Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

DBC3Sinfully decadent yet heavenly on the taste buds! Dark chocolate cupcakes, using actual dark chocolate in the batter, as well as the frosting, are the stuff dreams of made of… beautiful, satisfying, moreish dreams! You don’t get more chocolatey than death by chocolate, as the name suggests. These deeply delicious cupcakes will seriously impress your guests and leave you feeling replete and fuzzy in your warm chocolate glow!

Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: medium
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Supplies:

DBC 41½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter (180g)
1 cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
85g dark chocolate

Making it happen:

DBC 51. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pot on low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

 

 

 

DBC 62. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

 

 

 

DBC 73. In another bowl, whisk the sugars and eggs, adding 1 at a time, and beat for a further 15 seconds. Add in the vanilla and whisk to combine.

 

 

DBC 84. Pour in the melted chocolate and butter, and mix until smooth and fully combined.

 

 

 

DBC 95. Add the flour and sour cream in thirds. Start with adding a third of the flour, then a third of the sour cream, beating after each addition. Repeat until the flour and sour cream are finished.

 

 

DBC 106. Fill the cupcake liners until two-thirds full. Bake on the middle shelf for 15-18 minutes (a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clear.)

 

Chocolate buttercream frosting:

DBC 153 cups icing sugar
100g room temp butter
1 cup cocoa powder
50g melted chocolate, cooled
5 tablespoons cream
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

 

DBC 1Cut the chocolate into small pieces. Melt with cream on low heat and set aside until completely cooled.
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.

DBC 2In three stages, add the icing/cocoa powder and melted chocolate/cream to the butter, beating well after each addition. Once it’s all been added, beat well for about 2 minutes. Frost and decorate desired.

 

 

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Monthly Mystery Munchies #7: Fish with Orange and Dark Chocolate Soy Sauce Reduction

Orange dark choc soy sauce 8This month, I racked my brain (therefore concluding that I do, in fact, have one, albeit hidden under blonde) as to what to cook for November’s Monthly Mystery Munchies. We haven’t done a fish dish yet, and I wanted to do something with a difference, so the theme was fish with an ingredient/s not commonly used. Ann from Grubbs n Critters was happy to do this theme, although we were both initially stumped. Now that I had a theme, I had the challenge of deciding what to use as my surprise ingredient. Fish with a soy sauce reduction is quite a popular choice, but it wasn’t original, intriguing if you will. I liked the idea but needed to add a ‘wow’ factor. I love citrus anything, so I added orange juice and rind, and then chocolate, because why not? It sounds incredibly strange, bizarre, maybe even more ‘ew’ than ‘wow’. But this is why Ann and I do our monthly challenge – we push our boundaries, we try new things, and we learn, and it’s a lot of fun.

In trying to get the reduction portions right, I attempted it with rump steak and bone-in chicken breasts too. The first attempt was an important learning curve – the chocolate was unnoticeable. Bummer. Much disappointment. I was so looking forward to having dinner and dessert in one dish. I initially only used dark chocolate, but it was time to up my game. Enter cocoa powder. Now we’re talking! Or rather, not talking, because my mouth was pretty full. I also decided to use cayenne pepper because I love a bite. Right, now that the orange, dark chocolate, cayenne and soy were to my liking, it was time to pair it with fish. But what fish? So many options. I tried two – Cape yellowtail and hake. Yellowtail is a ‘fishier’ fish whereas hake is more mild. The Husband and I enjoyed both, and it’s entirely dependant on your personal preference. I lean towards hake, he leans towards yellowtail. The important fact is that the reduction perfectly compliments both. As I mentioned earlier, this reduction may be used with both chicken and steak, but there’s something about using it with fresh fish that has a je nes se qua.

Please head over to Grubbs n Critters to see Ann’s wonderful interpretation of this month’s theme! She always brings her A-game and this month is no exception! She made dory fish with a creamy golden kiwi sauce. Kiwis! It seems we were vibing from afar, both using fruit. What a delicious-looking and sounding dish! Well done, Ann, and thank you so much for being such a good sport about, let’s face it, a weird and difficult challenge!

Fish with Orange and Dark Chocolate Soy Sauce Reduction

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Orange dark choc soy sauce 1 3½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange rind
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
30g chopped dark chocolate
4 pieces filleted fish (I used Yellowtail and hake)
Butter for frying

 

Making it happen:

Orange dark choc soy sauce 61. Combine all the ingredients, except the dark chocolate and butter, in a pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes, stir in the dark chocolate until melted. Allow the sauce to cool.

 

Orange dark choc soy sauce 4 12. Put the fish in a freezer bag and pour the cooled reduction over it. Refrigerate for an hour.

 

 

20151108_202240 13. Remove from the fridge. On medium heat, using a large pan, melt the butter (about 2 tablespoons) and add the fish to the pan, pouring the remaining sauce over it. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side. This is dependent on the thickness of the fish, so check the fish after 3 minutes.

 

Orange dark choc soy sauce 114. Remove from the pan and serve hot. You can pair this with baked potatoes, savoury rice or chips.

 

Chocolate Fondants (Lava Cake)

Chocolate fondants 1 12Ooooh! Gooey, warm, rich chocolate that literally melts in your mouth! Hells yes! Firm on the outside, bubbling with molten chocolate on the inside, indulge yourself and your guests with this decadent pudding that will soon become a firm favourite! You can conveniently prepare this ahead and pop the fondants in the oven just before you’re ready to serve. You can also reheat them for 15 seconds in the microwave if necessary, but don’t overheat!

Chocolate fondants captured my heart (in terms of both fondness and cholesterol) five years ago when I happened upon a Gordon Ramsay recipe, which I adjusted to create this one. I tried it and was floored at the simplicity of the idea – firm to the touch on the outside, but the moment you go in for the first mouthful, melted chocolatey heaven escapes, as if little cocoa fairies are having a party in your mouth!

 

Chocolate Fondants (Lava Cake)

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Supplies:

Chocolate fondants 43 tablespoons melted butter, for greasing
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, for dusting
200g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
200g salted butter
200g castor sugar
4 room temp eggs + 2 egg yolks
200g cake flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Making it happen:

Chocolate fondants 51. Nuke 3 tablespoons of butter and brush it inside the cups, spreading it around the sides and bottom of each individual cup. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder inside each cup, tipping to spread it across all the sides and bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight if you’re preparing ahead.

 

 

Chocolate fondants 62. In a small pot, melt the butter and chocolate on medium heat, stirring to dissolve, until both are melted and fully mixed.

 

 

 

Choc fondants 103. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and yolks until the batter is thick and pale, about 3-4 minutes. Sift in the flour and beat well to fully incorporate.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate fondants 74. Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the batter in thirds, mixing well after each addition, until the chocolate and butter are fully mixed into the batter. Add vanilla and beat to mix.

 

 

 

Chocolate fondants 85. Pour the batter into the cupcake/muffin cups/ramekins, filling 23 full, and refrigerate for one hour or more.

 

 

 

 

Choc fondants 116. Heat your oven to 200°C (400°F) and bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops start to come away from the sides. Do not over-bake! You want the fondants to be firm around the sides but gooey in the centre. Serve with ice cream or cream, but my vote is creamy vanilla ice cream!

 

 

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 21Behold! No, seriously, this is freaking amazing! I had SO much fun with this recipe. I usually make chewy brownies with chocolate ganache but this time I wanted to do a fudgier take on them and, of course, a peanut butter frosting. I used both dark and milk chocolate, the latter to balance the bitterness. When you bite into these babies, you get a fudgy, delicious, creamy, chocolatey taste with fluffy, light peanut butter frosting and crunchy chocolate chips. Yum? Yum.

The top is crinkly, the inside, crunchy (hello, chocolate chips!) and the frosting, well, peanut buttery. I don’t think I need to say anything else!

You can use the frosting for cupcakes, cakes, you name it. If you’re doing this, add extra icing sugar. You might need to add a tablespoon or two of milk if the frosting is too thick, but for this recipe you shouldn’t need any milk.

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Supplies:

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 1¾ cup cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup butter (120g)
230g dark chocolate, roughly chopped, for melting
200g milk chocolate chips
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or essence
½ teaspoon salt

Making it happen:

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 21. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a 9×9 square baking tin with parchment paper, making sure it covers the sides and leaves an overhang. You’ll need this to remove the brownie slab in one go.

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 42. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 53. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a pan on medium heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Set aside.

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 64. Add the sugar to the melted chocolate and butter, whisking until it’s fully combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the vanilla and whisk to incorporate.

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 7 (2)5. Slowly add the dry ingredients, whisking until well combined. Scrape down the sides as necessary.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 8 (2)6. Add the milk chocolate chips and stir to throughly combine.

 

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 117. Bake on the middle shelf for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clear. The top will be crinkly and the sides will be pulling away. Don’t stress if it has cracks.

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 128. Once cooked, remove from the oven and rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove the slab from the baking tin, lifting the sides of the parchment paper up, and let cool for an hour.
Once completely cool, cut the brownie slab into 16 blocks.

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 179. F̶r̶o̶s̶t̶ smother with peanut butter frosting.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 1910. Add sprinkles (optional).

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter frosting:

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 131 cup creamy peanut butter
60g butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons milk if necessary

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 141. On low speed, beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 202. Add the icing sugar, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla essence and beat until well combined. (If it’s too thick, add 2 tablespoons of milk. I did not find it necessary for this recipe but it’s entirely up to you. If you need more frosting, add more icing sugar.)

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Truffles

Mixed truffles 1This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies was a challenge! The theme is ‘sweets and colours’. How hard could it possibly be? Well, as it turns out, it was not as easy as I thought, but that’s the whole point of my and Ann’s monthly challenge – that we challenge each other and ourselves.

I racked my brain and Googled it for days, trying to find something that would suffice. Then something happened. I made Oreo truffles and fell in love. I mean, an unhealthy, obsessive, I-want-to-consume-all-of-you type of love. My mind was made up, this is it. This is the recipe. But why stop there, right? I wanted to add variety, so I came up with dark chocolate, chilli and almond truffles rolled in sesame seeds. I was in a quandary… which was my favourite? I couldn’t decide. So, to complicate things more, I added one more to the mix. White chocolate and coconut truffles with blue food colouring. The coconut perfectly compliments the sweetness of the white chocolate. I’ve separated the recipes into individual printable versions, but they are all delicious.

Oreo Truffles with Peppermint Crisp Topping

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: easy
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Oreo 1Stuff dreams are made of:

  • 120g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 150g crushed Oreos
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • Peppermint Crisp, crushed

Making it happen:

Oreo 21. Break up the Oreos into halves. Blitz in your food processor until they resemble find crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, halve the Oreos and put them in a Ziploc bag. Crush with a rolling pin or mallet.

 

 

 

 

 

Oreo 32. Put the cream cheese into a bowl and stir a few times to evenly spread it across the bowl. Add the Oreos and vanilla paste/essence and mix thoroughly, either with your hands or a tablespoon. (I used the back of a tablespoon.)

 

 

 

 

 

Oreo 53. Scoop out a heaped teaspoon’s worth of Oreo mixture into your hand and roll into a little ball. They are very rich so I don’t use more than one teaspoon of Oreo and cream cheese mixture. Put the ball on a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper, repeat these steps until you have finished all of the mixture. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Oreo 64. Melt the milk chocolate and cream and using two forks, dip the Oreo truffles into the melted chocolate, covering the entire ball. Sprinkle the crushed Peppermint Crisp over the truffle and repeat the process until you’ve used up all of the chocolate mixture.

 

Oreo 95. Place the truffles back on the lined baking tray and return to the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. You can also freeze them.  

 

White Chocolate and Coconut Truffles

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: easy
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White choc ingredientsStuff dreams are made of:

  • 80g double thick cream
  • 250g white cooking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 1 teaspoon blue food colouring (optional)

 

Making it happen: 

White choc 31. Chop up the white chocolate into small pieces. Melt the double cream on medium-low. As soon as it starts bubbling, take it off the heat, add the butter and stir until fully melted. Add the chocolate pieces, stirring until fully dissolved. Add the vanilla paste/essence and stir it in and then add the food colouring, stirring until fully mixed. Pour the chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours.

 

White choc 52. Once the chocolate has chilled completely, pour the desiccated coconut into a bowl. Spoon the chilled chocolate into your hand, one full teaspoon’s worth, and roll into a ball.

 

 

 

White choc 73. Roll the chocolate ball in the coconut. Repeat until you have finished all the chocolate.

 

 

 

White choc 8

4. Refrigerate until  you’re ready to serve. These truffles may also be frozen.

Dark Chocolate and Chilli Truffles with Sesame Seeds

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dark choc 1Stuff spicy dreams are made of:

  • 80g double cream at room temperature (or thick cream)
  • 250g dark chocolate cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond essence
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder

Making it happen:

Dark choc 21. Chop up the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the double cream on medium-low heat and stir in the butter. Stir in the caster sugar. Once the cream starts to boil, remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, whisking until it’s fully dissolved. Add almond essence and chilli, stirring thoroughly. Pour into a shallow bowl, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

 

Dark choc 72. Once the chocolate and chilli mixture is completely chilled, remove from the fridge. Place the sesame seeds in a bowl and, using one teaspoon’s worth of truffle mixture, roll them into a ball in the palm of your hand, and roll the ball in the sesame seeds, covering all sides.

 

 

20150814_0954283. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all of the chocolate chilli mixture and place them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been using this choc chip cookie recipe for years. It’s foolproof, creamy, chocolatey and chewy.  They are easy to make, don’t take long – 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes in the oven, and taste delicious. I use dark chocolate in my baking because it has a stronger flavour than regular milk chocolate. However, I was craving peanut butter, so I added half a cup. Be still my beating heart. Delicious! I will never make regular choc chip cookies again!

Yields: 12 large     Prep time: 5 minutes     Baking time: 15 minutes

Peanut butter choc chip cookies ingredients80g melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup peanut butter – I favour crunchy but you can use smooth
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 2 1Preheat your oven to 170°C (340°F). In a large bowl using a whisk attachment on medium, cream together the butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugar until smooth, about 20-30 seconds.

Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. The mixture will be crumbly.

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 3 1Beat in the eggs and vanilla and stir until fully blended. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 3 21Line your baking trays with parchment paper, put 1 large teaspoon of batter in your hand, form a ball and place on the baking tray. Leave a large gap between the cookies as they expand quite impressively! Bake at 170°C for 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges.

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 4 1Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Makes 12 large cookies (there aren’t 12 in this picture because we got hold of them and demolished a few!).

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 5 12

 

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

These brownies have saved my hide a few times when, say, the ‘rents decide to pop in and end up staying for dinner or friends come over for a quick chat and cuppa which turns into an all-day and all-night event. Lovely though it is to spend time with these special people, I’ve often found myself in an “oh no, what do I make for pudding?” predicament. Enter this recipe.

Ingredients for chocolate brownies. You can substitute the vanilla paste with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Ingredients for chocolate brownies. You can substitute the vanilla paste with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

It’s easy and not very time consuming at all. The reason I’m able to whip it up with short-to-no notice is because these ingredients are always in my cupboard, and probably yours too. I also often make this when I’m cooking a very time-consuming main course. I usually make the brownies first and get it out of the way before tackling the several-hours-long mains.

Some brownies are too sweet and rich (is there such a thing?) but not this. The creamy chocolate-y-ness (that should really be a word; can you imagine the Scrabble points?) is just right. In fact, you can even serve it with ice cream. Some puddings make you feel uncomfortable, some even ill, but you can happily make this without worrying about that.

Here’s a tip. Initially I made the chocolate sauce (so easy; two ingredients, some heat and you’re done) when I was ready to serve dessert. What I’ve been doing lately is making the sauce once the brownies have cooled, then pouring it over them so they soak in it. You don’t have to do it this way. I actually happened upon this method when I had very little notice, got invited to a friend for dinner, quickly made the brownies and sauce and just poured it over them and reheated when ready. It. Was. Amazing.

It’s easier to use a square baking tray. I use a 9 x 9 inch silicone baking tray. The reason for this is because I prefer cutting the brownies into squares as opposed to slicing it like a cake. Having said that, it’s purely for my convenience and I’ve used a round tin many times, but I prefer the square tray for this recipe.

Something important to remember is that the universally-accepted toothpick test does not apply to this recipe. Because you’re making it chewy, you don’t want it to cook like a cake, so after half an hour, if you do the toothpick test, it should not be clear. It should be brown and gooey. Another thing is that my preference is always vanilla paste but you can substitute this for two teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

Servings: 9     Prep time: 5 minutes     Baking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter, melted (170g)
  • 1 cup white sugar (200g)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar (100g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup flour (85g)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (50g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • non-stick spray

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).

Spray your baking tray with non-stick spray.

Using an electric whisk on high, beat the eggs and sugar until properly mixed, about 10 seconds. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and vanilla paste and beat until well-combined, approximately 30 seconds, scraping down the sides.

Pour the batter into your baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.

My preference for this recipe is a square baking dish but you can use a round cake tin too

My preference for this recipe is a square baking dish but you can use a round cake tin too

 

If you do the toothpick test at this point, it will come out gooey, so there is no need. After 30 minutes, take the baking tray out and let it cool for about 10 minutes before cutting your brownies into squares.

Chocolate brownies

While you’re letting the brownies cool, make the chocolate sauce:

  • 90g chopped dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 150ml cream

On medium-high, heat the cream until warm but not boiling. Don’t let the cream boil, you want to heat it just enough to melt the chocolate. Chop the dark chocolate and add it to the warm cream, removing the pot from the heat. Stir with a whisk until it’s smooth and then pour over your brownies. You can refrigerate this dish until you’re ready to serve it, in which case reheat it and serve as is or with ice cream.

Chocolate brownies in chocolate sauce. Chocolate, anyone?

Chocolate brownies in chocolate sauce. Chocolate, anyone?