Category Archives: chocolate

Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcake Timeline

Baking cupcakes with a three-year old girl goes a little something like this…

16:13 – Arrive at my friend Jean’s house to bake cupcakes with her and her 3-year-old daughter (Hannah).

16:14 – Hannah and I have never met, she hides behind Jean’s legs as we’re introduced.

16:17 – Hannah shows me her closet full of clothes and her 1,2,4,5,6,7,8 shoes. (4 pairs, but 8 shoes).

16:18 – I think Hannah and I are friends now.

16:20 – Peanut Butter Cupcake Surprise preparation time.

16:21 – I show Hannah the chocolate rosebuds, chocolate with sprinkles, chocolate covered bananas and Easter eggs that will be used for the “surprise” centre.

16:21 – Hannah says “the Easter bunny will bring me chocolates soon”. I reply “Well, the Easter bunny gave these to me as an early present”.

16:21 – Hannah smiles.

16:22 – Around this time, I wish I had researched the whole legality of showing pictures of kids on a blog. I have a feeling Hannah is going to be pretty cute during this baking adventure. I’m sure it would have been fine since Jean was there, but to be safe, I choose not to take any pictures of Hannah…next time.

16:22 – I’m pretty sure I can take a picture of Montana the dog. He’s thinking “Please buddy, drop a cupcake later for me”.

16:23 – Jean pours the sugar in the measuring cup as I measure out the butter.

16:24 – Hannah grabs the sugar from the counter and moves it to the bowl. Sugar ends up on the floor.

16:25 – I was right, Hannah is very cute.

16:26 – Hannah likes to crack eggs. Eggs and shell(s) go into bowl.

16:27 – Jean spends 5 minutes pulling shells from the bowl. Hannah is unaware of this activity.

16:32 – Batter is being mixed and it’s peanut butter heaven.

16:35 – Hannah gets to lick the whisk and says it’s “yummy”. We can continue.

16:38 – Hannah has a very important job. Place the chocolate right in the middle of the batter. After her first one, I say, “that’s perfect”. Hannah than places each chocolate into the middle of the batter and says “that’s perfect”.

16:40 – Note to self – Kids like to copycat, be careful of what I say.

16:45 – First batch of cupcakes go into the oven. Jean wants to play with her new convection oven. We cut the baking time from 18-20 minutes to 10 minutes.

16:55 – Cupcakes are out and they smell terrific.

16:57 – Cupcakes start to implode and crash inwards.

16:58 – Note to self – Turn off convection oven for the second batch.

17:04 – Hannah begins setting her small table for tea with seven glasses of water, even though there are three of us.

17:18 – Second batch of cupcakes come out looking perfect.

17:30 – All the cupcakes have cooled and get a slight dusting of powdered sugar.

17:31 – Hannah takes a bite and proclaims “It’s good and my surprise in the middle was a sprinkle”.

17:32 – Although they do not look as appealing, both Jean and I decide that the imploded/convection style cupcake is amazing. The outside is perfectly done, but the middle has a warm gooey batter-like consistency. For someone who likes batter and cupcakes, this is the best of both worlds.

17:36 – Hannah lays pillows across the living room floor and takes a nap.

18:00 – I am introduced to In the Night Garden and Igglepiggle. Igglepiggle and his friends chase a bike going down a hill for 20 minutes.

19:00 – I say good-bye to Jean and Hannah. I get a hug from Hannah.

19:01 – Today was a good day.

Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes – (Recipe from Southern Living – 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern)

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 24 milk chocolate kisses (or in my case, whatever you think might entertain a three-year old)
  • Confectioners sugar
  1. Preheat over to 375F. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add peanut butter, beating until smooth.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to peanut butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low-speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each of the 24 paper baking cups in muffin pans. Place 1 chocolate on its side in centre of batter in each cup. Top evenly with remaining batter (about 2 tablespoons in each cup) covering each chocolate.
  4. Bake at 375F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Dust with confectioners sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Filed under chocolate, Cupcakes, Peanut butter, Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Smiling with a Chocolate Chip Cookie

The word “chip” doesn’t excite me too much. However, it takes on an exciting twist and makes me smile (as evidenced by the perfect bite mark) when it joins its word brethren in the form of “chocolate chip cookies.” Actually, go ahead, do  and say “chocolate chip cookies” and try not to smile, I dare you!

I had chocolate milk in the fridge that needed some cookie love, so I got busy with some chocolate chip cookies to keep it company. Chocolate chip cookie recipes must be a dime a (baker’s) dozen, but surprisingly I don’t have a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, that is until now.

My Southern Living cookbook has already produced winners like Pecan Pie Squares, After-The-Dance Pralines and Mississippi Mud Cookies and now, I have another winner. It’s titled All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I was going to be the judge of that.

It began well, a cookie recipe after my own heart since it gave the time in the oven for a soft cookie and a crisp cookie. I’m all about the soft and chewy cookie. Like all good (simple) recipes, it called for everything that should already be in the kitchen, which makes life much easier and begins the smiling process.

This chocolate chip cookie did not let me down. I’m not sure if it is worthy of the title All-Time Favorite, I must do some more research before making that statement! However, with that said, it’s a great chocolate chip cookie. It was indeed soft, chewy and sweet, but not sugary hurt-your-teeth sweet. The chocolate chips held their form. but melted just enough to be soft and leave a little evidence on your fingers that a chocolate chip cookie had been enjoyed!

P.S. Enjoy the cookie batter too!

All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies (From Southern Living  – 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern)


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 (12-oz.) packages semisweet chocolate morsels
  • Parchment paper


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Beat in morsels just until combined. Drop by tablespoons onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 350F for 10-14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove to wire racks, and cool completely (about 15 minutes)

*Bake 10 minutes for a soft and chewy cookie or up to 14 minutes for a crisp cookie.


Filed under chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mississippi Mud Cookies, Pecan Pie Squares, Pralines

My Double Chocolate Cheesecake Birthday Cake

This past Sunday, January 16th, 2011 was my birthday. I have a feeling you may already know this since I was overwhelmed with the number of the wonderful friends out there that either called, texted, Facebook”ed” or tweeted me this weekend to wish me a Happy Birthday and for that I thank you.

I had never thought of making my own birthday cake until recently. With this upcoming year being one that could go any number of ways for me, I was excited at the opportunity to set up the perfect conditions for my birthday candles. You see, I’m slightly superstitious so I wanted to make sure that my candles were in the perfect environment for when I were to make my wish and blow them out. And I couldn’t think of a better environment than a Double Chocolate Cheesecake.

As for the card, since it says “Son" at the top, you would be correct if you said it came from my parents! I think those three thoughts, “Celebrate, Honor, Take Joy” sum up much of what life is all about, so I thought it was appropriate to shoot the cake with the card.

There is just something so comforting and decadent about cheesecake. I also happen to like some crunch to my cake, so when I stumbled upon Anna Olson’s Double Chocolate Cheesecake, I know I found the right one. As you can see, the cheesecake portion is chocolate and the bottom brownie layer is also chocolate with some white chocolate thrown in for fun since calories don’t count on birthdays…

Confession time. I got to challenge myself on this project. I’ve never made a cheesecake of any type and I’ve never used a springform cake pan. Yes, I know, I’m showing my newbie baking status by admitting to that but I’m proud to say I’ve conquered both now. And whoever invented the springform cake pan is brilliant!

As for the wish, it’s a really good one, but it has to stay a secret for it to come true. I’m superstitious, remember?

Double Chocolate Cheesecake (From Anna Olson’s Sugar on the Food Network)


Brownie Layer

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Cheesecake Layer

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2×8 ounce (250 g) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, melted


Brownie Layer

  1. For brownie layer, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform cake pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter and pour into a larger bowl. Sift cocoa into butter and stir in sugar. Add eggs to mixture, blending well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt (do not sift). Add to cocoa mixture and blend. Stir in white chocolate chips. Pour into pan and bake for 35 minutes, until firm. Cool completely before filling.

Cheesecake Layer

  1. For cheesecake layer, place chopped chocolate in a bowl of a pot of gently simmering water (be sure bowl does not touch the water) and stir to melt. Remove from heat. Beat cream cheese until fluffy with electric beaters or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed. Slowly add sugar while mixing and beat in vanilla. Pour in whipping cream and whip into cream cheese on high speed, until mixture becomes firm and holds a peak. Scrape chocolate into mixture and blend quickly. Scrape filling onto brownie base and spread evenly.
  2. Chill cake for at lest 2 hours before slicing. To garnish, remove springform pan and drizzle top with white chocolate.


Filed under Anna Olson, Cheesecake, chocolate, Chocolate Cheesecake, Food Network

Birthday Chocolate Chunk Sour Milk Pancakes

It was my dad’s birthday over the weekend, we were going to have brunch, there was buttermilk in the fridge, you do the math.

Oh and it’s my blog, so I can do what I want and I wanted to remind you that you can vote for me in Project Food Blog. I have advanced with your help to the 2nd round and my entry is my grandmother’s curried chicken and naan bread. Have a read please and click below.

Oh and if that doesn’t work, how about a picture of me being cute with some dogs? Will you click now?

Sooooo….where were we? Oh yes, I had leftover buttermilk in the fridge after making a super decadent Chocolate chocolate chip banana bread. So with buttermilk on the brain, I flipped open a cookbook that I knew with absolute certainty would have a recipe for pancakes involving buttermilk.

Thank you Joy Of Cooking

And of course, I found Sour Milk Pancakes and of course, I decided to chop up two ounces of semi-sweet chocolate into the batter.

Ready for flipping

Thankfully, the addition of the chocolate did not do anything to the batter other than make the pancakes even more delicious befitting a birthday brunch! Happy birthday Dad!

Chocolate Chunk Sour Milk Pancakes

Sour Milk Pancakes from the Joy of Cooking

Sift before measuring:

  • 1 cup cake flour (I used white flour and it turned out just fine)

Resift with:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda

Beat until light:

  • 1 egg


  • 1 cup buttermilk

Combine the sifted and the liquid ingredients with a few swift strokes. Beat in:

  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter
  • This is where I added the 2 ounces of chopped chocolate

And since this is the Joy of Cooking, it has great instructions on everything, including how to “bake” them. Let me share a few classic tips with you.

  • Before baking, test the griddle by letting a few drops of cold water fall on it. If the water bounces and sputters, the griddle is ready to use. If the water just sits and boils, the griddle is not hot enough. If the water vanishes, the griddle is too hot.
  • To assure a well-rounded cake, don’t drop the batter from on high but let it pour from the tip of a spoon. After you pour the dough from the spoon, it will be two to three minutes before the cakes ae ready to turn. When bubbles appear on the upper surface, but before they break, lift the cakes with a spatula to see how well they have browned.
  • Turn the cakes only once and continue baking them until the second side is done. Cooking this second side takes only about half as long as cooking the first side. The second side never browns as evenly as the first.


Filed under Birthday, chocolate, Joy of Cooking, Sour Milk Pancakes

Saying Thank You With S’mores

I was at a cottage this weekend and I was working on some summer arithmetic, follow along with me…

campfire + chocolate + marshmallows + graham crackers + whipped cream = S’mores + smiles

(Quick definition of S’mores – a contraction from “Can I have some mores?”

I had the pleasure of being invited to a friend’s cottage this weekend. The family has opened their doors for me in the past to enjoy some of their cottage magic. This time, I wanted to thank them with something a little different, so I asked if I can contribute to dinner one night by making dessert.

So that’s where my arithmetic began.

Step 1 – Fire, I gathered the wood, I guess I sort of contributed to the actual fire.


Step 2 – chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers, whipped cream (not a prerequisite)

All the fixins

The smushier the better

A S'more ready to go

Step 3 – Smush and bite!

S'mores for everyone!

I’m happy to report they were a huge hit amongst all ages and if I keep producing desserts, I’m invited back anytime and really, who wouldn’t want to come back to this?

Cottage living

S’mores are pretty simple…

For approximately 25 people

  • 2 boxes of Graham crackers
  • 2 bags of chocolate chips melted down in a double boiler
  • 2 bags of marshmallows
  • 250 ml of whipped cream beaten with an electric mixer with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar once you’ve gotten your stiff peaks
  • skewers, hangars, something safe to roast the marshmallow

From there you’re good to go…

  • Roast the marshmallow
  • Smear some chocolate on the graham crackers
  • Squish the marshmallow
  • Add a dollop of whipped cream
  • Eat!


Filed under Campfire, chocolate, Cottage, Friends, Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, S'mores, Whipped cream

Cheeseburger cupcakes – enough said!

This is what food blogging is all about, sharing among old friends and new readers (and maybe new friends) little treasures like a Cheeseburger cupcake! So credit for this goes to my friend Kate who put up a great link which can be found below. Her page has spawned cheeseburger cupcakes all over the place! Her page has a great how-to photo gallery, so I will let that be the instructional side, while I will offer a couple of suggestions and some other photos of my attempts.

I’ve now made these twice and it’s something that you will perfect as you learn what works best for you. As you can see from the pictures, the vanilla cupcake is the “bun” and the chocolate cupcake is the “patty”. What I have found is that a more realistic “patty” can be made by pouring only half the cake mix in the muffin tin (i’ll explain the use of the other half below) and then slicing off the top giving you a flat patty that sits flush on the bottom of the vanilla “bun”. However, more importantly this flat surface allows you to load up the “condiments” without them sliding off of it had you left it with a pointy cupcake top for the “patty”.

Wow, I hope that made sense!

With the extra chocolate mix, I baked it in a shallow cake tin, cut them in thin strips and froze them to serve with the burgers in an attempt to make chocolate fries! They didn’t look as realistic as I had hoped, but I was happy with the idea. Of course, since there were fries, I figured they should be accompanied with something, so I made chocolate pudding for a “gravy”. I’ve made this recipe before to huge success and I’ll post the recipe tomorrow along with a homemade whipped cream recipe that together makes an elegant yet simple dessert!

Cheeseburger cupcake, chocolate fries and chocolate gravy pudding

Cheeseburger cupcake, chocolate fries and chocolate gravy pudding

Back to the cheeseburgers now, the condiments are plentiful…

  • There are a bunch of different colors of icing to simulate mustard, ketchup, mayo.
  • For the “cheese” portion, I used vanilla icing and the played around with red and yellow coloring to make orange.
  • Green coloring with shredded coconut to make relish or lettuce
  • I cut up maraschino cherries to make slices of tomatoes
  • The finishing touch are some sesame seeds on top of the bun, simply smear a bit of butter and then sprinkle so they stick.
  • For presentation purposes, it’s important to try and line the outside of the patty with icing so when the bun goes on top, you see the “ketchup, mustard, etc” oozing out like it normally would.
Cheeseburger cupcakes galore

I’ve now made them twice, once for a birthday party and the other time for a potluck dinner and they are still being talked about.  If you ever need something that will make you memorable, look to the cheeseburger cupcake!

Tastes better with friends

Tastes better with friends


Filed under Cheeseburger cupcakes, chocolate, Friends, Fries, Gravy, ketchup, mayo, mustard, Pudding, vanilla