Monday, February 6, 2017

Valentine's Day Desserts / Cupcakes + Truffles + Cookie Dough + Cheesecake

Valentine’s day desserts.





CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES


Serves:16-18 cupcakes
Prep time:45 mins
Cook time:18 mins
Total time:1 hour 3 mins


Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a strawberry buttercream frosting and chocolate covered strawberries! These Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes are the ultimate Valentine's Day dessert.
INGREDIENTS
Chocolate Cupcakes
·      1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
·      ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·      1 teaspoon baking powder
·      ½ teaspoon baking soda
·      ¼ teaspoon salt
·      ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
·      ½ cup brown sugar
·      ½ cup granulated sugar
·      2 large eggs
·      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·      ½ cup milk
·      ¼ cup sour cream
Strawberry Frosting
·      1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
·      3 and ½ cups confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
·      1 tablespoon heavy cream
·      ½ cup strawberry jam
·      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·      Optional: A few drops of red food coloring
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
·      16 medium sized strawberries
·      4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
INSTRUCTIONS
To make the chocolate cupcakes:
1.   Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-count muffins pans with 16 cupcake liners and set aside.
2.   Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
3.   In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
4.   Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.
5.   Add in the milk and sour cream and mix until fully combined.
6.   Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
7.   Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake liners only filling them a little over halfway full. You should end up with about 16-18 cupcakes.
8.   Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
9.   Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for a couple minutes. Remove from the pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the strawberry frosting:
1.   In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and heavy cream and mix until well combined.
2.   Add the strawberry jam, vanilla, and red food coloring (if using) and mix until fully combined.
3.   Transfer to the refrigerator until you're ready to frost the cupcakes.
To make the chocolate covered strawberries:
1.   Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2.   Add the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring well after each increment, until melted and smooth.
3.   Dip each strawberry into the chocolate one at a time and place on the prepared baking sheet.
4.   Transfer to the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened.
To assemble:
1.   Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Top each cupcake with one of the chocolate covered strawberries.
NOTES
Cupcakes may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Hearts Recipe
Serves: 25-35

Ingredients
·         1 cup flour
·         2 tablespoons flour
·         ½ teaspoon baking soda
·         ¼ teaspoon salt
·         ½ cup butter, softened
·         6 tablespoons granulated sugar
·         6 tablespoons brown sugar
·         ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
·         2-3 tablespoons water
·         1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
·         2 cups milk chocolate chips
·         Optional: decorative sprinkles
Get Ingredients
Instructions
1.     Combine flour, baking soda, salt, sugars, softened butter and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
2.     With clean hands, work the dough.
3.     Add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and continue to work the dough until chocolate chips are incorporated.
4.     One tablespoon at a time, add water if needed to get the desired consistency.
5.     Lay a piece of parchment paper on a large flat surface (baking sheet or cutting board works well).
6.     Place the dough onto the parchment paper and spread it out evenly until the thickness reaches approximately ½”.
7.     Place the cookie dough in the fridge to cool for 20 minutes.
8.     Once cooled, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out hearts from the dough (smaller cookie cutters work best to make bite sized pieces).
9.     Combine the scrap dough continually to make as many hearts as possible.
10.  Once all dough is used, place 2 cups milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.
11.  Microwave on high for 15-20 seconds, stir and continue this process until chocolate is completely melted.
12.  Place one heart in the chocolate at a time and completely coat.
13.  Using a fork, lift the cookie dough heart out of the chocolate – tapping the side of the bowl to ensure excess chocolate drips off.
14.  Place the chocolate covered heart back on the parchment paper, and quickly add sprinkles (if desired) while chocolate is still melted.
15.  Continue this process until all cookie dough hearts are covered in melted chocolate.
16.  Chill in the fridge for 10 additional minutes and then serve.


CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE
How do you make chocolate dipped strawberries better? Attach it to a cheesecake, of course! This strawberry cheesecake is sure to win over any Valentine!
yield: MAKES 18 MINI CHEESECAKES
INGREDIENTS:
·         1 3/4 cup ground graham crackers
·         6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
·         16 oz cream cheese
·         3/4 cup granulated sugar
·         2 large eggs
·         1 large yolk
·         2 tsp vanilla extract
·         1/2 tsp fine sea salt
·         18 strawberries, rinsed and pat dry
·         8 oz dark chocolate (56%), melted
DIRECTIONS:
1.    Combine ground graham crackers and melted butter.  Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoon of mixture into each mini cheesecake mold cavity.  Use a tamper or cocktail muddler to pack crust into mold.  Set aside.
2.    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
3.    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar while the machine runs on slow.  Add eggs and yolk one at a time.  Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.  Add vanilla and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Evenly divide cheesecake filling among molds.  Smooth tops.
4.    Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cheesecake will puff up slightly during baking, but will flatten once cooled.  Let baked cheesecake cool to room temperature in pan.  Transfer to fridge and let chill for at least 1 hour.
5.    Once cheesecakes are chilled throughout, remove mini cheesecake from mold by pushing up on the removable bottoms.  Spoon melted chocolate over each individual cheesecake.  Dip strawberries in melted chocolate and place on top of chocolate covered cheesecake.  Serve immediately.
*Over time the chocolate will harden and set.  It is best to consume these desserts immediately.


OREO TRUFFLES VALENTINE'S HEARTS
Ingredients
24 Oreo cookies-crushed into fine crumbs
5 oz. softened cream cheese
12-14 oz. high quality white chocolate (you can use white chocolate candy coating or vanilla almond bark)
Heart shaped sprinkles-optional
Instructions
·         Line a tray with baking paper.
·         Crush whole Oreos with the filling in a really fine crumbs and combine it with softened cream cheese.
·         You can do this by hands, press it with a back of the spoon, or use a mixer with paddle attachment(the mixture is really thick and I prefer to knead it by hand).
·         When it’s all evenly combined transfer the mixture onto baking paper and spread it in an even layer about 1/2 inch thick (or more, depending how large is your cookie cutter).
·         Place the tray in the freezer for 45 mins (or more) until it’s hardened enough for cutting.
·         Cut out the truffles with heart shaped cookie cutter and place them back in the freezer for 20-30 mins(truffles must be frozen before dipping into chocolate).
·         Line another tray with baking paper and set aside.
·         Take a few hearts from the freezer ( so the rest won’t soften while you are working) and dip one frozen hearts at the time into melted chocolate with a fork. Tap off the excess chocolate and transfer the hearts onto baking paper and top with sprinkles (if you don’t want to dip them twice in the chocolate). If you want to cover the truffles with second layer of chocolate( like I did), then after first dipping into chocolate, place chocolate covered hearts in the freezer to harden the chocolate faster and repeat the dipping process, and then top with sprinkles.
·         Work in small batches because the heart must be frozen when place them into melted chocolate.
·         Store in an airtight container in the fridge(or freezer for longer storage).
·         This recipe makes 16-20 small (about1.5 inch) hearts.
Recipe Type: Dessert