surface is completely smooth, dry, and resists smudging when touched. Store the dried cookies between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

  • How to Make Crusty Bread Rolls

    How to make Crusty Bread Rolls

    Yield: 8 rolls

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook: 3 hours 30 minutes

    You can use the same amount of active dry yeast in place of the instant yeast. Simply allow the active dry yeast to proof for five minutes with the water before adding in.

    Ingredients

    2 1/2 cups (11.3 ounces) bread flour
    1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) lukewarm water

    Directions

    In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Stir until the mixture is thick and sticky. No kneading is necessary!

    Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and bubbly on top, about 3 hours. MAKE AHEAD: Alternatively, you can also let the dough rise overnight in the fridge.

    Using a scraper, fold the dough over about 12 times, adding enough flour so that it doesn’t stick. Use the scraper to cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Flour your hands before shaping each piece into a ball.

    Place the dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a clean towel. Let rise until puffy, about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F.

    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

    MAKE AHEAD: Store bread rolls in a container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month and re-crisp in a 325°F oven for 5 minutes from room temperature or about 15 minutes from frozen.

    Adapted from Jenny Can Cook