Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peppermint Chocolate Mousse Pie

The pairing of peppermint and chocolate really puts me in the holiday spirit. It is definitely one of my all time favorite flavor combinations, not to mention my favorite ice cream flavor (mint chocolate chip) and Girl Scout cookie (Thin Mints). So when David hired me to create a dessert for a holiday party he was attending, this pie was born.

Peppermint Chocolate Mousse Pie
Serves about 10

4 cups chocolate cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted

1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces dark chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

peppermint candy, crushed

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in food processor and blend until well combined. Press evenly into a 9" pie dish so the crust covers the bottom and sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
2. Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring until completely melted. Stir in the peppermint extract. Set aside in a larger bowl and allow to cool to body temperature.
3. Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until medium peaks form (when you pick up the cream on the whisk, it will hold onto the whisk for several seconds before falling back to the bowl).
**It is important not to over whip the cream because you will be folding it into the chocolate.
Both the extra folding action and the chocolate itself will stiffen the cream to the desired
final point for your mousse.
4. Once the chocolate has cooled, add 1/3 of whipped cream and gently fold together with a spatula. After this first batch of cream is completely folded into chocolate, add rest of cream and fold gently to combine.
5. Pipe or spread mousse into prepared crust, decorate with crushed peppermint candy and refrigerate until ready to eat!
Happy holidays to everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bridal Shower Cupcakes

One of my oldest and dearest friends just got married this past weekend! She has been my closest friend for over 20 years and I had the privilege of being her Maid of Honor. Of course before the wedding weekend, we had to celebrate her engagement. For her bridal shower, I made a batch of strawberry coconut cupcakes. The pink frosting on top makes for cheerful and festive treats and just happens to match her wedding colors perfectly! This recipe is incredibly moist and wonderfully delicious.

Strawberry Coconut Cupcakes

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup strawberry puree (I pureed whole strawberries in a blender)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)

1. Cream the butter and sugar in mixer for several minutes until white and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
3. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing slowly.
4. Add half wet ingredients (strawberry/coconut).
5. Add rest of dry ingredients, then the rest of the wet ingredients.
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or until done.

Vanilla Buttercream

9 egg yolks

1/2 cup corn syrup
5 1/2 oz sugar

1# Butter

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
red food color

1. Begin whisking yolks in mixer.
2. Meanwhile, bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil on the stove.
3. Once this is at a boil, slowly pour syrup into yolk mixture (lower speed but keep on). Switch to paddle attachment on mixer, increase speed and allow to fully cool (this will take about 10 minutes).
4. Add butter in pieces, and continue to mix until well blended and mixture becomes shiny in appearance (about 3-5 minutes).
5.Add vanilla extract and red food color.
6. Pipe onto cupcakes and serve at room temperature.