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 #19: Chilli Hummus with Roast Veg

hummus-1058003_1920Hummus! This is what came to mind when Ann gave me the outline for this month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge. A minimum of three veggies and one non-meat protein. Hummus is something I’m slightly obsessed with, particularly with added chillies. Side note: The first time I made hummus, I used three chillies. You know, because I’m badass and I love spicy food, thinking “oh, I can totally eat this, watch me!” I cried. I literally cried. I hadn’t finished blitzing the hummus in the food processor when I had a taste, and I took a mouthful of half a chilli, seeds and all. Mouth on fire, I washed my hands and then rubbed my eyes. Bad move. Really bad move! Apparently the chilli oils cling to the skin, so washing your hands ain’t gonna be enough. Just so that you know.

veg-hummus-3-2So what exactly is hummus? It’s easy and delicious, that’s what. It’s an Egyptian dip or spread made from chickpeas, tahini (ridiculously easy to make), garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Blitz everything together until smooth and serve with veggies. You can serve it with raw veggies, like carrots, celery, peppers, etc, or cook them, as I did. What I did in the case of cooked veg is I mixed the hummus with the veggies once they’d cooked. The leftovers I used as a dip for a barbecue. You can leave the chilli out, or add it for a zing, just don’t touch your eyes!

Please head over to Grubbs n Critters for Ann’s interpretation of this month’s theme. I love our Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge, and Ann is theeee best partner. She is always game, always keen and enthusiastic, and always inspires me!

Chilli Hummus

  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and 4 tablespoons reserved
2 tablespoons tahini (see recipe below to make your own)
2 garlic cloves
1 bullet chilli
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh basil or coriander for decorating (optional)

Making It Happen:

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the garlic in the food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients plus the 4 tablespoons of reserved chickpea liquid, to the food processor and blitz until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Optional: Garnish with fresh herbs and some toasted seeds.

It’s literally that easy.

For the roast veggies:

Lay 4 chopped red peppers, 400g broccoli florets, 300g halved zucchinis, and 300g green beans in a roasting dish. Drizzle olive oil over the veg, crack some black pepper and salt, mix, and roast on 200C (400F) for 20 minutes. Mix hummus with the roast veggies and serve.
Alternatively, serve hummus with raw veggies.

Tahini

  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Making It Happen:

In a non-stick pan, toast the sunflower seeds on medium for 2 minutes. Toasting the seeds will make the tahini ‘nuttier’ like me.

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the sunflower seeds for 3-ish minutes. Add the olive oil and blitz for another 2 minutes.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #11: Prawn Soup

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I have been incredibly slack lately, but for good reason. In my quest to become healthier, I have been playing around with recipes – adjusting, adding, removing, contemplating their worthiness of making it onto my blog. This month I found myself challenged and excited about my and Ann’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme – shellfish. Easy, you might say, but as it turned out, not so much.

Ann killed it again this month, being the creative culinary aficionado that she is. I swear, we’re like long distance psychic twins, as we both did a prawn dish! She made oven grilled Gambas al Aljillo, and for the love of all things food, it looks freakin’ delectable! Initially, however, I had my heart set on doing a crab dish. Ironically, crabs freak the crap out of me! I mean, do not show me a crab. I’ll do an embarrassing girl-run into the next zip code. Yes, it really is that bad. I thought finding crab meat, actual meat, not ‘crab-flavoured’ fish sticks, would be easy. After all, I live in Cape Town, and we have a huge selection of fresh seafood. I phoned around and found two places who swore to me that I would be purchasing meat, not crabs. Off I went, happy that I would not have to put my running shoes on, and, at both places, I was handed freaking crabs, people! Eeeeeeeeeeeek! The Husband laughed as I waved my hands in the air, shouting “I can’t! I really can’t!” whilst trying not to hyperventilate. Yeah, the dudes behind the counter laughed too. That was it, crab was nixed, a hard “no” from me. However, they did have prawns, but the eyes freak me out. I mean, just gross. Aah, but they had prawn tails, challenge accepted. Plan B, I love it!

Prawns purchased, heart rate returning to normal, we headed home and discussed our options. The Husband is also getting into my and Ann’s monthly challenge, and he fancies giving me ideas. I settled on prawn soup because, recently, I made a spicy vegetable soup which we demolished, so why not use that same recipe and add prawns? Excellent. We’re back on track, plan in hand, let’s do this. Of course my hob decided to break at that exact moment. Crap, it’s Monday already, and I need to have this done by Friday! Two long days later, the hob was fixed. Much hallelujah. Finally, after a few setbacks and a mini breakdown, I was able to complete my recipe, all the while wondering what Ann’s going to come up with – please check out her recipe for this month’s shellfish theme. I’m obsessed with spicy, tasty food, so this dish is rocking a Thai-ish theme. It has a beautiful flavour without being hot, and the coconut milk adds a creaminess to it, without having to add actual cream. Without further blabbing and complaining, here we go!

Spicy Prawn Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: not a schlep
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Supplies:

Prawn soup 1400g prawn tails, deshelled
2 grean chillies, sliced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 onion, thinly sliced
250g portabellini mushrooms
4 sliced carrots
400g thinly sliced zucchini/courgettes
1 grated red cabbage
150g snap peas
1 x 400g tin lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Fresh coriander for serving – optional

Making it happen:

Prawn soup 21. Deshell the prawns. In a large pot, fry the chillies, ginger, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.

 

 

 

Prawn soup 4 22. Pour in the coconut milk and vegetable stock, and add the remaining vegetables. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice, then cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

 

Prawn soup 73. Add the prawns and simmer until pink, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with coriander if desired.

 

 

 

Marvellous Macaroni Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

Mac and cheese 12Mmmac ‘n cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This recipe is creamy, cheesy, tomato-y and bacon-y. Right? Let me break it down: macaroni pasta drenched in cheese sauce, mixed with bacon and tomatoes, sprinkled with spices and a hint of a tang with Worcestershire sauce and hot English mustard, and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb layer… Phew, what a mouthful! This gooey meal will leave you wholly satisfied and completely replete, yet still eyeing out the leftovers (if there is any!).

 

Marvellous Macaroni Cheese

  • Servings: 6
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Supplies:

Mac n cheese 1500g macaroni
200g bacon, cut and fried
500g plum tomatoes, 2 set aside, chopped and fried
300g white Cheddar, grated
1 cup cream
1 cup 2% milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon English mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons, set aside
2 tablespoons Canola/sunflower oil

Making it happen:

mac and cheese 141. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chopped bacon until just cooked. Remove from the pan and fry the chopped tomatoes, bar two, in the bacon juices until soft. Add the bacon to the tomatoes.

 

 

Mac and cheese 32. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Cook the macaroni per the package instructions and get started on your cheese sauce: heat the butter in a saucepan on medium. Once melted, add the flour and whisk into a roux. Add the mustard, milk, nutmeg and paprika, whisk and allow to thicken for about 5 minutes, then splash in the Worcester sauce. Add the grated cheese, stirring until it’s melted.

Mac and cheese 63. Your mac should be cooked now – drain it and toss it into a large casserole dish. Add the bacon and tomatoes, pan juices included, and pour in the sauce, stirring well to spread it evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the remaining tomatoes and place it on top of the mac.

 

Mac n cheese 154. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and drizzle 2 tablespoons of butter over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

 

Mac n cheese 145. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tip: undo jeans!

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

This. This is everything. Cheesecake is my faaaaaavourite summer dessert. It’s winter right now, but the sun was shining so why not? Come hither old friend!

Everything about this recipe is addictive. The biscuit base is thick, crunchy and buttery. You’ll see I use extra biscuit – I like a thicker base. The cheesecake is creamy, velvety and smooth. I highly recommend using vanilla pods for this one, but you can use vanilla essence in its place. 2 teaspoons should do it.

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

Cheesecake ingredients

For the biscuit base:
150g melted butter + more for greasing the cake tin
300g Marie biscuits (or digestive biscuits)
75g caster sugar
For the cheesecake:
460g plain cream cheese, room temperature
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons corn flour
250ml sour cream, room temperature
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

Directions:

Cheesecake 1 21. Allow the cream cheese and sour cream to reach room temperature. Melt the butter in your microwave or on the stove. Break up the biscuits and blitz them in the food processor for 2 minutes until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the caster sugar and butter and blitz until well combined, about 30 seconds. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin with butter and pour the biscuit mixture into it. Level it with the back of a tablespoon until it’s smooth on top. Place the cake tin in the fridge for half an hour.

Cheesecake 3 22. After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F). Slice the vanilla pod in half, lengthways, and, holding the upturned end or ‘hook’ down, scrape out the vanilla seeds. Set aside. In your food processor, combine the cream cheese and caster sugar and process for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Pour in the sour cream, corn flour and vanilla seeds and process for about a minute. Pour the cheesecake batter into your springform cake tin and bake in the middle shelf of your oven for an hour.

Cheesecake 5 23. Once it’s done, it will be golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. If it’s still too wet, bake for another 10 minutes. Once it’s done, leave the oven door slightly ajar and allow the cheesecake to cool down completely, about two hours, before transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of two hours but preferably overnight.

 

Cheesecake 6 24. You can serve it with an array of toppings – ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry compote. It’s up to you and it’s fun to be able to play around! You can also serve it as is. It’s packed with so much flavour that nothing is missing! Serve at room temperature.