Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This weekend was highlighted by an amazing concert called the Music Playathon, of which we are honored to have taken part in. Music Playathon is a marathon of student and professional musicians coming together to play an amazing concert. This year’s event lasted seven hours and was an amazing experience. Proceeds from the concert go towards the Music Auxiliary, a local organization that supports music education in our public school system.

The Chen Kitchen along with Joonsoo Kim made an assortment of cupcakes, muffins and bars. Special thanks to Joonsoo for collaborating with us to make this possible. It was super fun and hopefully we can do it again next year. You can also check out a recipe Joonsoo did previously: Frittata.

These mini red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting is one of the desserts we made. These cupcakes are super moist and have the perfect amount of chocolate. A red velvet cake is a hybrid of chocolate and vanilla and these beautiful red cupcakes showcase that well. The rich and creamy cream cheese frosting is literally and figuratively the icing on the cake! This super cute bite-sized cupcake will have you reaching for more!

These cupcakes were a hit and were one of the first ones to disappear at Music Playathon.

This recipe can also be used to make 12 regular cupcakes or doubled to make 8″ two cake layers.

Both recipes are from Laura in the Kitchen.

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes

Oven Temperature: 350˚F

Baking Time: 9-10 minutes

Makes: 35 mini cupcakes or about 12 regular cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 Tbsp vinegar with enough milk to reach 3/4 cup)

red food coloring to desired color (we used about 2 tsp liquid food coloring)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two mini cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer or bowl with a hand-held mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla.

Then, add in half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Slowly add in all the buttermilk and then finish with the remaining half of flour.

Add in red food coloring and mix until homogenous.

Scoop batter 3/4 full into the mini cupcake pans. I used a small cookie scoop to get even cupcakes. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for a couple minutes in the pans and then transfer to a wire to cool completely before frosting. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Frosts: 35 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

1 to 2 Tbsp milk

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl, cream together the cream cheese and unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla. Then, slowly add in the powdered sugar until combined. Mix in the milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

OPTIONAL: Place frosting in a piping bag with a coupler and no tip. Pipe cupcakes with a swirl.

Enjoy!

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Easy, Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies (without a mixer)

 

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Chocolate chip cookies with oozing chocolate chips are simply delicious warm out of the oven. And chocolate chip cookies made simple with just a bowl, a fork and a spoon make the process super easy and quick, perfect for that cookie craving.

In the photos are our favorite variation on this super customizable cookie, the ever popular double chocolate chip cookie. To make this, just substitute 1/4 cup of the flour for 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and mix in 4 ounces of melted chocolate.

 

We found this recipe on the kitchn.com

 

 

Oven Temperature: 375˚F

Baking Time: 5-10 minutes

Makes: 25 large cookies (the size of your palm/using a large cookie scoop) or 35 small cookies (half the size/using a medium cookie scoop)

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (any kind will do)

1 stick butter (unsalted), softened

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking tray(s) with foil.

In a large bowl, mix together the two sugars. Be sure to break apart any hard chunks of brown sugar and get the two sugars fully mixed.

Mix the softened butter into the sugar in globs with a spoon (or a spoon and a fork as I do.) This helps really incorporate the butter and the sugar.

Mix in the eggs one at a time. Crack the eggs directly into the bowl with the butter-sugar mix, and then use your spoon to lightly beat the eggs before stirring them into the butter and sugar.

Measure and mix in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix the batter as much as possible right now. Break apart any remaining clumps and make sure the batter is a consistent color throughout.

If you prefer, you can mix the salt and baking soda with the flour in a separate bowl instead of adding them now. This ensures that these dry ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the batter, but we’ve never had any trouble adding them in at this point. Honestly, we just prefer to save ourselves an extra bowl to wash!

Add the flour all at once (we did it in 2 portions.) At this point, you want to mix the batter (we did it with a spatula) as little as possible to avoid forming too much gluten. Stop mixing as soon as there is no more visible flour on the dough or in the bottom of the bowl.

Add the chocolate chips all at once and use a spatula in a folding motion to incorporate them into the batter.

Scoop the batter onto your baking sheet, spacing the balls of dough roughly 2 inches apart or more (these cookies spread a lot, so space them accordingly.) We made the dough balls about 2 tablespoons big and they were about the size of your hand after they were baked. When we make them again, we will make them smaller, but make them as big or small to your preference.

Bake the cookies for 5-10 minutes. Take them out when they look puffy, and are set and brown around the edges. Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. As they cool, they will collapse back on themselves.

Transfer the cookies to a rack to finish cooling completely. Bake the rest of the cookies in batches. Enjoy!

No-Heavy-Cream Chocolate Ganache or Mousse

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Finally, you can make ganache without feeling guilty about all the heavy cream! This alternative tastes just like the real deal: smooth, chocolatey and absolutely delicious. This recipe is my life saver when I don’t have any heavy cream at home and still want to add the perfect touch of chocolate to a dessert.

The uses to this recipe are endless. You can pour it over a cake as a silky smooth finish, put it in the refrigerator to harden and then form balls to make truffles, use it as a cake or cupcake filling, whip it up into mousse and use it to frost a cake, use it as a filling for a chocolate truffle tart and more!

I found this idea on www.nigella.com

 

Makes: about 1 1/2 cups ganache or mousse

 

Ingredients:

8 oz chocolate (dark but not too dark, semi-sweet, or milk works)

3/4 cup water or milk

 

Directions:

Place the chocolate and water (or milk) in a saucepan. Put the pan over medium-low heat and stir constantly. When the mixture starts bubbling, lower the heat. The mixture should be a thick sauce with little or no lumps of chocolate pieces still in it. This can now be used as a ganache to pour over cakes, use as fillings, or whatever you like.

To make this into mousse, grab a larger bowl and put 2 cups of ice into it. Then, fill it up 3 inches with water. Then put the pan with the chocolate sauce in the ice/water bowl. Whisk the chocolate constantly to incorporate air until it thickens into chocolate mousse. If the ice melts, add more ice. To make the process faster, transfer the chocolate into a metal bowl before putting it in the ice water. Also, you can use an electric mixer to mix the chocolate into mousse as it’s in the ice water to make the process faster as well. If the mousse is too stiff/hard, add a few tablespoons of water or milk to thin it down. You can also reheat it over the stove or in the microwave to turn it back into its liquidy form. Enjoy!