Capuccino Cupcakes

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Any excuse to play in my kitchen is a great excuse. A few days ago, someone asked me how to bake perfectly round cups using sugar cookies or regular cookies. I had used them many times to make fun treats, but had never really tried to use them and bake them empty so I thought to give it another try. Well, as a result I was left with an array of empty shells to work with. Being a fan of chocolate, and coffee I decided to make those cute yummy treats. I hope that you will enjoy them. Plus, they are a fun treat to make with children. Easy, Mess free and Yummy!!!

Ingredients for 24 mini cupcakes:

  • 1 pre-baked sugar cookie dough ( i don’t have any preference, I used Pillsbury)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 4 oz. of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp of sugar ( optional – i don’t because i like dark chocolate but those of you who may like  sweet desserts, i would)
  • 1 tbsp of coffee granule
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream for the whipped cream
  • 2 tbsp of mascarpone or cream cheese at room temperature.
  • a few coffee beans for decoration.
  1. Turn the oven to 400. Place the mini cupcake tray on the medium perforated sheet and place a cookie square in each 2
  2. Cook the cookies 10 3
  3. Remove the pan from the oven, and with a shot glass ( i hope that you have one, or the back of a large spoon), press the dough down to make a 4
  4. Place the cookies back in the oven and cook for another 3-5 minutes ( it will depend on your oven).photo 5
  5. Let them cool completely and prepare the 2
  6. Place the chocolate chips, sugar and coffee in a bowl and set aside.
  7. Place 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a small bowl and cook for 1 minute or until it is hot.
  8. Pour the cream over the chocolate mixture and let it set for 1 minute to let the chips  melt.
  9. Stir until you have a very liquid mixture free of lumps. Place it in the fridge to cool.
  10. Meanwhile prepare the whipped cream. We are adding the mascarpone cheese so that the whipped cream will not fall.
  11. Place the cream and the cheese into a small bowl and whip until you have stiff peaks.
  12. Remove the chocolate mixture from  the fridge, place it in a kitchen mixer and whip it until you have  a fluffy mousse.
  13. Place the chocolate whipped ganache into a ziploc bag, or pastry bag and fill each cup to 3
  14. Then, fill another ziploc bag with whipped cream and pipe the cream on top of the 4
  15. Decorate with coffee beans. C’est tout!!!photo

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Chocolat Chaud (Hot Cocoa)- the Parisian Way


Theo, my child came inside this afternoon and opened all the cabinets in search of a hot cocoa mix. There was not one. So he asked if I knew where it would be.. of course no where. he looked so disappointed that i decided to make some from scratch. It is really not that hard. In fact there is nothing easier than hot cocoa. All yu need is good quality chocolate and milk.

Yes, unlike the urban belief, hot cocoa is not made with cream or half and half, the thickness comes from the chocolate. In fact if you do not believe me, let the hot cocoa cool a bit and you will see that it will become very thick almost as thick as a chocolate fudge or syrup. Yum!!!!

I topped the top of the hot cocoa with whipped cream, but you would need to.

Ingredients for 4 small cups:

  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 130 gr. of 5 oz of chocolate chips ( bittersweet with 60% cocoa minimum)
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  1. Place the milk into  a cup and warm it up in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate chips. stir and pour it into a small saucepan.
  3. Bring the mixture to boil. When the mixture has boiled, turn off the heat.
  4. Beat the cream into hard peaks. Pour the chocolate into  4 teacups ( this is so rich, that you will not need to have more).
  5. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream over the hot chocolate.
  6. Sprinkle a few chocolate beads over the whipped cream and without much , enjoy this yummy delightful brew.

Even better with macarons;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Coioking!!!

Mini Chocolate Cup

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Tomorrow being Mother’s Day, we will have brunch with the whole family. This means eating small bite-sized food and eating an array of lunch and breakfast items. I love brunches because you can make some really fun and beautiful food. What will you do? I would have loved to fix brunch at my house but my husband forbid me to do so saying that it was my day, and as my day I was not allowed to go into the kitchen. Well if you can cook and looking for fun things to do, here is a fun dessert bite that is very very easy to do.

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Ingredients for 48 mini cups:

  • a bag of bittersweet chocolate chips ( i prefer ghiradhelli)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla 
  • 48 raspberry ( about 2 boxes )
  1. Place half of the chocolate into a microwavable bowl and cook in the microwave for 90 seconds. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds. The chocolate should be liquid, and free of lumps. If it is not microwave it again for another 30 seconds.
  2. Place the petit four tray on top of the medium perforated sheet and with a pastry brush, brush the inside of each cups.
  3. When finished, place the tray in the freezer or in the fridge for 5 minutes to cure the chocolate.
  4. Remove the tray from the freezer and brush the chocolate cups again to make them stronger. At this point, you may need to melt more chocolate.
  5. Place the tray back into the freezer or fridge.
  6. Meanwhile, place the heavy cream, with the vanilla and the sugar into a bowl and with a whisk beat the cream until the cream makes hard peaks. ( if you have a kitchen mixer, it is faster so you use it).
  7. Place the tray on the counter. Fill the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe the cream into each cup.
  8. Place a raspberry on top of the whipped cream.
  9. This dessert will stay good for 1-2 hours in the fridge ( make sure to whip the cream into hard peaks or it will fall and the whipped cream will run).
  10. Only display this dessert when your guests are ready for desserts or the chocolate will soften and those cups will be difficult to pick up.
  11. Et voila!

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Fancy Easy Napoleon: Blackberry Napoleon

People are uncomfortable using ingredients, or food that they are not familiar with. Fillo dough is one of them. When I use this medium in my cooking classes, most attendees are either very unfamiliar with it, or confide that they are too scared to use it. Fillo dough is very easy to use and make delicious and beautiful fares. In one of my previous post, I presented you a fat-free Strawberry Napoleon. It was so easy to make and a delight to eat. In this recipe I am making a Napoleon again but used blackberry because they offer a beautiful contrast against the whipped cream , but you can use any fruit your heart desires;-)

Ingredients for 4: I pack of the fillo dough, 1 box of blackberry ( about 8 oz), 4 tbsp of melted butter, granulated sugar, 1 1/2 of heavy cream, 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

Take one of the pack out of the package of the fillo dough and place the other one back into the freezer. Unroll the fillo dough out on the roulpat and cut a series of 2.5 inches circles.You will need to count the sheets of fillo dough and cut as many circles as you need.  You will need 12 sheets or circles per person. Divide those circles in series of two sheets. With a pastry brush, spread the melted butter on each one of them and stack them with another 2 sheet circles. Sprinkle some granulated sugar. Place them on the silpat and cook those stacks at 410 for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the whipped cream. Place the cream in a mixer, 2 tbsp of sugar and the vanilla extract and whip the cream at medium low-speed and whip until the cream, is forming soft peaks. Set aside. Remove the circles from the oven and let them cool completely before assembling them.

To prepare the Napoleon, place one circle on a plate spoon about 2 tbsp of whipped cream and place the blackberries all over the whipped cream . Place another circle and repeat. Place another circle and sprinkle some granulated sugar and squirt a bit of whipped cream for decoration. Et voila!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

A Quick and Fancy Dessert: Crepes Purses with Fresh Berries

Crepes are best eaten on the day you fix them. In fact they are best eaten right out of the frying pan:-) You sprinkle a little bit of granulated sugar, fold it for the sugar to melt and you can eat them just like that! It is scrumptious. I don’t eat a lot of carbs, but crepes are one of my weaknesses. They are so so good. I usually prepare enough dough to make two dinners out of them. On the night we have crepes, i fill the crepes with various filling of cheese, ham, maybe eggs ( for my husband) right out in the frying pan just like you would if you were cooking them on a crepe maker. Then I make a few dozens for the next day. Those crepes are generally filled with a creme bechamel or white cheese sauce and ham and mushrooms.

When I am done making those crepes, then I either add  2 tsbp of rhum in the remaining dough, or Fleur d’Oranger ( Aroma from the Orange flower) and make my sweet crepes. As I cook, each crepe, I sprinkle them with sugar, and let them stand in the corner until I am done fixing them. You can eat those crepes just as they are. They are warm, and so flavorful, that little is needed to make them even better. Sometimes I  add a dollop of creme fraiche. C’est tout! Though sugared crepes would be a delightful end of a meal, they are less than attractive so they would never be anything I would serve my guests. Instead i would offer them a much fancier version: Crepes Purses filled with Whipped Cream and Fresh Berry Salad.

Ingredients for 4 : 4 sweet crepes ( see recipe of crepes), 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp of orange flower aroma, 1 cup of raspberry, 1 cup of raspberry, sugar, 1 tsp of grsnulated 1 tsp of chopped fresh mint.

Place the heavy cream in a mixer along with a tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of orange flower aroma. Beat the cream at medium high until it starts forming soft peaks. Set aside.

In another bowl, place all the fruit with 1 tsp of granulated sugar and the chopped mint, and mix well to coat the fruit.

Place a crepe on a plate, empty the content of about 1/4 cup of whipped cream on the middle of the crepe. Fold the edges of the crepes over the whipped cream and pinch them together to create a “purse”. Close the “purse with a toothpick. Spoon a few tablespoons of the fruit over or aside the crepes and serve! The result is divine , yet still so light!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Summer Fruit Tartlets

Summer is one of my favorite season of the year for many reasons. As a teacher, I have my summer off, and have the leisure to do what I want. The weather is perfect to go to the beach and do fun outdoors activities as long as it is early in the day;-). And for a healthy freak like me, summer offers you a wonderful array of vegetables and fruits to dine on: Squash, zucchini, cuccumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, peaches, strawberry, berries…. you name it.. you have it..

Well, since I am always on the go, I am not one who can own a garden as it requires much care, time and attention. Therefore I have to go to my grocery store, or my neighboring farmer’s market to buy my vegetables and fruits. The problem with that, is the fact there are so many tempting choices in those places. So I often end up buying more than I can cook or serve at once. And of course this was the case this week with fruits. Everywhere I turned, they were yummy fruits: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, mango, kiwis, peaches. Since I just could not make a decision on what to purchase, I just bought one of everything. So now, I have to find ways to cook or prepare those fruits so that everybody here will eat them. The solution to the problem: add whipped cream or chocolate and it will disappear.

So today my daughter and I fixed summer fruit tartlets. They are so easy to make, and so delicious…You can make mini tartlets or individuals tartlets. Of course the pies would take 100 times better if it was made out of Pate Sablee, but we were trying to be quick.

Ingredients: 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 tsbp of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 pie crust, fresh fruits of your choice ( I used kiwis, strawberry and blueberries).

Materials: Flexipan of tartlet tray ( medium, small or large depending on how you want to serve them. We chose the small tartlet trays so we could snack on those tartlets rather having them as desserts). You will also need the Demarle dough cutter that would best fit the size of the tartlets you are fixing ( 2 1/4 for the small tartlet, 3 1/16 for the medium, 3 7/8 for the large), Demarle whip, spatula, Demarle paring knife, the roulpat, a whipping bag, and a nice tip for the pastry bag.

Turn the oven to 325. Lay out the pie crust on the roulpat and cut out the dough for each of the tartlets. I used the scalloped edge. With a fork, puncture small holes in the dough. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes until they become golden. Remove from the oven, and let them cool. Meanwhile in a electric mixer, place 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tbsp of sugar and whip until it becomes thick and makes peaks. Place the whipped cream in the pastry bag, and pipe the cream in each tartlet ( they should be cold at this point or the cream will melt.) With the paring knife, slice the fruits thinly to make them fit nicely on your tart. Decorate the tartlets as you like. We used kiwis, strawberries and blueberries. Miam….

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!