orange spice cupcakes by lisa maliga

Chocolate Orange Spice Cupcakes Recipe & Video Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2017-2018

This type of cupcake is appealing to those who love a strong citrusy spicy combination. If you’re looking for an autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas treat, here’s a winning flavor. 

chocolate orange spice cupcake baked by lisa maliga
Chocolate Orange Spice Cupcake

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped [Green & Black’s Maya Gold] [3 oz.]
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil [3 oz]
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons [fresh] lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 12 cupcakes

Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius

DIRECTIONS:

Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot water over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. The rack should be in the center. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly.

Whisk the virgin coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. DON’T OVERMIX!

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 – 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely.

ORANGE SPICE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup [6 oz.] unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar [confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend*
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons orange extract
12 drops orange color

FROSTING DIRECTIONS: 

Beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and spices with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate has a spicy orange flavor that pairs beautifully with this frosting. I used it once before as I’d run out of regular dark chocolate and was impressed with the way the flavor came out in the cupcakes even a day after they’d been baked. If you can’t use this particular brand/type of chocolate, that’s okay, use whatever’s available to you. However, if you want it to have an orange spice flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon orange extract and about 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin or apple spice blend to your cupcake batter.

* make your own pumpkin spice blend

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Amazon Kindle link: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

3dBakingCupcakes3

VIDEO

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Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide–An Excerpt

Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

by Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

My second cookbook has just been released after months of testing various chocolate cupcake and brownie recipes. It was so much fun baking these sweet treats and learning more cupcake decorating techniques. For example, I tried the swirl method and was able to come up with this:

peppermintswirlcupcakes2
Peppermint Swirl Cupcakes

I’ve also learned how to make my own sparkling sugar and the various ways to core cupcakes. So, if you love chocolate goodness, keep on reading!

Chapter 1 ~ About the Ingredients

Your cupcakes and brownies can look and taste better than any found in a bakery. What you put into your batch of cupcakes is up to you and your budget. Are fresh eggs and butter available to you? I’ve been able to use farm fresh eggs in many of my batches of cupcakes and brownies. Those hens are free ranging and while kept in a coop at night, during the day they amble around several acres of pasture and eat natural food from the ground as well as organic chicken feed.

Use whatever ingredients you have in your pantry, cupboards and refrigerator for your first batches of brownies and/or cupcakes. Don’t invest a lot of money in ingredients or equipment if you only plan to make the occasional dessert. But once you make brownies and cupcakes from scratch, get creative and try new brands of chocolate, butter, or any of the other ingredients to learn if you can taste a difference. Oftentimes you’ll find some sweet [I couldn’t resist that pun] deals on the ingredients at your grocery store so you’ll spend less money on finding out what you like to add to your chocolaty desserts. Baking isn’t just science–it’s also art.

As the recipes in this book are all about using the most natural ingredients, as well as the best tasting, virgin coconut oil is recommended. This tropical oil is easier to use in oil form rather than solid. Coconut oil is coconut butter at temperatures below 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the weather, I can let it sit in the sun to melt or if it’s hot enough then measuring it is always easier. Virgin coconut oil gives cupcakes natural moisture and you won’t taste the extra coconut.

Amazon Kindle: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

Amazon Kindle UK: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

Paperback edition: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

3DBakingcupcakes book&Phone

Chocolate Espresso Ganache Filling Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

I used to think that a ganache was something fancy that went on top of a cake or some type of fancy pastry. I knew it was made from chocolate, but that’s about all. If you’ve never made this lovely and decadent macaron filling, don’t worry, it’s very easy to make. You only need a few ingredients but you should get the best type of chocolate that you find appealing. For practice, use standard dark chocolate morsels that you may have in your pantry, but if you’re a chocoholic, add a 70% cacao content dark chocolate.

chocolatemintganache
Chocolate ganache just before going into a pastry bag

Chocolate Espresso Ganache Filling

Ingredients:

4 ounces heavy cream [120 grams]
4 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate [120 grams]
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon instant espresso

Put cream in microwave for about one minute until hot — NOT boiling. Pour over chocolate chunks. When melted add instant coffee and vanilla and whisk well until smooth. Let sit at room temperature for at least four hours or overnight. Cover with plastic wrap. Just before getting ready to use a spatula to scoop the ganache into a piping bag with large round tip.

This is a simple recipe to make and it will really perk up your macaron shells. The touch of espresso gives the chocolate more zing! I used my favorite brand of chocolate: Valrhona.

chocolateganacheespesso2

Adding instant espresso to chocolate chunks

chocolateganachecream2

Pour in your cream and vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

chocolateganache
Whisk ingredients together until you have a shiny chocolate ganache!
orangegreenmacarons
Orange & chocolate mint macarons

Baking French Macarons A Beginner’s Guide

This recipe can be found in my book Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide. Available in eBook [free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription] and paperback formats.

 

 

The Most Exquisite Chocolate!

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2013-2019

Chocolate truffles, bonbons, hand painted chocolate, 24-karat gold drizzled upon chocolate…such decadent luxuries. Chocolate connoisseurs seek richness of flavor upon the palate, and for those in the know, it will be couverture chocolate, which has the best finely ground cocoa beans and a higher cocoa butter content. Discover tantalizing offerings from some international chocolatiers.

Knipschildt is based in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Danish founder, Fritz Knipschildt, began his career as a chef and trained in Spain and France. He came to America in 1996 and while working as a private chef his clients were amazed with his unique chocolate creations. Now he has invented a very unusual and costly truffle. La Madeline au Truffe is enrobed in the intense and fruity 70% Valrhona cacao from South America and is the perfect way to offset the exotic and intoxicating aroma of an authentic French Perigord black truffle embedded inside this wondrous chocolate truffle. They sell for $250.00 and have a shelf life of one week.

If you want to celebrate a special occasion, consider buying a box of chocolate truffles sprinkled with edible silver or 24-karat edible gold. DeLafee is located in Switzerland and uses a blend of Criollo cocoa beans from Ecuador and Venezuela and Forestero cocoa beans from Ghana. The creamy chocolate ganache inside the pralines makes this a silky smooth flavor along with the glittering golden topping. The Gold Chocolate Box with Antic Swiss Collectible Gold Coin has eight chocolate truffles adorned with gold. The price is 255 Euros. They also sell edible silver in their dark Swiss chocolate truffles. Eight elegantly boxed truffles only cost 65 Euros.

Godiva is a famous name in the world of chocolate. Founded in Brussels, Belgium, it is noted on their web site: “Joseph Draps, a renowned Belgian chocolatier, created a line of chocolates with extraordinary richness and design, a collection of passion and purity. He sought a name that embodied the timeless qualities of passion, style, sensuality, and modern boldness.” You can find the chocolate in their own stores as well as in many retail locations worldwide.

Located in Lyon, France, Richart Chocolates uses 70% Criollo cocoa from Venezuela – a more exotic and expensive base for all the fine ingredients that are mingled with the gourmet chocolate. They also carry macarons. However, if you seek a memorable gift for yourself or someone you wish to impress, consider the $850.00 Petits Richart in a hand-crafted burlwood vault complete with temperature and humidity gauges. Seven drawers contain 112 pieces of exotic gourmet chocolate ranging from citrus flavored to romantic florals to roasted, herbal, and spicy palate pleasers. leroyale2_product1

Debauve & Gallais is a traditional chocolatier headquartered in Paris, France – a location they have occupied for over 200 years. [You can also find some of their chocolates and teas at Barneys New York.] These chocolates are hand molded and can be shaped like the company’s coat of arms or a fleur de lys. Naturally low in sugar, the fillings contain ingredients from around the world, such as: Turkish raisins, Spanish almonds, chestnuts from Turin and rum from Antilles. Seeking a gift that will please a chocolate aficionado? Try the $650.00 Le Royale chocolate bonbon assortment in their official trademark blue, gray, and gold embossed box. This luscious collection boasts 176 pieces of remarkable chocolate. [Original photo: http://www.debauveandgallais.com/main/bonbons2.asp]

Another memorable gift is the 100-piece blue box of chocolate from MarieBelle in New York. As stated on their website: “The Cien Blue is styled as a hat box that will provide the perfect hiding place for your cherished belongings after the chocolates have been devoured. MarieBelle New York combines the finest single-origin chocolate with eclectic ingredients and artisanal techniques, to create edible works of art.” You receive 34 different flavors including whisky, ginger, cilantro, banana, saffron, lavender and so much more. Priced at $260.00

For the ultimate chocolate aficionado who wants to indulge in the most unforgettable dessert ever, it can be found exclusively at the New York City restaurant, Serendipity 3. Entitled Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, it boasts a blend of 14 of the rarest cocoas from Africa and South America and edible 24-karat gold. The goblet is lined with edible gold and around the base is an 18-karat gold bracelet complimented with a carat’s worth of diamonds. A La Madeleine au Truffe from Knipschildt Chocolatier is included in the package, as is a diamond studded golden spoon – another keepsake of this extravagant dessert. The price is $25,000.00.

As Charles Schulz, the creator of the famous Peanuts cartoon, once said, “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”  

Want to make the best chocolate cupcakes and brownies? Now you can! 

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Chocolate, Sex & Soap!

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2008-2018
How many bath & body products have you tried that contain real chocolate? I was intrigued with the idea when about a decade ago I stumbled upon a website that offered a few products like a lotion the color of chocolate milk and some sort of sugar scrub and a massage bar. It was a pink and brown colored site and it fascinated me to think that one could smell like chocolate all day long without eating it. Not that I wasn’t familiar with the main ingredient, cocoa butter, but that was beige and hard and primarily used in lip balms or melted down into a lotion for its emollient properties. Cocoa butter didn’t change color or texture in a handmade lotion, and it usually didn’t alter the fragrance. But that site was the start of my obsession for chocolate scented skin …
 
After lots of experimentation I discovered that one could add not just cocoa butter to soap, but actual chocolate. It had to be the bittersweet kind which I found at my fave 99 Cents Only store in the form of ye old fashioned baker’s chocolate that came in a yellow cardboard box. So I put some into my soap and there was no earth shattering change of scent or color. Not really, since I was adding my usual sparkling brown mica mineral colorant to it. But when it went into my lip balm, wow wee! It not only changed the color so it looked like a perfect round circle of chocolate, it amped up the cocoa flavor and I just wanted to eat that lip balm. Trust me on this, it’s not a great idea as it’ll eat into your profits. Plus, regular chocolate tastes better.

maximum chocolate soap photo by lisa maliga 12 easy melt and pour soap recipes ebookDuring the peak of my business, I had 3 varieties of chocolate soap. My favorite was the one I named  MAXIMUM Cocoa Butter Glycerin Soap. You’ll find the recipe for it in my eBook, 12 Easy Melt and Pour Soap Recipes.

 
Yeah, it was fun to create this one as I added no colorant other than this high quality chocolate which I picked up at a health food store. I refrained from eating most of it because I learned real quickly that this was better than Snickers or M&Ms and it was good for you, too! [Unfortunately, I had to remove this soap from my site as too many people were trying to buy it after I moved.]

The best kind of chocolate was the kind that was added to the rebatch soap. This is the real deal soap as I call it as it’s made from scratch and has no added ingredients except what you put in it. And this is where you can include dairy products for an incredibly rich and sumptuous milk soap, or get creative and add yogurt, coconut or soy milk or eggnog. So I made a chocolately bar with the addition of shea butter, cocoa butter and mango butter. Then the crème de la crème was the chocolate I could add as a swirl to make a beige and brown bar that looked like fudge.  In my recent book How to Make Handcrafted Shampoo Bars I’ve included a couple of recipes that contain chocolate.

As for other chocolate products, count me in as a Lushie! Well, I’ve mentioned how I felt in a previous post. before I made my first chocolate product, Lush had made theirs. They had this nifty hand sized massage bar called After 8:30 a chocolate mint concoction made primarily from cocoa butter and real chocolate with “scentsational” lashings of peppermint essential oil. The urge NOT to bite down on it was excruciating. The scent, the look, the feel, was chocolate overload. It also contained white chocolate which is really just cocoa butter with added sugar. White chocolate has no true cacao content but it is pure decadent sweetness. 

Rubbing this on my skin was a chuckle as there were brown streaks that resembled skid marks! It was like rubbing a mint chocolate bar on my skin and it did get absorbed after leaving it greasy for a few minutes. Then my skin felt soft and chocolate-y and peppermint-y and I just wanted to lick myself like a cat.  The mint also cooled me off a bit. I’ve never been that intimate with chocolate before after trying that After 8:30 and I doubt if I’ll repeat the experience. 
When making bath & body products, it’s all about experimenting!