Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chocolate Mint Dream.

A dear friend of mine has been going through kind of a rough time. She had a fairly serious series of events happening in her life and I wanted to do a little something to cheer her up on a day I knew would be a particular challenge for her. Over cocktails a few days prior to last this particularly hard day, I quizzed her on her favorite sweet flavor combos on a scale from one to ten. Her boyfriend (and you know you you are), who I originally quizzed, claimed she did not like chocolate and mint, not one bit. Imagine my surprise when chocolate/mint scored highest on her scale from one to ten out of all sorts of combos like: peanut butter/chocolate, coconut/vanilla or chocolate, red velvet. . . you get the idea. I was pleased with the results because I have been wanting to do a a chocolate and mint cupcake since it's something I've never done before. For all my cupcake making, I know this sounds odd, but Thomas HATES chocolate and mint together, so I don't really have anyone in the house to eat a gaggle of chocolate mint cupcakes.

Because I wanted these cupcakes to be ultra special, I wanted to top them with little something extra. I decided to work with something I'd love to be way better at, but kind of actually suck at: sugar cookies and royal icing. I know this might sound silly to some of you out there, because we frost sugar cookies with sugary icing as kids right? Right, but also wrong. There are so many amazing cookie artists out there, again this might sound silly but it's true. If you'd like to know what I'm talking about check out a few of these links, and then continue reading:




( I know I've stumbled across one of the most amazing cookie blog that you've ever seen, but for the life of me, I can't find it, sorry!)

I topped each cupcake with a heart sugar cookie frosted with an egg white royal frosting in a light purple and a light green, my friends favorite colors. Some hearts even had her first initial. But alas, I was seriously unimpressed with my icing skills. This is something I've resolved to practice.

Alright, onto the cupcake breakdown. For the cake I used a Martha Stewart Recipe for Devils Food Chocolate Cake. I thought it was dry and 100% not chocolatey enough. Kind of an oxymoron of what a Devils Food Cake should be. I filled each with a minty pudding/fudge that was absolutely delicious and consisted of cream, butter, powdered sugar and marshmallow, yum! Each cupcake was topped with a simple, very light mint buttercream frosting and a frosted cookie. Except for the dry-ish cake, this cupcake was delicious. I think it did a good job of bringing a smile to her face, and my goal was accomplished.

Here is a link to the cake recipe:


Recipe: Minty Fudge Filling


3.5 oz semisweet high quality chocolate
2 TBL butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 mint tea bags
1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
handful of tiny marshmallows


1. Place cream and mint tea bags into a small saucepan. Heat on very low for about 5 minutes. Do not allow this to boil. You want the mint to seep into the cream and the cream to thicken slightly.

2. Meanwhile, place the chocolate and butter into a double boiler and melt slightly (I use a pyrex boil over a pot of simmering water).

3. Discard tea bags, and pour hot cream over chocolate and butter mixture allow the chocolate mixture to melt completely.

4. Add powdered sugar and marshmallows to chocolate mixture, stir until completely combined, remove from heat and allow to cool.

5. Cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake and fill with about 1-2 tsp of fudgey mint filling.

Recipe: Mint Buttercream Frosting


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cream
1/4 teaspoon all natural peppermint extract

1. beat butter until creamy then scrape the bowl.

2. add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint extract all at once and beat until combined light and fluffy.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Milk & Honey Tea.

Milk Tea., originally uploaded by razzieswirl.

My roommate and his girlfriend spent the holidays in the UK. A few weeks in England and a few days in Italy. Upon their return Asher told me about a tea they had enjoyed in Italy. A mixture of about 2/3 milk and honey to 1/3 strong tea. He claimed the aromatic, warm, sweet, milky mixture was a cure all elixir for whatever ails you (according to the Italians), and that indeed, upon consumption he and his sniffled ridden travel accomplice felt much better. The combo sounded lovely, right up my alley. Every morning I enjoy a strong cup of black tea. When I was a child my father was an avid "coffee" drinker, I say "coffee" because it was often 3/4 milk and sugar and 1/4 coffee. It was more like sweet milk with a bit of coffee flavoring than coffee itself. This tea reminded me of my fathers coffee. I used a black tea infused with flower petals and allowed it to steep in half a pot of boiling water for a good 10 minutes. The result was a strong aromatic tea base. Mixed with creamed honey and 2% milk that had been heated together, it was like heaven in a cup. So much so that I demanded we drink out of my pretty little tea cups.

This tea really made me feel as if we were sitting in some little cafe thousands of miles away from good old Bellingham. It's quite the treat, and I urge you to try it. It's not as sweet as you might think, it's more so calming and even dream inducing.

Recipe: Milk & Honey Tea


1/2 pot very strong black tea
1 cup 2% (or more) milk
a few Tablespoons whipped honey


1. Heat milk and honey in a medium pot until honey has incorporated and mixture is hot.
2. Pour tea into milk mixture and heat thoroughly.
3. Drink out of beautiful tea cups, and enjoy!