Monthly Mystery Munchies #23: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling Topped with Chocolate Ganache

Yes, the title is a mouthful, but so are these cupcakes! This month’s theme made me so incredibly happy! I mean, I freaking love baking, and I love frosting, and filling of any variety, so let’s play! Ann’s instructions were: something with frosting and/or filling and you can use frosting as filling and vice versa. I mean!! Listen to this: Chocolate cupcakes hollowed out and filled with cream cheese frosting, then topped with chocolate ganache. Hashtag inheaven! When you first bite into the cupcake, there’s a distinct chocolatey taste, swiftly followed by a burst of creamy vanilla, then finished with a creamy ganache. Lots of creaminess, so much of!

Please click your way over to Grubbs n Critters and check out Ann’s delicious offering for this month’s challenge – choux (cream puffs) with Mascarpone cheese filling. The tummy wants what it wants! I have no doubt you will luh it!

Here we go…

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling Topped with Chocolate Ganache

Cupcake Supplies:

1 cup (100g) flour
¾ cup (75g) cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup (80g) white sugar
½ cup (80g) brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons Bulgarian yoghurt

Cream Cheese Frosting Filling Supplies:

100g butter, room temperature
150g plain cream cheese, also room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)

Chocolate Ganache Supplies:

80g dark baking chocolate
80ml cream

Making It Happen:

Cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 180°C (375°F). Whisk the butter and sugar on high until well mixed.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk on low for 10 seconds. The batter will be crumbly.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom well.
Whisk in the yoghurt and vanilla essence, beat on low for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom and give it one last beat, about 5 seconds.

Fill the muffin cups half full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes our clear. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for half an hour.

While the cupcakes are chilling, make the filling, and then the ganache.

Cream Cheese Frosting Filling: In a large bowl, beat the room temperature butter and cream cheese on high for a minute. about 5 seconds. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla paste and give it one last stir.

Remove the chilled cupcakes from the fridge and hollow out the centre using a serrated knife, slicing the top off and keeping aside. Using a piping bag, fill the centre of each cupcake with frosting. Place the top back on, kinda like a lid. Refrigerate again.

Chocolate ganache: Heat the cream and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and allow to cool. Once chilled, scoop one tablespoon onto the cupcakes.

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Monthly Mystery Munchies #22: Rugelach

rugelach-cooked-1Oh yeah! Pastry filled with peanut butter and chocolate chips, anyone? My hand bolts up! Rugelach – this month’s recipe, is a popular treat in Israel, and apparently America is enthusiastic about it too. Can’t say I blame them! This traditionally Jewish delight was usually reserved for special occasions such as Hanukkah, but it’s become more popular and now it’s made for any occasion. I’m hosting a dear friend’s birthday shindig this month, for 20 people, and I wanted to find something interesting and plentiful to feed the masses. I found this, and I’m hooked! Speaking of hooked, Ann made Bodhi (Fig) Pudding in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Well, I for one heart this recipe! Ann, like me, doesn’t like OTT V Day vibes, so I think making a fig-based dessert is the perfect break from the traditional chocolate treats. I feel ya, Ann!

rugelach-circle-2

Flaky pastry smothered in peanut butter, topped with chocolate chips, rolled up and baked in the oven, literally melts in your mouth. This is a fitting recipe for this month’s theme – a dish that’s derived from a different culture for special occasions. Ann was, as always, down with this. Aah, I love her enthusiasm! No matter what the theme, she is always up for the challenge. Check out her take on this, and prepare to be wowed!

rugelach-raw-rolls-1

Rugelach

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Supplies:

2 sticks/1 cup/230g cold salted butter*, cubed
230g/8 oz cold cream cheese
¼ sour cream
2 cups flour + 4 tablespoons for sprinkling on surface
* You can use unsalted butter, just add ¼ teaspoon salt

1 egg for brushing

For The Filling:

1 cup melted smooth peanut butter divided into ¼
½ cup dark chocolate chips divided into ¼

Making It Happen:

In a food processor, add the flour, butter, cream cheese and sour cream. Pulse until the dough is crumbly and coming away from the sides. Do not over-process.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour onto a clean surface and form a rough ball with the dough. Divide it into four pieces, forming a ball for each, cover in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

Again, sprinkle flour onto a work surface and sprinkle a bit onto your rolling pin.
Roll the dough from the center out, forming a circle, and until the dough is about 1/8inch thick.
Take a 9 inch cake pan, place it hollow side down onto the dough, and cut the edges off to form a neat circle.

Heat the peanut butter in the microwave until runny, and, starting from the centre, spread it over the dough until it’s about 1 inch from the outer side. Sprinkle choc chips over the peanut butter.
Using a shark knife, halve the circle. Halve it again, and continue until it’s cut into eight triangles. It will look like a pizza. Yum.
Starting from the outer egde, roll each triangle up and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough balls.
Heat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Remove the chilled rugelach from the fridge. Place parchment paper on a baking tray, lay your rugelach down and brush with egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Your can refrigerate this for several days, and freeze it too.

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies #17: Spinach and Caramelised Onion Dip

 

Spinach dip 4 1

This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge was so much fun! We’re going into summer here in the Southern Hemisphere, and as a nation, we’re obsessed with barbecues. Like, obsessed to the point that rain or shine, we make it happen! An obligatory part of said gatherings is snacks, and with snacks comes dips. Ann’s criteria for this dish is that it be a ‘signature dip’. She absolutely wowed me with her creamy chicken liver cheesy pâté cheesy dip. I MEAN! Killin’ it! With mine, I didn’t have to think too hard about it, although there are a few that I concoct, this one wins every time.

Spinach dip 3 2

You see, there is something so moreish about spinach, sweet, caramelised onions, and sour cream. It’s also easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge for up to two days. In terms of what to serve it with, that’s fun too. My favourites: broccoli florets, carrot sticks, potato chips, mini cheesy sausage rolls, tortilla chips… basically anything you want! Please go to Grubbs n Critters and check out all of all recipes, and be prepared to leave drooling!

Spinach and Caramelised Onion Dip

  • Difficulty: easy
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Suppplies:

250g cooked spinach
3 onions, I used 2 x red and 1 x yellow
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
250ml sour cream
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and butter, stirring to spread the butter.

Spread the onions evenly across the pan. Fry for 5 minutes on medium high, stirring to prevent onions from sticking, then turn the heat down to medium low and saute for another 10 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt and saute for 30 minutes.

Add the spinach to the onions and stir in the sour cream. Serve.

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies #14: Malva Pudding

Malva pudding 6Pour some sugar on meeeee! Ann from Grubbs n Critters has just emigrated to the Netherlands, her husband’s home country, so this month we thought it apt that she do a Dutch recipe and me an Afrikaans one. Afrikaans is a derivative of Dutch, with the early Settlers in South Africa being Dutch. I chose malva pudding, which is a sweet, spongy pudding of Cape Dutch origin. It’s topped (flooded) with an abundance of creamy, sweet sauce. A lot of sweet in this one, which certainly appeases my sugar addiction.

I can’t take credit for this recipe, as much as I’d like to! My stepmom, Michele, is a phenomenal cook, and she gave me her recipe a few years ago. Obsessed. This is my favourite hot pudding, and the fact that it’s served with custard and/or ice cream (why not both?) makes it decadent and indulgent, and one for the recipe books. It’s easy, folks, mission-free, and moreish.

Ann made something quite delicious that appeals to me in every way – kaas uienbrood (cheese onion bread with parmesan, cheddar and gouda. Oh god, I’m dying!). During her second recipe test, she added paprika, thyme and cumin-flavoured cheese. Y’all, I’m obsessed with cheese, bread and spices. Dead. For another authentic Dutch recipe, try her bitterballen. She also posts a weekly recipe called “Fabulous Friday Flavour” and her “Sunday Humour” posts are a must! Here we go…

Malva Pudding

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Cake:
2 cups self raising flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon bicarb
3 tablespoons apricot jam
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
½ teaspoon salt

Sauce:
1 large tin evaporated milk
200g butter
1 cup sugar

Making It Happen:

Malva pudding 2Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Cream the eggs and sugar until fully mixed, about 30 seconds.
Sift the flour in, and add the rest of the ingredients. Beat well until fully combined.
Pour the mixture into a deep corningware or pottery dish and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Malva pudding 4Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a small pot on medium. Add the evaporated milk and sugar and stir well. Remove from heat when the sugar has melted fully and the ingredients are throughly mixed.
Thoroughly pierce the whole cake with a toothpick and pour the hot sauce over it.

Malva pudding 5Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving, so that the cake soaks up all of the sinfully delicious sauce! You can also refrigerate this dish and heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Serve with custard and/or ice cream.

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon (Obviousy)

Split pea soup 6

This, my friends, is the shizzz. This creamy, bacon-y pea soup is the only pea soup you’ll ever need! And need I do. I need this in my life. Regularly.

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy peasy juice squeezy
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Supplies:

Split pea soup 1200g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and thinly sliced
2 cups green split peas, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
250ml cream
Sea salt to taste, reserve until the end
Freshly cracked black pepper
Parsley to garnish
Fresh bread, toasted

Making It Happen:

Split pea soup 21. In a large pot, fry the onions and garlic in butter on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are soft.

 

 

Split pea soup 32. Add the split peas and paprika and stir well. Pour the stock and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid partially covering the pot, for minutes 30 minutes(check your package instructions) until the peas are tender.

 

Split pea soup 43. While the peas are simmering, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry in the canola oil until slightly crispy. Set aside, reserving the bacon juices. Once the peas are tender, remove the pot from the heat and blitz the soup, either in a food processor, or with a handheld blender. Return to the heat, add the lemon juice, cream and bacon, including the bacon juices. Simmer for a further 5 minutes until the soup is well-heated.

Split pea soup 54. At this point, taste the soup and season with salt if necessary, and pepper. The bacon will make it salty, so it’s important not to add salt until this stage. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted bread.

You can refrigerate this soup in advance for up to two days.

 

Roast Brussels Sprouts and Artichokes

Artichokes Brussels 2 1Brussels Sprouts and artichokes are both a polarizing food. This is especially true in my in-laws’ home. Mum loves them, Pops cringes are the very mention of them. Fortunately, The Husband and I don’t have that problem. Interestingly, I’ve found that the way these veggies are cooked largely determines their enjoyment factor. I have a love affair with lemon. What goes perfectly with lemon, you ask? Well, butter and pepper. Artichokes are such a treat as they’re ludicrously expensive, but you can make the Brussels without the artichokes, and vice versa. I paired them together because I wanted to give Mum a treat (and they were so good, Pops even enjoyed them!).

Roast Brussels Sprouts and Artichokes

  • Servings: 4 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: super duper easy
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Supplies:

Artichokes Brussels 6 2300g Brussels sprouts
1 x tin artichoke hearts, drained
50g melted butter
Juice of half a lemon (you can also use bottled lemon juice, 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Salt to season

Making it happen:

Artichokes Brussels 7 11. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Put the artichokes and Brussels sprouts in a baking dish. Melt the butter in the
microwave, add lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper. Stir to mix well and pour over the veggies.

 

Artichokes Brussels 12 Bake on the middle shelf for 30 – 40 minutes, until the Brussels are soft. (You might need to cover the dish with tin
foil for the last half.) Serve hot and scoop up the juices from the baking dish, and pour over the veggies once you’ve transferred them to plates.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo with Chicken, Bacon and Mushrooms

Gnocchi Alfredo 7This recipe sounds shmancy and a mission. It’s not. While it will impress the crap out of your guests, or just you, it’s not difficult at all. This is the gist: fry stuff. Add cream. Mix stuff. Bake. Drool.

In this house, we are obsessed with gnocchi. And cheese. I blame myself for getting The Husband into it. We all have our crosses to bear. A few weeks ago we went out for dinner and The Husband had penne alfredo and mentioned, in passing, that I should try to recreate it, but with gnocchi. What’s that? A challenge? A pasta challenge? I’m in. I was extremely disappointed when a lot of recipes used pre-bought alfredo sauce. Really? Do you have any idea how easy it it? Don’t tell your guests, because as far as they’re concerned, based on the taste, you slaved for several hours. But really folks, it’s one of the least complicated and most yummiest recipes you’ll ever make. You’re welcome.

Gnocchi Alfredo

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Gnocchi Alfredo 11 package gnocchi (500g)
500g chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 pack shoulder bacon, sliced
400g chopped mushrooms
4 crushed and sliced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour for dredging
250ml cream
Fresh parsley + more for garnishing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
300g cheddar, grated
300g mozzarella, grated
Salt and pepper

Making it happen:

Gnocchi Alfredo 21. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks, toss them in the flour and coat thoroughly. Heat the butter on medium and fry the chicken pieces for 5 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 43. Return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan, add the cream and 2 stalks parsley and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 64. Heat your oven to 190°C (375°F). In the meantime, cook the gnocchi per package instructions.
Place the chicken, bacon and mushroom mixture in a large dish and toss with cheddar. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 8