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Posts tagged ‘white chocolate’

Ho Ho Hoooly moly it’s already Christmas?!

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Where has the year gone? Seriously. Are you hiding it? Or did I blink and it just completely disappeared into the universe?

Probably the later. If it’s the first one, you’re probably waaay too good at hide-and-seek.

The holiday season is upon us, people. It’s not just upon us, it’s straight up in our faces. And I am toootally not prepared. Well, sort of.

I mean, I still have shopping to do, I haven’t listened to my all-time favorite Christmas music (Bing Crosby, in case you were wondering), and the fact that I WANT to work on Christmas day is probably a sign that I have not embraced the holiday spirit.

BUT! There are a few things that have brought me out of this funk.

1. I’ve been spending time with a lot of excellent, grade-A, top-notch people lately. I didn’t even realize how much I was running around until my roommate pointed it out to me. Which brings me to my second point…

2. My roommate. She’s been there for me every step of the way through a rough time. If I say “I don’t want to talk about it” she’ll totally respect it, even though she’s dying inside to know what’s going on, but she knows any second I’ll open my big mouth, like I always do, and spill everything. She’s wonderful. Love you Bri.

3. I didn’t have ONE Christmas decoration up…including a tree. I ALWAYS have a tree. ūüė¶ How sad is that? Well after opening my big mouth, like I always do, I received a small tree as a gift the very next day. If that doesn’t take you from a Scroogasaurs to freakin’ Rudolph, I don’t know what will.

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My perfect Kate-sized tree. ūüôā

4. I’m spending Christmas at my grandma’s house. I love her. She’s cool. It’s a plain, obvious fact. That alone will put me in a good mood. But there’s one more thing….

5. I made Tiger Butter!

In a world of jam-packed department stores, bumper-to-bumper freeways, and the complications of trying to get the stripes on the wrapping paper to match up¬†perfectly, (…no? Just me?) what we all need is something¬†simple. And this my friends, is just the trick.

Tiger Butter: Three ingredients. 1 hour. Lifetime of happiness.

Kind of like that “teach a man to fish” saying…

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Tiger Butter

1 1/2 cups white chocolate

1 (heaping) cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate

You can do this two ways. You can either melt the chocolate in the microwave, or use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate. If you choose the double-boiler, be sure to stir the entire time so you don’t burn it. I do it the microwave method, because I’m lazy and I want to eat this before I even begin to make it.

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate in 45-second increments until smooth, being sure to stir thoroughly between increments.

3. Repeat with milk chocolate.

4. While the milk chocolate is melting and the white chocolate is still hot, stir the peanut butter into the white chocolate until completely smooth.

5. Pour the melted milk chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread evenly.

6. Drizzle the white chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top of the milk chocolate, being sure to reach the corners and edges.

7. Run a butter knife through the chocolate to create the swirl pattern. There’s no “right” way to do this, but if you go horizontally and then vertically you’ll probably get the results you’re looking for.

8. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Once the chocolate is set, you may cut it, or just break it into jagged pieces. It all tastes the same – delicious!

9. Eat it all and don’t tell anyone. (No? Just me again? I should really learn not to open my big mouth…)

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Bon Appétit! (and Happy Holidays!)

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Quality time with me, myself, and I. And some chocolate mousse cupcakes.

Do you ever feel like you need some “me” time?

I don’t mean me time, as in, time with me specifically. Although I’d be delighted to get together sometime.

I mean you time. You have you time, I have me time. Our time. But not spent together…

This is getting mildly complicated.

I do my best thinking during “me time.” And since I hardly ever get any, I value these little dates I have with myself. Don’t forget, I’m an only child, and therefore I hold this precious solitude near and dear to my heart.¬†I do love spending time with the people most important to me. Margaritas and sarcastic banter with my boyfriend definitely top the list. And of course gossip and soul-searching with my best friend make any day better. But occasionally, I absolutely, positively, no doubt about it, need some time to myself.

I don’t really plan this time. And I usually end up doing something random that I don’t think any one else would enjoy participating in.

The activities that occur during “me time” include (but are not limited to):

– Watching dumb TV
– Reading Fifty Shades of Grey (at least that’s the case lately…)
– Writing for funzies
– Browsing cooking stores like Sur la Table or Williams-Sonoma, and ultimately buying a hot pink spatula because it’s freaking adorable. (this happened last week…)
– Painting my nails
– Going for a run
– Busting out a Grammy-worthy a¬†cappella solo of “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble’
– Playing fetch with Kitten
– Venturing on the ever-so-dangerous Amazon.com
– Driving down Pacific Coast Hwy
– Baking…duh.

These things seem a little mundane, but my “me time” isn’t about extremes. I’ll save the base jumping and fire-swallowing for another time. My inner diva wants to unwind, and if watching Friends reruns and throwing together a batch of chocolate chip cookies makes her happy, I can’t (and won’t!) contest.

I strongly urge you to pencil yourself in for some “me”..err…”you” time. Times are getting tough? Breathe. Take a moment to realize that no matter what, the sun is still coming up tomorrow.

My mom always tells me that. It’s smart.

Browse a magazine. Go for a hike. Be a trendy hipster and sit in a Starbucks and write your Nobel-Prize-winning novel while sipping a cappuccino. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy it, and make sure that it is what you want to do, not necessarily what you need to do. There’s a difference.

As for myself, as the title of this blog implies, baking is my main source of “me” time. And this week, I reeeeally enjoyed myself. I made chocolate mousse filled cupcakes.

I made an angel food cake, filled it with chocolate mousse, and topped it with a white chocolate buttercream. It felt so wrong, yet so, so right.

Chocolate Mousse Filled Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate Mousse
I had never made mousse before, so I got the recipe from the Joy of Baking and made a few minor tweaks.

8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
10 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz bittersweet chocolate

1. In a double-boiler or a saucepan with simmering water and a heatproof bowl on top, medium heat, melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally at first, then continually. Once the chocolate has completely melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.

2. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.

3. Gradually add 5 tbsp of sugar, beating the egg mixture until soft peaks form and it look glossy. You don’t want it to get dry.

4. In another bowl, beat the whipping cream, remaining sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.

5. Add a few dollops of chocolate into the egg mixture to lighten, and then transfer the egg whites to the chocolate bowl. FOLD the two together. FOLD in the whipped cream.

Make sure to fold — not stir, not beat. Fold. This will keep the mousse airy.

6. When everything is completely combined, transfer the mousse to an airtight container and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Angel Food Cake Cupcakes

10 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

1. Set oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.

2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in medium bowl. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.

4. Gradually add sugar, and beat until fluffy. The mixture should look glossy.

5. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Beat until combined.

6. Gradually add flour mixture to the egg mixture. Beat until just combined. Do not over mix.

7. Fill cupcake wrappers 1/2 full and bake for 15-18 minutes.

White Chocolate Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
10 oz (1 bag) of white chocolate chips

1. In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Set aside to cool.

2. In a separate bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy.

3. Gradually beat in powdered sugar to desired consistency.

4. Beat in vanilla.

5. Add melted chocolate and beat thoroughly.

Check out Kim’s blog for great ideas on how to use the Wedding Shower Party Kit!

I can’t imagine guests would be disappointed with cupcakes like these in these adorable wrappers…

Enjoy YOUR “me” time! We’ll get together soon.

Bon appétit!

Don’t feel blue, white chocolate!

Dark, milk, unsweetened, bittersweet, and semi-sweet. ¬†Chocolate is great. ¬†Really, it is. ¬†Dark chocolate is even good for your heart, believe it or not. ¬†How wonderful that something that seems so bad for you is actually recommended daily to keep your heart and cardiovascular system working well. ¬†Ha! ¬†Awesome. ¬†But wait, there’s a member of the chocolate family we’re forgetting about: white chocolate. ¬†Where exactly does it belong on the Chocolate family tree? ¬†Well, it doesn’t. ¬†It’s made of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar. ¬†So technically it’s not really chocolate at all because it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids. ¬†Aww, poor white chocolate. ¬†So pretty, so sweet, but so lost. ¬†There’s no need for it to be sad, though, because there are tons of people out there who would choose white chocolate over dark any day of the week. ¬†So chin up, little guy, there’s hope for you yet.

White chocolate is something I like with something. ¬†I can’t just take a big ol’ bite of a white chocolate bar. ¬†It’s just too sweet, even for me. ¬†Something I thought would be a good (and tasty) compromise would be a white chocolate cake. ¬†I wasn’t sure how it would taste, but I figured that it would add a subtle, sweet flavor that would differ from a plain cake recipe. ¬†There was no question as to what I would do for a frosting, either. ¬†Raspberry! ¬†And to counteract the sweetness of the cake I would make it a raspberry cream cheese frosting. ¬†It sounded quite divine to me!

An option I thought about was just making a vanilla bean cupcake and adding white chocolate, but because I had never baked with white chocolate before, I decided to go the recipe route. This recipe was honestly a shot in the dark.  I chose it because it contains sour cream and because it seemed like a fair recipe for someone who was a white chocolate virgin.

Oh, did the mention of sour cream in cupcakes freak you out? ¬†Don’t let it. ¬†It’s a pretty normal thing, and you can’t taste it in the finished product. Basically it makes cake moist. Can’t go wrong with that! ¬†But also note that I substituted 1/2 of the sour cream for vanilla pudding, because I like vanilla pudding in my cake recipes. It’s just…good. What can I say.

White Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes
(Adapted from Couture Cupcakes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz (1/2 cup) white chocolate
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vanilla pudding
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees and line the cupcake pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

3. Melt the white chocolate, butter, and water.  Set aside to cool slightly.

4. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, and mix lightly until combined.

5. Add sour cream, pudding, vanilla, baking soda, and eggs. Beat  on low for 2 minutes.

6. Fill the baking cups 1/2 way full.  These do rise so they will overflow if you fill them too full!

7. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.

Story time. ¬†I was smart enough to listen to the originator of this recipe when she said that they rise. ¬†That’s something I hardly ever listen to, and I’m not really sure why. ¬†It’s just a weird thing. ¬†Anyway, I set my timer for 20 minutes, as my oven runs hot, even if I adjust the temperature. ¬†Well 20 minutes was a little much. ¬†They came out darker than I think they’re supposed to be. ¬†Not horribly dark, still edible (yes of course I tried one), but cutting the baking time by a few minutes definitely wouldn’t be a crime. ¬†On to round two. ¬†I put them in the oven, set it to 17 minutes, continued to listen to Adele on iTunes, and started some procrastinated homework. ¬†The next thing I knew I realized that I could hear a faint beeping…THE TIMER WAS GOING OFF! ¬†So much for cutting the baking time. ¬†Sigh. So in the end I have no idea how long those cupcakes baked for. ¬†Now that first batch doesn’t look so bad. ¬†Perspective is everything, I guess.

My tip to you: don’t turn the volume too high while you bake and/or pay attention to your cupcakes the first time.

That’s batch #1. ¬†I suppose it could be worse, right? ¬†No, I will not show you batch #2.

Okay, time to make some frosting!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup raspberry puree

For the puree:
Raspberries
2 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp water.

1. Throw ’em in the food processor.
2. Strain.
3. Done!

Back to the frosting…

1. Beat whipping cream until it forms soft peaks.
2. Add vanilla and sugar. Beat until well combined and smooth.
3. Add the cream cheese. Beat until smooth.
4. Add the raspberry puree. Fold in.

So not only did I have some issues with baking time, but for some reason my cupcake-frosting abilities were hindered. Maybe I was thrown off by my baking blunder. Maybe I was rushing. Maybe I’m just making excuses. The point is that only a few came out looking presentable, so there aren’t too many pictures to share.

Regardless, they’re delightful. ūüôā

When I make white chocolate cupcakes again, first and foremost, I will bake in silence. ¬†I will also probably add a little more white chocolate. ¬†The cupcakes were very good, they just needed a little more white chocolate flavor, in my opinion. ¬†I also suggest using more raspberry puree in the frosting. ¬†It was a very delicate raspberry flavor, and I was looking for a slightly bigger “kick”.

Oh! ¬†And in support of my obsessive baking addiction, one of my best friends in the world gave me some adorable cupcake molds. ¬†So cute!! ‚̧

So, white chocolate, you are appreciated.  Be proud of your ingredients!  There will be more recipes where you will shine as the main ingredient, and I promise from the bottom of my chocolate-loving heart, I will not over-bake you ever again.

For those of you who are weary of white chocolate, this is a perfect recipe for you! Bake them. Taste them. Enjoy the white-chocolatey goodness.

As always, bon app√©tit, and thanks for reading! ūüôā