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Fishies, Cupcakes, and Shoes, Oh My!

7 Jun

Hello! What terrible weather we’ve been having. Rain, rain, and more rain, with a chance of rain. C’mon summer, where you at? With such crap weather, I have trying to keep myself busy with fun trips around Vancouver (that sadly don’t involve the beach!). This means a trip to the aquarium to see the cute monkeys and otters, and a tour of the Art Gallery’s Matisse exhibit.

It means online shopping for cheap knock-offs of the most beautiful shoes.

It means buying boxed-cake mixes for a DOLLLAR each at no-frills and turning then into cinnamon buttercream covered cupcakes.

Oh yes, Duncan-Hines does the trick!

 

German Peanut-Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Icing

Cupcakes

  • 1 box of German Chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Icing

  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, oil, water, and eggs until a smooth batter forms. Beat in the peanut butter. Fill the cupcake tins with batter, and cook for 20 minutes. Recipe makes 24 cupcakes, or 12 huge cupcakes and a small cake if you have an 8×8 cake pan to use as well.

When cupcakes are cool, beat softened butter until fluffy in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of sugar, beat, then add the milk. Add the rest of the sugar, then add the vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until a thick yet workable frosting is produced. Put frosting in a piping bag and decorate cooled cupcakes.

Tess is too cute! Topping her cake with strawberries.

Happy Rainy Day Adventures!!

 

xxx

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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Peanut Butter Icing

23 Apr

The end of exams is approaching, which means people are starting to pack up their things to fly back home for the summer. Two of my roomies are going back to Calgary for the summer and I am getting all sad and concerned over here. Two new people will be living in my house while they are gone, and I don’t know how I feel about it. Strangers! In my kitchen! In my bathroom! Obviously we all want to come visit each other, but we wont really be living together again until September. But wait! Even then, Riley is going to Paris for first semester! ūüė¶

As sad as it is to see my friends leave Vancouver, I am also excited for life in Vancouver when I’m not in school. Afternoons on the beach, picnics and summer food, going out at night and not shivering my ass off…. it will be a good time.

I made these cupcakes for an indoor picnic we had the other day (rain=indoor). Wine, cheese, baguettes, wine, chicken, cold-cuts, chocolate, pate, wine….and these. Everything was delicious- so much so that I ate everything and had to lie down and spread out like a beached whale. Cute. These cupcakes are super moist and light, while the icing is rich and slightly savoury (salty and sweet). I stole the recipe from My Little Celebration.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Peanut Butter Icing

Cupcake

  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a medium size bowl, add soymilk and vinegar and let sit for a few minutes. Whisk, then incorporate the oil, sugar, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.

Pour batter into muffin tin, filling up 9-10 cups, and bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove and cool for a few hours.

For icing, beat butter until fluffy. Add peanut butter and confectioners sugar. when it gets hard to beat, add cream, then add cinnamon. Place icing in a piping bag and decorate cupcakes as you wish.

Happy Baking! xxox

Marbelicious Cookies

21 Apr

On campus, tucked away in a corner of the SUB, there is a little cafe/bakery¬†known to most students as the best spot to grab the cheapest coffee, and the most delicious cookies. The shop is called Blue Chip, and is run by the AMS student society. The coffee is fair trade and organic, and the treats they offer include everything from pastries, to brownies, to cookies, to vegan goodies. My favourite cookie they serve, the Marbelous, is a dark chocolate cookie topped with white chocolate chunks. I have always called it the “Marbelicious” because I read the sign wrong the first time-woops.

Because I love this cookie so much, I decided to try and replicate it in my own kitchen. I have no idea what the real recipe is, but these are very good and close in taste to the original! A super thick and chewy cookie base, covered in white chocolate chunks-it is a treat for the taste buds! I will definitely be making these more often because they are just so easy to make! No chilling of the dough required, though I would like to try it to see what difference it makes. I adapted the recipe from The Very Best Baking.

Marbelicious Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ¬†cup + 1 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz white chocolate, chopped into small chunks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 1-2 cookie sheets.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Slowly add in flour mixture to egg mixture and mix with your own arm strength (the beaters cant take the thick dough very well).

When completely combined, scoop tablespoon sized portions (or bigger if you want larger cookies) of dough onto cookie sheets and top with white chocolate chunks. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how gooey you want them to be. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm.

Happy Baking!!!! xxxo

White and Dark Chocolate Layer Brownies

17 Apr

Helloooooo, it has been a couple days since I’ve posted anything! Exams are just getting the better of me! Today I made these fabulous bars and they totally gave me a pick-me-up. The bottom layer consists of a fudgey, intensely chocolate brownie. The second layer is a fluffy and creamy white chocolate layer, that has a bite of cream cheese and soaked in sweetened condensed milk. I finished it off with mini reese’s pieces cups, to add a little salty peanut butter taste to each bar.I’m glad I added the cream cheese because these bars would be too sweet without it.

I have never in my life had a white chocolate brownie so these bars intrigued me. I got the inspiration from seeing a lemon and blueberry brownie on foodgawker that had a white chocolate glaze. I thought that making the entire brownie out of white chocolate would be fun and unique.

Do I like white chocolate brownies better then dark chocolate? Heavens, no. I love chocolate chocolate. A true brownie will never be replaced in my heart. But these bars are a fun and delicious variation so give them a try!

White and Dark Chocolate Layer Brownies

White Layer

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk ( 1 can)
  • 4 oz melted white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Dark Chocolate Layer

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 packs of mini reece’s pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 baking pan. Line with aluminum foil and grease again.

For dark chocolate base, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Melt butter over medium-high heat until completely melted, then stir in cocoa powder. Mix in sugar, vanilla, and eggs until combined, then stir in flour mixture. Pour mixture into greased pan.

For white layer, mix together dry ingredients and set aside.¬†In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add condensed milk and white chocolate while beating. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour white layer on top of dark layer. Place reece’s pieces on top.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is golden and center is just gooey.

Happy baking! xxx

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

13 Apr

Jumbo muffins!

Have you ever gone grocery shopping, ended up buying too many groceries for you to even carry home, and then realize you forgot your debit card? And you have no other way of paying because the store won’t accept Visa (why is that!?), and you start to panic and don’t know what to do with all the food, and the cash register chick is just staring at you, waiting for you to say something?!

Definitely happened to me today. I got all-a-flustered, and decided to call a friend who lived across the street and beg him to foot the bill. My super hero rolled out of bed and into the shop (literally) and was kind enough to pay for the crazy, sweaty, greasy-haired lady’s (moi) groceries. Of course I’m paying him back, but I also feel I should drop these gorgeous muffins off later. The hero deserves it!

These muffins are like those massive ones you find in coffee shops. Too big to actually think about consuming all at once, except you totally do. The ones that are made to look healthy yet are secretly hiding about 5 million calories in fat and sugar. Well, these babies are hiding nothing! No, they are not healthy, and the actual serving size is about half of one, but they are a lot better for you than most of the muffins sold in cafes. Only a bit of healthy coconut and a lot of skim milk keep these babies moist. I adapted the recipe from Fatsecret.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 ripe, mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard 12-cup cupcake pan.

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Mix in dry ingredients, and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into cupcake pan and bake for 25 minutes, until tops or slightly golden and a toothpick comes out dry. Cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

Happy Baking!  xxx

 

Chocolate Pie

30 Mar

Chocolate at its finest

Sometimes all I want to do on my Friday night is stay in my house, wear over-sized boyfriend hoodies, watch movies, and eat insanely delicious food. In fact, if I could, I would probably spend most of my evenings like this. Plus a bottle of wine or two, if I weren’t super sick (still…kind of not funny anymore). The only problem is that I like to eat a lot of food, which is really unfortunate considering that I have the smallest stomach and metabolism of all time.

SO! I made this pie to fix this issue. I got the idea to use tofu in it from Chocolate Covered Katie, and am extremely pleased with the results. Not only is this pie low calorie and healthy, it is also incredibly tasty and creamy! The vest of both worlds! In addition to a full pack of extra-firm tofu, I added a large banana, peanut butter, heart-healthy dark chocolate, and coconut oil. You could probably add whatever you like, as long as you have a food processor to turn it all into liquid silk.

I found that the pie’s taste and texture improved with time! The longer I let it sit in the fridge, the richer, sweeter, and firmer the ¬†result. I didn’t bother making a crust and was quite happy I didn’t. This pie shines perfectly on its own, but I’m sure a nice oreo crumb crust would compliment it well if you so desired.

Please try this! It comes in at under 200 calories a slice (each pie has 8 servings), is chock full of protein and antioxidants, and is super easy to make! You will not regret it.

Chocolate Pie 

  • 1 pack of extra-firm tofu (roughly 12 oz)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or other sweetener, and a as much as you want)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp milk (or a non-dairy substitute)

Directions:

 

Throw all ingredients into a food processor, and process for up to ten minutes, scraping down the sides. The resulting product should be smooth, and not too wet. Pour into a shallow 9 inch pie dish and cool in fridge for 2 hours. Slice and enjoy!

Happy Friday!

xx.

Crack Brownies

27 Mar

ooey gooey baby

One week till, ahem, Schooooools out. For. Summer!

Craziness! I still have exams till the end of April (dear lord) but things are finally coming to an end! Every year it happens the same way, too. It will be early second semester, it’s crappy weather and you want to die you hate school so much, you pray for reading break to come faster, then all of a sudden you realize there is a month left. The weather, though rainy and poopy right now, is at least warm, and when the sun does peak out, is glorious! Time to break out the shorts!

I have also realized that I have an addiction. No, not anything serious, but definitely dangerous to my figure. I can’t seem to stop baking brownies. In all variations. I don’t know what it is, but I constantly am thinking of how to create the ultimate gooey, chewy, and gloriously rich brownie bar. Not that I find cookies and cakes boring, I just feel that they have been thoroughly explored already. Brownies are a whole new thing.

So with that I bring to you, Crack Brownies. Now, I surfed around on the inter-google for a bit to see if there was already such thing, and I guess there is. And it is similar to what I made! Bummer.

I’m still happy I made them because they were insanely good. A rich layer of dense chocolate brownie, topped with a layer of marshmallows and finally topped with a crumbly white chocolate and peanut butter crumb. The marshmallows seemed to caramelize in the center, giving you three distinct layers with unique textures and flavours. If you prefer to not have a crumby peanut butter layer, mix the marshmallows right into the peanut butter batter. This will give it a more creamy texture and less flaky. Addicting no matter what you do.

Crack Brownies

Brownies Base

  • 500 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flower
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups mini marshmallows
Peanut Butter Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 bar of white chocolate, cut into pieces
Directions:
Grease and line a 11×11 baking pan with aluminum foil, then grease again. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized pot, melt chocolate and butter on medium heat, stirring constantly. When melted, stir in cocoa powder.  Remove chocolate from heat and slowly add in brown sugar, then eggs. Mix well and add vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Pour brownie batter into pan and cover in an even marshmallow layer. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat peanut butter , butter, and sugar together. Slowly add egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, sift together flour, slat, and baking powder. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and beat thoroughly for a minute. Scoop peanut butter mixture onto marshmallow topping and spread evenly and carefully to the edges. Push white chocolate squares into peanut butter layer in rows. Bake for 35-40 minutes more, until topping in golden and puffy and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool brownies for fifteen minutes, then place in fridge to cool for an hour or two more. Cut brownies into even squares and devour.

perfect flavour combination!

Happy Crack Baking!

xx.