Thursday, March 24, 2016

Vegan Pastries : Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

Chocolate/Xtra Special Cake Cotton Candy
  1. a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.
    "aficionados of the finest wines"
I'm an simplistic taste! I know there is an easier way to do everything, but sometimes we enjoy complications.
Vegan cuisine to me is a simple, natural way of enjoying food, but somewhere on the path to simplicity things get complex. Like what should I use for the dairy required in a recipe...coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, or hemp milk...oh my, so many choices! All these things are good but sweets shouldn't  be complicated with a long list of synthetic gums and syrups.

Fueling our bodies is the main objective to eating...but nowhere is it written or should it ever be written, that we can't enjoy what we eat. With moderation as the guiding rule. We can have most things. That said I have made the most delightful and simple vanilla and chocolate cup cakes! I can't wait for everyone to try them. Here at Chocolate Mondays working on new flavors it a labor of love and we mean to make the best combinations pleasing to nearly every palate.

I don't know if I've said it before but my chocolate cake has no dairy at all...that's what makes Xtra Special Cake...SPECIAL ;) Below is the extra special cake we got a little carried away with the chocolate crushed modeling clay. Then we realized it had milk that item is out while we search for an alternative that taste just as lovely and chocolate...or close!

I'm so thankful for blogger like The Post Punk Kitchen like on the subject of Vegan and dairy free desserts. So helpful with my experiments. I'm having a great time! My motivation is so everyone can enjoy a treat if they like!  Below are my samples and I'love post on Facebook and Twitter when I have extra tweet, mess.

Vanilla with Strawberry
Hearts and The Chocolate Xtra Special

Vanilla mmmm! Really Good with
Pomegranate Glaze 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chocolate Mondays:Fillings #2 Moussaline Cream

Mousseline after adding the creamed 1/3 c. of softened butter
This filling became a dream.
My vision for the next filling
To try no churn ice cream
and sherbert
Number two on our list for fillings is Mousseline Cream. I try to balance sweets and fruit. Fruit actually can aid in not adding so much sugar. Orange and Pineapple juice are great choices.
I wanted to lighten up the mousseline even more and give it color too. I whipped up heavy cream and put a few Tbsp. of Pomegranate molasses.  I only needed a couple drops of food gel to achieve the color I wanted, but you can omit it.
I opt for frozen fruits or even can fruits work well in a parfait, depending on how sweet you want yours. There's no shame in draining off syrup and a gentle rinse with fresh water.
The next element is the crunch. I baked the cupcakes longer and they turned out with a bit of a cookie like surrounding, but the middle stayed soft...Perfect! If you ever have cake left over you can either cumble it and bake the crumbs until toasted or save them for cake pops. I'm waiting for that day, when we have cake left! until then I have to bake mine again!
I love fondu so had to try it with the peeps, even though I'm not a fan of peeps, sugary candy...but I thought the kids would enjoy them and they did. I had 18 to start...just a trial!
My daughter took over the fondu project right away. At first she just covered one side but because of the way the peeps are packaged, I thought for aesthetics it was better to cover them completely. No one argued with me...more chocolate...yey!
Pomegranate Mousseline
with blueberries and chocolate Cake
topped with chocolate covered Peeps!!
The berries are soo delicious with the Pomerganite.

I had heard about mousseline cream. I had to see the difference. 
So I tried the recipe on Euginie's Kitchen. 
oh my goodness...very creamy, not as thick! I love it. It has to be used
within a day, which isn't a problem around these parts, but something to consider 
when making it.

Below is the recipe with Pomegranate  Molasses and whip cream...mmm new discoveries everyday!

Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Filling #2 Mousseline Cream

2 cups milk (480ml)
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (80g)
¼ cup all-purpose flour (30g)
¼ cup cornstarch (30g)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter (75g)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (75g)


1. In a thick bottom sauce pan warm 2 cups of milk over low heat.
2. In a bowl cream egg yolks and granulated sugar. Sift in all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Finally stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt.
3. Pour only 1/4 of warm milk into (2) and whisk to combine. Then pour the cream in the pan of the warm milk.
4. Over medium heat bring it to a boil whisking constantly. When it starts to boil, whisk continually until the cream thickens.
5. Remove from the heat stir in 1/3 cup of unsalted butter. Mix until combined. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and let cool.
6. Meanwhile cream 1/3 cup of softened butter. When the cream is cooled to room temperature, add in the butter. Whisk until smooth.

Chocolate Notes

While waiting for the cream too cool. you can whip 1 C. of heavy cream until it thickens and whip in 2-3 Tbsp. of Pomerganet molasses, to stiff peaks.(not butter)

Take a portion of the mousseline and fold into the whipped cream. If you want a more pink or red color add 1-2 drops of red food gel. The key is to fold not whip since the butters solids in both cream are easy to break down.

Peep Fondue
Chocolate fodu peeps is not a bad option
but  for more options
 check out the  Cooking Channel

For the chocolate fondu

2 C. chocolate/ semi-sweet 
1 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
melt the chocolate and stir in the oil (add more oil as needed for the consistency you want)

Dip what you like, peeps, jelly beans, fruit etc. ;)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Chocolate Mondays # 1 Pastry Cream

Fillings: #1 Pastry Cream

You may ask, with all the modern conveniences of yogurt, Ice cream and the like, why would I want to turn on the stove and make a pastry cream? I'd have to make some with you and have you taste it yourself, so you could see for yourself. It's just worth the effort, As most things from scratch are! Since I can't do that with you in person. The next best thing is to show you how easy it is from here...that's my intention anyway!
This a a rich and yummy filling that lends itself to unlimited uses. Served on its own with fresh fruit, nuts and a mild tea, heavenly. Pastry cream is used in pastries like eclairs, profiteroles  and glazed fruit tarts. It's texture and taste is similar to pudding or custard, which makes it even more versatile in a wide range of dessert, the simplest being a banana pudding. I used it as a parfait cup treat for my daughter to take on her field trip. The eggs are cooked gently so there's no worry of uncooked eggs.
I've made vanilla, strawberry, banana, chocolate and my Piña Colada perfection for summer!  For the sake of this series I made vanilla and chocolate. You can easily flavor pastry cream with any fruit you like by either blending or adding cooked down  fruit so it blends well. There are even extracts that would compliment any fruit you choose. Extracts should be mixed into the pastry cream towards the end of the cooking process, right when you first take the pot off the heat.
Vanilla and Caramel

  • Medium to large sauce pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
  • A medium bowl
  • Sieve
  • Plastic wrap
  • Spatulas
  • Ladle

Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe
2 c. milk,
⅓ c. flour or a flour cornstarch mix (equaling 1/3 c.)
½ c. sugar ,
4 egg yolks.
½ of a vanilla bean or 1 tsp. Vanilla extract (optional)

Detailed Instructions
  • Bring the milk to a boil on a medium high flame. If you are using a Vanilla bean place it in the milk.
  • While the milk is cooking (keep your eyes on it), blend the Sugar with the eggs until combined in a medium sized bowl.
  • Then mix the flour into the egg and sugar mixture well. by now the milk is nice and hot. Turn the flame off...
  • Tempering: Stream in half the milk into the egg mixture. Whisking as you Ladle the milk in.
  • Then pour the mixture back into the hot milk in the pot and stir it until it thickens and boils. Stir and boil the pastry cream about two min.
  • It's done at this point ... Stir in the extract. Pour it through a sieve in a clean bowl. Once you have pressed the pastry cream thru...thoroughly, Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap. Being sure the wrap touches the  cream all around so a skin doesn't form.
  • If you want add preserves. Food coloring or Macha tea,  I'd add it now if you want Green for St. Patty's day. Rainbow colors by separating portioned in mini bowls to color.
  • Some Chefs use cornstarch ...below is a favorite demonstration of how to make a double batch of pastry cream. I love the video by the Seasoned chef,  he made a  smoother pastry Cream,  great for a parfait, and it's a larger recipe. You can see his boiling over in the background as he's teaching and it still turned out great! Just remember he’s a professional and you should tempter, like I talked about above, so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs!

I used the 4B Star tip for the vanilla and 1B for the chocolate
You can use a spoon or plastic sandwich baggies with a slit.
Try Ann Reardon's demo on how to  make certain decorations 

Chocolate and Vanilla Parfait
and a tutorial on how to flavor it with chocolate.
Use any cookie you like in the middle and topping for the parfait. A parfait is as easy as 1,2,3 actually, but if you want to get fancy, use any pastry tip you like. I used Wiltons 4B and 1B star tips and disposable pastry bags. As for the contrasting textures you can use the granola, cookies and brownies. We almost have everything ready to assemble our Parfait. So don't eat all of the pastry cream just yet...but Enjoy it with reserve. Till next time!

Pastry Cream Highlights

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chocolate Monday Perfect Parfait: Cookie and Granola

Mini Parfaits ready for the School Trip

Parfait with fruit and granola 
This week I'm gearing up for the spring festivities... with a Parfait

Parfait is french for perfect according to the Oxford dictionary. Perfect because a parfait has all the key elements for my palate. Delicately sweet and Creamy, combined with the various flavors with fruit and a pastry can be layered in it for a bit of texture/crunch. Call it wacky but I work a little backwards at times. So I started my parfait with the textured crunch element of my parfait.
To create the perfect parfait crunch...well nearly perfect, because when your imagination is involved you'll make a new perfect every time. I had a taste for those snicker doodles I made, but I wanted them chocolaty.

Chocolate Caramel Snickerdoodles
I adjusted the Snicker doodle recipe (recipe and link below) and mixed in cocoa for some of the flour.  Once the dough was made I wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it set in the refrigerator, until I made the caramel. I over cooked the caramel and I'll tell you why. I used coconut milk. The coconut milk took a bit longer for it to get thick and when it did, the color was silky and muted, then all at once ... tan. It was so light and beautiful and once it was a little darker, the silkiness disappeared, as it set up it was crumbly and oily! At least until I stirred it.
So now I know when I’m using a non-dairy milk like coconut to stop the heat sooner and From now on use a thermometer to gauge the soft ball stage better. When it's boiling all over don’t wait for the darker caramel color, it never comes with the coconut milk. It's not less delicious or beautiful either.
Even though it was crumbly I tried it in the cookies anyway, but of course I didn’t get the same results as the first time. The creaminess of the caramel made the middle of the snicker doodles so moist and chewy! 

Later I thought let me press out the rest of the cookie dough and drizzle the caramel on top.  This was the result... Looks like chocolate Bark, right? Only cookie form or
…a brownie only crisp around the edges, sort of like those brownie chips they sell in the market? Yet tender in the middle and with the caramel...soo good like a coffee taste.

This concludes our crunch/texture element for our Parfait. Actually, I just have one more crunch element to add...granola. I read that the Canadian people incorporated granola to their parfait and I usually have granola because it is a whole grain, fiber rich ingredient. Whenever I can incorporate a whole grain it's a plus and being able to top that off with fiber! I'm pleased with myself to the second power! So the final crunch option is Granola...and I have shared a easy recipe on the Snack Attack page. Just click the blue word granola or any of the blue words on this page to be taken to a link that has either a recipe or more on the subject discussed here.

Next week we’ll get into how I made the creamy part of the parfait. The Pastry Cream Yogurt or Ice Cream it will be a surprise. Then last we'll look at the fruit we want to use.
For now here is the original Caramilk Snicker doodle Recipe here. My version is below. Just remember if you want to make them chocolate, change the flour to 2 c. and mix in ¾ c. of cocoa or cacao! Read he recipe all the way through too. You'll get a cookie like ginger snaps. 

Chocolate Caramel Snicker doodles Recipe

Serves: 4 dozen
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. cocoa or cacao
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Topping:Optional (*I skipped this part for the chocolate version)
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 48 individual Caramilk chocolate bar pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter and sugars. Cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in one egg at a time, making sure to beat well in between. Add vanilla and mix.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add to wet ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Refrigerate for 30 min or overnight.
  4. In another small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Measure out 2 tablespoon-sized portions of dough for the top and bottom of each cookie. Flatten the bottom out the best you can(I use the back of a measuring teaspoon) add 1/8 tsp. caramel  into the middle, Place the top over each bottom, sort of fold over dough by pinching and roll into a ball. Roll in the sugar mixture. Be generous and coat entirely! Repeat until no dough remains! 
  5. Bake at 350F for 8 mins and allow to cool slightly on baking pan before moving to cooling racks.
  6. Cooks Note: You may have to manipulate the dough a bit  around the caramel. A squeezy bottle would be great for getting the right amount of caramel into the cookie cavity. It doesn't take a lot! 
  7. When the dough get too soft to work I stick the whole baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 10-15 min. and start again. So a do ahead cooks note would be to clear space in your refrigerator or even your freezer for the cookie manipulation steps in # 4.
Original Recipe by The Cookie Writer at