Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Olympic Inspired Sweets

Friday, February 19th, 2010

We are already 8 days in to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and I am hooked.  The stories, the competition, the tragedy and triumph – this is what the Olympics are all about.

So what better way to celebrate and honor the 2010 Winter Olympic Games then with a collection of the best Winter Olympic inspired goodies I could find.  Really, this search was prompted by one shining example, Marian’s Olympic Mascot Cookies from  She is a true sugar master.  The time that goes into these cookies is incredible.

Sweetopia's Olympic Mascot Cookies - Miga and Muk Muk

Sweetopia's Olympic Mascot Cookies - Miga and Mukmuk

Sweetopia's Olympic Mascot Cookies - Quatchi

Sweetopia's Olympic Mascot Cookies - Quatchi

The mascots this year are comical.  Quatchi is  a sasquatch – how funny is that?  A sasquatch that wears boots and earmuffs no less.  And Mukmuk…a marmot. “Hey, nice marmot!”

Another great example of an Olympic inspired sweet is this is Olympic mascot cake done by Anne Elizabeth Cakes.  I love the mascots – she did an excellent job.

Anna Elizabeth Cake's Olympic Mascot Cake

Anna Elizabeth Cake's Olympic Mascot Cake

Of course we need a cupcake – so here it is…the Olympic Ring cupcake done by Clever Cupcakes in Montreal, Canada.

Clever Cupcake's Olympic Ring Cupcake

Clever Cupcake's Olympic Ring Cupcake

Since the Olympics are being held in Vancouver, British Columbia we should probably have a native dessert as well.  The Nanaimo bar is named for the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia and consists of wafer layer, a custard layer and then is covered in chocolate.    Here, The Kitchn shows us their version of this Olympic inspired treat.

Nanaimo Bars

Yum...Olympic Inspired Nanaimo Bars

I hope this inspires you to make your own Olympic themed treats  to eat while cheering on Team USA, of course.  Win Big Team USA – you make me proud to be an American!

Mascarpone Chocolate Cookie Bars

Monday, October 5th, 2009
Quick and Easy, Mascarpone Chocolate Cookie Bars

Quick and Easy, Mascarpone Chocolate Cookie Bars

Longing for something chocolaty and decadent?  Of course you are.  These Mascarpone Chocolate Cookie Bars are ripped off, I mean “inspired” by Giada’s Mascarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars and they are addicting.  I mean it…seriously addicting.  My father took a few for the road after Joe’s birthday party.  The next day he called to ask if I would deliver some additional chocolate cookie bars to the house – apparently he needed his “fix”.  Sadly, he was out of luck…I had just devoured the last one. 

I adapted Giada’s recipe slightly, simply because I couldn’t find one of the key ingredients – the old school Skor Bar.  Remember the Skor Bar?  Made by Hershey’s, it was a combination of tooth shattering toffee covered in an extremely thin layer of chocolate.  I don’t know why, but the Skor Bar seems so 80’s to me now – maybe because that is when they were at their peak of popularity.  Now you can’t seem to find them – at least not where I live.  

To keep with the toffee chocolate theme of the recipe, I purchased another Hershey’s product instead of the Skor, a bag of Hershey’s Nuggets. They consist of both chocolate,  toffee pieces and almonds without the risk of a trip to the dentist.  They worked well in the recipe, perhaps even better than the Skor would have done; the bars ended up  more chocolaty – and I love chocolate!

Mascarpone Chocolate Cookie Bars


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 pound refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 2 (1.4-ounces) chocolate-toffee candy bars, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s semi sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey roasted sliced almonds


1.) Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.) Spray a 7 by 10 3/4-inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Lay a 6 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.

3.) In a medium bowl, combine the cookie dough, 1/2 of the chopped chocolate-toffee candy pieces and vanilla extract. Using damp fingers, gently press the dough into the prepared pan. Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes.

4.) Place the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted. Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate-toffee candy pieces and sliced almonds over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate layer is firm.

5.) Peel off the parchment paper and cut into 1 1/2 by 2-inch bars. Serve at room temperature.

Admit want one now.

Admit want one now.

Replace the cupcake…Whoopie Pies?

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
Introducing the S'mores Whoopie Pie...

Introducing the S'mores Whoopie Pie...

This week I came upon some disturbing news; sources say the Whoopie Pie is the “new cupcake”.  Could this be true?  How could anything take the place of America’s sweetheart?  I’ll be the judge of that…

My brain was on overload looking through several recipes for Whoopie Pies.  Which one, which one?  There seem to be so many. 

The chief question among Whoopie Pie fans seems to be – should it be more cake like, or more cookie like?  After much intense research and three cups of Joe, I decided to mix a couple different ideas. Pumpkin, Chocolate, and Red Velvet seemed to dominant the Whoopie Pie world, so why not something a bit different? 

On a recent visit to my local market I came across Solo Toasted Marshmallow creme, and of course it ended up in my cart. Original Marshmallow Fluff is great, but toasted marshmallow creme just makes it that much better. This is where the S’mores Whoopie Pie was born!

Whoopie Pie - Cake or Cookie?

Whoopie Pie - Cake or Cookie?

The result was something not quite cake, not quite cookie.  The pie has a dense texture with a bit of chew, and the filling is sweet and gooey.  These were not the dry Moon Pies I was lured into buying so many times before.

Do I think they will replace the cupcake? Doubtful…but the Whoopie Pie has certainly found a place in my recipe box.


S’mores Whoopie Pie Cookies


  • 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

S’mores Whoopie Pie Filling


  • 1 stick unsalted butter brought to room temperature
  • 7oz. jar toasted marshmallow crème
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pack graham crackers, crushed


Preheat oven to 375°F.

1.) Blend butter and marshmallow crème together until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, blend until creamy.

2.) In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a minute or so, until well combined. It will have the consistency of wet sand. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3.) In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa and salt. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into 1/2 cup very hot water until dissolved.

4.) With the mixer on low or stirring by hand, add about a third of the dry ingredients, then half the buttermilk and half the baking soda mixture, mixing each time just until blended. Repeat with another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk and baking soda mixture, and then the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing each time just until combined.

5.) I chose to make these pies smaller than the classic…feel free to increase the size to suit your needs.  Using a small scoop (small Ice cream style scoop) drop batter onto greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the tops no longer appear wet and just spring back when lightly touched. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

6.) When completely cool, spread the bottom of one cookie with frosting and dip into graham cracker crumbs.  Spread a very small amount of frosting on other half of cookie just to make them stick. Viola – S’mores Whoopie Pies!

Master Paul’s 14th Birthday Cake

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This past week the cake hotline rang with a request for a birthday cake.  This cake was for a young man with simple tastes who was turning 14.  I took a moment to figure out the cake plan. 

Chocolate and Strawberry are two flavors I knew he enjoys; this one was going to be a cinch!  A rich chocolaty layer cake filled with sliced strawberries and Swiss meringue buttercream, frosted with a sinful chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and some homemade chocolate covered strawberries.  No frills, simple and classic, the kind of cake you might see in a coffee shop bakery cabinet.  It is the perfect cake for any occasion.

Sliced strawberries and whipped cream fill this chocolate cake...

Sliced strawberries and Swiss meringue buttercream fill this chocolate cake...

My sister presented me with a copy of Martha Stewart’s new cupcake cookbook…love it!  I made her classic Swiss meringue buttercream and then jazzed it up by folding in some melted, cooled chocolate.  This frosting is so good you could serve it all by itself!

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Makes about 6 cups


  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6oz. melted and cooled semi sweet chocolate


1. Beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy and pale. Transfer to small bowl.

2. In double boiler over simmering water, whisk sugar and egg whites until warm and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to clean bowl of electric mixer; beat on high with whisk attachment until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes.

3. Reduce mixer to medium-low; add butter a scant 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate.

4. Switch to paddle attachment; beat on lowest speed 3 to 5 minutes. Leave at room temperature if using same day. Or store airtight in refrigerator up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature; beat until smooth.


Happy Birthday Paul!

Chocolate Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, May 25th, 2009
Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing

Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Some think Memorial Day Weekend is time to relax, I feel the opposite.  No rest for the Cake Lady!  Grandma Marion is turning 87!  Holy Moley!  My family and I spent our relaxing Sunday celebrating Grandma’s birthday and putting in my mother’s garden. 

I love Sunday’s at my parent’s house, they just feel good.  Growing up, my sister and I spent every Sunday at my mom’s parent’s house swimming with our cousins and then having a huge feast towards the end of the day.  Thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 

Another thing that brings a smile to my face is Grandma Marion.  Chocolate is the way to her heart so I baked her some extra large chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…YUM!  Once again, Ina Garten provided me with a great recipe which I swear by – Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

The cake comes out just the right, great texture and the perfect amount of chocolate.  Cream Cheese Frosting, who doesn’t like that?  Simple and easy, plus it compliments the chocolate oh so well. These chocolate cupcakes are sure to be crowd pleasers.

More Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

More Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese (not whipped)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


 1.) Make sure cream cheese and butter are room temperature. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla, blend. 

2.) Slowly add powdered sugar and blend until smooth.  Quick note; this is not a stiff frosting and does not pipe well.  I use this frosting for cupcakes and simple cakes…Tastes great!

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

Friday, May 8th, 2009
Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

I love receiving recipes – so of course, I was pleasantly surprised when my sister in law, Geri, sent me the recipe for her grandmother’s chocolate cake. 

My sister came over to help me prepare the cake – we decided to make an evening out of it.  We called this evening a  ”study in gum paste” since we were going to decorate the cupcakes with gum paste flowers. 

The evening started with a quick trip to the local Hobby Lobby for gum paste making tools.  Cupcake wrappers, gum paste mix, gel food coloring, and a set of gum paste tools and we were out the door.  I already had the gum paste flower cutters from a previous occasion.

Then, off to the local grocery store for snacks and wine – yes, I did mention we made an evening out of it ;-)

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Once we were home, Jody began preparing the cake batter, which we must note, turned out very thick – almost similar to a brownie batter.  We decided to do cupcakes instead of cake, since cupcakes are so much cuter.   

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

We smoothed the batter out with a spatula – then into the oven.  At that point, I was already working on mixing up the gum paste.  I have worked with gum paste in the past, but had forgotten how labor intensive it really was.  We dyed it four colors with the gel food coloring – green, two shades of blue and an orangey-yellow. 

Colored Gum Paste

Colored Gum Paste

Jody then prepared the icing for the chocolate cupcakes that were now cooling on the stove.  This icing comes out very shiny – similar to a ganache.  The end result is a very delicate looking cupcake.    The chocolate cupcake was very chocolatey and very tasty, and suprisingly moist for how thick the batter was.  If you are a chocolate lover, these are for you.

Overall, we found that working with the gum paste was harder than we expected…but as you can see from the photos – they were adorable.  I have a new appreciation for gum paste or sugar flowers – it truly is an artform.

Thanks again Geri for sending me this recipe – we are sure it will be enjoyed by many.

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. boiling water
  • 1 cup cocoa


1.) Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until blended.

2.) Add flour, buttermilk, soda and salt. Mix well.

3.) Combine the boiling water and cocoa in a separate bowl. Add to large bowl and mix.

4.) Spoon cake batter into cake pans. Cake batter with be thick, so you will need to smooth it out with a spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick comes out clean in center. For cupcakes, our cook time was about 15  – 18 minutes.

Chocolate Icing
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa


1.) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

2.) Place on med heat until it comes to a boil. Let boil for one minute.

3.) Spread on top of warm cake.  Decorate how you like.  Enjoy!

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

These are so good we had to post them.  Use our Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to make these heavenly ice cream sandwiches!   We used half a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla in each.  Yes, these will not be posted under our Healthy Food catagory.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Big Style!

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who wants a cookie?   You will… after reading this recipe.  These are my mom’s “famous” chocolate chip cookies – the recipe is adapted from the Toll House Cookie recipe.  She uses jumbo eggs, and a mixture of light and dark brown sugar.  These two changes do something magical to the recipe – they are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten.  Chewy and buttery - with a great balance of flavors.  Not too much chocolate – just enough in every bite. 

This recipe makes 24, 4 inch cookies.  Yep, that’s why we say Chocolate Chip Cookies – Big Style!  That’s one big cookie.