Monday, November 26, 2012

Ginger Honey Shot Chocolate

When you ask for a hot chocolate in Europe you are handed a tiny cup with a smidge of melted chocolate...and what might seem as a colossal disappointment at first turns out to be the smoothest most gorgeous ounce of decadence your mouth has ever experienced. And it's all you need. A shot. Any more is asking too much of your palate. 

Here is the recipe (inspired by CityLine)

1 cup half & half or coffee cream ( real, not creamer)
1/3 cup heavy cream 
2/3 cup milk
5 tsp honey
5 slices ginger
5 handfuls dark or semi sweet couverture chocolate chips

In a saucepan heat dairy, honey and ginger until bubbling/boiling. Turn off element and let ginger steep for 5-15 minutes to desired gingerness. I let mine steep 8 minutes. Stir constantly so a skin doesn't form on top.

Scoop out the ginger, and bring back to a light boil then turn down to low heat.

Add chocolate and whisk until fully melted. Add more chocolate if desired. Should be thicker than normal hot chocolate.

Scoop into espresso cup and enjoy.
Alternative uses: if you like thinner hot chocolate add steamed milk to desired taste.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One, two chai chai chai...

Spicy Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon White Chocolate Buttercream
America is celebrating Thanksgiving next week and though most matriarchs will have planned the food, tablescape and nap intervals months ago, in the off chance you find you're a last minute invitee here is a sweet treat to add to feast: Spicy Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon White Chocolate Buttercream.

As I said last year American Thanksgiving is not to be taken lightly. There are rules of engagement. You are expected to eat, watch college football, eat more, nap, eat again, caffeinate and line up for Black Friday. I offer these tips as a foreigner who experienced five American Thanksgivings:
  1. Wear stretchy pants. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you're lucky enough to have maternity pants in your wardrobe consider those you're most prized possession.
  2. Wear empire waist shirts that fall loosely and hide the stretchy waist band in your pants. 
  3. No button up collar shirts...though your boobs will not grow bigger eating this much food your stomach inevitably will, pushing your boobs up and out of the designated boob area of this type of shirt. This can only end badly with the buttons pulling at the buttonholes like a pre-green Incredible Hulk moment...exposing cleavage or worse: the belly/boob squidge...where the gut and boobs meet. This goes for men too.
  4. Forget shapewear...otherwise you'll be digesting your food in your esophagus.
  5. If you don't know anything about football, don't pretend you do. Trust me. Pick a pretty colour and cheer. 
  6. Pace yourself with both food and cheer. Nobody likes a drunk glutton by the end of the salad round.
  7. Rehearse and remember for what and why you are thankful. You will be tested.
  8. Bring a change of clothes, comfortable walking shoes, camp chair and blanket for Black Friday lineups. DO NOT bring a guitar. Some other cheeseball already has.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my American friends!

Spicy Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon White Chocolate Buttercream

You will need:


2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup heavy cream or milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon White Chocolate  Buttercream
adapted from Anna Olson

 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
20 ounces good quality white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 1/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon to sprinkle on top


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with liners. Should yield at least 12 cupcakes.
  • In a large bowl whisk dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition. Add vanilla.
  • Alternate dry ingredients with cream in three additions beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape down bowl. Don't over mix.
  • Fill cupcake liners two thirds full.
  • Bake for about 18 minutes, until the tops barely bounce back when lightly pressed
  • Let cool
  • In a stand-up mixer or in a large bowl with electric beaters, beat butter until fluffy. 
  • Beat in cooled melted chocolate on medium speed. Reduce speed and beat in icing sugar and vanilla.
  • Chill for about an hour to set before using.
  • pipe on to cupcakes and sprinkle cinnamon on top. (if you mix cinnamon into the buttercream it changes the color to almost the same as the cupcakes. For texture and color variation I just sprinkle it on top)