Death by Chocolate Cake + World Chocolate Day!

4 years of college. Over and done with.
More on that later…

LET’S HAVE CAKE TO CELEBRATE.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

It is World Chocolate Day after all. And it’d be rude not to indulge in chocolate (not that I do it everyday? Those last 4 jars of Nutella. Nop. Not me.)

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

This is hands down the best chocolate cake you will ever taste.

It is super easy to make; no fancy equipment, no complicated ingredients needed. Just two bowls and a whisk (a mixer, if you’re me).

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

I went for the naked cake look because my family isn’t too big on frosting. Also, I think naked cakes look prettier.

I used my rusty 6-inch cake pan for a taller cake. And topped it all off with some of these beautiful flowers from the garden.

Some tips to make sure your cake turns out perfect every single time:

  • Make sure the eggs and milk are at room temperature. Makes a world of difference! Trust me

  • DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

  • Butter at room temperature for a smooth, cream frosting is a MUST. It should be soft but not too soft that’s its melting and has an oily sheen to it

  • No, sugar crushed in a grinder will not work for the frosting

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

Try this cake for the next birthday party, anniversary, World Chocolate Day — it’s a show-stopper!

Death by Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake
·         1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
·         1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
·         3/4 cup cocoa powder
·         1 tsp baking powder
·         2 tsp baking soda
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
·         1/2 cup vegetable oil
·         2 large eggs, at room temperature
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 cup freshly made strong hot coffee2
 
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
·         3-4 cups icing sugar
·         3/4 cup cocoa powder
·         3 Tbsp. heavy cream
·         3-5 Tbsp. whole milk
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
Ganache for the drip
·         1/2 cup  cream
·         1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Fresh flowers for the top

 

Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease & flour three 6 inch round cake pans3, and line them with parchment paper.
2.      For the cake: In a bowl, whisk together hot coffee and cocoa till a thick mix forms. Set aside to cool.
3.      Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
4.      In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar till a bit pale in color. Mix in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee cocoa mixture. Mix until combined.
5.      Divide the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
6.      For the frosting: In a large bowl, sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
7.      In another bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and pale in color. With the speed on low, add in half of the sugar and the cocoa powder. Beat till combined. Then add in the rest of the sugar/cocoa mix. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla, cream and milk tablespoon by tablespoon. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add more icing sugar if too lose or add more milk if too thick.
8.     For the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer (or microwave till hot). Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Allow ganache to cool and thicken for about 30 minutes.
9.      Assemble the cake: Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate. With a palette knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, spread with frosting. Place the third layer on top, plain side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Scrape off the excess frosting for the ‘naked cake’ look I went for. Place cake in the fridge till cool to the touch. Then, pour over the top the chocolate ganache, let it drip round the edges. Top with fresh flowers, and enjoy!
Notes
1.       DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice
2.      I use 1 cup boiling water + 1 tsp instant coffee
3.      You can use two 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans instead too

 

 

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

Thick, fluffy, downright delicious. This is the only pancake recipe you need!

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

What’s better on a weekend than to sit home in your pajamas and eat a stack of fluffy pancakes doused in chocolate syrup?

 

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

And could there be anything better than pancakes to start your Eid holidays with?

Not really.

 

The Fluffiest Pancakes You Will Ever Eat

These pancakes are so light, so fluffy I could die!

A whole batch takes just minutes to whip up. Serve them smothered in Nutella, maple syrup, or jam; they’re awesome either way. Make these today, tomorrow, every day!

xoxo, Noor

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Yields: 13-15 pancakes
Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk1
1 egg
1 Tablespoon melted & cooled butter or vegetable oil
Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg and melted butter, just until all mixed together (small lumps are fine, DON’T OVERMIX).
Heat a large, nonstick pan over medium-heat and lightly brush with oil or butter. Using an ice cream scoop (or any large spoon) add the batter to the pan. Cook the pancake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it’s golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter.
Serve pancakes immediately topped with a drizzle of maple or chocolate syrup. Enjoy
Notes:
1.        DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp vinegar. Mix and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix well and use.
*To achieve smooth brown pancakes, don’t grease the pan after every single pancake. Grease it after every third pancake. Hope that makes sense.

 

nnnn

Creamiest Chocolate Pudding

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

–Pablo Picasso

Have you ever wanted something so bad you think you’d die if you don’t have it? And when you think you’ve finally gotten it, its snatched away from you?

If yes, then this chocolate pudding is especially for you.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; it provides comfort like no other.

 

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Chocolate pudding is just one of those things that never fails to bring a smile on your face or warmth to your toes.

Its rich, its creamy, and it is so so SO easy to make even my fogged up brain can whip it up. Just needs a little bit of patience and whole lot of whisking!

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

To start, combine sugar, cocoa, salt and cornflour.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Whisk in 2/3 cup milk and an egg.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Heat the rest of the milk to a scalding temperature.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Then whisk in the egg cocoa mixture and cook over high heat until the pudding thickens into a luscious, silky consistency.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Then remove the pudding from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Pour the chocolate pudding into a big bowl to chill. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding, so a skin doesn’t form.

Eat it warm, eat it cold; chocolate pudding provides comfort like no other.

Then, chill the pudding for an hour or two in the refrigerator or eat it warm. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pudding

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 4 servings
Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Ingredients:
·         1/2 cup sugar
·         1/3 cup cocoa powder
·         1/4 cup cornflour (cornstartch)
·         1/4 tsp salt
·         2 2/3 cups  milk
·         1 large egg
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornflour, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the egg and 2/3 cup of milk. Gradually add milk mixture over the cocoa mixture and whisk to dissolve well. Set aside.
In a sauce pan bring the rest of the milk (2 cups) to a boil.
Remove from heat and gradually add the egg mixture over the hot milk whisking the whole time. Place it back over the heat and cook whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes on medium heat.
Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Pour the pudding into 4 individual or one big bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding so a skin doesn’t form. Refrigerate for an hour or two until chilled or serve warm drizzled with chocolate syrup.
Notes:
Good quality cocoa powder is paramount to this recipe otherwise you’ll end with a Milo like tasting bland pudding. For intense chocolate flavor, add in a couple tablespoons of melted dark chocolate.
Recipe source: Home Cooking Adventure

Eat it warm, eat it cold; this Chocolate Pudding provides comfort like no other.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Father’s Day is just two days away!

I get really ecstatic when such days come near… getting rolled up in their preparations and planning, coaxing my sisters into making beautiful cards and water paintings, getting my brother to go get flowers. Planning the perfect celebratory cake is my part, and obviously, the most fun part.

I had planned out what I’d make for Father’s Day 2016 ages ago!

Something seasonal. Something mango. First attempt. We’ll see how it turns out. You can keep me company and see it being created in all its(hopeful) glory on Snapchat. Follow me @noora559

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

When it comes to baking for my father, fruits are a must. No fancy schmancy, monstrous, chocolate dripping cakes for him. He’s more of a keep it light and simple type of person. His favorite creation of mine so far is this Strawberry and Cream Cake I made in March. Along with the cupcakes I am sharing today!

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

Black Forest Cupcakes is what we surprised our father with last year. He had bought in a box of black cherries and I had leaped at the chance to make something Black Forest.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

Sharing with you this year because every father deserves to be surprised with a batch of these stunning cupcakes. Just talking about them is making me want to grab some cherries and make them right away!

 

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

The intense chocolate flavor was perfectly balanced by the tart cherry compote and paired with the light and airy whipped cream frosting…they were divine.

You can obviously skip the cherry compote filling, but then they’ll just be plain dark chocolate cupcakes (delicious but not with the magic that is Black Forest).

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

I studded the tops with whole cherries, plucked in a Baba ❤ topper, and voila! Ready to surprise the best man I know and love.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

They are quick and simple, and a perfect way to use fresh cherries.

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.

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Make these and show your dad how much you love him.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Yields: 15 cupcakes
Ingredients:
CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
8 Tbsp. (113g) unsalted butter, melted1
1 and ¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature2
½ cup hot coffee3
WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING (for the recipe click here)
CHERRY COMPOTE FILLING
3/4 cup fresh cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter and sugar till the sugar dissolves. Add oil and mix well. Now add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for a minute, scraping off the sides. Whisk in the in the buttermilk.
Fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients gently till just incorporated. Do not over mix. Add hot coffee to the batter and whisk well again.
Divide it into cupcake pan filled with cupcake liners till ¾ full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool completely before filling.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make your cherry compote by combining the cherries, honey, and the lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 15 minutes until the cherries are soft and much of the liquid has evaporated. It will thicken as it cools.
Using a knife, remove a quarter size piece from the top of the cupcake. Don’t cut in too deep or the filling will ooze out the bottom..
Fill each cupcake with a tablespoon of the cherry filling, then pipe or spread the whipped cream over top.
Top with some whole cherries.
Notes
1.       If using salted butter, then omit the salt in the recipe
2.      DIY Buttermilk: ½ Tbsp. vinegar and enough milk to make ½ cup.
3.      Coffee just help intensify the chocolate flavor. You can sub with plain hot water. I used ¼ tsp instant coffee mixed in ½ cup boiling water.

 

 

 

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

M&Ms Cookies

If you follow me on Snapchat, then you must know how crazy I am about cookies nowadays. Oh wait. You guys haven’t been able to see my Snapstories these past few weeks. Minor glitch. Add me again @noora559

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

 

Anyhoo. Cookies! It’s all I’ve been doing! White Chocolate chip cookies, Nutella Swirl Cookies, Choco chocolate chip cookies, and then these deeevine M&M Cookies aka Rainbow Cookies.

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

I have no idea why I’ve shied away from baking cookies for so long.

They are super simple, super fun to make! And they only take minutes to prepare, like literally 8 to 10 minutes in the oven.

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

These cookies are soft cookies, none of that crispy crunchy stuff here people, and are studded with M&Ms. I also threw in some chocolate chips for good measure, a little extra chocolate never hurt anyone. And then studded the top with more M&Ms! That’s how I roll 8|

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

 

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

Certain key pointers you need to know so as to make perfect cookies every single time:

  • Chilling the dough is crucial! Crucial to prevent cookies from spreading too much, and to help retain their softness and thickness. Chill the dough for an hour or up to 5 days for best results.

    Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

  • Both brown sugar and regular white sugar are needed for this recipe. Brown sugar helps make the cookies extra chewy.

  • Cooking time is the next most important thing, this is the part where it can all go wrong, trust me, I’ve had my fair share of bad cookie experiences. Under-bake them and end up with a sloppy doughy mess. Over-bake them and end up with extremely chewy pieces of charred dough. 8 to 10 minutes is exactly what you’re looking for! The cookies should be still soft in the middle but starting to brown at the edges, that’s when you need to take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before digging in. Attempting to handle straight out of the oven cookies can pulverize them, as they’ll be too soft. Cooling them; helps set them.

    Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

Follow these tips, and you’ll master the art of cookies in no time.

Give these a go, and Instagram me your creations using the hashtag #spatulainmypocket.

Follow me on Instagram @spatulainmypocket

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

 

M&Ms Cookies

Yields: 32 cookies
Ingredients:
3/4 cup (170g) butter, softened to room temperature1
1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) castor sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 Tablespoons (266g) flour
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (200g) mini or regular size M&M’s

 

Directions:
Beat the butter for a minute using an electric beater till creamy. Add in the brown sugar, and castor sugar; beat together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and mix on high until combined. Scrape down the sides of the owl using a spatula. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornflour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined.
Gently fold in the M&M’s.
Cover the dough with cling wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 5 days.
Preheat oven to 180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper*do NOT grease it. Set aside.
Roll balls of dough (about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie) and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will still look very soft and pudgy. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on baking sheet before digging in.
Notes:
1.       You can use either salted or unsalted butter. If using salted butter, then omit the salt.
2.      These cookies stay fresh for weeks stored in an airtight container. Raw cookie dough can be frozen for upto three months.

 

 

Soft, chewy cookies studded with M&Ms.

Baking Haul

I went out and bought some things for baking. To be honest, whenever I’m out, I’m on the lookout for baking bits n pieces. My baking cupboard is blooming, space is running out, so much so that I’m forced to keep some of the stuff in my closet. Yeah.

Baking haul

Anyhow. These are some of the bits and pieces I picked up. I will give you a rundown of the places where I got them.

The best places where you’re going to find baking things here in Islamabad are either Al-Fatah or D.Watson; because these two places will have everything you’ll ever need. These are, to be honest, my two most favorite places in Islamabad. Yep. Grocery stores are my favorite places. Do not judge.  I could literally spend hours and hours strolling down the aisles, reading all the labels, gazing awe-eyed at all the gorgeous pieces of cutlery and china, the rows and rows of chocolates, all the beautiful spatulas…

Ok. Enough jabbering. Let’s get going.

So first off we have, none other than a…SPATULAAA. Not just any spatula though mind you, it’s a PINK SPATULA. I’ve been out on a pink spatula hunt since ages, especially for these new ones with a wooden handle.

Baking haul

Found it at Al-Fatah. Costs round Rs. 175. So very pretty. A spatula is a kitchen-must people! You can never have enough spatulas.

Next thing I picked up is Cream of Tartar. It’s an acid used to stabilize egg whites. I’d never really seen the need to buy it before, since lemon juice can be used as a cheap substitute. But I saw it in D.Watson the other day, for the first time ever, it’s not available here in Pakistan, and had to buy it.

Baking haul

Next up, I bought hordes of chocolate. Not on one single trip though. We’d go to D.Watson to get like soap or toothpaste or something, and I’d return with a bag of Rolos or a bar of white chocolate.

Chocolate and caramel combination never fails to attract me. I bought this bag of Rolos a long time ago, but I can’t decide what to make; Rolo blondies or Rolo cookies?

Baking haul

And they finally have Hershey’s chocolate chips in Islamabad! Woohoo!

I’ve been struggling to get hold of these in any supermarket. I usually have to get my yearly stock from Saudi Arab or somewhere, but now I can just buy them from here. They are a tad bit pricier here. 800 something for a small bag of chocolate chips O.o

Anyhoo. I picked up some White Chocolate Chips for blondies and cookies and stuff.

Baking haul

And some mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

Baking haul

Next up, we have Munz 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate. These were on a Buy-1-Get-1-Free offer at D. Watson, so obv had to buy them and give Munz a try.

Baking haul

Saw a recipe for triple chocolate cookies on youtube a while ago that called for white chocolate chunks, so bought this Milky Bar. Cost round 400 rupees. Have yet to make those cookies. Cookies scare me.

Baking haul

Also saw these Mini Oreo packs for the first time in D.Watson, but now almost every superstore has them. Aren’t they adorable? Mini Oreos, perfect for topping cheesecakes and my Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. Cost: Rs. 110

Baking haul

This next thing I bought was a Silicone Tart Mold. This is such a great alternative if you can’t find a tart pan with a removable bottom, or don’t want to spend too much on a pan which you will be using only once or twice. A bit hesitant to buy it at first, I found this silicone tart mold very affordable and very easy to use. The tart, as shown here, slid out very smoothly and baked perfectly. And it cost me half of what it would have cost to buy the normal loose bottom pan. Silicone works wonders!

Baking haul

And also from Al-Fatah, I picked up a round 9 inch cake pan. Cost around Rs. 885. Very useful for, obviously, making a round cake.

Baking haul

And this next pan here was a gift from my mother all the way from Saudi Arab. It’s a neat pan to have in your collection. Very versatile. Can be used as a water-bath, for making lasagna, brownies, to roast chicken in… love it!

Baking haul

I was in Al-Fatah the other day, and found a whole new array of sprinkles. I think, Al-Fatah in all of Islamabad has the best sprinkles. And so, I bought this tiny cute jar of red Christmassy balls. They are adorable. Perfect for topping cupcakes.

redpearls-4.jpg

 

And also a pack of hundreds-and-thousands teeny tiny round balls in a myriad of colors. I absolutely love them.

Baking haul

Also at Al-Fatah, I spotted a whole range of liquid food colors. Picked up Bright Blue, and Raspberry Red.

Blue Velvets and Red Velvets…YES.

Baking haul

I have noticed so many people using gel food colors and going on and on about how awesome they are, and how the bright and vibrant the colors are. Here in Pakistan, food dye isn’t that common unless its Zarda, in that case, yellow food dye powder FTW. In Pakistan here, we only, if lucky, get to find the liquid food colors, that too in a very limited number of color options, mostly just red, green, or blue. So, I had to have a box of these gel food colors, in a range of colors; pinks and purples and yellows. So, to start off I ordered this AmeriColor Junior Soft Gel Paste Food Color Kit from Amazon through my awesome friend’s awesome brother in America who just happens to work in Amazon. How cool is that? It cost around sixteen dollars.

Baking haul

Also, from Amazon, I ordered this Turntable by Wilton. This is cool for when you’re icing big layer cakes, and especially for when you want perfectly smooth frosted sides on your cake. It’s not really necessary. I feel like you can just go round a cake with a pallet knife, or spin a plate to frost all sides. But if you really want to amp up your icing level, get this. It cost around thirteen dollars.

Baking haul

THIS. I’ve been wanting this for the last I.Don’t.Know.How.Many years! You have no idea how many stores I’ve visited in search of this six holed thing, in not one, but TWO countries. And now thanks to that Amazon friend of mine, I now have this pretty thing in my pan pantry. Loads of baked donuts to come.

Baking haul

It’s a six cavity Donut Pan by Wilton. Priced round ten dollars. Very affordable I think, very smooth and shiny, it’s an investment I tell you, for many years to come.

Baking haul

This next thing was actually a gift given to be my lovely cousin. She gets given loads of chocolate every year from Britain by her husband to be. Most of it is super dark, so dark, in fact, that it is unfit for direct consumption. It needs to be used in baking, mixed in sugar. So she passed on three bars of bittersweet chocolate to me.

First one was Lindt 90% Cocoa. Always handy for molten lava cakes or for topping up your tarts or making a glaze for cakes.

Baking haul

She also gave me two bars of a British Brand Montezuma. First of all can we just look at the packaging? How gorgeous is it!

Baking haul

First one here is the Montezuma 73% Cocoa Very Dark Chocolate.

And then, my favorite, the very unusual, the Sea Dog, Dark Chocolate with Lime and Sea Salt. How weird is that. I have no idea where I’ll be using that, maybe sea salt brownies…?

Baking haul

That is pretty much everything that I have bought, that I have added to my baking collection recently. I really hope you enjoyed this post. If you have found some interesting baking bits, do tell me. I’d love to hear any recommendations you might have about baking utensils or any brands who do really good sprinkles that might be available here in Pakistan or anything else. Let me know in the comments.

That’s it from me now.

Till the next post, Ciao!

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

A fancy shmancy dessert, worthy of consumption only for the above-average chocolate fanatic.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Hi everybody, I’m baaaaack! NIMUN was awesome, thanks for asking!

No, but really, I had a great time.

For all of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, NIMUN is an international model UN held at my college last week. I was part of the OC and stayed on campus the entire last week, and had the time.of.my.life! And thus had been MIA. Also, because, finals. Eh. Let’s not talk about them.

Let’s, instead, talk about the gorgeousness I’m sharing with you today! Yes people>>> it’s none other than a SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE GANACHE COOKIE TART.

There, the whole dessert, each of its beautiful bold layers perfectly inundated, by the name.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganachethis Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart is sure to grab your attention! Heck anyone’s attention! Perfect for the coming Valentine’s Day. Jussayin’ 😉

aamaz-2A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

This tart is not your average chocolate dessert. It’s a fancy shmancy dessert, so rich; so indulgent; so very scrumptious, you’ll be coming back for more and more, knowing the disastrous effects its having on your waistline; totally shamrockin’ your “new-fit-me” New Year resolution.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

 

This extra decadent tart has three parts to it; the crust, caramel, and chocolate ganache, but they’re all very easy.

It’s the long never-ending wait in between the making of each layer that kills you! Other than that, it is one simple dessert to make; the varying texture of each layer creates magic in your mouth. This takes more time to prepare, but itisworth it!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

We begin at the base of this delicious dessert: the dark chocolate cookie crust!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

You start off by creaming together your butter, icing sugar, egg yolks and vanilla.

Then fold in the flour, cocoa, and salt. Mix till it all just comes together and forms a big clump. Now plop this crumbly mix into a lightly greased tart shell.

The loose bottom tart shell is the way to go but I couldn’t get hold of it. The silicone kind worked wonders, the tart easily slides from it and was much cheaper too.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Press the dough evenly with your fingers.

Let it chill in the fridge for about 15 to 30 mins, to prevent the sides from slumping.

Then bake it, and allow to cool.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Next you’re going to be making a caramel sauce by cooking together water and sugar. Once amber, add in; cream, salt, and butter.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

The caramel sauce is really easy and only takes a few minutes on the stove-top.

My only piece of advice here is to stay close while the caramel is cooking. Caramel starts out slow but when it reaches a certain level, it happens fast, and if you walk away to check your Snapchat or charge your phone, you may very well return to a pot full of burnt ingredients. And that would be a downright shame and you’ll have to start all over again.

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

This caramel guysss!

I’ve made caramel before but nothing like this. It was beyond my imagination.

Reminiscent of a molten éclair candy. My sisters swooned over it. Everyone was going vavavoom over it.

Chewy and gooey and oh so melt-in-your mouth good.

You’ll find yourself sneaking it in your mouth again and again. But don’t eat all of it, ok? We need some for our tart ala magnifique!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Next up is your basic Ganache, made juuust pourable.

To do this you’ll simply place the chocolate in a bowl, pour warmed cream over top, and stir like crazy!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Pour over the caramel, and allow to set.

Then top with an extra chocolate drizzle, just because…why not?

And then sprinkle with sea salt (I might have overdone it a teeny bit), and then dig in!

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate TartThat first bite though.

Rich, fudgy, and utterly decadent.

The caramel settles just the slightest bit and makes a small layer of fudge-like goodness on the bottom.

Then you have the chocolate that melts slowly in your mouth as you chew.

And the slight tinge of saltiness from the sea salt. *swoooon*

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

A dark chocolate all-butter cookie crust, lush salted caramel, and an incredibly decadent chocolate ganache –Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Now get thee into the kitchen and make this. Then pour yourself a tall glass of cold milk, or green tea, and enjoy bite after decadent bite.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache Tart with Cookie Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes                                                                        Yields: 8-10 servings
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients:
FOR THE COOKIE CRUST:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp butter (125 g), at room temperature
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL:
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) cream1
  • 5 tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter2
  • 1 tsp salt
   FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
  • 4 oz (120 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped3
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) cream
     Coarse sea salt, for garnish
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease lightly a 9 inch tart pan.
  2. For the crust, whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix until combined. Little by little, add the dry ingredients until incorporated. The dough may look crumbly, but it should come together easily when you pinch the dough between two fingers.
  3. Press the dough out into your prepared tart pan. Prick all over with a fork, and pop into the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool completely.
  4. For the caramel, place the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until sugar dissolves and gets a dark amber color. DO NOT stir.4
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream. It will bubble up.
  6. Cook for about 1 or 2 minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until smooth. Remove from heat and add butter and salt. Stir well until smooth.
  7. Let the caramel cool slightly before pouring over the chilled cookie crust. Refrigerate for about 4-5 hours, or preferably overnight.
  8. For the chocolate ganache, Heat the cream in a small saucepan. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth.
  9. Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel. Spread it evenly and refrigerate for another 2-3 hours before serving. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve.
Notes:
1.       I used Olpers Milk Cream.
2.       I used salted butter, both for the crust and the caramel, and hence reduced the salt amount to ½ tsp in the caramel.
3.       Milk, semi-sweet chocolate, or a combination can be used too. I used Lindt 90% Cocoa which proved to be a bit too dark.
4.       DO NOT STIR when the sugar and water are cooking, otherwise the mix will clump up. Mix only after adding the cream.

 

Adapted from: Home Cooking Adventure

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Small Batch Chocolate Mocha Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Holidays, folks! Finally we are getting proper winter feeling. Can you believe it’s almost end of December and not finger-freezing cold yet?

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

Here I have for you the perfect holiday recipe. Have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (sneak in a few snacks too, if you can). I know would, if those pesky things called adipocytes (fat cells) didn’t exist.

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

I don’t know how many of you worship at the shrine of pastry heaven called Cinnabon like me (don’t tell my mother I said that) but cinnamon rolls are one of the scrumptious essentials of life.

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

MY rolls are, however your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

The gooey center. My favorite bit.

My three favourite Cs: Cinnamon, Coffee, Chocolate.

They’re soft and gooey, with a caramelized bottom, and melty chocolate chips in between. The light mocha touch enhances the chocolate flavor ever so slightly. And the mocha glaze does not take the glory away from the cinnamon sugar, just makes it even better (yes, its possible my friend).

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

This recipe makes a smaller number of rolls than the usual recipes. It is perfect for when you have the cravings and want to bake your own but don’t want to end up with trays and trays of rolls that you then stuff into your freezer (although you are secretly happy).

This recipe makes six large cinnamon rolls or 9 small ones. Super easy to make. They literally take 2 hours to go from your thoughts to the oven to your belly (I timed).

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

Knead the dough using a stand mixer or by hand. Plop it in a well-oiled bowl. Allow to rest in a warm place (the microwave, or near a window with the sun shining in), roll it, and fill with the most amazingly sinful filling ever (butter+cinnamon+sugar+cocoa powder+chocolatechips+instant coffee), roll them, slice them, arrange them on a greased dish, let them rest again, bake, glaze, and devour. Voila!

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

For the extra special Christmas morning (for those celebrating), make these tonight and place covered, unbaked rolls in the fridge. You can then just bake them tomorrow and win the hearts and tummies of your family!

Happy holidays, again!

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.

Chocolate Mocha Cinnamon Rolls

Yields: 9 small rolls
Ingredients:
Dough
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
Filling
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
3/4 teaspoon cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk; enough to make a pourable glaze
Directions:
In a small saucepan combine milk, butter, and sugar. Stir continually until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted completely. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool till it comes to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine the; 1 ½ cup flour, salt, egg yolk, and yeast. Add in the prepared milk and butter mixture. Mix. Bring the dough together into a ball and knead a few turns with your hands. Add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time if the dough feels to wet. Knead well for 3-4 minutes till the dough feels compact and is no longer sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a roughly 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
Spread with about 4 tablespoons of butter. In a small bowl stir together sugar, cinnamon, coffee powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Generously sprinkle over the melted butter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Roll starting at the longer edge into a tight coil.
Slice into 6 large pieces or smaller ones.
Use remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch baking pan or any other baking dish. Place rolls in the pan leaving about 1/2 inch of room between them. Cover the rolls and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
While the rolls rise, preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and doubled in size.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool just slightly.
In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, coffee powder, and cream or milk. Drizzle over warm rolls.
Enjoy.
Recipe source: Joy the Baker

Your standard cinnamon rolls amped up a notch with the glorious addition of coffee and chocolate.