Double Chocolate Cupcakes

 

These cupcakes were luscious. I used my forever go-to recipe from What Would Cathy Eat? and made a chocolate “buttercream” icing using aristocrat cocoa powder, shortening, earth balance, coconut milk, vanilla & powdered sugar. Yum.

 

I promise to post some new recipes soon! And they probably won’t involve chocolate!

 

Is everyone getting excited for Thanksgiving? Or should I say feast your face off day? I am : )

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Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse is decadent. Light. Airy. Creamy.

Chocolate Mousse is one seriously perfect dessert.

Chocolate-lovers & mere chocolate-likers alike will want more.

I finally found a recipe that was true to tradition.

And easy.

With only 4 ingredient, really.

Chocolate, water, sugar & eggs.

Thank you, Frugal Feeding.

Now, for the goods….

Don’t you just want to stick that spoon in your mouth?

The mousse on the spoon magically disappeared…

Into my mouth.

Note: Be sure to use high quality DARK chocolate for the best results. I used an additional 2 tablespoons of sugar & my mousse was, in my opinion, the perfect sweetness.

Click here for Frugal Feeding’s Chocolate Mousse recipe.

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Continuing on my obsessive Rick Bayless kick…

(Okay, it’s really more of a Mexican food kick.)

And inspired by the ridiculous humidity here…

I give you….

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream. Oh. Yes.

I started seeing a lot of homemade ice cream recipes on Foodgawker months ago. People were obviously getting ready for summer early & had no self-control. Typical ­čÖé

From tropical sorbets to creamy, decadent peanut butter & chocolate combinations… everyone was making their ice cream at home. Still are… I think. So, naturally, I wanted in too. And I made a wonderful, albeit not very creamy, lemon-coconut ice cream (more like sorbet). It was very delicious but I used light coconut milk, despite all the information that said FULL fat and it wasn’t exactly creamy ice cream texture. We still ate it all. In April. In State College. It was still cold outside.

This Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream is like WHAM, full-on Mexican Chocolate flavor. It’s creamy and delicious. You can taste the cinnamon in the background & the kahlua emphasizes the powerful chocolate flavor. You can use ordinary chocolate, but the flavor profile will definitely be different. If you can find Mexican Chocolate (like Ibarra) I recommend you use it, at least in part. This would be delicious with any good quality chocolate. I mean, honestly, it would be good with any chocolate!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

2 Cans FULL Fat Coconut Milk (15 oz)

6 oz Mexican Chocolate

2 oz Piloncillo/Panela (Mexican Sugar*)

3 Tablespoons Kahlua

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1. Heat coconut milk in a medium sized saucepan or pot over medium heat. You want it barely a simmer.

2. Add chocolate & sugar to melt. Stirring frequently.

3. When chocolate had melted & sugar has dissolved, add Kahlua & vanilla.

4. Bring mixture to a boil. This helps reduce the mixture – hello creaminess.

5. Boil gently for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Remove from heat and let cool a bit before pouring into a large container for refrigeration.

7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Or until mixture is cold & ready for the ice cream maker.

8. Pour into prepared ice cream maker & follow directions for your particular appliance.

9. Freeze.

10. EAT.

*Brown sugar is an acceptable substitute.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

I’ve been wanting to make this Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta for a while now. When I first began perusing vegan recipes I came across the ingredient Agar Agar as a substitute for gelatin. Of course, I had to buy this unique ingredient when my favorite store, Echo Hill, suddenly stocked it after I mentioned it once. They offered both the powder & the flakes but as the flakes were much more expensive I, of course, purchased the powder. Then I felt doomed when I went to search for recipes using Agar Agar and found they all called for the flakes.

Until I came across an excerpt in Hannah Kaminsky‘s Vegan Desserts┬áin which she says she prefers to use the powder. HALLELUJAH. I also love her blog Bittersweet – thus why I was checking out her cookbooks. After I made this discovery about Agar Agar powder, I immediately found her recipe for Lemongrass Panna Cotta. Okay, that was it, I was going to make some darn yummy vegan Panna Cotta.

And I did.

This dessert is so simple & elegant. The texture is silky & smooth. The flavor is wonderful and unique. And the strawberry sauce is the perfect compliment with a splash of brightness. It embodies summertime. In your mouth. So I suggest you make it. And then eat it.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

    2 Cans Coconut Milk, Full Fat

2 Vanilla Beans

1/4 Cup Sugar

2 1/2 Tsp Agar Agar Powder

1 Cup Fresh Strawberries, sliced & mashed

1 Vanilla Bean

3 Tbsp Sugar

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Before you start… You’ll need about 6 5oz dishes or 8 4oz dishes. So maybe get out about 7 ; )

In a small bowl combine your sugar & agar agar thoroughly. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine your coconut milk & the scrapings from your 2 vanilla beans. When the coconut milk is hot add the sugar mixture. Whisk gently & increase heat to high. Bring the coconut milk to a boil while continuing to whisk gently. Boil for about a minute or two.

Pour into various ramekins/small dishes.

Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before putting in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. If you move the mixture into the cold too soon the mixture could separate.

For the Strawberry Sauce:

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine the smashed strawberries, vanilla bean scrapings, sugar & cinnamon. Allow to cook over heat for about 10 minutes until the strawberries completely break down. Stir frequently to prevent it from burning.

Pour evenly on the dishes of chilled panna cotta & serve or return to refrigerator to allow sauce to chill. Whichever you prefer! I served it both ways. I think I prefer the cold.

Don’t forget to serve with spoons ­čśë

I used the vanilla beans liberally because I bought them in bulk at a very good price. You can substitute a teaspoon or two of pure vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla beans or don’t want to use 3 in one recipe. I definitely recommend at least one for the panna cotta… the tiny black vanilla bean specks are so wonderful to see!

Magical Brownies

Wow, it’s been a month. I’d tell you I’ve been busy, but I’d be lying. It has been an eventful month though. Don’t worry, I won’t disappear again. I have some great recipes to share for summer ­čÖé

What happened this May:

  • My oldest brother got married! Now, I have a wonderful big sister : )
  • Stephen graduated the SAME DAY from Penn State. And I had to miss it : / Bridesmaid duties.
  • But then I helped him move out of his apartment in State College.
  • I scheduled my classes for the first semester of my Global Environmental Policy┬á program at AU.
  • And bought the books for one of my classes… not including the one yet to be released. I also started to read one of said books… A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (it’s pretty fantastic).

These are celebratory brownies!

These are amazing brownies!

These are magical brownies! (No, not “special.”)

These are the brownies I never thought I’d ever be able to make from scratch ­čÖé

Let alone, make vegan.

They can be enjoyed by themselves. With a nice glass of your milk of choice. Or topped with a huge scoop of ice cream & some fudge sauce <—- yes, please. Brownie sundaes ÔŁĄ

And make them I will, again and again and again for the rest of my life… so long as chocolate is available. I read an article recently that said the demand for chocolate is increasing so rapidly that the production of chocolate won’t be able to meet the population’s “needs.” Apparently, cocoa farmers/producers are straining their farms to produce greater quantities of cocoa than they realistically have the capacity to produce. AKA, the cocoa plants need more TLC than they’re receiving & are becoming weak. I wish I could remember where I read this. I’m sure, in our modern age, you can “GOOGLE” it.

Magical Brownies

1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips + (1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips optional)

1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

4 Tbsp Neutral Oil (Veg/Canola/Olive)

2 Ener-G Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup AP Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder (scant)

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Vanilla

1/4 Cup Almond Milk

Directions:

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper & preheat oven to 350.

In a double boiler, over low heat, melt chocolate chips with cocoa powder, coconut oil, and vegetable oil.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, prepare Ener-G eggs (or flax eggs). Set aside.

In a medium-sized, mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.

When the chocolate is completely melted, add to dry ingredients.

Add the ener-g eggs, vanilla & almond milk.

Stir to combine completely. Add additional chocolate chips (for best results… aka chocolatey-ist) and stir.

Pour batter (it should be a bit thick) into lined pan.

Bake until toothpick/knife inserted in center comes out clean. EDIT: About 35 – 45 minutes.

I suggest checking on them every so often. I’ve baked them in a le creuset enamel pan & a glass pan and the time varied a bit.

Now cut them and….. (oh yeah, let cool a bit)…. NOW….

Devour!!!

Okay, I’m running to the grocery store so I can make these again today. These pictures are making my stomach RAWR!!

Vanilla Birthday Cake

This beauty was Stephen’s birthday cake! His birthday was April 4th, haha. And I believe I made this cake somewhere around the 5th or 6th. And am now posting it on the 26th. Oh well, good things come to those who wait – you!

I think I made this cake just to use the multi-colored heart-shaped sprinkles I picked up from the Farmer’s Market. Way cuter than ordinary, run of the mill, multi-colored sprinkles! Oh, and because I tried to make this beautiful Chocolate Guinness Bundt cake & failed. Hard. I’m sure the recipe is usually wonderful. I blame the Nordic Ware Cathedral Bundt Pan. Nooks & crannies galore.

The vanilla cake turned out moist and flavorful. And the ganache was delicious… I mean, it was chocolate ganache… of course it was delicious. I usually use Cathy‘s Chocolate Ganache recipe (my favorite) but had just run out of maple syrup & powdered sugar making treats for a bake sale. So I made a variation that worked out quite well. It was a bit thinner┬áwithout the powdered sugar so I stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

We couldn’t stop eating this cake. If you have a keen eye you may notice the last picture only has one piece of cake missing but the others have two. And there’s already chocolate smeared across the bottom of the plate! What can I say? It was yummy!!

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Makes one 8×8 sheet cake.┬á

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups AP Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Grease 8×8 cake pan.

The ingredients are listed in the order of addition. In a large bowl combine almond milk & vinegar. Let sit for about 5 to minutes until milk curdles slightly. Add vanilla & oil. Stir to incorporate oil. Add salt & sugar and stir to combine. Sugar should begin to dissolve. Add flour, baking soda & baking powder. Combine thoroughly. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until light golden in color and knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool before spreading ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 4 oz ┬áChocolate, use best quality for best results
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp White Sugar

Melt all ingredients together in a double boiler. If you’re making this cake in your boyfriend’s apartment & find yourself without a double boiler… or even the means to create a makeshift double boiler… melt very slowly over low heat directly on burner. Some may recommend the 30 second increment microwave technique but I never use it. I’ve tried in the past with disastrous results. And since you’re using the best quality chocolate you can find, proceed with caution!

If you find that your ganache is not firming, place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or freezer for 5 to 10, to speed along the process. It will still have a slight gooey quality at room temperature but will not be runny.

Once the cake has completely (or mostly, for those of you with as much patience as me!) cooled, pour the ganache on, to cover completely. Spread to make even, if necessary.

Decorate with desired sprinkles and serve!! Sooooo yummy.

Banana Bread Cake

It’s Stephen’s birthday today!┬áHappy Birthday, Tater Tot!

This is not his birthday cake.

He didn’t want me to make his birthday cake until his actual birthday so I’ll be making a Chocolate Guinness Bundt Cake inspired by Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body’s recipe. I’ll post that cake later!

Anyway, we bought a few organic bananas from Wegman’s and I really really wanted to make banana bread. But in the spirit of birthdays I decided to make a cake! (I swear it had nothing to do with the fact that Stephen’s college apartment is not equipped with a loaf pan… but somehow manages to have two 8×8 pyrex pans.) And since I was making a cake I figured I had to add icing! I thought about banana icing and I was like yeck, too much banana. I thought about vanilla icing and I was like meh, boring. I also thought about chocolate icing but I was like hmmm, overpowering. Then I thought about recipes I’ve seen in the past that used peanut butter icing and I thought I’d give it a whirl.

I am going to be totally honest here – I think the banana bread cake would have been BETTER without the icing. I mean, the icing is good icing. It’s just overpowering.. like I thought the chocolate would be. Banana bread itself is moist and delicious and needs NOTHING to make it better. And this recipe is no exception. It’s going to be my new banana bread (cake) recipe. Sure, you could toast it, add a little butter but that’s not really changing the flavor profile. I ate one piece of this cake… Stephen ate the rest. I think he may disagree about the icing.

Oh, and I also removed it from the pan like it had to cool or something… like I’d never made a sheet cake in my life or something THEN I tried to flip it over with a long spatula because I thought… well this is a rather small cake… it’ll work. And it landed on it’s side on the table and started to smush and I panicked and oh lord. And then Stephen told me he had just cleaned the table and I thought he was yelling at me but he was really saying “at least I’ve just cleaned the table,” as in, the cake is still perfectly good and not compromised by dirty table. But then I ate a piece of the broken cake without icing… pre-icing… and I was like DAMN THIS SHIT IS GOOOOD.

Banana Bread Cake

  • 3/4 Cup Banana Mash (About 1.5 bananas)
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Ener-G Egg (or flax egg, or real egg)
  • 1/2 Cup Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Oat Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Milk (I actually added this at the end because I thought the batter seemed a bit thick… and I had run out of oat milk)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1/3 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Almond Milk

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8 glass pan.

Notes: *Stephen’s oven is small (it’s portable). I’d say at least a half foot smaller than most ovens in height & width. I don’t know how this affects temperature/cooking time. So keep an eye on your cake! *The cooking will also be affected if you use a metal pan instead. I find, in a glass pan, cake takes longer to cook. *I used the granulated sugar in the frosting recipe to make homemade powdered sugar, which I then incorporated into the icing. If you already have powdered sugar and want to skip this step the measurements may be slightly different.

To make the cake, in a large bowl, mash 1.5 avg sized bananas. It should make about 2/3 cup of banana mash. Mash it real good ­čśë

Add the sugar, egg, oil, milk & vanilla. Combine with whisk or fork until everything is fully incorporated.

Add flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda. I always just use my fork and kind of mix the dry ingredients together while they float on the wet before mixing it all together. Why dirty another bowl? Stir it all together until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the already greased baking pan. Cook in oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until top of cake springs back or knife inserted in center comes out clean.

While the cake is cooking, begin making the frosting.

Add sugar to blender and whirl on high speed until sugar is broken down into powdered sugar.

Thoroughly combine shortening & peanut butter in a large bowl (I actually quick rinsed out the first and re-used it).

Add powdered sugar & combine until fully incorporated. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is the consistency you prefer.

Wait until the cake has, at least, mostly cooled before icing!