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First off, I am sorry I have been so absent lately. I have recipes and lots of other lovely things to post that I am in the process of sorting out and queuing up right now!

Second off, look! I got my first box of cookies today from the Food Blogger Cookie Exchange! Holy moley are they ever wonderful. Peppermint Hot Chocolate cookies from Christine @ wannafoodie.ca They’re wonderful cakey chocolate cookies with a hidden layer of homemade peppermint marshmallow inside! Next Monday all the recpies are getting posted and I think you should DEFINITELY make these. So fantastic. I put mine in the microwave like she suggested for a couple of seconds to melt the mallow and they were devine!

I mailed out all of my cookies on Monday, so hopefully they make it to my recipients soon!

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Vanilla Bean Surprise Cupcakes with hidden Dark Chocolate Ganache and Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Cupcakes Adapted from Joy The Baker

Sometimes I really like to cook. A lot. Other times I can go for a week or two without cooking anything noteworthy. That, coupled with my new job explains my lack of posts lately. Also, it’s really hard to cook giant delicious baked things for only myself and my mom. Luckily I have friends. Sometimes we all hang out and I like to bring them things. I like to bring them cupcakes. Mostly because they’re the perfect serving size almost everyone likes cupcakes.

These are nice cause you look at them and go, Oh, what a lovely Vanilla cupcake! Then you take a bite and the hidden dark chocolate ganache touches your taste buds and all the flavours melt together and yo go. “Ohhh.”

Also, have you ever had a Swiss Meringue Buttercream? They are lovely. It’s not overly sweet, there’s no icing sugar. It’s not like frosting. It is light and delicious. I have won over people who HATE icing by topping cakes with this. This is my go-to, and you should try it and you’ll never go back to canned frosting.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature.
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line two cupcake pans with paper cups.
  2. In a small bowl mix together milk, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Let sit.
  3. In a medium sized bowl whisk together all dry ingredients excluding sugar.
  4. In a mixer cream together your butter and sugar till it is light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides in order to incorporate everything evenly.
  5. Slowly add eggs one at a time into the butter and sugar.
  6. On a low speed, starting and ending with the flour mix in the flour mixture and the milk mixture. Make sure all dry ingredients are well combined.
  7. Divide cupcake batter in among the paper cups. Generally I put in just under a 1/3 cup of batter in each liner.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes till golden, or till a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let cool for ten minutes in pan before transferring to a wire rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

Notes:

  • Makes 24 cupcakes
  • If you don’t let your cupcakes cool all the way, when you do go to ice/frost them your topping will melt and slide off of them.

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

Ingredients:

  • 5, 1 ounce squares of dark baking chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon of corn syrup ( if you use semi sweet chocolate omit this step )
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients into a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir.
  4. Microwave again and stir till smooth.
  5. Place a generous spoonful on the center of a fully cooled cupcake.

Notes:

  • Chocolate can be melted and retain it’s form. It’s important not to over microwave it or it will burn, which is why you heat it in 30 seconds increments.
  • This isn’t a lot, just a nice amount. If you decide to double this recipe you can whisk the ingredients over a double broiler.

Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream:

Ingredients:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup and two tablespoons of granulated sugar
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Place egg white, sugar, and salt in a double broiler ( or heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water ) and whisk until the sugar has melted and the temperature has reached 160 degrees.
  2. Transfer the egg and sugar mixture to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat till cool and stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes on medium-high setting.
  3. On medium speed add butter a tablespoon at a time waiting till each one is incorporated.
  4. When all the butter is added, mix in your vanilla.

Notes:

  • You really have to whisk your egg whites when they’re heating and mixing with your sugar or else you will have chunks of cooked egg. Not what anyone wants.
  • This buttercream will keep for about a month in the freezer or in the fridge for 3 days.
  • If your buttercream curdles keep whisking it back on medium-high for 3-5 minutes.
  • This makes about 5 cups.
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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Pancakes are so fantastic. Sometimes they even make a fantastic dinner. I don’t think I would have these for dinner though. These are a real treat. Sadly I am the only person I know who enjoys Chocolate Pancakes. Whenever I go to IHOP this is generally what I get. Why should I have to go there to enjoy them though? Can’t I just make them at home? Yep.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Fry’s Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
  • Butter, for your pan

Directions:

  1. Heat your pan or skillet to just below medium heat, or 380 degrees. Let butter melt evenly on pan.
  2. Sift and then stir together all dry ingredients
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk Egg, Oil, and Vanilla together. Add Milk and mix again.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix together till just thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Mix in your Chocolate Chips and scoop a 1/3 cup of batter into the hot pan.
  6. When edges of each pancake are nearly cooked, and bubbles stop breaking through the center of you pancake it is ready to be flipped.
  7. Cook for an additional minute on the other side and serve right away, or place in moderate oven till finished cooking the batch.

Notes:

  • Makes about fourteen 4” pancakes.
  • Make sure that your chips are evenly spaced out in your pancake or the dough in between them will not cook thoroughly.
  • When the bubbles stop filling in after they pop in the center of your pancake they’re ready to be flipped.
  • These pancakes are very sweet and filling, I didn’t need syrup at all.
  • Because of the Cocoa Powder in the batter, these guys look like the burn very quickly, but they are really just darker in colour. Don’t flip them too soon or they will be raw in the middle.
  • If your pancakes are burning on the outside before they cook through, try turning down the heat.
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Sometimes I make really lovely things in my kitchen, and I photograph it all the way through. I want to start chronicling these cooking adventures, having a place to keep them, and sharing them with all sorts of lovely people out there.