Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

 

I had the baking itch while doing homework this weekend. I skipped out on celebrating Halloween this year because of school. It has officially taken over my life. It’s pretty sad…

Until you bake these cupcakes. ..

Lets just say my baking itch has been scratched.

Because everyone knows you need to take a study break to bake. And these cupcakes were the perfect combination of procrastination and dark chocolate. They are not tooth-hurtingly sweet, they are more of a bitter-sweet combination, with the addition of 80% dark chocolate to the semi-sweet chocolate in the frosting. The frosting is silky-run-through-your-teeth smooth.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes a dozen cupcakes
Adapted from here

Ingredients:

3/4 cup + 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. good cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup almond milk (or other milk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg at room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 to a 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (begin with a 1/4, add more depending on consistency)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder  into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the almond milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

3. Distribute the batter, filling each well 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Adapted From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon boiling water
  • 1 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup best-quality semisweet/dark chocolate chips mix, melted and cooled

Directions

  1. Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved, add espresso powder. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, and confectioners’ sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.
Using a pastry bag, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
The frosting is silky smooth, and holds its shape well. It is not overly sweet, but more bitter-sweet with the addition of 80% dark chocolate chips.
Happy procrasti-baking. Hope you all have a good Halloween =)

Mexico & More Pie.

I wrote this post last week, but it was put on hold because of more important things, such as the Pumpkin Patch and Halloween. Adam and I had the pleasure of going to Mexico a couple weeks ago for our good friends wedding. It was such a great week, there were a lot of our friends there and we got to hang out with them and do fun stuff like go ATVing, swimming in the ocean at 1 am, playing football in the pool, eating ice cream for lunch. The typical vacation stuff. We’re both tanned, and settling back into the reality of work and school. Definitely wishing we were back on the beach, or cooling off in the pool.

It was a beautiful wedding ceremony on the beach, and the weather was perfect. We also had a delicious dinner afterwards!

I think the bride and I are already planning on re-creating the cream corn soup we had for the second course. It was so delicious! Everything went smoothly, and Adam was one of the groomsmen. He cleans up rather nicely ;).

The weekend before we left was Thanksgiving, and I made a pumpkin tart. I absolutely love anything with pumpkin. Who doesn’t? A traditional pumpkin pie is a must at the dinner table for holidays in the fall/winter. I used my new rectangle tart pan, you may have seen it here for my winning pecan tart recipe.

If you make a tart, you will have enough filling left over for small tartlets. I suggest making them, and if you don’t eat them all they freeze really well. Perfect for snacking.

Pumpkin Tart

(If you make this as a tart, you’ll have filling left over, which you can use to make mini-tartlets; bake the minis at 400 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.)

- makes 6 to 8 servings -
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients:

Single crust pie dough
2 cups (canned) unsweetened pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Lightly sweetened lightly whipped cream, for topping

Directions:

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and put the pie plate (or tart pan) on it.

Pour all ingredients into a stand mixer, and beat on medium with whisk attachment, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Rap the work bowl or mixing bowl against the counter to burst any surface bubbles, and pour the filling into the crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes longer (20 to 25 minutes for a tart), or until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean. (If you don’t want to create a slash in your masterpiece, tap the pan gently—if the custard doesn’t jiggle, or only jiggles a teensy bit in the very center, it’s done.) Transfer the pie (or tart) to a rack and cool to room temperature.

Westham Island Pumpkin Patch

I had another post in the Drafts section that I haven’t completed yet, a re-cap about our trip to Mexico and a Pumpkin Tart recipe from Thanksgiving, which seems like it was forever ago now. But, I just had to post this before Halloween! Adam and I went to our local pumpkin patch yesterday. It’s the second year we’re celebrating Halloween together, and the second year we visited this particular farm. It’s the Westham Island Herb Farm, nestled between Ladner and Richmond. You have to go over a single lane bridge to cross over to it, and it’s the cutest little farming area.

Every year they open their pumpkin patch, along with a herb farm where you can purchase their local produce, veggies, fruits. etc. Aren’t those Artichoke Blooms gorgeous? I should have bought some, but I’m not sure what I would have done with them. The colours were just so vivid. The people who work there also carve a ton of pumpkins themselves and put them on displayed along with barrels of hay, and scarecrows, and the area is all decorated in Halloween decor. It’s a great place to take children so they can find their own Great Pumpkin. While we were there lots of families were bringing first-timers to the patch, and capturing the moment on camera to enjoy later. I really don’t think you can ever outgrow a visit to the pumpkin patch.

Adam was meeting me on the way home from work, as he is an Electrician, he was wearing his coveralls, and looked funny walking around the farm, because it looked like he could work there! Haha. I was at the school volunteering in Tsawwassen, so we decided to meet at the farm as it was only open until 5 pm, so coming home and then going back out again would have taken too long. Adam was coming from Richmond, and luckily left right before the plane crash that occured, as he was right near YVR.

It was pretty cool out, but still sunny. Perfect combination for pumpkin-patching.

We scoured the fields for our perfect pumpkin picks. I like the smaller ones. We found a peanut shaped pumpkin, I’ll have to post a picture later, and he will be turned into ‘Mr. Peanut’ from Planters Peanuts. You know the one I mean, with the spectacles. We got 8 pumpkins I believe, at .30 cents a pound, plus some Gala apples from their farm, all for $23.

We’re supposed to go to a friends tonight for a pumpkin carving/halloween party but we have yet to figure out a costume. Being away for a week, and catching up on school work has taken over my life. Per ususal. So we’ll see what happens! Are you dressing up this year?? What are your ideas? Did you visit a pumpkin patch!?? It’s a tradition I will continue to experience, no matter how old we get!

If you live in the lower mainland area, I would definitely suggest stopping by Westham Island in Ladner, and

 

 

 

 

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