Classics, Cupcakes, Italian

Chocolate Cannoli Cupcakes

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This summer, I have been on a Cannoli kick.  I guess it started with the Cannolis we had for our rehearsal dinner.

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Then we were out in Boston getting some more at Cafe Vitorria.  As a result, whenever I wanted make something, the “Cannoli” flavor kept coming up.  So here is a super easy recipe for Cannoli cupcakes.  I also used the ingredients to build a my Chocolate Orange Charlotte.

Ingredients:

Store bought chocolate cake mix

1 15oz container of Ricotta Cheese ( I used part-skim, feel free to use full fat)

4 tbsp of vanilla frosting (I used this, because it was lying around in the pantry)  OR 4tbsp  powdered sugar.  Sweeten to your liking.

1 tsp of almond extract

2tsps of ground cinnamon

mini chocolate chips and pistachios (unsalted-shelled) for garnish

Method:

Make batter and bake cupcakes as per package directions.  I baked 6 cupcakes and used the rest of the batter to make 2 9″ round cakes for my Chocolate Orange Charlotte.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely

In the meantime, mix the entire container of ricotta cheese with 4tbsp of frosting (or 4tbsp of powdered sugar) with almond extract and cinnamon

Fill into a piping bag attached to a star-tip (this is what I did; frost as you like) and pipe onto your cupcakes. You will not use the entire frosting for 6 cupcakes, I saved it for my cake recipe.  You will probably use the whole thing if you are making 12 cupcakes.  This frosting will make a great Cannoli Dip with graham crackers or you could use it for my other favorite recipe “Cannoli Cups

Sprinkle with mini-chocolate chips and pistachios (other toppings could be orange peels, almonds or nothing at all)

Serve and watch your friends devour !

 

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Cake

Almond Torte with Figs and Mascarpone

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Another lab birthday calls for a another cake.  However, baking for a French man uped the ante, and I had to step up to the challenge !  I daresay it was a success.  Hopefully you will enjoy this cake too! Also, this cake is worth being my 200th post !

INGREDIENTS:

For The Cake:

1 Cup plain flour

1 Cup almond meal

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 Cup greek yogurt

For Icing:

250g mascarpone cheese

1/3 Cup cocoa powder, sifted

1/3 Cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 Cup heavy cream

Homemade Fig Butter (refer to previous post)

METHOD:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and then put to one side.

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3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then mix in vanilla extract.

5. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour in three portions, alternating with two portions of greek yogurt. Mix until a few streaks of flour remain.

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6. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Smooth batter evenly in pans.

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7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cakes are lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

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8. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes. Transfer cakes from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

9. Whip mascarpone and powdered sugar until creamy.

10. Add heavy cream and whip to desired consistency.

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11. Take 1/3 of the mascarpone icing and put into a separate bowl, whip cocoa powder into it- this will form the middle layer in the cake.The remaining ‘plain’ mascarpone icing will form the top and sides of your cake.

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12. Once the cake has cooled completely, slice each cake in half and spread fig butter. then place one cake on a plate or cake stand. Spread the chocolate mascarpone filling on top ensuring it is smooth and level. Top with other cake (this was also sliced in half and spread with fig butter in between) So you will end up with fig butter, chocolate cream and fig butter between 4 layers of cake.

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13. Spread the plain mascarpone icing on the top and around the side as thickly or thinly as you like.

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14. Now the really fun bit- decorating the the cake. I added chocolate roses, sliced figs and blueberries.  I did some piping with the remaining chocolate mascarpone filling.

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Breakfast, Brunch

Blackberry Almond Breakfast Custard

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Another delicious breakfast recipe ! Perfect warm or cold and a healthy yet decadent looking change from that boring bowl of oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/2 cup liquid eggs

1/2 cup almond milk

1 pint blackberries

2/3 cup of slivered almonds

1/4 cup honey

1Tbsp of coconut sugar

Method:

Blend honey, milk and eggs in a blender

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Spray a 9″pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the custard

arrange the blackberries all around the plate, so that each slice gets 2-3 berries

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top with almonds and coconut sugar

bake for 40-45mins in 350F oven till the top is golden and the custard has set.

enjoy warm or cold.

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Dessert

Almond Joy Bars

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Looks messy, is messy but oh will your belly do a happy dance with one bite of these bars.  Use the ingredients to make either drop cookies or a bar like I made.  If making a bar, coat the top with the extra chocolate and coconut !!!
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¾ c. Almond Butter
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Kosher Salt
  • ½ c. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • ½ c. Whole Almonds, ground ( I ground coconut flavor almonds)
  • 2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cream butter, almond butter, and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, beat until well-incorporated. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed butters and sugars and mix on a low speed until just combined. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
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Press down the batter into a greased 9×13 baking pan.  Top with the chocolate chips and coconut. Bake until lightly golden around the edges but still quite soft in the center, 12-14 minutes.

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Spread the chocolate and coconut to make it look like frosting.  Put back into the oven for 5 more minutes.

Allow to cool completely before cutting up into squares !

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Cake, Dessert

Sweet Cream Cake with an Apricot Filling and Whipped White Chocolate Frosting

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I started making this cake to use up leftover heavy cream and jam.  It turned into this elegant cake.  Make this for your upcoming holiday party and floor your guests with your mad baking skills !

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream (35% butterfat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored; gradually beat in sugar. Sift together the dry ingredients. Stir in sifted dry ingredients alternately with the cream and vanilla. Beat well.

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Spread batter in 2 greased and floured round 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

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Apricot Cream Filling:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Whip the cream and jam with the extract till light and fluffy.  Set aside.

Whipped White Chocolate frosting:

  • 1 package of white chocolate pudding mix
  • 12 oz tub of thawed whipped topping

Mix the pudding mix with a completely thawed whipped topping till light and smooth.

Assembly:

Spread the apricot filling between the two cake layers evenly.  Please make sure the cake has cooled completely.

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Frost the cake with the whipped topping and decorate the edges with slivered almonds.  Walnuts would work too.  Enjoy !

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Sides

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Almonds

Welcome Fall !!!!! On the first day of the best season of the year this is my recipe to you all.  Whether you use fresh or frozen, for a weeknight side dish or a holiday dish, roasted brussel sprouts with sweet/tart berries and nutty rich almonds will become a standard go to.  Try it this season and the best part is that it is super easy !

Ingredients:

1 tbsp of Olive oil

1 lb of brussel sprouts

salt and pepper to taste

chopped almonds and cranberries.  Walnuts and golden raisins would work too.  Please add much as your family likes.

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F

Toss the sprouts in oil and salt and pepper.

Roasted till the brussel sprouts are golden brown, and some of the outer leaves are crispy, about 40 mins. ( temp will change according to your oven’s power)

While the brussel sprouts roast chop up your nuts and berries.

Once the brussel sprouts are done, remove them from the oven and immediately toss in the nuts and dried fruit.  Residual heat will toast the nuts and soften the fruit.

Serve warm !

Classics, Comfort food

Chicken Cutlets–with a twist

This is not your same old boring chicken cutlets.  No longer will you have to bore yourself ( or your family) with thick pieces of  dry chicken breast hidd.en underneath breadcrumbs.  No more frying to make them juicier and no more baking  only to find that the crust is pale and even soggy.  This is what I do and it is always yummy !  try it and let me know what you think !

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs ( I highly insist on thighs but if you must, use breasts)

1 or 2 eggs depending on how many cutlets you are going to make

equal parts italian style breadcrumbs, sliced almonds and salted pretzels.

Method:

Take your cut of meat and place it on your cutting board and cover it with a plastic wrap.  Now, pound it thin–this will ensure quick cooking and even at a high temperature, it will quick faster before it gets a chance to dry out.

Meanwhile, pulse the pretzels, nuts ( you could use peanuts, cashews or walnuts) and breadcrumbs.  The breadcrumbs bring the familiar flavor of a cutlet, the pretzels add salt and crunch and the nuts adds richness and moisture from their oils.

Dip the pieces of chicken in the beaten egg and transfer to crumb mixture.

Be patient and loving at this step and really press on the crumbs.  If you want a thicker crust, redip in egg and press on the crumbs for a second time.

Arrange chicken on a cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet and put this into the fridge for a few hours.  At this step you could freeze the cutlets for later or even keep in the fridge overnight.  I normally prepare the cutlets in the morning and bake them right before dinner.

Preheat oven to 350F

Bring the chicken out of the fridge/ freezer and give them a light coating of cooking spray and bake for 15-20 mins.

Serve hot with your choice of sides.  I had left over roasted vegetables to serve with the cutlets.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe !