Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts

Thursday, August 14, 2014

CTB 2014 - Marshmallow Madness!

I hate to admit this, but I haven't sat by a campfire in 4 years. The last time I sat with friends and toasted marshmallows was the summer of 2010. Weeks away from picking up once again and moving from Boulder, Colorado to New Haven, Connecticut, I just spent the day on the reservoir with my fitness family.

With the sun setting over the Rocky mountains, we settled into foldout chairs with fuzzy blankets and bags of marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars. I learned that the best way to enjoy a s'more is to stuff a Milk Dud into the center of a marshmallow before toasting it. Chocolate, caramel and marshmallow. So amazing.

Since moving from Boulder to the East coast, I haven't found myself in the presence of a campfire. You aren't really allowed to start fires in an apartment building. In order to fully enjoy this summer, I wanted to recreate a summertime treat in my kitchen. No fire required.

This s'mores cupcakes was the perfect way to reminisce, without setting fire to my kitchen. Though I'm not going to lie, there totally was a series of small fires when I made these beauties. Did you know that cupcake liners are flammable? When toasting the marshmallow frosting, be careful not to light the actual cupcake on fire!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Buffalo Summer

It's summertime! I'm just a few hours away from boarding a plane and flying home for a visit! I tend to go home to see my parents twice a year, Christmas and summer. That way I get to see both of the Buffalo seasons, winter and July. 

Well, that's how the old joke goes. I'm more in the camp that Buffalo has four distinct, yet unequal seasons. 

Fall starts rolling in immediately after Labor day. In mid-September, the leaves start to turn and the sweaters and jeans quickly reappear. I think it's Fall that WNYers live for. I always loved Fall because it meant going back to school. But then again, I'm a nerd and totally loved school. Feel free to make fun of me.

Yes, winter is long and snowy, but you'll rarely hear a local complain about it. "What is winter without snow?", they will tell you. I remember several Christmas eves, driving through blinding snow to get to my grams house. 

Spring is rainy and cool and it tends to last from early May until mid June. It gives you plenty of time to plant your gardens and clean up from the winter mess. 

Summer pops it's head in around early July and brings sticky, hot weather. We didn't have air conditioning in my childhood home. I was only ever upset about it for one or two weeks a year. You don't get 100 degree days in Buffalo, but humidity will make you wish you had a cold drink in your hand all day. 

One easy way to tell that it was summer in my childhood home? Check the freezer for ice cream. If it was summer, there was a solid shelf of Perry's ice cream. If it wasn't summer, there was probably just half a shelf. My dad seriously loves Perry's ice cream. (Remember, I took him to the Perry's ice cream factory last year? It was his birthday present, he loved it.)

You might remember that I'm lucky enough to be a Perry's Inside Taster! This means that once or twice a year, then send me ice cream! This is super important these days, because my Wegmans in New Jersey have stopped carrying the brand! (Worse day ever) This summer, I received a large box of dry ice and three containers of Perry's. Three containers of ice cream that were all destined for something different. 

First, the French Roast Coffee. I never saw this ice cream. The package arrived and I put the containers in the fridge. I left for a conference. When I came home, the ice cream was no longer in the fridge. The boyfriend may or may not have eaten the entire container of ice cream himself. He wouldn't fess up.

Next, Otto's Cupcake. I saw this ice cream a few months back, during Sweet 16 basketball time. It's chocolate ice cream, with pieces of chocolate cake and orange frosting swirled in. Let me be clear though, the frosting swirl is orange in color, not orange in flavor. My dad and I both had some and discussed this point for a good five minutes. We were both expecting orange flavor because we didn't read the box before we ate it. This ice cream was tasty.

Finally, All Natural Dark Chocolate. This ice cream made its way into those ice cream sandwiches you see above. I was inspired by these brownie ice cream sandwiches from Smitten Kitchen. 

I knew that I still had a container of chocolate Perry's in the freezer and thought nothing would pair better with the ice cream, than peanut butter. I whipped up a batch of my favorite peanut butter bars, divided the batter in two and sandwiched almost the entire container of ice cream between the two slabs of peanut butter bar. The boyfriend thinks my ice cream to cookie ratio is off. He's just crazy, these ice cream sandwiches are amazing.  Give them a try! Or come over, I have a whole pan of them to share!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday WITK!

I've been MIA a lot recently but I just had to remember to wish WITK a Happy Fourth Birthday! This year has brought a lot of change and writing at WITK (and WITC) really helped me through a tough time. WITK has been with me through lots of changes and I always like to take this time of year to reflect on how much has changed and how far I've come!

Four years ago, I was living in Colorado. I was packing up my Boulder apartment and getting ready to move across the country, again. My boss had accepted a position at Yale and was bringing a few of his students and postdocs with him. Food blogs were new to me and I thought it would be a great way to stay in touch with my friends across the country.

Three years ago, I was in the midst of moving from Connecticut to New Jersey. I was a few days from starting my first real job and busy deciding what to wear. WITK went from three days a week posting to just two and I was trying to figure out how to cook dinner for two instead of one.

Two years ago, WITK was in the midst of its first big food challenge (Why Bother 2012!) I was enjoying my first summer as a real employed person. Easily distracted, I neglected to cook dinner and made lots of sweets. My coworkers happily gobbled up the resulting desserts.

Last year, it was a tough time and I was in the middle of my summer of unemployment. Recently laid off and seeking a new full-time gig, I threw myself into WITK and my new venture - Wilde in the City. With two blogs to distract myself from the lack of interviews, my third blogoversary gave me a great reason to make a seriously involved cake. So delicious.

This year, I find myself at a new job, getting ready to buy a house and juggling everything rather poorly! Over the past four months I have racked up over 70,000 frequent flier miles, traveled to six different countries and finally made it to Hawaii. All this travel has been tough on WITK, I cooked very little over the past four months.

In order to properly celebrate four years online, I made WITK a beautiful cake. I've been meaning to make something from the SprinkleBakes cookbook for a while now. I flipped through the pages until I found this cake - the Neapolitan cake. Three different flavors, baked from a single batter, this cake was a great combination of flavors. My favorites? I preferred the strawberry and vanilla layers. The chocolate layer wasn't flavorful enough for me. If I were to make this again, I'd use some melted chocolate for flavoring the chocolate layer.

Happy Birthday Wilde in the Kitchen! Thanks for being there for me though all the changing times! Also, many many thanks to all of my internet friends out there! Without you on the other end of the internet, it would just be my mom reading these posts! Thanks for coming along for the ride.

One Year Ago: Milky Way Cake
Two Years Ago: Buffalo Sponge Candy Cake
Three Years Ago: Pomegranate Moon Pies
Four Years Ago!!!: Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate or Peanut Butter Frosting

Neapolitan Cake
Adapted from SprinkleBakes

The bake times for these cakes were way off. The cookbook suggested that all three cakes would take about the same amount of time in the oven. This wasn't the case however and it's mostly because you have to add extra water to the flavored layers. It takes much longer to bake out all this excess water. I've listed both the suggested and actual bake times in this recipe. Keep in mind that your oven could be a bit different and you should check the doneness with a toothpick. Poke it in the center, when you pull it out there should be only crumbs clinging to the toothpick.  Happy baking!

Cake batter
3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
12 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups milk (I used skim milk with a dash of heavy cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water

1 pound cream cheese, removed from the fridge 20 minutes ago
1/2 pound (16 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease three 9-inch round pans with butter. Line pans with parchment paper (I used wax paper because it was what I had!), butter the paper.

In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. You can also do this with a hand mixer or in your stand mixer. You'll have to transfer the whipped egg whites to another bowl if you use your stand mixer.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Sifter together flour and baking powder. Add vanilla to milk.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter. Mix on low until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk, mix until blended. Add flour, milk and then flour, mixing until smooth after each addition.  Add egg whites all at once. Gently fold in the egg whites, try not to beat too vigorously and deflate the egg whites.

Divide the batter into three equal batches (I used a food scale to ensure I had three equal amounts). Add 1/4 cup hot water to the strawberry Jell-O. Stir until gelatin is mostly dissolved. Add this to one of the batches of batter and stir until there are no streaks remaining. Pour into one of the prepared pans.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup of hot water with cocoa powder, it will form a slurry. Add cocoa mixture to the second batch of batter. Pour into the second prepared pan. Pour remaining vanilla cake into the third pan. Bake cake layers as follows.

Vanilla - Suggested (30-35 minutes), Actual (33 minutes)
Strawberry - Suggested (30-35 minutes), Actual (45 minutes)
Chocolate - Suggested (25-30 minutes), Actual (40 minutes)

Remove cake layers from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and peel off paper from the bottom. Let cool cakes completely before cutting. Level the tops of the cakes and stack while you prepare the frosting.

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the entire pound of sugar is added. If it's too thick - add 1 teaspoon of milk. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time.

Assemble the cake - Chocolate layer on the bottom, spread about 3/4 cup frosting on top of the chocolate layer. Add vanilla layer and top with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with strawberry layer and top with 1 cup frosting. Spread cake with a thin crumb coat (Here's a nice video to learn how to crumb coat!). Pop it in the fridge for about 1 hour to harden.  Remove from the fridge and frost with the rest of the frosting. You can get fancy, but I just went with a smooth outside and a swirly top.

Feed this cake to lots of people, there is a lot of butter in here!

Friday, February 7, 2014

CTB 2014 - The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg may have rapped about them in Lazy Sunday, but any New Yorker worth their salt knows to skip Magnolia's cupcakes and head for their dessert case.  The only thing you should even think about picking up from the Magnolia Bakery is their Banana pudding.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cookies for Monday

Sometimes you need something really simple and delicious.  Comfort food.  When it comes to comfort food dessert, nothing is more classic than chocolate chip cookies.  The boyfriend and I like to whip up a batch for Saturday night and turn on a movie.  

I may or may not have eaten a few spoonfuls of the raw cookie dough before it made its way into the oven.  I'm not feeling guilty about it, this dough is delicious.  Rather than using straight all-purpose flour, I swapped out half for rice flour.  The rice flour gives these cookies a really soft texture.  They are crispy on the edges and soft in the middle, my kind of cookie.

I would totally recommend using this cookie dough as a base for using up any of your excess chocolate chips.  Toss in whatever you have in your pantry.  Milk chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch?  Toss them all in, this dough is the perfect base for anything you want to throw in there!

Half of these cookies will be making their way to work today.  One of my new coworkers has made it very clear that he love love loves chocolate chip cookies.  A new coworker always needs to make a good impression!

One Year AgoGinger-Curry Crackers & Whole Wheat Crackers
Two Years AgoBoysenberry Buckle Muffins
Three Years AgoFruit Salsa

Wilde Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, cold
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Whisk together flours, baking soda & salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.  Add sugars and vanilla and cream until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.  Pour in flour mixture and turn mixer on low.  Beat just until the flour is absorbed.  Add chocolate chips and mix by hand until chips are evenly distributed.  Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat sheets.  Scoop out 1 tablespoon cookie dough and roll into a ball.  Bake cookies for 11 minutes, or until they are browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet.  Remove from the sheet and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  (Or eat them hot, so good)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

French Silk Pie

It's apparently Pie Week around the internets. It's this week that everyone in finalizing their thanksgiving menus and dessert is the most important part. At least it's most important in my opinion! It's how you finish off the night and what puts that final nail in the coffin of your food coma.

 Personally I love making pies at thanksgiving because it reminds me of my gram. When I was little, we always went over to grams house for thanksgiving dinner.  We would walk in the door and the entire house would smell amazing. She had a turkey baking in the kitchen and lamb baking in the basement. Yes, she had a second oven in the basement. I'm not sure exactly how safe the whole situation was, but everyone got something they wanted for dinner.

As gram got older, we moved thanksgiving dinner to my aunts house. The aunts and uncles took over the majority of cooking but my gram still made all the desserts. Cherry pie, pumpkin pie and apple pie all made appearances after dinner. Gram was the dessert queen and made a fierce pie crust. Years later I discovered grams secret. Canned pie filling! My dad was so disillusioned. Gram was a definite housewife of the 1950's, she didn't meet a canned good she didn't like. But seriously, her pies were still awesome.

I did not inherit her pie dough making gene. I'm a huge fan of the cookie crust. Or the those rolled up pie crusts from the grocery store. Don't judge, they're yummy. For our early thanksgiving dinner this week, I prepared a chocolate chocolate chocolate French silk pie. It's rich. It's creamy. It's got to get out of my house before I eat the entire thing!

If you're looking for a little something different at your dessert table this year, whip up this pie. It's sure easy.

Two Years Ago: Sausage & Gorgonzola Mac'n'Cheese
Three Years Ago: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

French Silk Pie
A Wilde Original

Chocolate Crust
From Momofuku Milk

For the Crumb

2/3 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 300 ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. Combine solid ingredients with a whisk. Add butter and stir until everything is moistened and you form small crumbs.

Spread mixture on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir around. Bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely before making cookie crust.

For the crust

3/4 crumb recipe (260 g, 1 3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Pulse chocolate crumbs in the food processor until finely ground, sandy. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Knead with your hands until everything can be put together into a ball.

Press dough into a pie pan, using your fingers and palms to flatten the pie crust and push up onto the sides of the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to harden.

French Silk Pie
Adapted from The Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 beaten egg yolks
3 tablespoons whipping cream

Combine whipping cream, chocolate chips, butter and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until chocolate is melted. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks lightly. Slowly pour half of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks, beating the entire time.  Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture begins to bubble and thickens slightly.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons whipping cream and stir to combine. Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water. Let cool for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl and whip on high speed for for 4-5 minutes, or until lightened in color and slightly fluffy.  Pour into prepared chocolate crust and place in the fridge to chill.

Stabilized Whipped Cream
from several sources

1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon water
1 cup cold whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pour water over gelatin and allow to bloom for 2 minutes.  Microwave, 5 seconds at a time, until gelatin is liquefied.

Beat whipping cream on high speed until frothy. Add granulated sugar and continue beating on high for another minute. Add gelatin and whip on high until you achieve stiff peaks.  Transfer to a piping bag with a large star tip, pipe big loopy designs on your pie.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Apple-Cranberry Crumble

I've already told you that Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  We are now in the thick of sweater and apple cider season and I'm loving it.  There's something to be said about putting on a thick sweater in the morning and facing the crisp morning air.  A few weeks ago the boyfriend endured a Sunday afternoon away from football (#FOMOF!) and we headed to a local orchard for apple picking.

It's one of my favorite things to do in the fall.  Ever since I was a graduate student in Wisconsin, I've made it part of my annual traditions.  I've picked apples in five different states over the past ten years, enjoying so many different local varieties.  This was my first year picking in New Jersey and was pleased to go home with some Nittany & Suncrisp apples - developed at Rutgers & Penn State respectively!

The boyfriend usually isn't very good at hand picking produce, he likes to only pick the most beautiful and perfect specimens.  This means he usually winds up with a bag with three apples in it. Because of this, I decided he would be of good use behind the camera!  This left me to walk the orchard and pick all the apples.

Checking out, I was happy to learn that I didn't spend more than $20 on apples.  It's hard to find something to do in New Jersey that only costs $20, so it was really a steal of a day!

With piles of apples in our apartment and only one person who likes eating apples, I had lots of recipes to try out.  Of course the first thing I had to make was an apple crisp, because they're delicious and I love them.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Cooking in Thailand
Three Years Ago: Mint Brownies & French Toast Cupcakes

Apple-Cranberry Crumble
A Wilde Original

You can make an apple crisp with any combination of apples that you happen to have on hand. I made this crumble in a large casserole, but you can decide to make it in small ramekins for individual portions.

4 pounds apples, mixture of two different types (I used Nittany & Stayman)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons butter, cubed and chilled
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 ºF and lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Peel and core all the apples.  Slice to 1/8-inch thickness with a knife or mandoline.  Combine all ingredients for the filling in a large bowl. Pour apples into prepared baking dish.

Combine first 6 ingredients for the topping in a bowl and stir to mix.  Add butter and cut it in with your fingers, two forks or a pastry blender.  Don't overwork it too much, you don't want to the butter to melt.  Pour topping over the apple mixture.

Bake crumble for 1 1/2 hours, until bubbly and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until lukewarm.  Enjoy with a big scoop of ice cream.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Several years ago, I ate almost an entire pan of scotcheroos at a Super Bowl party.  And I didn't even feel guilty about it, because they were delicious.  Luckily this was before the start of WITK.  I wasn't obligated to recreate them in my kitchen and share them with you.

Little did I know that scotcheroos were a fairly common dessert treat and that you could find on the Rice Krispy website.  It was only recently that I learned the name of the bars that I devoured in between watching SB commercials and gabbing with my girlfriends.  It was at that same time that I picked up a jar of Biscoff spread from Fairway, fate seemed to have forced my hand to make these - Biscofferoos.

I thought I was being all creative, as all we bloggers think we are, until I checked the internet.  Apparently I was almost brilliant, except one person beat me to it!  So close.

Were these just as addicting as the original scotcheroos?  You bet your cutest pair of shoes they were!  I ate so many of these.  An unhealthy amount of them.  Then I brought them to work and fed them to my unsuspecting coworkers.  Mostly just one guy.  He ate 90% of them.  I ate the rest.

Side Note: Thankfully I made these before I began my marathon training, because I would have found myself sitting on the couch eating them and not lacing up my sneakers to hit the treadmill.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cereal Milk Panna Cotta

You may have read last week that Boyfriend and I spent Valentine's Day at a baking class in Brooklyn.  Not just any baking class, we spent two hours with the baking team at Momofuku Milk bar, learning the secrets of Crack pie and cereal milk from Christina Tosi.

A few weeks ago, BF sent me a link to the baking class.  How he found it, I have no idea.  He thinks it may have been on Twitter, not sure.  Even though BF isn't really a baker, or even likes to be in the kitchen, he agreed to come with me and bake.  I signed us up and we all of a sudden had Valentine's day plans!  (I later tried to sign up for a second class only to find that they had all sold out!)

If you haven't been to Momofuku Milk bar before, you should put it on your places to visit on your next trip to New York City.  Christina Tosi is the owner/head baker and evil baking genius at Milk bar.  The treats you will find on the menu are creative, mind-boggling and delicious.  Cereal milk ice cream, cornflake marshmallow cookies, kimchi & blue cheese croissants.  Everything I've had there is crazy delicious.

BF and I arrived in Brooklyn Thursday night, ready to bake!  Well, I was ready to bake, BF was ready to help me.  Just outside the door to the Milk bar storefront in Williamsburg was a huge sign, welcoming us to the "Bake the Book Series."  We were ushered inside of the commissary - the Milk bars main baking facility.  The walls are lined with ingredients that you might not traditionally find in a bakery - cases of Ovaltine and tons of cereal.  As well as the usual stuff - giant stand mixers, a wall of ovens and bakers decked out in their kitchen whites.

Our Valentine's day class was the inaugural Momofuku class and the Milk bar team was so welcoming and excited to have us in their kitchen.  I was so excited to hear that we were the first group to be joining the team at the mixers.  Christina Tosi hollered over the crowd, climbed onto a wheeled cart piled high with baking sheets, and gave us a brief history of Milk bar.  The entire baking staff was on hand to help us in the kitchen and answer any questions we had.  They were amazing.

The class was thirty students, fifteen Beville stand mixers and lots of sugar, butter, milk and cereal.  We started out with making the Milk bar classic - Crack pie.  It's super sweet, dense pie, with a mild cereal flavor.  The recipe is in the cookbook, but the secrets are straight from the bakers.  I'll re-run this recipe in a few weeks (after BF and I finish these two pies that we still have!) and see if I remember all the little tips.  The take home tip for making crack pie - don't overmix the filling!

While our pies were baking, we made our second recipe of the night - Cereal milk.  It's a Milk bar classic and it's so crazy simple tasty.  Soak corn flakes in milk for twenty minutes.  Strain off the corn flakes then season with brown sugar and salt.  It's the "milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl."  We bottled it up and tasted a few cereal milk products, including their amazing cereal milk soft serve with corn flake crunch.  The other thing we tried out was a panna cotta made with the milk and that's what I made with my cereal milk at home!

The class finished off with a totally informal question and answer session with the whole Milk bar team.  They were an amazing bunch of people who really seemed to take pride and joy in their work.  I packed up our Crack pies and cereal milk in a carrier bag, picked up a few items before we left (glucose, dehydrated corn powder & a cookie making kit) and got my Milk Bar cookbook signed by the pastry queen herself.  It was a great Valentine's day (topped off with a stop at Crif dogs for some hot dogs) spent with my favorite guy, doing something that I love.

Thanks Milk Bar!  I can't wait to come back!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Caramel Buttercream and Cookie Dough Dip

Every once and I while, you get lucky.  Recently, I was lucky enough to be chosen to test out some of Ghirardellis newest "Intense Dark" chocolate creations.  You should have seen me when I picked up my package of chocolate from my apartment office.  First, I thought how heavy it was (heavy with deliciousness).  Next, I wondered what exactly they sent me!  I'll tell you...

The Intense Dark line of Ghirardelli chocolates are as follows.  Sea Salt Caramel, Cabernet Matinee, Toffee Interlude, Hazelnut Heaven, Evening Dream, Twilight Delight and Midnight Reverie.  As a taste tester, I was asked to pair these chocolates with different foods and beverages, rather than use the chocolate in a baked good.  Boyfriend and I decided this would be the perfect thing for a dessert buffet.

I chose three of the chocolates and paired them with different dips, trying to play off of the flavors in each chocolate.  Midnight Reverie (86% Cacao Dark Chocolate), a rich and classy bar, was paired up with a homemade blackberry marshmallow fluff.  The sweet and tart blackberries really went well with the deep, dark chocolate.

Evening Dream (60% Cacao Dark Chocolate) went exquisitely with cookie dough dip.  The reason behind this pairing?  Chocolate chip cookie dough usually used a semi-sweet chocolate chip and the 60% Dark bar was like having a cookie with the best possible chocolate chips.

Hazelnut Heaven (Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts), a semi-sweet and crunchy bar, went perfectly with a sweet, homemade caramel buttercream.  Caramel and hazelnut was the perfect pairing and this plate of chocolate was devoured first.

The remaining flavors were tested with less auspicious pairings.  I allowed a square of Cabernet Matinee (Dark Chocolate with Blackberry and Cabernet) to melt slowly over a warm piece of French bread.  Sea Salt Soiree (Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almonds) was a surprising treat with leftover bacon from breakfast.  And Toffee Interlude (Dark Chocolate with Toffee)?  I just had that one with a bottle of sparkling water.

So next time you have a dinner party, don't worry about a tricky dessert.  Set out plates of chocolate and a few different dips and let everyone choose their favorite!

This post is brought to you by Ghirardelli Intense Dark™ Chocolate.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Are you like me?  Can you have breakfast for any meal of the day?  Omelets for dinner.  Bagels for lunch.  Pancakes for a late night snack.  Breakfast, the best meal of the day.  Well, almost.  I don't really like eggs for breakfast.  Eggs - fried, scrambled or over-easy - are dinner fare.

I decided that this week, rather than making pancakes for dinner, I would make a true breakfast for dessert.  Cinnamon roll cupcakes!

A simple vanilla cake, with layers of cinnamon-brown sugar, topped with a layer of cream cheese frosting.  These little treats tasted just like the breakfast buns I can't keep my hands off.  Whenever I make a batch (or can if I'm in a hurry and have a big craving) of cinnamon rolls, I always have at least two.  I know they are about a million calories each, I can't help myself.

These cupcakes were just what I wanted and I was totally satisfied with just one.
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