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I’m sure you must all have tried chocolate cupcakes at some point, either dark chocolate or milk chocolate or a combination of the two, with or without an additional handful of chocolate chips. White chocolate somehow never makes it to that list and I did not think that white chocolate cupcakes could also exist until I came across this beautiful recipe on Leite’s Culinaria. As white chocolate is not something I routinely keep in my pantry [unlike the huge stash of dark chocolate that I know I can throw into pretty much anything], I had to go out to get a couple of Lindt Excellence white chocolate bars specially for baking these little beauties. I always swear by Lindt when it comes to baking with chocolate so I cannot tell whether you can risk it with other brands and expect similar results. Instead of folding the melted white chocolate throughout the cake batter, I found it more interesting to give it a marbled effect so that I could have my cake as well as my chocolate and eat both of them at the same time.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

For the White Chocolate Cupcakes

140g white chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unbleached cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 cup  milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

For the White Chocolate Ganache

110g white chocolate, finely chopped

100ml whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Position an oven rack in center, preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Line twelve muffin cups with paper liners.

  • Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a skillet of water to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat.

  • Place the bowl in hot water. Stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

  • Let cool until tepid. In a small bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

  • Stir together milk and vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter for about 3 minutes.

  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the tepid white chocolate.

  • Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture in 2 additions

  • Mix well until smooth. Scoop the batter into the prepared cups. The cups should not be more than 2/3 full.

  • Bake cakes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

  • For the frosting, coarsely chop the white chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat.

  • Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until completely melted. Beat in vanilla extract just until combined.

  • Frost the tops of white chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate ganache and leave to set for about 1 hour.

White Chocolate Cupcakes

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Now that I have got somewhat more comfortable with the process of making scones, I feel I have come a long way from the scone ‘phobia’ I suffered from my Home Eco days. At time, I find myself looking up for basic scones and on few occasions, even succumbing to trying out one for breakfast. The simple vanilla scone, from King Arthur Flour, may well be fabulous on its own but I wanted to see what the addition of coarsely chopped dark chocolate would do to the scone batter. After painstakingly chopping an entire bar of Lindt’s 70% cocoa, do not forget to set a few chunks aside that you can melt and drizzle over your baked scones for a bakery style finish.

DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK SCONES

For the Dough

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

1 cup dark chocolate, chopped

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup milk

For the Topping

2 teaspoons liquid milk

2 tablespoons sparkling sugar

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  • Work in butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Stir in dark chocolate.

  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and fresh milk.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir it until all is moistened.

  • Dough should hold together. Line baking sheet with parchment without greasing.
  • Sprinkle a bit of flour atop parchment and scrape dough onto floured parchment.

  • Divide the dough into halves and round each half into a 6″ circle, about 3/4″ thick.
  • Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle them with coarse white sparkling sugar.

  • Using a knife that you have run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
  • Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them about 1/2″ apart.

  • Place scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown; the edges should not look unbaked.

  • Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve scones warm.
  • When completely cool, wrap in plastic. Store at room temperature for several days.

  • To reheat room-temperature scones, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil.
  • Warm in preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes and serve them immediately.

Dark Chocolate Scones

Almost like a Ferrero Rocher, these little hazelnut squares from The Australian Women’s Weekly will, without a doubt, remind you of the famous Italian candy from the very first mouthful. They are a bit labour intensive if you plan to make the hazelnut meal from scratch but you can easily save on time and energy by purchasing a sachet of ground hazelnuts from the nearest supermarket. Be sure to toast the store bought stuff for a couple of minutes in a preheated oven to get rid of the ‘raw’ taste before they go into your cake batter. The milk chocolate topping gives a characteristic Nutella feel to these mini bites but you can switch to dark chocolate, if you fancy a more intense cocoa flavour.

HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SQUARES

Ingredients:

100g butter, softened

100g caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

100g ground hazelnuts

20g all purpose flour

150g milk chocolate

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease a 8 x 8-inch square baking pan and line base and sides with baking paper.

  • Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with electric mixer till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one by one.

  • Stir in the ground hazelnuts and sifted flour. Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

  • Stand in pan for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare glaze by combining the chopped milk chocolate and oil.

  • Stir in a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water until chocolate mixture is smooth.

  • Spread the chocolate glaze over the slice with spatula, and gently tap pan on bench until glaze is smooth.

  • Refrigerate until chocolate glaze is set before cutting it with a sharp knife, wiping the blade between cuts.

  • Store the hazelnut chocolate squares in a large air tight container for up to one week. Makes 16-20 pieces.

Hazelnut Chocolate Squares

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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