Cupcakes, Valentine's Day

Homemade Valentine’s Cupcakes

February 13, 2012


When I was younger I loved making crafts. Growing up that love never really stopped. I was into craft-booking for a while, and of course baking now. But I still love doing crafts. I remember in elementary school you would make your own valentine’s, out of red, pink and white cardboard paper and white doilies. They were always heart shaped, usually the type you fold in half, and then open up to the card. I’ve mentioned before that I volunteer at an elementary school as part of my application to the teaching program. I said I would bring in a special treat for Valentine’s day. I was inspired to create cupcakes that looked like edible Valentine’s like the one’s children make. They work incredibly well with the fondant, it cuts like buttah. I used a scalloped edge scissor for most of the hearts.

I actually used craft scissors, the fancy ones, I have an entire block of about 15 different patterns, to make the fondant hearts look like doily’s. I layered them with pink and red fondant hearts to look like a homemade Valentine card. They turned out quite cute. I used the ‘postal’ scissors to make a little Valentine’s ‘Stamp.’

They are rich chocolate cupcakes with whipped buttercream frosting. Perfectly sweet for your Valentine.

This is the first year we are home for Valentine’s Day since Adam and I started dating. The first year, we celebrated the night before, as he left on the 14th for Mexico for two weeks with his company, escaping the craziness that was the Olympics. Last year, we were both in Mexico for Valentine’s day, in Cabo!

However, though I had big plans for Valentine’s Day this year, staying in making a delicious dinner, and of course an indulgent dessert followed by a movie, they will be slightly altered due to my ongoing allergy elimination diet. The only silver lining is that tomorrow I can start to introduce beef! Which means we can both enjoy a nice steak for dinner. I have also been ok eating beans, so we’ll have some green beans, along with potatoes, maybe these super cute heart potatoes, or hasselback, and of course a salad, with only olive oil for dressing. I will definitely be making some chocolate dipped strawberries, because you have to have a little chocolate on Valentine’s, and I may go crazy if I don’t eat some chocolate soon.

Hope the kids are excited for these cupcakes tomorrow as their lunch time treat.

‘Send’ some love with these Valentine’s Stationery inspired cupcakes.

To make, you can use your favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, or try this Devil’s Food Cake recipe I used for my Valentine’s Day Cupcakes before

To make the Whipped Buttercream you will need:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4-5 cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbs milk
  1. In a stand mixer, cream butter on medium with whisk attachment for a few minutes, about 3-5 minutes until really light and creamy. Stop a few times to scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.
  2. Once it reaches the ‘whipped’ texture, sift in icing sugar one cup at a time. Mix on low to incorporate, and then increase once all icing sugar is incorporated fully.
  3. Add another cup of icing sugar, and repeat. Adding 1-2 tbs of milk once it begins to thicken. You want it quite soft, and whipped so that a spatula can run through it easily, but still keep its shape on either side, not caving in.
  4. Once you have incorporated enough icing sugar to reach desired consistency, you can transfer it to a piping bag. I use Ateco #848.

Cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for one day.

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day Sweets

February 7, 2012

Valentine’s Day is only a week away. February 14th is a day when we can indulge in over-sized novelty heart shaped boxes full of chocolate without guilt, and everything seems to be turned into red-velvet. I myself am not a fan of red velvet cake, and have never made one. Chocolate, however, I understand.

Over the years I have made several Valentine’s Day desserts. Whether your single, in a relationship, or just want to share some love with your girlfriends (check out this Valentine’s Day in Girly Soiree by The Glitter Guide). These February 14th treats are perfect for satisfying your holiday-induced sweet tooth. I am making something for this year, but will share that recipe next week. For now, these recipes are sure to please.

These cupcakes have always gotten a lot of attention around Valentine’s Day. Decadent Devil’s Food Cake with smooth buttercream topped with fondant hearts // Recipe Here

Chocolate Cupakes with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream. ‘Send’ Some love today with these little stationery inspired cupcakes // Recipe Here

A smaller, bite-sized version of the larger cupcakes. Like a small bunch of carnations, these are great for bringing to the office, lunchroom or school // Recipe here

A secret ingredient makes these Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies perfect for dunking. Even better the next day. Wrap them up in a pretty cellophane bag, or treat box for sharing // Recipe Here

Looking for something truly decadent? Try these rich, silky smooth, sinful Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. The frosting is run-through-your-teeth smooth. Top with Valentine’s sprinkles or fondant hearts // Recipe Here

Creamy and indulgent, this Coffee Ice Cream is a dreamy apres-dinner dessert to cool the senses. Add some hot espresso and make an Affogato for a more sophisticated dessert // Recipe Here

Fill a heart shaped tin with these rich individually wrapped Chocolate Honey Truffles for someone special. Make ahead and keep in the fridge for easy distribution // Recipe Here

A Valentine’s Day staple. A truly simple no bake dessert that is the epitome of love. Chocolate enrobed strawberries, dipped and drizzled in chocolate, nuts and coconut. Best served the same day. Make in the morning, enjoy at night // Recipe Here & Step by Step Instructions Here

Try a recipe and share some love&chocolate with a loved one for Valentine’s Day this year.

 


Apples

Apple Month

February 6, 2012

Apparently February is Apple Month. BC Tree Fruits created this event as a way to encourage us to support local growers, orginiating in the Okanagan. The event began back in 1960 and has been celebrated every February since. It is also BC Tree Fruits 75th Anniversary of the Okganagan orginization. I’m lucky to be able to visit the Okanagan every year and vacation in Osoyoos, and have written about my love for local produce and fruit grown in the interior here

Apples are not only delicious, they are healthy. I like to pretend desserts such as Apple Pie are a ‘healthier’ choice, because it contains fruit. Of course eating an apple on it’s own is healthier, and can be just as satisfying.

My personal favourites are Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Royal Gala. I love a crunchy apple, and prefer them straight from the fridge. Of course most often you will find Granny Smith in baking due to their tart taste and hard texture, which become softer and sweet once baked. Perfect in pies and other desserts.

You can celebrate Apple Month by buying local BC Apples from your grocer or local food market.

Also, some tips when it comes to Apples:

  • If you can, buy local, and/or organic
  • Always wash apples thoroughly before enjoying as many apples are sprayed with pesticides, or peel the skin for baking.
  • Store in refrigerator crisper at a low temperature and high humidity. ( From the BC Tree Website)
  • As apples emit ethylene, a naturally occuring gas that encourages ripening, keep them in a plastic bag to prevent them from speeding up ripening of other produce items. ( From the BC Tree Website)
  • Apples are easier to peel when they’re cold (but keep in mind, most of the fruit’s remarkable nutritional value is found in the skin). ( From the BC Tree Website)
  • Wait before washing. Don’t wash your fruit until you’re about to eat it. Washing strips away some of the skin’s natural protection. Soap is not recommended for washing your fruit, just clean running water. Scrub it with your hands or a soft brush ( From the BC Tree Website)

Here are some of my favourite recipes including Apples that I’ve made in the past:

This Rustic Spiced Apple cake is perfect for an afternoon tea. It is dense without being overly sweet and rich. The apple are dusted with cinnamon and placed on top of the dough like a dimply cake. Perfect on its own and is one of my favourites // Recipe Here

This Skillet Apple cake is rich in flavour with a crumb crust. Studded with chopped Apples and topped with Apple slices // Recipe Here

An Italian dessert an Apple Crostata differs from an Apple pie in that it is baked free form, not in a pie dish. There is also the addition of egg as well as lots of sugar in the dough, which makes it denser and richer than pie crust. But just as tender. You can also make smalled individual Crostata’s // Recipe Here

You can’t talk about Apple Desserts without mentioning the most famous one. Traditional Apple Pie. A lightly sweetened cinnamon sugar Apple filling tucked between no-fail flakey buttery crust. Perfect on its own, or à la mode // Recipe for Pie Dough and Filling Here