Tag Archives: cupcakes

The Chocolate and Coffee Show 2017


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It was like candyland gourmet version: decadent chocolates everywhere and almost all the great brands and artisan chocolate and coffee producers in NZ were at this weekend’s Chocolate and Coffee Show at the Cloud.

I think this is the only time I told Miss 9 to eat as much chocolate as she would like – we burst out laughing at her “what are you saying, mum?” reaction as I named the brands that are at the show. We simply couldn’t contain ourselves.

As we only had 2 hours in between other appointments in life, I was worried we wouldn’t have enough time. Truth be told, I was worried I wouldn’t get close enough to the stalls to sample all the things I wanted to.
None of that turned out in reality, as the Cloud was a beautifully lit space (thank you natural light my camera loves that) and the show was very nicely run. Stalls were large and well spaced so there was plenty of room.

Our first stop was Macho Mini cupcakes. Perfectly cake to icing ratio! There were so many to choose from: Rocky Road, Mint, Oreos and even one inspired by Moustache cookies!

Machomini cupcakes

With the list of winners from this year’s Academy of Chocolate award and NZ Chocolate Awards in mind, we visited some of the NZ winners:

Hogarth Chocolate

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Nelson based chocolatiers, Karl and Marina source the highest quality cacao beans from around the world to create small batches of chocolate. From bean to bar, they sort, roast, crush and classify, winnow, grind and conche, age, melt, temper, mold, and wrap by hand to produce these beautiful products.

Their chocolates are exquisite: Gran Blanco and Acul du Nord won silver in the Academy of Chocolate. 

These here are our favourites:

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The chocolate logs are a crowd favourite – Miss 9 later confessed she ate more than what I would approve while I was chatting with Karl. It must be really delicious!

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Solomon’s gold

They work directly with their network of cacao growers to produce organic single origin chocolate. Selection and grading of cacao beans take place in the Solomon’s Island, while the hand roasting and crafting of chocolate bars happen in their bespoke New Zealand factory. Their Smooth Dark is my go-to chocolate for ganaches and cakes. It also won a silver in the Academy of Chocolate awards!

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Honest Chocolate

Nico and Emily, creates beautiful chocolate bars and bonbons in Snells Beach. They use organic, sustainably sourced, single origin chocolate with no artificial flavourings, preservatives or palm oil. My favourite is the cacao nib bar, so moreish and smooth. 

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They will shortly be opening a shop in Matakana, right next to the markets. Their Salted Caramel and Buckwheat milk chocolate tablet took out the supreme award at the NZ Chocolate Awards this year.

Kako Chocolates – my chocolate box
Have you signed up? Monthly subscription to 9 kinds of mystery chocolates, a great way of getting everyone to try something new. 

My Chocolate Box, Kako Chocolates

Metters espresso martini
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This is my new favourite drink 🍸
So easy to prepare – chill, pour out 2 servings. Screw cap back on and shake to make the crema – pour! I will be on the look out for their coffee liqueur and other delicious products in their range.

Despicable cupcakes
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With names like Despicably Chocolate and Nuts for Nutella, you can guarantee the cupcakes will blow your mind.

Harpoon cold brew coffee
There are two product available:
The concentrate which you can use to mix with milk to make a milk based coffee.
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Or drink straight out of the bottle!
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There are many more stalls to see and taste, make sure you don’t miss the ones below!

Milse pop-up
Milse pop up

Urban Blended – Spiced chai

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House of chocolates
House of Chocolate

Hope you enjoyed the show like I did – I’ve started my Christmas shopping!
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Mini cookies and cream cheesecake with salted caramel cream


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The beauty of this treat lies in the speed and output – minimal time and effort with a large number of serves. This is great for parties or any ‘bring-a-plate’ situations. Instead of bashing biscuits for the base, a single Oreo biscuit is used. The mixer does most of the job for you and it doesn’t take long to bake at all. Since I almost always have a jar of salted caramel in the fridge, it didn’t require any extra time to make. You can leave out the caramel and use whipped cream by itself if you wish.

The mini Oreo is the cherry on the top – you can leave it out if you feel the mini dessert is rich enough. However it does provide a crunchy element as the bottom Oreo would be soft to the bite as you eat it. Since it is already portioned as individual serves, there’s no fussing about with cutting or slicing. Sit back and enjoy!

Mini cookies and cream cheesecake with salted caramel cream
Makes 32 plus

Ingredients for the cheesecake:

  • 3 blocks of cream cheese (750g) softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream, lightly whipped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs, size 8
  • 32 paper muffin cups
  • 40 standard size Oreo cookies (reserving 8 to be blitzed)
  • 32 mini Oreo Cookies

For the salted caramel cream

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp salted caramel

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Prepare your 12 cup muffin tins with paper lining. Place a standard sized Oreo on the bottom of each one and set aside. I only have one of this pan, so to prepare I lined up the filled cases on a cookie tray to let them hold each other up. Prepare 32 of these.
  3. Lightly whip the cream.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar together on low speed.
  5. Mix in sour cream, your whipped cream and vanilla paste until smooth.
  6. Mix eggs in, one at a time.
  7. Blitz the remaining 8 standard size Oreo cookies till it breaks up, but not powdery, and then add them to the cream cheese batter and mix to incorporate.
  8. Fill each case with the mixture. I find it easiest to use an ice cream scoop with a spring mechanism that pushes the mixture out. Fill each right up to the brim of the case.
  9. Bake for 23-25 minutes, aiming for a slightly wobbly center. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best overnight. (You can also do up to the piping of the salted caramel cream step below and then refrigerate.)

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For the salted caramel cream

  1. Whip cream and icing sugar until it is combined.
  2. Add the salted caramel and whip till you have stiff peaks.
  3. Fill it in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used the Wilton 2A tip) and pipe the cream onto the top of each cheesecake.
  4. Press a mini Oreo on top just before you serve (or else the cookie will go soggy.)

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Chocolate chestnut mini cupcakes


J: mummy can I have a cupcake please?
Me: ok (grabs one from the box and gives her one, and walks out of the kitchen)
A few minutes later, J came to find me,
J: mummy I’ve finished my 2 cupcakes !!! They were delicious!
Me: I only gave you one, how did you get another?
J: I tippy-toed onto the bench, grabbed the box and chose one!

Now I can’t leave things on the kitchen bench!!

Recipes are written to be followed, right? Well sometimes not I guess. Especially when you can’t find an easy and quick recipe that allows you to use up your chestnut puree!! Even in this day and age where you have search engines that do all the work for you in 0.01 of a second?? So I say recipes are developed and improved upon to allow us to face whatever life throws at us (leftover chestnut purée that is).
So here you have a recipe that I personally designed. You have 3 options (having choices are good):
A) chocolate chestnut cupcake with no flour component. In which case don’t add the last ingredient. This gives a gooey decadent dessert-like cake.
B) chocolate chestnut cupcake with plain flour. This is what I made in the photos, for I wanted something less rich for J.
C) chocolate chestnut gluten-free cupcake, using almond meal instead of plain flour. Well that’s if you needed to make cupcakes, but discovered at the last minute that you have ran out of flour because you have been making macarons for far too long and had forgotten the need for flour. You however have almond meal well stocked in the pantry, so go ahead and use it!

Ingredients

110g dark chocolate melts
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
200g chestnut purée
75g dark chocolate bites (those that hold their shapes during cooking, and you can omit this if you think there is enough chocolate already!! J insisted she wanted these, so in they go)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g flour (or almond meal if you want these to be gluten-free cupcakes)

Instructions

Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Stir to make sure all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the egg whites until it forms a soft peak.

Beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until it is pale and creamy.

Add the cooled melted chocolate, mix to combine.

Add the chestnut puree, mix slightly just to combine (having little lumps of chestnuts inside is like discovering little treasures – oh how I wish I had glaced chestnuts!!!)

Mix in the dark chocolate bites and baking powder.

Mix in the flour or almond meal.

Last but not least, fold in the egg whites.

In the mean time, J has been lining the tray with mini cupcake cases.

Drop them into mini cupcake cases. You will have enough to make 30.

Bake at 175 degrees Celcius for 13 minutes.

Rest for 1 minute in the pan, and then remove to cool on a wire rack.

No icing needed, but if you really wanted, you could do a simple 1:1 chocolate ganache (i.e. 1 part chocolate to 1 part cream – eg 50g chocolate melted with 50ml hot cream, like for my macarons)

and rating…don’t really need to say much =)

(ps. sorry about the holes in the cupcakes – this was a rather hurried job and I didn’t sift my flour and baking powder…and also probably over mixed it a bit! Did not affect the yummyness though, so all good.)