hostess with the mostest… cupcakes, that is

Some people Google-search their crushes, or their exes, their favorite celebrities or hottest trends. Me? I Google-searched my favorite childhood snack cakes the other day.

Growing up in Montreal, sleepover parties and special bagged lunches were not complete without a Vachon brand snack cake, namely a delightful and creamy May West treat.

As I flipped though images of these delicious snacks, I was reminded of the iconic Hostess cupcake that was so scarcely available in my neck of the woods. I remember tasting one for the first time on a road trip across the border and deciding that these cupcakes were absolutely adorable to look at and super-fun to eat!

Feeling inspired to jump on the bandwagon of bakers who have created their own homemade takes on this classic, I decided to try my hand at it. My goal was not to recreate the exact flavor, I live dangerously close to a 7-11 that carries the real thing if that if what I am after.

Instead, I used the flavor and composition as my guide and selected my favorite recipes for each element in order to produce a delicious, fancier-pants version. With this system as my template I am feeling pretty excited about making even more flavor variations.

But for now, I will enjoy the infallible combination of moist chocolate cake, fluffy light-as-a-cloud white icing and deep chocolate ganache.

I made my favorite chocolate cake recipe but divided it into lined muffin tins. I let these cool and rest overnight. Breaking this process up between two days helped saved me some energy and some mess.

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I got my whipped filling on the go. I debated using jacked up marshmallow fluff, but settled on a light vanilla cream frosting for the centers of my cakes.

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With my mixer on the go I heated up some cream to pour over my chopped semi-sweet chocolate, resulting in the creamiest dreamiest ganache.

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I cored my cupcakes, saving the scooped out portion to place back on top after piping the cavities with the fluffy filling.

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After sealing in the cupcakes with their previously removed cores, I flooded the tops with my cooled, glossy ganache. I whipped up a fraction of my usual Classic Buttercream icing recipe while to cupcakes chilled to set.

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I piped a little design on the tops of the finished treats and wasted no time completing a very thorough taste-test!

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sugar-bunny mini egg cookies

It’s almost Easter. Almost. But you know what’s happening RIGHT NOW? Mini Eggs! The beloved Cadbury bunny is clucking away on TV and Mini Eggs are back on the shelves of grocery stores and pharmacies everywhere! Yum Yum Yum!!! Can you tell I’m excited?

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That’s because these pastel colored beauties are my absolute favorite Easter chocolate. Given my deep and unending love for cookies it was only a matter of time before I would put the two together to create the ultimate Easter themed cookie treat.

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To make these I used my usual recipe for cut-out sugar cookies. I then placed about 2 to 3 cups of Mini Eggs in a large Ziploc bag and had myself a blast smashing them to smithereens with the back of a heavy ice cream scooper!

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I could have used my mini food processor but that only occurred to me once I was already in quite the groove. A mallet or rolling pin would have also done the trick but clearly I have a penchant for the unconventional…

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As I normally do, I rolled the dough out fairly thick because i prefer a slightly softer cookie that I can really sink my teeth into. I kept bake time the same as always and they turned out perfectly! Little bits of shell and tiny chunks of Cadbury chocolate are visible in the dough making the cookies look almost as ridiculously delicious as they taste. Almost.

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happy accidents and comfy classics

The history of the cookie is full of happy accidents. The cookie itself was an accidental discovery. It is said that bakers would use small amounts of cake batter to test oven temperature resulting in sweet little treats, the predecessors of what we lovingly recognize as cookies today.

The very first chocolate chip cookie was also invented by pure happenstance many years ago. A woman named Ruth Wakefield was baking cookies for guests staying at her Inn. She had run out of baking chocolate to make chocolate cookies. Out of sheer resourcefulness and necessity she broke up pieces of a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar, expecting it to melt into the dough.

This fateful substitution created the very first chocolate chip cookie. It was ultimately named after the Inn where it’s birth took place, giving us our all-time favorite, deeply cherished Toll House Cookie!

I’m totally inspired by the cookie’s delightful history. I love the idea that tiny mistakes, simple substitutions and going with the flow when your plan gets thrown off course can lead to such wonderful creations.

I had my plan thrown off course last year when I took off on vacation and left all of my pajamas at home! I plan and covet my sleepwear with the intensity that some reserve for… well I don’t know, but not pajamas. Anyways, I was not happy! Out of desperation I snagged a white cotton tee shirt to sleep in from my husband’s suitcase, and I have since become hashtag obsessed with.

I know I am far from the first person to sleep in a men’s tee shirt, much like I am far from the first person to enjoy a Toll House Cookie – but I must say – both are comforting classics that needn’t be messed with. Both are easily accessible and surprisingly perfect.

So every now and then I like to get back to basics, mix up a batch of these delicious treats and enjoy them in the cool comfort of a stolen Hanes.

In the off chance that you don’t have it already, here’s a link to the only chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ll ever really need:

https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18476/original-nestle-toll-house-chocolate-chip-cookies/

reverse chocolate chunk cookies

Sunday night is almost always a baking night for me. I am usually bummed about the weekend being over and somehow the whole creative process and subsequent snacking process both work wonders, easing my transition to Monday.

Tonight’s creation is feeding a group of hungry artists. Seriously. I decided to make something traditional but unconventional, classic but unexpected. What could fit the bill more appropriately than a reverse chocolate chunk cookie?

There is nothing too extraordinary about this recipe but I firmly believe that oftentimes, the very best (not to mention yummiest) things are the most simple. These cookies boast big chunks of velvety white chocolate that burst through a rich dark chocolate base. They are a little puffy, a little chewy, and a lot delishy.

Mushy PJs? Check. Apron? Check. Here is  my recipe of choice for:

Reverse Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6-8 ounces of white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until the mixture is fully combined, light and fluffy.

Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix in vanilla and instant coffee granules.

In a separate bowl, stir to combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Slowly, adding in thirds, add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.

Fold in white chocolate chunks until evenly distributed.

Drop tablespoon-sized scoops of dough onto lined cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.

Finally, marvel at how incredible you are for turning ordinary ingredients into a delightful concoction, and celebrate that you did it all in the comfort of your jammies! Then, if you’re feeling so inclined, take a couple of them to munch on in bed and enjoy a sweet, sweet end to the weekend… …that is my plan anyhow!