• Cookie Butter Pudding Pie

    How to make Cookie Butter Pudding Pie

    Yield: 8 servings

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 22 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    24 (1 7-ounce box) Speculoos cookies
    1 tablespoon light brown sugar
    7 tablespoons (99 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the cookie butter pudding:

    1 tablespoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
    1/3 cup boiling water
    2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
    1/3 cup (33 grams) unsweetened cocoa
    1/4 cup (28 grams) cornstarch
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 cups milk
    3/4 cup (230 grams) cookie butter
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    For topping:

    Cookie butter, melted
    Crumbled Speculoos cookies

    Directions

    Make the crust:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    In the bowl of a food processor pulse the Speculoos cookies and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Use the bottom of a measuring cup, glass, or ramekin to press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

    Make the pudding:

    Put the gelatin in a small bowl, add the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Set aside.
    In a medium saucepan whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add the milk, whisking until smooth. Set over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 minutes.

    Remove from the heat. Add in the cookie butter and stir until melted. Stir in the vanilla and reserved gelatin mixture. Pour the pudding into the pie crust. Chill the pie in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight, until well chilled and set.

    Drizzle with melted cookie butter. Garnish with the Speculoos cookie crumbles. Slice and serve!

  • Twix Chocolate Layer Cake

    How to make Twix Chocolate Layer Cake

    Yield: One 8 inch layer cake

    Prep Time: 1 hour

    Cook: 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    Chocolate cake

    2 cups (280 grams) plain flour
    1 cup (80 grams) cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 and 1/2 cup (300 grams) caster sugar
    1/2 cup (90 grams) brown sugar
    1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
    3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
    2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    1 cup (240 ml) hot water

    Caramel frosting

    1/2 cup (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    2 and 1/2 cups (325 grams) powdered or icing sugar
    1/2 cup (120 ml) salted caramel sauce
    Twix bars, chopped
    Shortbread cookies, crumbled
    Extra caramel sauce for drizzling

    Directions

    Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C). Grease and line two 8 inch round cake tins. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Then add the sugars. Whisk together. In a separate mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs. Whisk together.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Start to fold together, slowly pour in the hot water, and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Divide the mixture into the two cake tins and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave for 10 minutes before gently removing the cakes from their tins and leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.

    To make the frosting, add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered or icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the caramel sauce and continue to beat until creamy.

    To frost the cakes, you may need to trim off the dome of the cakes using a large serrated knife or a cake cutter. Then, add half the frosting to the top of one chocolate cake and then add the other chocolate cake on top. Frost with the remainder of the caramel frosting. Finally, top with chopped Twix bars, crushed shortbread cookies and drizzle with any extra caramel sauce.

  • Nutella Chocolate Covered Pretzel Milkshake

    How to make Nutella Chocolate Covered Pretzel Milkshake

    Yield: 1 to 2 servings

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    The sweetened condensed milk adds unbelievable richness, but feel free to use heavy cream instead. My favorite chocolate covered pretzels are the ones from Trader Joe’s!

    Ingredients

    For the milkshake:

    1/4 cup Nutella
    1 1/2 cups ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, or hazelnut)
    1/2 cup whole milk
    2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (or heavy cream)
    1/2 cup chocolate covered pretzels

    For topping:

    Whipped cream
    Nutella
    Crushed chocolate covered pretzels

    Directions

    Add all of the milkshake ingredients into the bowl of a blender and blend until just combined.

    Pour into a glass. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle with Nutella and sprinkle with crushed chocolate covered pretzels. Serve with a wide straw or spoon.

  • How to Make Decorative Carrots

    How to make Decorative Carrots

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    Method 1: Buttercream

    Small batch of buttercream
    Orange & green gel food coloring
    Plain open tip (Wilton #12)
    Leaf tip (Wilton #352)

    Method 2: Candy Melts

    Orange and green candy melts

    Method 3: Marzipan

    Marzipan
    Orange food coloring
    Fresh parsley, trimmed for carrot tops

    Directions

    Buttercream Carrots

    Place 3/4 of the buttercream in a medium mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring and stir until colored.

    Place the remaining buttercream in a small mixing bowl. Add the green food coloring and stir until colored.

    Transfer the orange buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Transfer the green food coloring to a piping bag fitted with the leaf tip. Pipe an upside triangle on your cake or cupcake. Add three or four ‘leaves’ using the green buttercream.

    Candy Melt Carrots

    Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the orange candy melts per the package instructions then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag or piping bag. Let the melts cool slightly until less runny. Cut off the tip and pipe the shape of a carrot.

    Repeat with the green candy melts, but pipe the green leaves of each carrot.

    Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 5 minutes or until the candy melts have fully hardened. Carefully release each carrot from the baking sheet and place on your cupcakes or cake.

    Marzipan Carrots

    Knead food coloring into marzipan until brightly colored. Roll into a log and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Rolling each piece between your palms, form into a small carrot shape.

    Make lines into the carrots with a toothpick dipped in oil to give a realistic appearance. Use the toothpick to poke a small hole at the top of each carrot. Insert parsley stems the hole. Place on top cupcakes or cake.

  • Perfect Carrot Cupcakes

    How to make Perfect Carrot Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1 1/4 cups (174 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 cup (47 grams) canola oil
    1 cup (198 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup (125 grams) unsweetened applesauce
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/2 cups (148 grams) finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (42 grams) finely chopped walnuts, divided

    For the frosting:

    8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and eggs. Stir in the applesauce, vanilla, and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the walnuts.

    Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until a cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

    Make the frosting:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light, creamy, and smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy.

    Frost cupcakes and decorate with remaining chopped walnuts, if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  • Baked Creme Brulee Doughnuts

    How to make Baked Creme Brulee Doughnuts

    Yield: 6 large doughnuts

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the doughnuts:

    1/2 cup warm water
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 teaspoons instant yeast
    4 large egg yolks
    1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
    2 1/2 (319 grams) cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup heavy cream

    For the filling:

    1 cup whole milk
    1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
    3 large egg yolks
    Pinch of salt
    2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

    For topping:

    3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
    2 tablespoons water

    Directions

    Make the doughnuts:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, zest, vanilla, yeast, eggs, and sugar. Gradually add in the flour then salt, mixing until absorbed. Add the butter and cream and beat on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until a smooth sticky dough forms. Remove the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

    On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds from the dough. Place on a large parchment-lined baking sheet spacing far apart. Cover and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the doughnuts for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed. Let cool completely.

    Make the filling:

    In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk and half the sugar. Place over medium heat to come to a boil.

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the yolks, salt, and the remaining sugar. Stir in the flour.

    When the milk boils, whisk a third of the boiled milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot. Continue whisking until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Pour the cream into a heat-proof glass or stainless-steel bowl or pan. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until completely chilled.

    Remove the pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a long filling tip. Insert the tip into the side of a doughnut and squeeze the filling inside to fill. Repeat for the remaining doughnuts.

    Make the crème brulee topping:

    Place the doughnuts on a wire rack over a baking tray. In a glass measuring cup, combine the sugar and water and stir until combined. Spoon the sugar mixture over each doughnut and allow to set for 5 minutes. Using a kitchen blowtorch, caramelize the sugar until amber. Serve.

    Inspired by Donna Hay issue #86

  • The Ultimate Tartelette Crust

    How to make The Ultimate Tartelette Crust

    Yield: Roughly 4 individual tartelette shells (4 x 0.75-inch tart plate)

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 10 to 15 minutes

    This pâte sablée recipe was passed down from my adopted Parisian family; it’s simple and sweet, the ultimate base for your tartelette of choice.

    Ingredients

    Tartelette Pastry

    1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

    3 tablespoons granulated sugar

    3 oz. soft, unsalted butter

    2 egg yolks

    1 to 3 tablespoons ice water

    Pinch fleur de sel

     

    Traditional Crème Patissière

    3 medium egg yolks

    1/4 cup granulated sugar

    2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch

    1 cup whole milk

    1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

    For a more embellished finish, Teresa Floyd’s Strawberry Rose Crémeux is a must-try.

    Directions

    Tartelette Pastry

    1. Place flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center; then add butter, egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of ice water. Blend lightly by fingertip, gently kneading until all ingredients gather to form smooth dough. If a crumbly texture persists, add up to 2 tablespoons more of ice water by drops. Shape the pastry into a slightly flattened ball, dust lightly with flour and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight, until firm.
    1. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Place the pastry on a floured surface and press it into a flat circle with the heel of one hand. Sprinkle flour over the pastry and roll it out with a rolling pin. Lift and roll it onto the pin. Unroll and ease pastry into a 4 x 0.75 inch fluted tartelette pan, pressing the pastry into the bottom and around the sides. Roll the pin over the pan to trim extra over-hanging dough. Chill for 20 Preheat the oven to 375°F.
    1. Blind bake the tartelette shell (sans filling): Line with parchment paper. Use dry beans to fill the center of the pan. Edges of the tartelette will start to take on a golden color after 5 to 10 minutes in oven. Remove the parchment paper and return to bake up to 5 minutes longer. Baked crust will appear lightly browned in color. Set pan on a jar to slip off the loose-bottomed rim. Fill as directed in the tartelette recipe of your choice.

     

    Crème Patissière

    1. Warm the milk in a saucepan so that it begins to steam.
    2. Place egg yolks in a bowl and gradually whisk, adding the sugar until light and thick. Beat in the cornstarch and hot milk.
    3. Pour mixture back into the saucepan. Set over medium heat, stir then whisk slowly until the mixture thickens like pudding. When it comes to an early boil, remove from heat.
    4. Add in vanilla extract and pour the cream into a strainer set over the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly over the surface of the cream and store. Pastry cream will keep 3 days under refrigeration.
  • Rocky Road Brownies

    How to make Rocky Road Brownies

    Yield: 20

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 35 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Brownie:

    2 cups sugar
    2/3 cup cocoa powder
    1 cup butter, melted
    4 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 1/2 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup chocolate chips

    For the Topping:

    1 (10 ounce, about 5 cups) bag mini marshmallows
    3/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
    1/2 cup chocolate chips

    For the Frosting:

    1/4 cup butter. melted
    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    3 tablespoons cocoa powder
    2 tablespoons whipping cream

    Directions

    For the Brownie:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 pan.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar and cocoa powder together. Mix in the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Folding the chocolate chips and then spread into the greased pan. Bake for 32 minutes.

    For the Topping:

    Top brownies with marshmallows, almonds, and chocolate chips. Bake for 3-4 more minutes until marshmallows start to expand.

    For the Frosting:

    Mix frosting ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over the warm brownies. Let brownies cool completely before cutting.

  • Bananas Foster French Toast

    How to make Bananas Foster French Toast

    Yield: Serves 2-3

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    French Toast:

    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Pinch salt
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon allspice
    Challah bread, cut into 6 1/2-inch slices
    Unsalted butter, for frying
    Vegetable oil, for frying

    Bananas Foster Topping:

    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter
    1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
    2 firm bananas, sliced
    Pinch cinnamon
    Directions

    Directions

    Make the French Toast:

    Preheat oven to 250°F.

    In a large shallow bowl or dish whisk together eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a very large saute pan or griddle over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until well browned. Add more butter and oil to the pan as needed. Once all the bread is cooked, place it on a baking tray in the warm oven.

    Make the Topping:

    In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved into butter. Add banana slices to pan, stirring so they are covered in caramel sauce. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon. Bananas are done when they are warmed through. Pour bananas foster mixture over French Toast.

  • Baked Nutella Donuts

    How to make Baked Nutella Donuts

    Yield: 9-10 donuts

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Nutella Donuts:

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup buttermilk
    1/4 cup Nutella
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the Nutella Glaze:

    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tablespoons Nutella
    2-3 tablespoons milk (or more as needed)

    Directions

    For the Nutella Donuts:

    Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a donut pan well with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the buttermilk, Nutella, brown sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla extract until fully combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.  Spoon the batter into the donut cavities, make sure to only fill them about 2/3 – 3/4 of the way full.  You should end up with about 9-10 donuts, if you have a 6-count donut pan you will need to bake in two separate batches.

    Bake at 350°F for 9-10 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the donut comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove the donuts and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

    For the Nutella Glaze:

    Add the powdered sugar, Nutella, and 2 tablespoons of milk to a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.  If the glaze is too thick, slowly add one more tablespoon of milk as needed to thin out the glaze and mix until everything is well combined.  If the glaze is too thin, add in a bit more powdered sugar to thicken it up.  If the glaze is too thick, add in a bit more milk to thin it out a little.

    Place a piece of foil under the wire rack (to catch any glaze that falls off the donuts).  Take each donut and dip the tops of each one into the prepared glaze, then transfer back to the wire rack for 10-15 minutes to let the glaze harden.

  • Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwiches

    How to make Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Yield: About 12 sandwiches, depending on their size

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Strawberry Ice Cream:

    1 pound (453 grams) fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
    4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
    1/2 cup (113 grams) whole milk
    1/2 cup (113 grams) heavy cream
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons corn syrup
    3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    For the cookies:

    1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (297 grams) granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon milk, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
    2 1/2 cups (319 grams) all-purpose flour
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

    Directions

    Make the strawberry ice cream:

    In the bowl of a blender or food processor, puree all the ice cream ingredients until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until chilled. Mixture can be stored for up to 1 day.

    Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours, or until firmed.

    Make the cookies:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon milk. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    Remove half the dough and place in a separate bowl. Each half of dough should weigh about 430 grams. Add the cocoa powder and remaining 2 teaspoons milk to half the dough and mix until combined.

    Place one half of the soft dough in between two large pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a work surface. Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness, using the parchment paper to prevent sticking. Repeat with the remaining half. Place each sheet of dough in the freezer until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles from the dough and place on prepared baking sheets, spreading at least a 1/2 inch apart.

    Chill the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until the dough circles are firm.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator and prick the cookies all over with the probe of an instant-read thermometer or the blunt end of a skewer or chopstick. Bake the vanilla cookies first, for 9 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Then bake the chocolate cookies. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 1 month.

    Assemble the sandwiches:

    Remove the ice cream from the freezer and assemble ice cream sandwiches. Freeze the sandwiches until firm, at least 1 hour, before serving.

    Sandwiches can be individually wrapped in plastic and stored in the freezer for up to 1 week. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  • Peanut Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

    How to make Peanut Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

    Yield: 16 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (123 grams) peanut butter
    1 1/2 cups (187 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/3 cup (66 grams) vegetable oil
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup water

    For the cheesecake filling:

    4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (123 grams) peanut butter, plus more for topping
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (85 grams) peanut butter chips

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 16 paper liners.

    Place the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir until smooth. If not completely melted, return to the microwave for 10 second bursts until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter. Let cool.

    In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl vigorously whisk the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the melted chocolate chips and peanut butter. Gradually add the flour mixture alternatively with the water. The batter will be thin. Set aside.

    Make the filling:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, egg, and salt until creamy. Stir in the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

    Fill each muffin cup half full with the batter. Spoon a tablespoon of the cream cheese filling over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese filling. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Let cool completely. Melt additional peanut butter for spreading over the tops of each cupcake, if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

  • Ding Dong Cupcakes

    How to make Ding Dong Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour

    Ingredients

    Chocolate cupcakes

    3/4 cup (105 grams) plain flour
    1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated or caster sugar
    1/4 cup (45 grams) brown sugar
    1/2 cup (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk

    Marshmallow filling

    2 egg whites, room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated or caster sugar
    1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Chocolate ganache

    2/3 cup (100 grams) dark chocolate
    1/2 cup (120 ml) thickened or heavy cream

    Vanilla buttercream

    1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup (90 grams) icing or powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons milk
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    Chocolate cupcakes

    Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C). Line a 12 hole muffin tin with patty cases. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and then add the sugars – give it a stir. Place the butter in a microwave safe mixing bowl and pop into the microwave for 10 seconds or so at a time, until it is just melted. Give it a stir with a fork to eliminate any lumps. Then add the eggs and vanilla to the butter, along with the buttermilk and whisk together until smooth. Then add the wet butter mixture into the dry mixture and fold until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared patty cases and pop into the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes before setting the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    Marshmallow filling

    To make the marshmallow filling, add a few inches of water to a medium saucepan and place on a medium heat. In a small heatproof bowl, add your eggs whites, caster sugar and cream of tartar. Whisk together. Then pop the bowl over the saucepan, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. As the egg whites heat, whisk gently by hand the entire time. You’ll want to heat the egg white mixture to 120 F (50 C) which you can test by sticking a candy thermometer into the mixture or go by feel (the mixture should be hot to the touch) – should be around 5-6 minutes or so. The mixture should become smooth and the sugar should be dissolved. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and place in the base of a stand mixer (or simply use a hand beater) and beat on medium speed for approximately 7 minutes until the mixture is fluffy, white and voluminous. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds or so.

    Use a knife to cut out a hole in the middle of each cupcake – but keep these cake cores. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with the marshmallow fluff frosting and pipe into the middle of each cupcakes – be careful not to overfill them. Then cut the tops off your cake cores and press on top of the marshmallow filling so the cupcake has a closed top once again. Continue with all 12 cupcakes.

    Chocolate ganache

    Then it’s time to make the chocolate ganache. Roughly chop your chocolate and place into a small bowl. Then gently heat your cream over a low heat on the stove until it becomes warm to the touch but do not boil. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and leave for approximately 1-2 minutes. Then gently whisk the mixture until combined and smooth. Pop the chocolate ganache into the fridge to cool and thicken slightly for about 20 minutes or so. It’s really up to you how thick or thin your would like the ganache. You can refrigerate it for longer if you want it thicker. Give it a stir and then drizzle over the top of each cupcake. I like to remove the cupcake liners here so the chocolate ganache can drip down the sides.

    Vanilla buttercream

    Finally, it’s time to make the buttercream for the swirls. In a small bowl, add your butter (ensuring it is nice and soft) and give it a good stir with a spoon. Then add half of your powdered or icing sugar, milk and vanilla and stir together. Once it is smooth, add the rest of the powdered or icing sugar. Then transfer this mixture to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe the swirls on top. Just make sure the ganache has set slightly so the two frostings don’t run together. Enjoy!

  • Oven 101: What You NEED to Know
  • Carrot Sheet Cake

    How to make Carrot Sheet Cake

    Yield: 24-30 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Cake:

    2 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup oil
    4 eggs
    2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon all spice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    2 cups carrots, finely grated

    For the Frosting:

    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla

    Directions

    For the Cake:

    Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 13×18 inch jelly roll pan.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil together. Beat in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the carrots and then spread into the greased pan. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    For the Frosting:

    Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Mix in the powdered sugar and cream until smooth. Mix in the vanilla and then spread over cooled cake.

  • Homemade Milano Cookies

    How to make Homemade Milano Cookies

    Yield: 12 sandwich cookies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    I’ve included the ingredients and steps to make Mint Chocolate Milanos, if you desire. Feel free to omit that part if you’d prefer just chocolate.

    Ingredients

    1 stick (133 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
    2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 large egg
    1 1/4 cups (159 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    4 ounces (133 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

    Mint Layer (optional)

    3/4 cup (94 grams) confectioners’ sugar
    1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract, optional

    Directions

    In a medium bowl, using an electric mixture, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour and salt and beat until just combined.

    Transfer dough to a quart-size zip-top bag; with scissors, snip a 3/4-inch hole in one corner (or use a pastry bag with a plain tip). Pipe about 24 cookies, 1/2 inch apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake until cookies are light golden at edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

    Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. If desired, in another bowl whisk together confectioners’ sugar, peppermint extract and 3 to 4 teaspoons of water.

    With a small offset spatula, spread the melted chocolate on flat side of half the cookies and mint glaze on the other half (if using). Sandwich cookie halves together. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.

  • Layered Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

    How to make Layered Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

    Yield: 16 smaller bars or 9 larger bars

    Prep Time: 5 hours 25 minutes (includes cooling & chilling time)

    Cook: 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    18 Oreo cookies
    3 tablespoons butter, melted

    For the peanut butter cheesecake layer:

    8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 large egg, at room temperature

    For the chocolate cheesecake layer:

    8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 large egg, at room temperature

    Directions

    For the crust:

    Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal, and set aside.  Add the Oreos to the bowl of a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs.  Add in the melted butter and process until all of the crumbs are moistened.

    Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press it down firmly in an even layer.  Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

    For the peanut butter cheesecake layer:

    In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add in the granulated sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.  Add in the egg and mix on low speed until well combined.  Set aside.

    For the chocolate cheesecake layer:

    In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add in the granulated sugar, melted chocolate, and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.  Add in the egg and mix on low speed until well combined.  Set aside.

    To make the cheesecake:

    Pour the peanut butter cheesecake filling over the prepared crust.  Spread the mixture evenly over the crust, making sure to smooth the top out as well as possible.  Gently add the chocolate cheesecake filling on top of the peanut butter cheesecake filling and smooth the top out.  Bake at 325°F for about 35 minutes or until set.  Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack (for about two hours).  Transfer to the refrigerator for about 3 hours or until the cheesecake is completely chilled.  Lift the cheesecake out of the pan with the foil and slice into bars.

    Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

  • How to Make Perfect Cupcakes
  • Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Whoopie Pies

    How to make Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Whoopie Pies

    Yield: 14 whoopie pies

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour

    Ingredients

    Chocolate whoopie pies

    1/2 cup (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup (135 grams) brown sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated or caster sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 and 3/4 cup (245 grams) plain flour
    1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
    3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk

    Nutella frosting

    1/2 cup (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    3 cups (375 grams ) icing or powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup (200 grams) Nutella
    2-3 tablespoons milk

    Directions

    Line two oven trays with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Sift in the baking soda, plain flour and cocoa powder. Add half the buttermilk and gently fold with a spatula, before adding the rest of the buttermilk. When the mixture is combined, it will be quite wet – similar to cake batter.

    Cover the batter with plastic wrap and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help firm up the mixture so you can easily roll spoonfuls of the batter into balls using your hands – just like you would for cookies. They will be a bit sticky but rolling them in your hands will help achieve a nice smooth finish.

    Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C). Place the cookies onto the prepared trays, leaving space for them to spread out when cooking. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes. Leave them to cool for a few minutes and then transfer the cookies onto a wire rack. While they are cooling, you can make the Nutella frosting.

    To make the icing, beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the icing sugar, one cup at a time, and beat with the electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and beat again. Then add the Nutella and mix through, adding the milk as needed. The frosting should be fairly thick and easy to apply.

    Pipe the icing onto one whoopie pie before placing another on top. Continue until all whoopie pies are complete.

  • Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles

    How to make Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles

    Yield: about 20 cookies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 12 minutes

    Ingredients

    2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 stick (114 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
    1/2 cup (134 grams) smooth peanut butter
    3/4 cup (148 grams) granulated sugar, divided
    1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and the brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated.

    Place the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the cinnamon in a shallow dish. Using a medium, spring-loaded cookie scoop, shape the dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon rounds then roll in sugar to coat evenly. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets and flatten with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are set and begin to brown. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Butter vs Shortening: Which is Better?
  • Chocolate Raspberry Pancake Cake

    How to make Chocolate Raspberry Pancake Cake

    Yield: Two 5-layer pancake cakes

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the raspberry whipped cream:

    4 ounces (113 grams) fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish
    3/4 cup (179 grams) heavy cream
    1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the pancakes:

    1 1/3 cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/4 cups (284 grams) whole milk
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

    For serving:

    Powdered sugar, for dusting
    Semisweet chocolate, melted

    Directions

    Make the whipped cream:

    Place the raspberries in the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove and discard seeds.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the raspberry puree. Set aside.

    Make the pancakes:

    In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and whisk until combined. The batter will be lumpy. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    Heat a griddle over medium heat and lightly grease with butter.

    Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop batter onto the griddle. Cook until pancakes have bubbles on the top, then flip them over and cook for an additional minute. Repeat with the remaining batter.

    Stack the pancakes, spreading about 3 heaping teaspoons of whipped cream on top of each one. Garnish with powdered sugar and additional raspberries, if desired.

  • Potato Burger Buns

    How to make Potato Burger Buns

    Yield: 6 burger buns

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the dough:

    2 cups (255 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 cup (128 grams) bread flour
    1/2 cup plain mashed potato
    1/4 cup (35 grams) nonfat dry milk
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 large egg
    2 teaspoons instant yeast
    4 tablespoons (58 grams) unsalted butter, melted
    1 cup (227 grams) lukewarm water

    For the topping:

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

    Directions

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all the ingredients. Stir until combined. Turn the mixer on medium low speed and knead until a soft yet tacky dough forms, about 5 minutes.

    Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it’s almost doubled.

    Turn the dough onto a lightly greased surface, gently deflate it, and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

    Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 to 3 inches between them and flatten gently. Cover and let rise until the buns have doubled in size 45 to 60 minutes minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Bake the buns for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they’re light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and brush them with melted butter, if desired.

    Transfer the buns to a rack to cool. Store buns, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days or in the freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost to room temperature then reheat in a 300°F oven or toast.

  • Deep Fried Cookie Dough

    How to make Deep Fried Cookie Dough

    Yield: about 24 cookie dough balls

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cookie dough:

    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) packed brown sugar
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 egg, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups (159 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

    For frying:

    1 1/4 cups (159 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (255 grams) milk
    2 teaspoon vegetable oil
    1 quart oil, for frying

    Melted chocolate, for drizzling
    Powdered sugar, for dusting

    Directions

    Make the cookie dough:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until very well combined. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. On low speed gradually add the flour and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or up to 2 days if placed in an airtight container.

    Prepare the dough for frying:

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the milk and vegetable oil, and whisk until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.

    In a medium heavy pot, heat 2 inches of oil until it reaches 360°F. Take a chilled ball of cookie dough and dip it in the batter, turning it over with your hands until it’s completely covered. Let excess batter drip back into the bowl, then gently drop it into the oil. Fry up to 4 or 5 balls at a time.

    Fry the balls for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, or until they’re puffed and a dark golden brown on all sides. Remove them from the oil using a frying skimmer and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough balls and batter. Maintain the temperature of the oil between 360 to 370°F.

    Drizzle the balls with melted chocolate and a dusting of powdered sugar before serving warm. These are best served the day they’re fried, but can be kept warm in a 175°F oven until ready to serve.

  • Chewy Brownies

    How to make Chewy Brownies

    Yield: 9 large or 16 small brownies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 1/4 cups (249 grams) granulated sugar
    5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter
    3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, cold
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup (128 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 8 by 8-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a microwave safe bowl, add the butter and sugar. Microwave for about 1 minute, or until the butter is melted. Stir in the oil and cocoa powder. Let cool.

    Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    Spread the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the brownies are set and a cake tested inserted into the center has moist crumbs attached. Do not overcook. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

    Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

  • Cream Cheese Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

    How to make Cream Cheese Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

    Yield: 22 cookies

    Prep Time: 40 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Cream Cheese Filling:
    6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    3/4 teaspoon vanilla
    For the Cookie Dough:
    1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling the dough
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 egg + 1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    Directions

    For the Cream Cheese Filling:
    With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Cover and and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
    For the Cookie Dough:

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

    In a mixing bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

    In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add in the flour mixture a little at a time and mix until combined.

    Place about 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl; set aside.

    Use a size #40 cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) to portion out the dough. Use you hands to form the ball of dough into a flat round circle.

    Place a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each circle and then fold up the dough around, sealing the cream cheese in.

    Roll the dough into a ball and then roll it in the bowl of sugar. Place on a cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.

    Space the balls of dough 2 inches apart (I put 8 on a standard cookie sheet). Use the bottom of a glass or a measuring cup to gently press down on each ball of dough to slightly flatten.

    Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cracks begin to form on top. Let cook on pan for 2 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 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.

  • The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

    How to make The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1/2 cup boiling water
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons white vinegar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the frosting:

    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 large egg whites
    Pinch salt
    12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and at room temperature
    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with foil or paper liners.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

    Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, egg yolk, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.

    Using a spring-loaded scoop, divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

    Make the frosting:

    Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with 1-inch of gently simmering water. Whisking gently and constantly, heat mixture until sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened and foamy and registers 150°F on a candy thermometer or a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes.

    Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat the egg white mixture on medium speed until slightly cooled and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. If the mixture looks curdled, that’s okay. Just keep beating until it becomes smooth.

    Add chocolate and vanilla and mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

    Frosting can be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm frosting in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir until creamy again before frosting cupcakes.

    Frosting can also be transferred to a ziptop bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight then rewhip in the stand mixer until light and smooth.

  • Maple Bacon Mini Cheesecakes

    How to make Maple Bacon Mini Cheesecakes

    Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    FOR THE CRUST:

    4 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    1 sleeve (9 cookies, 4.8 ounces) graham crackers
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    FOR THE FILLING:

    12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon flour
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon maple extract
    1 large egg

    FOR THE TOPPING:

    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon maple extract

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12 cup mini cheesecake pan with nonstick spray.

    FOR THE CRUST:

    Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Pour off the bacon fat and set aside. Sprinkle the sugar over the bacon and cook, stirring, until the bacon is crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a resealable container and set aside.

    Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter along with 1 tablespoon of bacon fat and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this).

    Bake the crusts for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.

    FOR THE FILLING:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and flour and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Divide the mixture among each cavity.

    Bake for about 18 minutes, or until set. Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

    FOR THE TOPPING:

    Once chilled, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle each cheesecake with the glaze. Top with the reserved candied bacon. Serve.

    Inspired by The Food Network

  • 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.