20 January 2017

CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS

I love coffee cakes. Basically, I love coffee, so anything that pairs well with coffee will naturally be my favourite. But, I don't like the crumbly texture coffee cakes usually tend to have. So I made these lovely soft muffins to pair with my morning decaf. I love how cinnamon and cocoa enhance the coffee flavour and the crunchiness in the topping is just a bonus.
It does melt into the muffins just a little as they bake, but it mainly stays on top and crunchy as they cool. They are so delicious and fragrant, perfect for a quick snack with coffee. Now, because of the buttery topping, the bottoms of the paper cups will be a tad bit greasy. You can solve this in two ways. Use the rice trick while baking, or just transfer the cooled muffins to new liners and discard the ones they were baked in.

Coffee cake cupcakes recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the muffins
120 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
60 grams butter, softened
100 grams sugar
1 large egg
120 grams sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
For the topping
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cocoa powder

Preparation:
To make the muffins, place the softened butter in a large bowl, add the sugar and beat with an electric mixer on high for about a minute or two, until light in colour and completely creamy. Sift the flour into another bowl along with the baking powder. Add the egg to the butter, along with one tablespoon of the flour mix and the almond extract. The flour will just help emulsify the batter. Beat the egg and butter until creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the flour and the sour cream, then beat the batter with an electric mixer on low until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between six standard size muffin cups and set it aside for the time being.
For the topping, place the butter in a medium bowl, add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cocoa powder and blend it all together using a fork or a pastry cutter. Do not use an electric mixer because it will make it smooth and batter-like, and you need it to be crumbly. Continue pressing and mashing with a fork until the topping resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle it evenly on tops of the muffin batter and bake in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 12-15 minutes. Check them with a toothpick to make sure they do not overbake. Let them cool completely, then serve with coffee. Yields 6 standard muffins. ©Tina Vesić 2017

13 January 2017

GIANDUJA HOT COCOA COOKIES

Hot cocoa and similar drinks are one of the reasons I love the winter season. With an addition of the delicious and rich hazelnut paste, they are so good with a mug of hot cocoa. As far as the hazelnut paste goes, I used my homemade paste, but if you can buy it, by all means go ahead. They would be delicious even with Nutella or a similar spread, so if that is the only thing you have available, feel free to use it.


Ingredients
60 grams butter, softened
150 grams granulated sugar
1 medium egg
3 tablespoons hazelnut paste
4 tablespoons heavy cream
200 grams plain flour
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

Preparation
Take a large bowl, add in the softened butter, and the sugar, and beat with an electric mixer on high, until lighter in colour, creamy, and fluffy. Add in the hazelnut paste, whole egg, and only a teaspoon of the flour (to help with the emulsification), and continue to mix on high until well-blended. Add in the heavy cream, and blend again. At this point, the batter will be very runny, but emulsified.
Sift together the flour with the cocoa powder, and the baking soda, then add it to the batter, and blend on low. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out the batter, and arrange them on a large cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Bake them immediately in a preheated oven, at 190°C (375°F), for 8-10 minutes. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, to firm up, then remove them to a wire rack or serve warm. Yields 20 medium cookies.

06 January 2017

CHOCOLATE CAKE MILKSHAKE

The holidays are almost over and so are those big luscious desserts. If you have some leftover cake, or if you simply want to see how wonderful it is to drink a slice of cake, this is the recipe for you. A whole slice is blended with chocolate ice-cream, and other very delicious ingredients. The result is a stunning chocolate milkshake you can additionally top with a teeny tiny piece of cake, just to showcase the main ingredient. Also, you can always add more ice-cream, to make the milkshake thicker.


Ingredients
300 grams chocolate cake (two slices)
600 ml whole milk
2 large scoops chocolate ice-cream
100 ml heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (optional)
150 ml heavy cream, for garnishing
5-6 tablespoons chocolate syrup, for garnishing


Preparation
Slice the cake and let the slices sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, so the filling and frosting can soften up slightly, that will make it easier to blend later. Once they are soft and ready, pour half of the milk in your blender, add in the cake slices, pour in the rest of the milk, and blend on high for about 30 seconds. I find it blends much better when there isn’t cake directly stuck to the blade of the blender, that is why it is added in this fashion.
Add in the ice-cream, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, and coffee (if using), close the blender and let it run for about a minute or two, depending on your blender, until everything is smooth and well combined. Immediately pour into glasses, top with some additional softly whipped heavy cream, maybe a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and a tiny slice of cake. Yields 4 servings.

30 December 2016

THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

It is almost the end of the year, and I think we all deserve a celebration in style. Of course, what better way to celebrate any occasion than with a chocolate cake. Two layers of dense fudge cake, and a fantastic fudge frosting. The frosting is my favourite part, to be honest, because it is so smooth and delicious. You can even double the quantities and make an even taller cake, with a thicker layer of filling and frosting.
Feel free to boost up the coffee amount, too, if you like prominent coffee taste in your desserts. Keep in mind, though, that the cake is very rich, so a little goes a long way. It keeps really well at room temperature, so do not fret about leaving it on the table at dessert time, the frosting does not sag. And with a centrepiece that this cake it, it really would be a shame not to place it in the middle of the table.

The ultimate chocolate fudge cake recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the chocolate fudge cake layers
200 grams dark chocolate
250 grams butter
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
200 grams granulated sugar
120 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
For the chocolate fudge frosting
200 grams butter
100 grams high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
200 grams granulated sugar
100 grams dark chocolate, chopped
120 ml heavy cream
For the chocolate shards
100 grams milk chocolate
lustre dust (optional)
For the golden chocolate drip effect
150 grams white chocolate
75 ml heavy cream
¼ teaspoon golden yellow gel food colouring
1 teaspoon gold lustre dust
1 teaspoon Vodka

The ultimate chocolate fudge cake recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Preparation
Start by making the cake layers. Take a large bowl, add in the chopped chocolate, along with the diced butter, and melt everything on low heat, until completely smooth and blended. Once melted, remove it from the heat, and add in the coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar, and whisk vigorously until well-combined. Let this mixture stand for a minute or two, just so it could cool down slightly. Add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each egg. Finally, sift in the cocoa powder, and the plain flour, and fold them through gently. Do not overmix the batter. Take two round cake pans (23 cm, 9"), grease them lightly and line them with baking paper. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth it out as much as possible, and bake them in the preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F), for about 20 minutes. Check them with a toothpick for doneness, then let them cool completely in the pans.
While they are cooling, make the fudge frosting. Take another heavy-bottomed saucepan, and add in the diced butter, granulated sugar, and sifted cocoa powder. Place the saucepan on low heat, and mix until everything is blended. At one point it will seem dry, but just stir it gently, and keep melting. Heat up the cream slightly in a separate bowl; it does not need to come to a boil, just warm is fine. Once everything is melted, add in the milk chocolate, and stir until melted. Once that melts, start adding in the heavy cream, a little bit at a time, mixing as you pour in. Do not pour the heavy cream in large batches, because the filling will separate. Pour it in really slowly. When you blend everything together, remove it from the heat, and let the frosting cool down almost completely.
Once the cake layers and the frosting are ready, remove the layers from the pans, and place one of them on the serving platter. Place the frosting in a large piping bag and pipe a swirl of frosting on the first cake layer. I recommend piping on the frosting instead of spreading it on, because it makes the smoothing easier. Smooth the frosting, and place another cake layer on top. Place the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes, just to set it up quickly. Remove from the freezer, and decorate with the rest of the fudge frosting as you like. Place the decorated cake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

The ultimate chocolate fudge cake recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

To make the chocolate shards, take a clean piece of acetate or a piece of baking paper, and lay it flat on a cold surface (marble countertop works really well). Melt the chocolate slowly over low heat or in the microwave, and let it cool down for only a minute, then pour it onto the acetate, and spread it in an even layer, using an offset spatula. Do not spread it too thinly, because it can and will break later on. Let the chocolate set up, then break (or cut) it into shards. Paint golden lustre dust on some of the shards, if you wish.
To make the golden drip decoration on the cake, melt together the white chocolate with the heavy cream, remove it from the heat, and add the food colouring. This will help with the decorating further on. Mix it well until the colour distributes evenly, then let it cool down slightly. Take the chilled cake out of the refrigerator and create the drip effect either by gently drizzling the glaze, or pouring it into a squeeze bottle and glazing the top and sides.
Take the previously made chocolate shards, and position them on the cake as you wish, then let the glaze set up completely at the room temperature. This is much easier than cutting the set up glaze to position the shards. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Make the golden paint by mixing together the golden lustre dust with the Vodka. You may need to add a tad more or less Vodka, depending on the lustre dust you are using, but you are aiming for a thick paste, because it will leave less streaks. Take the chilled cake, and carefully paint along the drips, then let it set up in the refrigerator. Yields 20 servings.

26 December 2016

GINGERBREAD COOKIE TRUFFLES

Holiday time is gift time, and what better gift to give then an edible one? Truffles are generally really easy to make, and they are always a hit at parties and gatherings. These are so smooth and delicious, because of the white chocolate and heavy cream. I strongly recommend using real white chocolate, with cocoa butter. It tastes so much better, and gives the truffles such a rich taste. And the gingerbread cookies can only make everything better. I also recommend tasting the batter before letting it chill for the first time, just in case you want the truffles to be more cinnamony.


Ingredients
150 grams soft unsalted butter
100 grams real white chocolate
100 ml heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
300 grams gingerbread cookie crumbs
300 grams cooking chocolate, for coating


Preparation
Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream over low heat (or in the microwave), then set it aside to cool. Beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on high, for about 2-3 minutes, until lighter in colour and creamy, then pour in the cooled chocolate, and blend it really well. It is very important that the chocolate has cooled enough, because it can and will melt the butter if it is too hot. Add in the icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and the spices, and blend again. Add the cookie crumbs, and blend one final time.
The batter should be very soft and pliable, but far too sticky to work with right away. Let the batter cool in the refrigerator for about an hour. Take out the chilled batter, then form the truffles using a tablespoon measure. Arrange them on a cookie sheet, and return them to the refrigerator to firm up, for another hour or so. You can even freeze the shaped truffles if your kitchen is hot. Melt and temper the chocolate, then take the truffles out of the refrigerator (or freezer), quickly coat them in chocolate, sprinkle with some additional cookie crumbs if you wish, and serve. Yields 25 truffles.