Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes


What happens when you have to sit staring at a melting point apparatus for half an hour in the lab? Well if you're me you fill the back few pages of your nearest notebook with a list of ideas you want to bake and then proceed to write out the recipes for them. And then feel hugely disappointed when your compound actually starts to melt so you have to pay attention. Everyone else in the lab is used to this sort of behaviour from me by now. During times of particular stress I've even had it thrown at me 'why haven't you brought cake in today?!'. Even half the lecturers know about my baking obsession and this little blog of mine.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chocolate Cupcakes all in one method
Recently Taylor and Colledge very kindly offered to send me some of their new extract pastes to try out. After hearing good things about their range of vanilla products I jumped at the chance and when my package arrived, I very excitedly opened it up to find I had received extracts of vanilla, lemon, peppermint, lavender, almond and coconut. Such a lovely array of flavours don't you think? The pastes are all from either organic or natural sources and their is a little bit of information as to the origin on the box of each one. (I love little geeky facts like these!) The real beauty about the pastes though is that they are concentrated so you only need a little to make a big impact.
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chocolate Cupcakes all in one method
I've been fancying mint flavoured things for a while now so it was the peppermint paste I broke into first. The smell was divine as I broke the seal and squuezed out a little into my mixing bowl. The consistency was beautifully smooth and not too thick so it mixed into the other ingredients like a dream. It was only my first try of these new concentrated extract pastes but already I was impressed by the quality. Next came the taste test.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chocolate Cupcakes all in one method
I actually made mint chocolate chip cookies with the peppermint paste first but that post is waiting for another time. The cookies were wonderful and chewy, the indulgence lifted with a refreshing breath of cooling mint but these cupcakes are really where it is at. My time is very limited at the moment because I'm writing my final year dissertation, and then I head straight into exam revision, so I went straight for an all in one sponge mixture. It was the right choice. Super soft and and achingly tender, the amount of cocoa gives a powerful chocolate hit while maintaining a level of sweetness that showcases the flavour to its best.  I toyed around with a couple of icing ideas before settling on a minty version of the cookie dough icing (frosting if you prefer) I used on this traybake. The same one that disappeared to rave reviews. Super creamy and whipped to a light, delicious finish the mini chocolate chips mixed right in remind you instantly of mint chocolate chip ice cream - one of my favourite flavours.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chocolate Cupcakes all in one method
The feedback? 'AMAZING!' Caps lock and all. So yes, Taylor and Colledge's concentrated extract pastes passed the taste test. As for the other flavours, I'm planning on making lavender and white chocolate cupcakes, remaking these muffins with the coconut one and making almond and chocolate cookies. The lemon extract would be perfect in this traybake and the vanilla paste would be a dream in my favourite Very Vanilla Cupcakes. For now, why not make these minty chocolate cupcakes? I couldn't resist adding the green food colouring. Right in time for a St Patrick's day bake too.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Makes 10-12 cupcakes
Soft chocolate cupcakes made using the super quick all in one method topped with fresh and minty mint chocolate chip coookie dough icing. It looks just like ice cream!










Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 115g margarine or softened butter
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 80g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tso vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk
For the coookie dough icing (frosting):
  • 50g softened butter
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract paste
  • Green gel food colouring (optional)
  • 65g plain flour
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 35g mini chocolate chips
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 180 C/160 C fan and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.
2. Put all the ingredients for the cupcakes into a bowl and use an electric mixer to mix until just combined. Divide between the cupcakes cases and bake for 20-25 mins until well risen and a cake tester inserted into themiddle of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
3.Remove the cupcakes from the oven and carefully transfer them from the muffin tray to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the butter until creamy then beat in the caster sugar, peppermint extract and enough green food gel to get the shade you want, until light and fluffy. Mix in the flour and enough milk to get a soft consistency that isn't sloppy. Mix in the chocolate chips.
5. When cooled, spread the icing on top of the cupcakes and enjoy.



I'd like to enter these into CookBlogShare run by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes. Also, into the Mum theme Treat Petite, this month hosted by Cakeyboi Stuart who alternates hosting duties with Kat The Baking Explorer. I know my mum would have loved these if I had made them at home and I was thinking of her as I baked them, especially as I'm missing her a lot right now, having not visited home from uni for so long.





Disclaimer: I was sent the extract pastes by Taylor and Colledge for review purposes and I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts expressed are unprompted.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Muffins - Gluten Free

Have you ever wanted to bake with a particular ingredient, try out your own ideas, after being inspired by things you've seen floating around the internet? That's exactly where these muffins originated from. I'd been wanting to bake with buckwheat flour for ages so when the people at myprotein.com got in touch, I jumped at the chance. Buckwheat flour went straight onto my list of goodies to request.
Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Muffins - Gluten free and good for you
It might seem like a strange brand for a sugar laden blog to work with but myprotein.com sell all sorts of products. They have the typical protein powders, shakes and snacks for those who work out at the gym and want to help build muscle but they also stock sports clothing, nut butters, a range of flours and grains that have health benefits beyond your typical wheat flour, dried fruits, nuts and other baking ingredients like coconut oil. In addition to my buckwheat oil I was tempted by the coconut oil and the 1kg tub of almond butter. I had ideas swimming in front of my eyes straight away. Not least grabbing a spoon and digging right into that tub of almond butter. Have I ever mentioned how much of a peanut butter addict I am? It's perfect revision comfort food. 
Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Muffins - Gluten free and good for you
I couldn't wait to get started so I was particularly pleased when my goodies arrived quickly. I had heard good things about myprotein.com from my brother and one of the PhDs at uni so I'm pleased to say now that I can back them up. That almond butter is going towards some cookies which I will hopefully get to make soon (probably when I'm throwing a tantrum over not being able to find the right words for my dissertation) but it's the coconut oil and the buckwheat flour which are the stars of these muffins. I took my favourite muffin recipe adapted from Sallys Baking Addiction which I've used so many times before. It's super adaptable whether it be for spicy gingerbread, autumnal bonfire toffee apple or  creamy iced latte crumble muffins. These though are something else. A complete success. Sweet and nutty with earthen undertones from the buckwheat flour, the chunks of extra dark chocolate hidden throughout and generously sprinkled on top provide little kicks of cocoa delight. Coconut oil and exract add their own enticing flavours, complementary to the honey replacing the processed sugars. If you want a quick fix to your desire to treat yourself with something delicious, but without being excessively indulgent, then these are the muffins to go for.
Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Muffins - Gluten free and good for you

Ok, so I've tagged this recipe as healthy which isn't strictly true but I did choose a combination of ingredients which do bring their own health benefits to your plate along with tasting lovely. Buckwheat flour, despite its name isn't actually a flour so is suitable for gluten intolerant people. My housemate got to try some of my baking which she hasn't done in a long time! It works really well as a gluten free alternative to plain flour in lots of baked goods. Coconut oil, despite being high in saturated fat has so many more points to recommend itself - Google it and you'll see. I used honey instead of processed sugars so you can be rest assured there and by using 74% dark chocolate there is less fat and sugar, and more iron in these muffins. The perfect dessert. Healthy(ish) and delicious. And now I'm going to ruin all my efforts by pairing one with ice cream. Mmmmmmmm.

Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Muffins
Makes 6 normal sized muffins or 9 cupcake sized muffins
A muffin which oofers benefits for the body, soul AND taste buds using coconut oil, gluten free buckwheat flour and dark chocolate.










Ingredients
  • 190g buckwheat flour e.g. this one
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp nutmeg
  • 100g dark chocolate. chopped (ideally 70% solids at least)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 75g honey
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 120ml buttermilk (or milk or coconut milk + 1dsp vinegar)
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 220 C/2000 C fan and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
2. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and nutmeg. Stir in the chopped chocolate, reserving some for the tops of the muffins if you wish. In a separate bowl or jug whisk together the oil, egg, honey, coconut extract and buttermilk. 
3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined - a bit lumpy is ok. Sprinkle on the reserved chocolate.
4. Divide the mixture between the cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes if making 6 normal sized muffins or 13 minutes of making 9 smaller muffins. For both sizes, reduce the oven to 180 C/160 C fan after the first five minutes. When baked, remove from the oven and remove the muffins from the tray to cool on a wire rack.

I'd like to send these off to CookBlogShare run by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes. Also to Simply Eggcellent - a new challenge run by Dom from Belleau Kitchen. I haven't entered for a while due to uni stuff but it's nice to join in again with Bake of the Week run by Helen at Casa Costello.


Disclaimer: I was sent products from myprotein.com to review and use in my recipes. I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts expressed are my own.