Pastries in Paradise

4If you were to poll a large group of people as to what their favorite fall flavor is you would likely receive one of two answers…pumpkin or apple. Apples not only have a sense of warmth and comfort that equates to fall but they are also in abundance this time of year. Personally, I love both flavors and if polled I would not be able to choose a favorite. Although I could never choose one over the other I will admit that I have been indulging my love of pumpkin more as of late. Almost every day I have been enjoying a pumpkin spice latte with breakfast so when I saw apples on sale at the market it was time to take a pumpkin break. Typically when I think of apples I lean towards my go-to pie and cobbler recipes but this time I sought something different. Being as busy as I am, muffins are a quick and simple way to snack on the go. Keeping that in mind I decided to develop a skinnier version of a typical apple muffin.

1Just as I had imagined, these muffins are to die for. Biting into one is like eating a coffee cake hinted with nutty almond and laced with surprise chunks of sweet apple. Although I have named these muffins they are technically cupcakes. The process in which the batter is prepared is the creaming method used for cakes (butter/sugar creamed, eggs/extracts added, followed by the dry and wet ingredients being added alternately, beginning and finishing with the dry ingredients) versus the traditional muffin method. Even though by definition these are cupcakes, the texture is somewhere between a cake and a muffin. They are not quite as light and airy as a cake but they are certainly no where near as dense as a muffin. Outside of texture they assimilate more with muffins than cupcakes. I ultimately deemed them muffins because they are riddled with fruit, have a streusel topping, and lack a thick coating of sweet frosting (outside of the thin drizzle of glaze) like that of muffins.

2After preparing these muffins I think the only thing I would change about them is the yield size. I would certainly double the recipe next time so that I have 24 instead of only 12 because they disappeared way to fast for all the labor involved. The actual preparation of the batter, streusel, and glaze is not all that laborious but the tall stack of dirty bowls and utensils the recipe leaves behind sure is. Despite the fact that these muffins are designed to be a skinnier option compared to other muffin recipes, you will likely be tempted to eat more than one, which kind of defeats the purpose. If you want to shave a few more calories you could certainly leave off the glaze and the muffins would still taste fine. I don’t recommend it since there is very little glaze that is actually drizzled on each muffin serving to make that much of a reduction but the difference in taste is noticeable. Just a tiny bit of glaze manages to round out all the flavors perfectly.

3Like many of my recent posts, these muffins can be enjoyed as a dessert or at breakfast with coffee or tea. This recipe will produce 12 servings with one muffin being equal to one serving. If you are following Weight Watchers, one muffin is 6 Points or 7 Points Plus.

Skinny Almond Apple Streusel Muffins

Batter Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 oz. Neufchatel Cheese (1/3-less-fat cream cheese); softened
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ½ tsp. Almond Extract
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ cup 2% Reduced-fat Milk
  • 1 Large Gala Apple; finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
  • Cooking Spray

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
  • 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; chilled
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • 2 tsp. 2% Reduced-Fat Milk
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine 6.75 ounces flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir with a whisk until just incorporated. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) combine the granulated sugar, cream cheese, and ¼ cup butter. Beat the mixture on high-speed until well blended. Add the almond extract, vanilla, and egg and beat with the mixer on medium speed until just combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt and ¼ cup milk together until incorporated. In another small bowl, toss the apple with 1 tbsp. flour until apple pieces are evenly covered. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture and yogurt mixture by alternating until combined. Begin by adding 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the yogurt mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat the process of adding the flour mixture and then the remaining yogurt mixture, being sure to end with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Gently fold the apples into the batter. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
  4. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender (or fork or 2 knives), cut in the 2 tbsp. of chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter in the muffin tin. Bake the muffins for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the tallest muffin comes out almost clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack. After 15 minutes remove the muffins from the tin to cool completely.
  5. While the muffins are cooling prepare the glaze. In a small bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and almond extract. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over each cooled muffin and serve.

Nutritional Information


Weight Watchers: 6 Points or 7 Points Plus



Skinny Banana Nut Bread

4There is something about September that makes me crave Banana Bread. For me, I see it as a great transition from the light, berry desserts of summer to the heartier apple and pumpkin desserts of fall. The weather is just starting to show signs of changing here in Florida. The days are becoming shorter and the high temperatures are struggling to reach 90° anymore. These slight environmental changes are what trigger my changing taste buds each year.

In order to continue to enjoy banana bread like I have in the past, I needed to create a healthier alternative that would fit into my changing lifestyle. Banana bread may seem like a healthy dessert but it is often loaded with unnecessary sugar and can have upwards of 10 grams of fat per slice and over half being from saturated fat, which is no bueno!!! So with all of these bad numbers can banana bread actually become healthier? The answer is yes.

1There are many ways to shave calories and fat off of banana bread while adding in essential nutrients that make you feel a lot less guilty for indulging your cravings. Some swap wheat flour for coconut flour. Others add applesauce in place of butter or oil. I do not like these alternatives because I feel like the bread ends up tasting too much like coconut or apple when I want it to taste only of banana. In order to shave the bad and replace it with some good, I first cut out the eggs. Eggs are good but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Since I still want my eggs at breakfast I cut them out of the bread. Next, I replaced butter with olive oil, which also replaced a significant amount of saturated fat with healthier poly & monounsaturated fats. Another swap was allowing plain Greek yogurt to stand in for the typical sour cream called for in most conventional recipes. The addition of Greek yogurt not only helps shave down the bad qualities in traditional banana bread but it also adds beneficial protein, probiotics, vitamin B12, potassium, and calcium. Also by adding the yogurt I was able to cut down on the amount of olive oil needed. In order to cut down on the amount of white flour without changing the texture too much, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. If those changes weren’t enough I decided to sneak in some flaxseed to add heart healthy omega 3s and use only very ripe bananas to cut back on added sugar. Don’t be tempted to use those barely ripe bananas you just bought at the store no matter how much you may want to try this recipe. If the bananas are not overly ripe the bread will not taste as sweet and you will likely be disappointed. The reason this step is so important is because as the banana ripens, the natural sugars concentrate and the flavor matures. Many overlook this step and it is the most crucial. If you have to skip this step for whatever reason, you may have to bump up the sugar to 1 ½ cups to keep it as sweet, but keep in mind if you do the nutritional values will change.

3Although there have been many alterations to this recipe to make it more nutritious it still produces a tasty loaf. I enjoy a slice as a late night snack but it would also be great with coffee or tea at breakfast. The following recipe will produce 2 loaves of bread and approximately 24 servings. A serving size is one slice that weighs approximately 2 oz. Total preparation time for this recipe is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one slice is 4 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Banana Nut Bread


  • 6.8 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 7.2 oz. (1 ½ cups) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Very Ripe Bananas; mashed (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup Walnuts; chopped
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Prepare two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans by coating all sides with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flours, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until mixed. In a medium bowl, combine banana, walnuts, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around perimeter of bread to loosen from sides. Remove loafs from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

(One 2 oz. Slice)


Weight Watchers: 4 Points or 5 Points Plus



1Clean eating has been a strict motto of mine over the past year. It was a harsh transition at first but extremely satisfying when you can know exactly what is in your food. I have switched to buying all organic and extremely limiting my processed food intake. This lifestyle change has not only made me feel better about myself but has also made me feel like I am doing the best I can to keep my family healthy. With the many changes I have undertaken over the past year, perhaps the most daunting was becoming an independent Beachbody coach. At first I signed on only to get a discount on my monthly Shakeology, but I have recently really enjoyed helping others learn how to lead a healthier lifestyle. After speaking with several individuals who asked me about my recent successes, the one area they have difficulty with is giving up their dessert. These individuals want to lead a healthier lifestyle but they also want a treat now and then, especially for their children. They asked me for advice on healthier alternatives to popular box mixes or supermarket sweets. At first I did not have an answer for them. I have been a pastry chef for the website Honeybees Patisserie for over five years, however the job description never required me to acknowledge the healthiness of the products.

With little knowledge of healthier desserts, I elected to do heavy research and today I present you with a skinnier cake option. I use the term “skinny” because it is certainly not healthy to eat this product all of the time as you would a healthy meal. A skinny dessert is simply a healthier indulgence and should be strictly an occasional indulgence. This cherry-walnut streusel cake is designed to include healthier, organic ingredients and to keep you satisfied longer. I originally made this recipe after purchasing a fresh bunch of sweet Bing cherries from my local farmer’s market. It is best to make this cake when cherries are in season between May and July but if you want to prepare it outside of the cherry season you may use frozen cherries instead of fresh. If you do elect to use frozen cherries, be sure that you thaw them and drain any juice before measuring. I recommend selecting Bing or Rainier cherries as their flavor will concentrate while baking and help keep this hearty, coffee style cake moist.

2By now you are probably wondering how this cake is lighter than any other recipe out there. Two elements of this streusel cake differ greatly from its traditional counterpart….the lack of butter and the blend of flours. Streusels are traditionally made with a good amount of butter. The missing butter in the streusel is replaced with olive oil and a small amount of reduced-fat buttermilk, allowing more butter to remain in the cake without significantly adding calories or fat. Aside from the reduced amount of butter, half of the traditional all-purpose flour is replaced with whole-wheat pastry flour. Whole-wheat pastry flour is more nutrient dense than all-purpose flour and specifically contains more protein than cake flour. By replacing half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat pastry flour, the cake has added nutrients to keep you fuller longer (preventing the risk of overindulging) without becoming too dense as would be the case if you used only whole-wheat flour.

3This cake is a great option for treating you and your family to dessert without completely abandoning a healthy lifestyle. It can also be a great addition at breakfast when served with coffee or tea. One cake will yield 10 servings. Each serving should be cut into a small wedge. Total preparation time for this cake is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one wedge is 5 points or 7 Points Plus.

Skinny Cherry-Walnut Streusel Cake

Streusel Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 6 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsp. Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 3 tbsp. Walnuts; chopped
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Reduced-Fat Buttermilk

Cake Ingredients:

  • 4.5 ounces All-Purpose Flour (approximately 1 cup)
  • 4.5 ounces Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract
  • ½ cup Reduced-Fat Buttermilk
  • 10 oz. Fresh Sweet Cherries; pitted & chopped (approximately 2 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare streusel by combining sugar, flour, oats, walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Add the oil and buttermilk and stir to combine. Set the streusel aside.
  2. Prepare the cake by whisking both flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the sugar and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat again until combined. Mix in the almond extract until just combined. Add a portion of the flour mixture and beat until combined. Add half of the buttermilk and mix again. Add another portion of the flour mixture beating until combined followed by the rest of the buttermilk. Add the remaining portion of the flour and beat until well combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in the cherries by hand.
  3. Spoon the batter evenly into a 9 inch springform pan coated with nonstick baking spray. Sprinkle batter evenly with the streusel. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack or serve warm.

Nutritional Information

(One wedge)


Weight Watchers: 5 Points or 7 Points Plus



Cutie Crab Cookies

carbs fix

Sadly, summer is winding down for many. Soon most of the tourists here in Central Florida will be heading home as school resumes and vacations are over. For those that want to take the spirit of warm summer weather and sandy beaches home with them, these crab cookies are perfect for keeping the coastal feel alive.

DSC_0074To make these cookies, you will need your favorite cookie dough (I used basic sugar), a crab cookie cutter, royal icing, gel food color, and some decorating bags/tips. I used Americolor Tulip Red and Super Black on these cookies but you can use any red or orange color depending on how you want the final hue to come out. I wanted some to be more red and some to look more orange just to give depth to the plate when presented. You can do all in one shade since it is easier.

When mixing the royal icing, you will need the following:

Tulip Red Piping Icing

Tulip Red 15-second Icing

Tulip Red Flood Icing

Super Black Piping Icing


Once the cookies have been baked and cooled, begin by outlining the crab body with the Tulip Red Piping Icing with a bag fitted with a number 2 tip. Once it has set for a few minutes, flood the outlined body with the Tulip Red Flood Icing. Allow the body to dry for a little while and then continue on.

Next, outline the claws with Tulip Red Piping Icing and after a few minutes flood with the Tulip Red Flood Icing. Move on to the legs, using the 15-second Icing in Tulip Red. Use a slightly larger tip and gently push out a segment of icing for the leg. Allow the cookie to dry thoroughly before continuing on. Depending upon your location, this can be from 4 hours to 24 hours. Since I am in humid Florida, I allowed them to sit overnight.

DSC_0072Once the cookies have had time to firm and set, continue by adding the details. Begin using the Tulip Red piping icing to create a squiggly line outlining the crab shell body and distinguishing it from the segmented legs. Next, using the same piping icing, create varying sizes of dots to add texture to the shell. Press with less pressure for smaller dots, more pressure for larger dots.

DSC_0073Lastly, using Super Black piping icing, pipe an upside down larger opened “u” for the closed eyes. Pipe 3 eyelashes on the outer edges of each eye. Finish up by piping the smile midway between the two eyes. Once you have finished allow the cookies to set again before serving. If you are entertaining and want the crabs to look like they are on the sand, spread some Turbinado or Brown sugar on the bottom of the serving platter and arrange the cookies as if they are resting on the sand.




Easy Fireworks Cookies

6Happy Independence Day to America!!! In all honesty this one kind of snuck up on me. I was planning to make an easy tutorial for 4th of July and I kept thinking in my head that I have more time and I shouldn’t start yet and then “boom” it is three days before and I haven’t even baked the cookies yet. Then when I do bake them my cookie monster toddler kept stealing them all off the table and instead of having 3 dozen I am left with 2. I want to scold her but seeing her nibbling cookie after cookie in the corner trying to hide from my sight is just too cute. I guess I will let her win this one and be a kid.

Since I had procrastinated badly I thought I could squeeze in the quick decorating while the cookie monster was nibbling away without getting bothered too much. Boy was I wrong! The second she saw my frosting containers she knew its time to decorate and she wanted to make a mess…I mean help. Of course I made a spot for her at the table and let her hold the bottle as I piped the icing into the lines and dots I needed to make the cookie look like a firework explosion. Some came out great, others were a bit messy but that is perfect because not all fireworks are the same when they explode and this gave the cookies character. It also made me realize that these cookies should not just be marketed for adults that don’t want to spend too long decorating cookies but it is also a great way to spend time with your kids on the holiday making a patriotic treat. These are easy enough that adults won’t get stressed and kids can have fun making them with you.

2As I was sitting with my daughter watching the joy on her face as she squeezed a blob of frosting onto a cookie I was no longer frustrated that she wanted to help but rather I embraced the moment and didn’t want to finish the last cookie that seemed to creep up on us way too fast. Far too often I am in a rush to get things done thinking the faster I get it done the faster I can focus on my daughter but I end up missing out on opportunities to do just that. Luckily I didn’t miss this one and it meant a lot to me since I know this fall I will be returning to work and I won’t be able to spend all day with her. It has been weighing heavily on my mind lately as I have pretty much been a stay at home mom almost the entire time since she was born and I feel really guilty leaving her at home. I guess I will have to set up more mommy-daughter baking and decorating dates.

5What I like most about these cookies is they are completely customizable. They can be made with any color scheme and you can use any patterns you like that you feel represents what an exploding firework looks like. I used a sand dollar cookie cutter to give a unique shape that would help support the look of an explosion and falling particles but you can use any cutter you like. If you have a regular star you can use that or if you only have a circle you can also use that too. As far as colors go I used tulip red, white, and baby blue for Independence Day but you can pick any colors, especially if you want to recreate them for another holiday such as New Years you could do gold and black. As always I use my favorite sugar cookie recipe and decorate with royal icing tinted with gel dye but you are welcome to use your own approach. The sky is the limit with these. They are designed to be easy and fun for all the family. So go enjoy the holiday and celebrate your freedom if you are an American and if not just celebrate your family by spending time together making a batch of cookies and promoting your children’s creative expression.




3The past month has been a busy one and I admittedly placed the blog on the back burner once again. I have been flooded with med school homework lately and when I am not working on that I am following around my toddler. A few months ago I also started a new commitment to a more healthy lifestyle and began working out again. This commitment to eating clean, organic foods led me to really increase my desire to garden. I went and bought a bunch of organic seeds (to ensure my seeds were never derived from a GMO plant) and started planting. I involved my toddler so she could learn to appreciate living off the land as much as her father and I do. The daily process of watering, pulling weeds, and fertilizing (natural of course) has consumed the extra little bit of time I would normally have for writing.

2I truly have missed writing but with my new course of healthy eating I really don’t like making sweets since they will be there to tempt me into eating them. To solve my new dilemma I sat awake one night thinking how I could continue the blog in a new direction that would not only fit my current lifestyle but also stay loyal to the readers who already followed. The initial result would be to focus on what used to only be a segment of this blog…the skinny sweets. If I focus on skinny sweets (desserts that are significantly lower in calories and fat and therefore inflicting less guilt when you devour them) then I could continue the blog without the risk of completely spoiling my healthy lifestyle. This was the plan until one day I was gardening with my daughter.

5While I was pulling weeds, my daughter was watching two blue butterflies swarming around the flowers growing in the yard near our garden. I thought to myself that the butterfly would make a really beautiful cookie. It had been some time since I had made decorated cookies and I began to have an itch for them. Cookies have always been a great way to bring out one’s artistic expression through food. Even children love taking part in them, which means I could have my daughter help me and I would then have more time to bake if she feels like she is involved. This gave me the revelation that I could not only post skinny sweets but also decorated cookies since I absolutely hate the taste and texture of royal icing. With each cookie being covered in royal icing it would keep me from being tempted to eat the cookies and not disrupt my new healthy lifestyle.

1I know this post is getting more lengthy than usual so I promise to wrap it up soon. I chose to write a lengthy post because I wanted to thoroughly explain to all of my loyal followers the reason for the slight shift in the content of the blog from here on out. For my first post of this kind I decided to make a blue butterfly based off the butterfly that triggered my initial epiphany. The base is a simple sugar cookie and I dug out an old butterfly cookie cutter I had lying around collecting dust. Once the cookies had cooled I prepared a big batch of royal icing (recipe will be provided in a future post). I separated the batch into three portions and colored two of the portions, taking only a little bit from the third portion and saving the rest for a future project. The first portion I tinted with royal blue gel color. Americolor is my favorite brand of gel color but I only had Wilton on hand in the colors I needed so that is what I used. The second portion I tinted with cornflower gel color.

4I used the royal blue tinted icing as my base color. I outlined and flooded the cookies and allowed them to dry overnight. The next day I used the cornflower tinted icing to outline the cookie again and add more details. I also used the white icing to add accents that finished the cookie. This was a simple design that I made sure wasn’t too complex since it was my first time making these cookies in a long time and I didn’t want to overcomplicate things, especially it would be the first time doing it with my daughter around. All in all I am very happy with how they turned out. I feel they are perfect to serve now as we flutter into the summer months ahead. The blue really sets the tone of summer, similar to the crisp blue, sunny skies.




5When I was a kid, each week we would make a trip to the local bread store outlet to get our bread for the week at a much cheaper price than the supermarket. Whenever I went with my dad, I would always get to pick out one treat to bring home along with one of those instant chicken noodle mixes that I would have for dinner that night. Despite the broad selection of goodies, I usually always selected the Hostess Chocolate Cream cupcakes. As much as these were my favorite, I started to steer clear of them as a young adult when I learned the reason they stay good and moist for weeks on end. Seeing as I am trying to eat clean and teach my daughter the same healthy habits I refuse to buy the commercial Hostess brand.

6When Hostess went temporarily out of business awhile back there became a huge demand for their products. Instead of paying the outrageous prices that were being set on auction sites like Ebay, many set to recreate their own at home. Even though the Hostess favorites have since returned to the shelves for purchase, I still wanted to give a homemade version a shot just to revel in the old memories without all the chemical additives. These cupcakes turned out even better than I ever remember and making them not only brought back old memories but created new ones as I baked them with my toddler.

1Now I won’t deny these cupcakes were rather tedious to make and what seems to be a simple mistake that couldn’t do much harm can turn into disaster if you are not careful. For example, most people will fill a cupcake using a piping bag and shoot the filling into the bottom of the cupcake. This method works fine with most cupcakes and have done it myself in the past. Problem is, if you do that with these cupcakes you will cause a blow out that you will notice even with the glaze on top. The reason you can’t fill the cupcakes the “easy way” is because the texture is too delicate. I recommend cutting out a little portion from the top, filling with a spoon, and then placing the top back on to avoid any problems. Another area that can cause a lot of problems is when you go to prepare the filling. The filling may get the perfect flavor from the marshmallow fluff, but it gets the proper texture from gelatin. The gelatin can also make the worst filling if not prepared properly. If you don’t sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow it to dissolve a bit, you will end up with hard pellets in your filling. Gross I know. Another tricky part is when cooling the filling after microwaving it. You only need to cool the filling slightly, not completely before adding the marshmallow fluff. If the filling mixture is too cold when adding the fluff it will turn lumpy and be impossible to pipe curlicues on the top with the piping bag. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the filling is still too hot when you mix in the marshmallow fluff, you will end up with filling that is too loose and runny. If this occurs the filling will mostly absorb into the cupcake and the curlicues won’t hold their shape on top. If you take caution when preparing these particular steps you will surely be successful.

4NOTE: Be sure you purchase Marshmallow Creme, such as Fluff or Kraft Jet-Puffed Creme and not marshmallow sauce used for ice cream. If you make the mistake your filling will not set properly. Be sure to bloom the cocoa with boiling water so that you get depth of chocolate flavor and prevent the chocolate chips from leaving unwanted, unmelted bits to tarnish the desired creamy mixture. The following recipe yields 12 cupcakes.


Homemade Hostess Chocolate Cream Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Boiling Water
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Instant Coffee
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract


Filling Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • ¾ tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 4 tbsp. (½ stick) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1¼ cups Marshmallow Creme (Fluff)


Glaze Ingredients

  • ½ cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter



FOR THE CUPCAKE BATTER: Heat the oven to 325°. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the boiling water, cocoa, chocolate chips, and coffee until smooth. Add the sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add in the flour mixture and whisk until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake cupcakes until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 18 to 23 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

FOR THE FILLING: Combine the water and gelatin in a bowl and allow to sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture until it bubbles around the edges and gelatin fully dissolves, about 30 seconds. Add the butter, vanilla, and salt and mix until just combined. Allow the mixture to cool until still slightly warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the marshmallow creme until smooth. Refrigerate the mixture until set, approximately 30 minutes. Measure out 1/2 cup of the marshmallow filling and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small, plain round tip. Reserve the remaining marshmallow mix for filling the cupcakes.

CUPCAKE ASSEMBLY: Microwave the chocolate and butter in a small bowl, stirring frequently until smooth, approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute. Cool the glaze to room temperature, approximately 10 minutes. Meanwhile,  cut cones from the top of each cupcake and fill the cupcakes with 1 tbsp. of filling each. To cut the cones, insert the tip of a paring knife into the cupcake top at a 45 degree angle about 1/4 inch from the outer edge of the cupcake. Cut out and remove the cone from all 12 cupcakes. Cut off the bottoms of each cone, leaving a 1/4 inch circle of cake. Discard or eat the bottom portions of all 12 cones. Use a spoon to fill each cupcake with 1 tbsp. of marshmallow mixture. Once all of the cupcakes are filled, top the filling with the reserved circles of cake to plug the center. Once the tops are replaced, frost each cupcake with the cooled glaze using an offset spatula. Allow the glazed cupcakes to sit and harden for approximately 10 minutes. Using the pastry bag filled with the reserved marshmallow mixture, pipe curlicues across the tops of the glazed cupcakes. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days.





Tag Cloud


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 109 other followers

%d bloggers like this: