Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day! I don't love the concept Valentine's day, nor do I hate it. It is no worse than any other holiday as far as being over-commercialized or even the fact that not everyone has someone to celebrate with. February 14th is special to me however, because it is mine and K.C.'s anniversary. Today is 7 years since our very first date!
He tends to be pretty indifferent when it comes to desserts. This guy is lacking a sweet tooth! I decided to go with chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes. Not because either of us particularly like chocolate covered strawberries, but because I thought they would make a pretty cupcake.
These are pretty labor intensive, but totally worth it if you even remotely like strawberries and chocolate.

For the cake:
White cake mix
Bake according to box directions, sub milk for water.

For the filling:
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
approximately 1 cup heavy cream
Strawberries- cored

Technically you should use heavy cream for this. However, I had already been to the grocery store twice when I realized my cream was not good. I wasn't going back! So I used about 1 cup milk with 2 tbsp butter. Heat the cream (or milk + butter) in a saucepan until it begins to boil. Pour a small amount over the chocolate chips. Let it set for a minute to begin melting the chocolate then stir. If needed, add more of the hot cream to get a smooth pourable consistency. You don't want this too thin though!

Use a cupcake corer to core each cupcake. The larger size is perfect for this. Spoon a bit of the chocolate ganache into each cupcake. Fit a cored strawberry into each hole. I chose to dip the strawberries in the ganache before putting them in the cupcake. You can never have too much chocolate!

For the frosting:
8 oz mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
1 stick butter
frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
powdered sugar

Mix the cheese and butter. Add in a few spoonfuls of strawberry syrup with some strawberry matter. Add powdered sugar. This is a really subjective recipe. Use less strawberry for a thicker frosting or more for a stronger flavor. Pipe the frosting on however you would like. Remember, this is like a cream cheese frosting so it doesn't hold shape real well.

For the topping:
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
cooking oil

Begin melting the chocolate and add a bit of oil. Stir until completely smooth. Spoon slowly over the frosting. This will create a shell very similar to the chocolate shell for ice cream. Before the chocolate hardens add whatever decorations you choose. I just loved the colors of these candy pearls and sixlets.

I hope you'll give these a try! They are definitely worth it.

-Happy Baking!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate Valentine Lollipop

I found blingy lollipop sticks at Hobby Lobby when I was shopping for Valentine themed cupcake supplies. I just had to use them with the lips and mustache candy molds! I love this look for a quick and easy Valentine.

Okay so it isn't a cupcake, but those are coming. These are also much easier than cupcakes and easier than most of the cupcake toppers I make with the candy molds. There is no painting of fine details like with some.  

What you need:
Blingy sticks (or regular lollipop sticks)
Candy molds
Candy melts

Melt your colored candy melts. I always use the microwave but there are purists who will only use a double boiler. I pour some in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 1 minute, then heat for 30 second intervals stirring each time until the chocolate is smooth. Be careful not to overheat. 

For the lips I bought red candy melts. This red is fairly dark, but it is red velvet flavor! How awesome is that? I spooned small amounts into the cavity to fully cover the surface. Place the mold in the freezer for a short time to quickly set the candy. Place the stick into the mold then fill fully with milk chocolate and refrigerate to set. Flip the mold over and gently tap the back to release the chocolate. I followed the same steps for the mustaches using black candy melts and filling with milk chocolate.

Technically you could fill the entire cavity with the color of your choice but the milk chocolate generally tastes much better than the colored melts. That may not be the case with the red velvet, but I try for some consistency in my life :)

Since I won't be able to take Valentine cupcakes for the wonderful people on this rotation I brought these chocolate lollipops to them instead. I think they were a hit. Here are two of the awesome doctors posing with their mustaches!

Happy Valentine's and as always,
-Happy baking!