Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsDo you listen to the Stuff You Should Know podcast? My sister turned me onto it a few months ago and it was love at first listen. As my job is very solitary, I spend my days listening to Josh and Chuck talk about all sorts of things I have never given a passing thought. Imagine my surprise to find that yesterday’s episode was about something that I know all about: cake!

Yes, I spend many waking hours thinking about cake. Really. At any given moment, I am thinking about baking, layering, decorating, or eating cake. If you listen to the podcast (which you should!), it sounds like Josh, Chuck, and I may have that in common…the eating part anyway 😉

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsOne thing we definitely agree on though is that we all occasionally eat cake solely as a vehicle for frosting. For some *unknown* reason, it’s socially unacceptable to eat a bowl of frosting, so we eat cake to get our fix 😉 Until now, anyway…

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsEnter buttercream candies: literally frosting coated in chocolate.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsFrosting. coated. in. chocolate.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsFrosting for frosting’s sake.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsIf you’re anything like me (or Josh and Chuck, apparently), this is basically the best news ever. These are the no-bake treat of my dreams.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsYou can make buttercreams using any flavor of frosting you can imagine–if it can be whipped into buttercream frosting, it can be rolled into candy. As we’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, I’ve decided to go with Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams today 😊

The frosting base of these candies is a classic American chocolate buttercream that I’ve souped up with 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract and some instant espresso. It comes together in just a few minutes and is super fluffy and luxurious.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsChill the peppermint mocha frosting before scooping it by the teaspoon and rolling it into balls. This is not a glamorous process, but it is helped greatly by coating your hands in confectioner’s sugar.

After another chill, it’s time for a dip in melted chocolate…

Peppermint Mocha Buttercreamsand a smattering of crushed peppermints, or perhaps some holiday sprinkles.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsPeppermint Mocha ButtercreamsOne more quick chill later, the Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams are ready to eat. And oh, are they good. I mean, how could the combination of a chocolate shell and a melty espresso-mint center be anything but delicious?!

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsThey’re basically holiday perfection in a mouthful.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsLooking for more Peppermint Mocha? Try my Peppermint Mocha Cookies ❤️💚❤️💚

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsPeppermint Mocha Buttercreams
inspired by and heavily adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes about 4 dozen candies

1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
2 teaspoons warm tap water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (NOT mint extract)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
16 ounces dark chocolate (not chocolate chips)
crushed peppermints, for decorating (optional)
sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together espresso granules and warm water. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and peppermint extracts, followed by espresso mixture. Add heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the frosting. Chill one hour in the refrigerator.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove chilled frosting from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Scoop frosting by the teaspoon, roll into balls, and place on prepared pan. Coating your palms in confectioner’s sugar may help the rolling process. Chill rolled frosting uncovered for one hour.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to chop chocolate. Place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between, until smooth. Alternatively, melt chocolate in a double boiler. Let cool five minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove buttercreams from the refrigerator.

To dip, drop one ball of buttercream into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to coat buttercream in chocolate. Drain briefly by scraping the tines of the fork on the edge of the bowl. Use the fork to gently lay the buttercream on the prepared pan. Immediately top with crushed peppermints or sprinkles. Continue until all buttercreams have been coated and topped.

Chill buttercreams for at least fifteen minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Key Lime Pie Popsicles

Key Lime Pie PopsiclesAre y’all as worn out as I am? I spent Memorial Day weekend in Texas with my family, my best friend from college is in town, and I am turning 32 on Monday!

Key Lime Pie PopsiclesThirty two. Thirty. Two. How am I possibly that old? I graduated from college ten years ago. I have been in New York for almost that long. I have a real job and responsibilities and a very busy life, but I sure don’t feel like a 32 year old. I still remember thinking that 23 was old. Oh, how times have changed.

Key Lime Pie PopsiclesKey Lime Pie PopsiclesI don’t know about you, but as a bonafide adult, I don’t always have time to make the desserts that I want. Lately, I have been dreaming about Key Lime Pie. It’s remarkably easy to make, but as we all know, pie takes time. This week, I have no time. In fact, it feels like I have negative time. But after breakfast yesterday, I did find a quick half hour to make a batch of Key Lime Pie Popsicles. When got home from work last night, I coated one in graham cracker crumbs and ate it in bed (because I’m an adult and I can). That’s what living the dream looks like this week–eating dessert in bed.

Please don’t judge me too harshly.

Key Lime Pie PopsiclesKey Lime Pie PopsiclesThese Key Lime Pie Popsicles are just as good as their namesake dessert and half the work! They have just six ingredients: key lime juice and zest, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, heavy cream, and graham cracker crumbs. The process is similar to making no-churn ice cream–mix together the juice, zest, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla, whip the cream, and fold everything together. Pour it all into popsicle moulds and freeze. A few hours later, release them from their moulds and coat them in graham cracker crumbs before serving. They really couldn’t be easier…

Key Lime Pie Popsicles…except that you can also layer the mixture into a freezer-safe container, swirl in some graham cracker crumbs, and have No-Churn Key Lime Pie Ice Cream. I love a two-fer.

Key Lime Pie PopsiclesKey Lime Pie Popsicles are a citrus-lover’s dream dessert! They have all the tart, tangy, creamy flavor of the classic pie, but with a frozen twist. Who needs a birthday cake when they have these popsicles? Not me!Key Lime Pie Popsicles

Key Lime Pie Popsicles
makes 10-12 popsicles

3/4-1 cup key lime juice (or regular lime juice), depending how much tartness you prefer
2 teaspoons key lime zest (or regular lime zest)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not fat free)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, for coating (about 8 whole graham crackers)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together key lime juice, key lime zest, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over-whip.

Use a silicone spatula to fold half the whipped cream into the key lime mixture. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Divide mixture among popsicle moulds. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

When ready to eat, pour graham cracker crumbs into a shallow dish. Run popsicles (in their moulds) under warm water for a few seconds before releasing. Coat popsicles in graham crumbs, and enjoy!

Key Lime Pie Popsicles

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Chocolate Biscuit CakeConfession: I know almost nothing about Irish baking. I can make an Irish Chocolate Potato Cake, but beyond that, I’m lost.

Today though, that’s okay. I don’t need to know a single thing about Irish baking to make this Chocolate Biscuit Cake…because it’s no-bake 🎉🎉🎉

Chocolate Biscuit CakeThis cake is not a cake at all, really. It amounts to wheat-based tea cookies (aka biscuits) enrobed in a block of chocolate ganache, basically making it one big truffle. It’s very rich and is just…wow. I don’t know why this isn’t more popular in America. It’s the ultimate icebox cake, and heaven knows we Americans love an icebox cake.

Chocolate Biscuit CakeThe classic cake is just the chocolate and biscuits, but I’ve taken the liberty of making it a little more cake-like (well cheesecake-like) by adding a buttery crust. What can I say? I love a classic, but I also can’t leave well enough alone. This extra step just takes a minute–literally, it happens in the food processor–but I love the textural difference between the big chunks of cookie in the cake and the fine, buttery crumb of the crust.

Press the crust into the pan and freeze it while you make the filling. Chop up a pound of dark chocolate. Yes, a pound. Bring heavy cream, a stick of butter, and a bit of honey to a simmer and then pour it over the top of the chocolate. Leave it to melt for a few minutes before stirring it together to make a sort of souped-up ganache. Fold in a pound of biscuits that have been broken into shards, and then spread it all over the crust. Refrigerate the cake for a few hours before dusting with confectioners sugar and serving in small slices.

Chocolate Biscuit CakeNow you may be wondering, is this big truffle of a cake actually Irish? It was popular a few years ago when Prince William had it for his groom’s cake at the Royal Wedding, so it may be considered more of an English thing. I, however, am deciding it’s appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day because my first-ever Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe came from the Irish mother of a friend. This is not her recipe, but I now associate this dessert with our emails back and forth about metric vs. empirical measurements 😊 I’ve done a little research to back this up, and it appears Chocolate Biscuit Cake is just as popular in Ireland as it is in England.

Thank goodness for that. It means you can have Chocolate Biscuit Cake tomorrow 🍀Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
makes one 9- or 10-inch cake

Crust:
6 ounces digestive biscuits* (about 12 biscuits)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
16 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons mild honey (or Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
16 ounces digestive biscuits (about 32 biscuits), broken into pieces
1-2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, for topping (optional)

Butter the inside of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Make the crust. In a food processor, pulverize digestive biscuits until they are fine crumbs. Pulse in sugar and salt. Add melted butter and process until combined. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into an even layer on the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. Freeze for 1 hour to set.

Make the filling. Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, butter, and honey. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat. Be careful–cream expands rapidly when it reaches a boil.

Pour cream mixture over chocolate and allow it to sit until chocolate melts, about 8-10 minutes. Whisk together until smooth. Fold in broken digestive biscuits. Pour mixture over the top of the crust. Smooth the top as well as you can. Tap pan on the counter ten times to distribute everything evenly. Smooth again. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or until set.

Remove cake from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Run a small, flexible knife around the edge of the pan. Release the springform. Sift confectioners sugar over the top, if desired. Slice into small pieces and serve.

Cake will keep covered in the refrigerator for several days.

Note:

If you cannot find digestive biscuits in the cookie or international aisles of your grocery store, crisp butter cookies or graham crackers will work here.

Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}Christmas is just nine days away, y’all, and the spirit is real. We have a HUGE real tree in the living room, I have a six-foot fake tree in my bedroom, and my workspace has been adorned with a garland and my beloved Snoopy lights ❤️💚🎄💚❤️

It is freezing cold and I still have tons to do before I hop a flight to Texas on Tuesday, but I am totally loving every minute. Even the all-nighter I pulled earlier this month. (I subsequently learned that 31 is waaaaay too old to pull an all-nighter.)

On Wednesday, I posted an Iced Sugar Cookie recipe that is super time-consuming. Totally worth the effort, but still. The time I allocated for long, intricate recipes has now officially come and gone. So today, let’s take it easy. Not that easy means plain or boring. Oh, no. Today, it means a no-bake, five-ingredient, accidentally vegan, gluten-free recipe that is still classy, decadent, and perfect for gifting and entertaining. I’m talking about Salted Marzipan Truffles, y’all!

Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’m no chocolatier, but I have to say that these truffles kind of make me look like one. Packaged marzipan (in the baking aisle) is scooped by the 1/2 tablespoon, rolled into balls, dipped in chocolate, and sprinkled with finishing salt. When you bite into one of these truffles, the flavor comes in three waves:

  1. Deep, dark chocolate flavor.
  2. A salty punch.
  3. Sweet, almond-y marzipan. Yes.

Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}If, like me, you are not much of a candy-maker, working with melted chocolate can be intimidating. I have never successfully tempered chocolate (or even tried, really). Nine days before Christmas is *not* the time for me to try to master a new skill. Nope.

So, I take a little shortcut. I melt chopped dark chocolate in the microwave and stir in two secret ingredients. First, 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil. Since coconut oil solidifies at 76F, this will allow our chocolate to harden more easily than if it were left to its own devices. If you don’t like coconut, don’t worry! This tiny amount of oil does not change the flavor of the chocolate. If you really don’t want to use it, feel free to sub non-hydrogenated shortening.

The second secret ingredient? Corn syrup. Just 1 teaspoon adds gloss to our chocolate, leaving just a bit of sheen on the matte surface of the finished truffles. The corn syrup you see in stores is NOT the same as high-fructose corn syrup, but if you don’t wish to use it, you may sub in 1 teaspoon of Lyle’s Golden Syrup or mild honey (if you’re not vegan).

Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}The dipping chocolate will be shiny, smooth, and luxurious. Working with one ball of marzipan at a time, drop it into the melted chocolate. Move it around with a fork to coat. Briefly drain it by scraping the tines of the fork on the edge of the bowl, and gently roll it onto the wax paper. Then, sprinkle on a pinch of finishing salt. That’s the whole process. Repeat it approximately 23-24 more times before freezing all the truffles for fifteen minutes.

That is literally the entire recipe. If you’re a fast roller and dipper, you can go from ingredients to truffles in 45 minutes or less. I have every intention of putting these out at a holiday party I’m catering tonight, but I also think they’d make adorable gifts packed into decorative Chinese takeout boxes.Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Five-Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles {Accidentally Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 2 dozen truffles

1 11-ounce can marzipan*
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped*
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons large-flake finishing salt (I use Trader Joe’s Cypriot Pyramid Salt)

Special Equipment:
microwave-safe bowl (or double boiler)
wax paper
baking sheet or plate (must fit in freezer)

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

Scoop marzipan by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons), roll into balls, and set on prepared pan.

Place chopped dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir with a fork. Add coconut oil. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Stir in corn syrup.

To dip, drop one ball of marzipan into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to coat marzipan in chocolate. Drain briefly by scraping the tines of the fork on the edge of the bowl. Use the fork to gently lay the truffle on the prepared pan. Immediately top with a pinch of finishing salt. Continue this process until all truffles are coated and salted.

Place baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes, until chocolate has solidified. Serve.

Truffles will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Re-salt as necessary by lightly moistening the tops with water and sprinkling with salt. Allow to dry before serving.

Notes:

1. If you are vegan, make sure the ingredients on the marzipan do not include egg whites.
2. If you are vegan, make sure your chocolate is certified vegan.

Five Ingredient Salted Marzipan Truffles

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix

 I love to bake. I mean, I *really* love it. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do, no questions asked. Yes, really. What can I say? I’m no daredevil.

But some days, the idea of turning on the oven or washing four sheet pans is just too much to bear. I work a lot both in and out of my kitchen, and as much as I love to bake, sometimes I just need a break. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need dessert. Oh, no. I always need dessert. And this week, I needed chocolate and peanut butter. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and today, my necessity is bringing you the Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix! 

You guys, this recipe is going to be your new favorite thing. Crispy chocolate-peanut butter cereal and miniature peanut butter cups are coated in melted chocolate and peanut butter, tossed with confectioner’s sugar, and dotted with Reese’s Pieces. If you’re keeping count, that’s three hits of chocolate and four of peanut butter! I wasn’t kidding around when I said this stuff was “ultimate.”

Plus, it’s no-bake. In fact, the only kitchen appliance you’ll need is a microwave (or one burner on your stove) for melting together chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, and butter. Aside from that, this recipe is just stirring and shaking. 

Pour the melted chocolate-peanut butter mixture over Reese’s Puffs cereal, and fold it all together. 

Stir in some miniature peanut butter cups. 

Divide that magical mixture into two gallon size ziptop bags, add in some confectioner’s sugar, and shake the heck out of it. The coated cereal and miniature peanut butter cups will go from being gooey to being finger food. There will be plenty of both individually coated pieces and clumps (particularly around the peanut butter cups)–a texture lover’s dream. And, as if it could get any better, Reese’s Pieces are stirred into everything. 

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix is everything you could want in a sweet snack. It’s crunchy, creamy, sweet, a little salty, and so ridiculously easy. If you’re in need of a fun snack this weekend, this is the one. And if you have kids at home, this is a great way to get them involved in the kitchen–there’s no worrying about them being around a hot oven, and they’ll love shaking the cereal and confectioner’s sugar together! And since the recipe takes less than half an hour start to finish, there’s immediate satisfaction.

So, take thirty minutes to make this snack mix this weekend, and then take the rest of the day off. You’ve earned it. 

 Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix
makes about 12 cups

1 13-ounce box Reese’s Puffs cereal (about 9 cups)
1 1/2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8-ounces miniature peanut butter cups
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 cup Reese’s Pieces candy

Place Reese’s Puffs in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, and butter. Microwave on high* in 30 second increments, until melted and smooth. Pour mixture over cereal and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold to combine. Add miniature peanut butter cups to cereal mixture and fold in.

Divide cereal-peanut butter cup mixture into two gallon size ziptop bags. Add 1 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar to each. Seal bags and shake until all cereal is coated. Some pieces may clump.

Pour coated mixture into a clean large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in Reese’s Pieces. Enjoy!

Snack mix will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

If you do not have or do not want to use a microwave, you may melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Proceed with recipe as written.