Saturday, 8 December 2012

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes

The best part about coming home for the holidays is without a doubt that I don't have to cook, rarely have to clean and my parents pay for groceries. While I should be studying for my exams, I couldn't help but take advantage of this and bake some delicious cupcakes that are both festive and expensive.

When I first came across these cupcakes on the internet I couldn't get over how cute the gold wrappers looked on the cupcakes with the Ferrero Rocher on top. And while I couldn't find on specific recipe that was practical and fit my vision I took inspiration from here and here to achieve it.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (makes approx. 12)
1 cup sugar
7/8 cup flour
3/8 cup dutch processed cocoa 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1/2 2% milk with a teaspoon of cream of tartar rather than buy a whole carton of buttermilk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup boiling water

In large bowl mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, powder, and salt and combined. (Sift if any ingredients have gotten lumpy)

Melt chocolate in the microwave, taking it out every 30 seconds and stirring.

Keeping the mixer on low add egg, milk, oil and chocolate. Add each individually, until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides between each additions.

Add boiling water and stir by hand until fully incorporated.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove from tins and cool on a drying rack.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting (enough to pipe swirls on 12 cupcakes)
1/2 a 375g container of Nutella (or half 13 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 bag of icing sugar (or about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
whipping (heavy) cream as needed
Ferrero Rochers for toppers

Mix butter and Nutella together until combined.

Add icing a cup at a time. The texture of the icing will be like sand after this.

Add vanilla. Add whipping cream one teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. 

Pipe and top with chocolates.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Royal Icing Transfer Tutorial and Oxfam Cookies

So now we're into December, the month of baking and exams. And while we're all trying to learn what exactly was going on in those lectures we've been "going to" all term, we can also learn a few new techniques when it comes to our holiday baking.

I'm sure everyone has come across a cookie or some other icing decoration and thought, how could someone possibly have made that so perfect? Well, if that person had a few hundred bucks to throw around, they could have used a projector designed specifically for baking to trace the design, or they could have made transfers traced onto wax paper. 

The process of making royal icing transfers is quite simple, however because icing is not the strongest of mediums, I recommend making many back-ups as they will break.

What you need:
-soft peak icing 
-flood icing
-piping bag with a number 2 tip
-squeeze bottles

To begin, grease a sheet of wax or parchment paper with butter.

Under the wax paper place an image of what you trying to create. The technique works best with simple images like logos and lettering. An image with layers such as eyes on a person or animal will be more difficult to trace.

Pipe outlines of the image. 

It's best to begin flooding the transfers before the piping dries. This will reduce the chance of the piping breaking.

After a few hours the transfers may seem dry but believe me when I say they won't come of the paper clean until they've dried overnight. 

After drying overnight, gently slide them off the paper with a small off-set spatula or pry them off even more gently with a knife.

Pipe the backs with royal icing and secure them to your cookie.