Cooking: Cranberry-Chocolate Cupcakes

I always bake something the day before I have a test. If it’s a cake or cookies or whatever; I HAVE TO BAKE! It just helps me calm down and relax, which is the exact thing I need at those moments and which was yesterday as I have a test today.
Works a lot better than meditating and it’s productive too! Voilà, what more could I wish for?

When I saw we had some dried cranberries left in the pantry I decided I wanted to bake something with those in it, as I was becoming addicted to food that had blueberries in it. Blueberries, cranberries; I want to try all the berries! Have I already told you I’m a closet fan of blackberries? Herewith I don’t mean the smartphone, but the actual fruit you can eat. No? Well, now you know.
The day before yesterday I already started my search for a recipe for cranberry cupcakes and I found one in a cookbook I had gotten as a gift from my brother some time ago. It’s actually a recipe for blueberry muffins, but hey, the point was that I would use these cranberries I had found, not that I would actually leave my house to go grocery shopping! Let me be lazy, please? And because of my laziness I made another adjustment in the ingredients and didn’t use the white chocolate they’re recommending, but milk chocolate instead. No one in our home eats milk chocolate, because we’re all die-hard dark chocolate fans, so usually when we get those as a gift, we either give them away or use them for baking. These milk chocolates were actually already over due, but because Google told me that when it comes to chocolate it doesn’t matter if the package says that it’s over due as long as it’s unopened, I decided to use it anyway. In the end I had to go to the supermarket anyway because I found that I was out of whole milk. Damn it.
By the way, I’ve altered the original recipe a lot; leaving some ingredients out and adding new ingredients or altering amounts, so it’s kind of become my own recipe now, hehe.

The cookbook the original recipe is from that I’m using is Dutch and I realize that the sizes differ from the sizes that are usually used in English. This website could help you use the right amounts.

Ingredients:
These aren’t all of the ingredients as I forgot a couple when taking this picture, whoops. Luckily I didn’t forget them during baking! Why is there an apple in this picture? Who put it there? Eh?

– 200 Grams of self raising flour
– 100 Grams of brown sugar
– One little package of vanilla sugar
– 2 teaspoons of ground instant coffee
– 2 free range eggs
– 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
– 150 ml of whole milk
– 130 Grams of milk chocolate, in chips
– 100 Grams of dried cranberries
– Extra oil for greasing

Directions:
Preheat your oven on 160 C (or 325 F). Put the cupcake liners in a cupcake tin and grease them. I usually use oil and a brush for greasing, but you can use butter too if you’d like.

Sift the self raising flour, sugar, vanilla sugar and coffee in a bowl and mix them with a spoon. Make a pit in the middle.
Beat the eggs in another bowl loosely with the oil and the milk. Add this mixture to the flour and mix it shortly using a mixer. Then add the chocolate and cranberries and stir them through the mixture using a wooden or silicone spatula. When you’re finished, distribute your cake dough over the cupcake liners.
Bake the cupcakes for 30 minutes in the middle of the oven until they have a golden brown colour.

Please don’t follow my example and let your cupcakes come out this big and ugly. Just fill them up to two third and you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to change the degree on your oven and pay attention to your baking time!
The black colour on my cupcake tin isn’t supposed to be there either. It was because a little of the dough was spilled when filling the liners and well, this is what you get then. No biggie, just don’t eat it.

The amount of time and on which degree you bake your cupcakes at depends on for how much you’ve filled them. I’ve filled them to the top, because I wanted to make only one batch of cake, and if you follow my example it means that the previous degrees and time I’ve just mentioned are the ones you should use. If you go for less ugly and more cute cupcakes and you choose to fill your tin only up to two thirds, preheat your oven on 180 C (or 350 F) and leave the cupcakes in it for 25 minutes. Keep checking your oven to see if they have a golden brown colour.

Bon appetite!

Credits: I used the cookbook ‘Chocolade’ by Elizabeth Ferretti for the recipe. © 2004 Top That! Publishing plc.

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Food Diary: 18th of February, 2012 (2)

As I posted before we have some visitors over today. Only three visitors though, so I don’t really understand why my mother’s made SO MUCH FOOD! Is it Christmas or some other holiday that I didn’t know about?

Here’s what’s on the menu for today:

– Oliebollen
 Going to eat these with powdered sugar.. Yumm!

– Bara
Dough for the bara
– Phulauri

– Chicken with oriental spices from the oven

Pom
– Baked bananas

– Liver sambal
– Yard long beans

– Chocolate Cake
– Agar agar

The last two dishes were made by moi. I’m so proud.

How to: Make chocolate

Like I alreay told you in my previous post, I also attended a chocolate workshop at Tsunacon.
Here you can see in 8 simple steps how to make three cute bonbons.

The goal was to make one heartshaped bonbon filled with caramel and two cubeshaped bonbons filled with ganache.

Step 1:
Melt the chocolate
At the workshop they used a chocolate fondue to melt chocolate, but you can also use a boiling pan for the same purpose. If you use a pan, you can better use two of them: One filled with water and as soon as it’s just below the boiling point you can put another pan with the chocolate inside it. They have special pans for this, but I usually just use two pans when I’m melting chocolate, because I don’t have that special pan and it works fine like this too. When melting the chocolate you first melt two-third of it before you add the other one-third.

Step 2:
Cast the melted chocolate into a heartshaped mold


Now you have some time to wait for this chocolate to harden, so in the mean time you can work on the other two bonbons.

Step 3:
Make the ganache and slice it in cubes
They had already made it for us and only told us you had to use whipped cream and chocolate to make it. Uh, ok, but I don’t think that much will help you making it, therefore I’ve found you this recipe in which they explain you how to make the ganache. I haven’t tried it out yet, so I don’t know if it’s a good one.

Step 4:
Dip the chocolate ganache in melted chocolate and wait for it to harden
Step 5:
Cast the chocolate out of the heartshaped mold
You’re supposed to let the chocolate only for a minute or so in the mold, therefore keep track of time while you’re busy dipping your ganache into the melted chocolate! If you wait too long, the chocolate layer around your caramel filling will be too thick. Now you’ll have to wait for this chocolate layer to harden.

Step 6:
Fill the heartshaped mold with a caramel filling
We also didn’t make the caramel ourselves, so I got you this recipe you can try out.
Of course you can also just buy the caramel in stores, but wouldn’t you rather make everything yourself? While you’re at it anyway, why not?
Step 7:
Fill up the rest of the heartshaped mold with melted chocolate and let the chocolate harden

Step 8:
Wrap the bonbons up cutely
Now you can let you creativity flow! Just wrap them up however you like. Maybe you want use a box to put them in? Or a transparent packing? Everything is possible! The use of ribbons is always a plus!

The bottom two packets of bonbons were made by me and the upper two were made by my friend. I gave the bonbon on the left, the heartshaped one, to my father and the bonbons on the right, the ganache coated with chocolate, to my mother for Valentine’s Day. They both loved it!

Food Diary: 17th of February, 2012

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! *Clap* *Clap*

Food:
– One half of a whole-wheat mini-baguette with fatless cumin cheese
– Two slices of whole-wheat bread with ham and fatless cumin cheese
– One currant bun
– Rice with cabbage and masala lambs meat. I’ve an Indian background; Eating rice and meat with masala, that’s what I do!
– Two puffed rice cakes
– A slice of whole-wheat bread with fatless cumin cheese

Drinks:
– One mug of coffee with a dash of regular milk and a sweetener
– A cup of hot chocolate. I got this one from my favorite free coffee machine.
– Three mugs of açai green tea

Because we’re getting visitors this weekend I just spent some hours in the kitchen making a chocolate cake and agar agar, which is a sort of  coconut pudding. Maybe you know the dessert ‘lapis’? You can compare it to that. It’s delicious! I want to eat it, but unfortunately I’ll have to wait for it to harden in the fridge.
I could eat it for breakfast tomorrow morning though…

Food Diary: 14th of February, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Though I don’t value Valentine’s Day too much, and I just see it as any other day, I did grab this chance to surprise my loved ones with some chocolate! My mother was the first one to receive bonbons from me, which I made at the chocolate workshop at Tsunacon. I also gave my father a bonbon I made at the same workshop and I gave my brothers Pocky I had bought at the oriental shop yesterday. Like I wrote before: It’s not about the money, it’s the thought that counts! So even if I get them something cheap, when I wrap it up nicely, surprise them with it and show them I care about them, they’ll appreciate my intention anyway. I think my mother was right when she said: ‘It’s Michelle’s ability to make something special of something simple.’

How much chocolate shall I eat today… ~

Food:
– One slice of ontbijtkoek
For lunch I prepared myself:
– Three slices of whole-wheat bread with ham, fatless cheese and slices of cucumber
For lunch I actually ate:
– One slice of whole-wheat bread with ham, fatless cheese and slices of cucumber
– A cupcake from Ten to Three Bakery
My friend got me a chocolate cream cheese cupcake for Valentine’s Day. It looks like the one at the bottom left, but than in a bigger size. It had hearts on top of it! Do you see? Hearts!

– A bowl of ‘Sui Kau’ soup
After that:
– A casserole with broccoli, tuna, potato and tomato
– A bowl of non-fat yogurt with peach
– Mixed salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, avocado and lemon juice

Drinks:
– A mug of café au lait with unsweetened soy milk and a sweetener
For lunch I prepared myself:
– Two little packets of multi fruit juice
For lunch I actually drank:
– One little packet of multi fruit juice
– A cup of regular tea with sugar. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve had regular English black tea!
– Chinese Ice tea. It was my first time drinking Chinese Ice tea and I liked it! It’s really sweet, but hey, I like sweet!
After that:
– Four mugs of açai green tea
– A glass of orange juice

Remember how I wrote before that the plan for today was to go to a movie I’ve been wanting to see for a long time? Well that plan failed, because the price for the tickets suddenly turned out to be twice as high, apparently we had to make reservations and well, because another friend already managed to download this movie for me I thought it would be a waste of money to still go watch that movie in the Public Library of Amsterdam.
What do you think I did then? Sleep? Study? No! My friend and I visited the Hague and went grocery shopping, which I love to do, in an oriental shop and we went for lunch to Fat Kee, a Chinese restaurant. This is why I didn’t finish my lunch I’d brought with me today, because I was already full of the soup I had at the restaurant. It was a soup with shrimp dumplings in it! The last time I’d eaten dumplings was when I was in China last summer, so I’m happy to have eaten those again. The soup was very light, so perfect to eat for lunch.

For Valentine I also gave one of my friends a Hello Kitty surprise egg and another friend a self made collage of fashion blogger Shini Park, who we adore. That same collage is also hanging in my room at the moment.

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