Bootiful Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

dsc_0153Today is a quick post for any procrastinators out there who still haven’t decided on a treat to make for Halloween. These BOOtiful cupcakes have the ultimate chocolate flavor you would find in a cake packed into a tiny handheld cupcake. If that wasn’t dreamy enough the ghostly frosting is so creamy and light it resembles a giant melted marshmallow. The pair together is to die for.

dsc_0168For the ultimate chocolate punch in your cupcakes be sure to use a high quality baking chocolate. If you are really strapped for time you can omit the ganache step and opt for the more traditional cupcake. The chocolate flavor will still be strong but that little creamy morsel of chocolate boom will not be there and I really promote taking the little extra effort to fill them with ganache since it is very easy. The cupcakes can be made up to 24 hours in advance but make sure to refrigerate them in an airtight container so that the ghosts don’t decide to go back into hiding once Halloween is over.

dsc_0155Bootiful Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling

Ganache Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; chopped fine
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tbsp. Confectioners’ Sugar

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; chopped fine
  • 1 oz. (1/3 cup) Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ cup Hot Coffee
  • 4.125 oz. (¾ cup) Bread Flour
  • 5.25 oz. (¾ cup) Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 6 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tsp. White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Meringue Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • Black Food Coloring


  1. For the Ganache Filling: Place chocolate, cream, and confectioners’ sugar in a medium microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on high until the mixture is warm to the touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth and place in the refrigerator until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. For the Cupcakes: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350°. Line a standard size 12 cup muffin tin with baking cup liners. Place the chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tin cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, about 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the muffin tin on a wire rack until cool enough to touch, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from the muffin tin and set on the wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.
  5. For the Frosting: Simmer about 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Place egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over the saucepan, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat the mixture for about 6 minutes, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch, about 120°.
  6. Transfer the bowl back to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whisk for 5 to 10 minutes, or until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add vanilla and whisk until just incorporated. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes using a large round tip, making sure to stop applying pressure 3 times while piping to create the ghost shape, pulling up on the last pipe to create a peak. Use a toothpick and dip in the black food color to create the eyes and mouth of the ghost.






Dessert Plating: Non-Traditional Napoleons

Happy Monday everyone! This past week has been very busy for me. I just began my final class at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Orlando. This class is Dessert Plating and it is a very demanding course to say the least. Not only is it crucial to understand all of the elements which are important to plating a high end dessert but also we have to create our own flavors and they must be creative and a bit risky. It has been difficult because in all of the previous courses students are held on a tight leash when it comes to what we would make in class. We had to follow the recipe in our textbooks or whatever Chef declared we must follow and we couldn’t deviate much from that in the ways of presentation or flavor options. With this class they basically throw you to the wolves and chef gets to sit back and watch with a grin.

 In week one of Dessert Plating, our simple instruction was to create a a few dessert sauces with our own flavor choices which would compliment our finished plates of non-traditional Napoleons due on friday. The first order of operations was to choose my two flavor stars for each plate. My first star I chose was Pumpkin. The second was Peach. Let’s start with my first plating: The Pumpkin Praline Napoleon. For the first Napoleon, I was instructed to use sheets of Phyllo dough and enhance them in any way I chose. To do this I first melted some butter and added a praline flavor compound by Amoretti to enhance the butter with flavor. I delicately soaked my first layer of phyllo with the enhanced butter and spread a Praline mixture I created over the buttered phyllo sheet. My Praline mixture consisted of pecans, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. I continued the layering process until I had about five sheets of Praline enhanced phyllo melded together. Before baking, I cut the phyllo layers with a metal fluted cutter to create the non-traditional circle shape. Once strategically placed on the baking sheet, it was to the oven for the phyllo. About 7 minutes later, caramel crisp goodness emerged and wafted in my direction.

Once the phyllo layers were completed it was time to focus on filling options. I chose to flavor a basic pastry cream with Pumpkin and its complimentary warm spices of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. To assemble the napoleon, I placed one layer of praline enhanced phyllo on the plate and used a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a round of pumpkin spice pastry cream in the center of the phyllo circle. To prevent any leaking pastry cream while waiting to present my plate, I lined the outer edges of the enhanced phyllo with fresh cut raspberries. This created a dam for any running pastry cream and also added complimentary flavor and texture. I repeated the process once more before placing my final round of praline enhanced phyllo on top.

With the napoleon constructed it was on to decorative sauce creation and adornments for the presentation. To compliment the raspberries I added to the napoleon, I created a Strawberry Rhubarb Rum Coulis. I placed four rounds on the plate all leading the eye toward the napolean. To add contrast to the red colored coulis and compliment the pumpkin spice pastry cream filling, I created a Maple Nut Creme Anglaise. I placed four rounds between the Coulis and drew a bamboo skewer through both sauces to add a finishing look to the plate. For the final adornment, I simply utilized leftover praline to prevent further waste. I shaped the praline mixture into a mound and topped it with a fresh blackberry. This added height, color contrast and it complimented flavors within the dish, which is of course important.

 Now that the first plate was complete it was on to number two: The Spiced Peach Napoleon. For this napoleon I had to utilize puff pastry and again enhance it. I laid out a sheet of puff pastry and cut it into rounds again using my fluted metal cutter. When melting the butter I enhanced it with a dash of cayenne pepper to add heat which would later compliment the sweetness and other spices. Once the butter was melted I brushed it over the sheet of puff pastry in order for my enhancement to stick…that being Toasted Cayenne Coconut. Once the puff pastry had fully baked and cooled, I proceeded to use a bench knife to cut each circle in half. This created another non-traditional shape, that being a half moon. To fill the puff pastry layers I opted for a Peach Mousse. To assemble the napolean I placed one puff pastry moon on the plate and again used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a small amount of peach mousse onto the pastry. I then topped the mousse with a spiced poach peach, which I will describe in a moment. I repeated the process once more but alternated the direction of the half moon. After placing the final layer of puff pastry, again alternating the direction for an even more noticable non-traditional shape, I piped a rosette of peach mousse and topped it with some of my remaining Toasted Cayenne Coconut.

As for the decorative elements to this plate, I made sure to incorporate sauce and fresh fruit for added textures, tastes, and colors. As mentioned previously, I created Spicy Poached Peaches not only for the napoleon but also decor. I poached the peaches in red wine with whole allspice, black peppercorns, and a cinnamon stick until tender. For plating I aligned three peaches to create an abstract basket to hold the fresh blackberries. This created additional color, shape and complimentary flavors for the rest of the plate. This all leads to the final element on the plate, the sauce. The sauce I chose to create was chocolate. This added a distinct color which popped off the white plate and also added contrast to the other colors. To make the chocolate flavor meld with the rest of the plate, I enhanced it with Tangelo and Orange Blossom extracts made by Amoretti. These are wonderful jewels to have in any pastry kitchen as they give great options for creating epic flavor profiles in any dish, whether culinary or pastisserie. I placed the chocolate sauce in three simple dots on each side to draw the eye back and forth between the bushel of peach and berries to the napoleon.

 After this first week of non-traditional Napoleons, I realize what is ahead of me for the weeks to come. This week I will be creating custards with my own flavor profiles. My options are Panna Cotta, Creme Caramel, Creme Brulee, and Bread Pudding which I will contruct my own of each. I will also be required to create decorative adornments such as flavored pate a choux filigree and Florentine or Tuille cookies. It shall be interesting. I will be sure to post the finished products. Until then….have a good rest of your week. Enjoy the fall weather as I am from Florida 🙂


All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011

Peanut Butter Mousse Cookie Cups

On the tenth anniversary of September 11, nothing could lift spirits higher than indulging in the sweet, comforting combination of peanut butter and chocolate. This cute little dessert is based upon cookie cups which have a crisp exterior while maintaining the soft, sweet interior beloved by all sugar cookie lovers. These cups are filled with a mixture of peanut butter, whipped cream, and cream cheese to create a light, fluffy mousse. Also let’s not forget the peanut butter mousse is sandwiched between a rich layer of chocolate ganache dolloped on the bottom of each cookie cup and drizzled on top for a designer finish. I’m usually the type who tries it after I finish baking it and leave the rest to be eaten by others but I couldn’t even stop munching these days after they were baked. YUM!!!

The whole process begins with something so basic… a bag of sugar cookie mix blended with pecans and pressed into muffin tins. This simple step of the formula creates a crisp yet tender cookie shell. It is important to note that when pressing the cookie mix into the muffin tin, the right amount of cookie mix pressed will seem like a lot but is necessary to create a solid base to build upon later.

 Once the sugar cookie cups have been baked and cooled, the peanut butter mousse and chocolate are prepared. A dollop of chocolate is placed in the bottom of each cookie cup. For the most elegant presentation, the peanut butter mousse is piped into each cup using a disposable piping bag fitted with a large star decorator tip. When the filling is piped into the cookie cup, it will resemble the look of a giant rosette on top of a cupcake. If you do not own disposable piping bags or decorator tips, you may spoon the peanut butter mousse into the cups and use a small spatula or back of the spoon to smooth out the top.

Lastly, place the remaining melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle or piping bag fitted with a fine, round decorator tip. Use the melted chocolate to create a swirl design around the piped peanut butter mousse filling. If you are not a chocoholic or lack any of the above equipment needed for the melted chocolate, you may certainly skip this step and keep the rosette look created by the piped peanut butter mousse. Both looks are impressive and elegant in appearance.

 The following formula requires a sugar cookie mix for the cookie cup crust. Sugar cookie mixes are found in supermarket baking aisles near the boxed cake mixes. I chose the 17.5 oz. sugar cookie mix by Betty Crocker for this formula. It created the perfect wet sand texture necessary for proper pressing into the muffin tins and when mixed with pecans and filled with peanut butter mousse and chocolate, the processed flavor usually found in cookie mixes was obliterated. All the cookie mix left behind was the desired softness and sweetness expected of a sugar cookie. Perhaps best of all, the sugar cookie mix saves precious time, relieving us busy bakers from the long task of baking the sugar cookies from scratch and cleaning up the numerous dirty dishes left behind!!!

Peanut Butter Mousse Cookie Cups


  • 1 (17.5 ounce) pkg.  Sugar Cookie Mix (see above for prefered brand)
  • 4.5 oz. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 13.5 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 9.75 oz. Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1 (8 ounce) pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 4.25 oz. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 6.75 oz. Semisweet Chocolate Chips


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Grease muffin tin. Combine sugar cookie mix, pecans, and flour in a bowl. Slowly add in the butter and stir until the mixture resembles the texture of wet sand. Press a thick layer of the cookie mixture into the bottom and sides of each muffin cup.
  2. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes, being sure to rotate the muffin pan halfway through the cooking time. Cool 20 minutes in the muffin pan before removing.
  3. With mixer on medium-high, whip 8 ounces of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Set aside. In mixer, beat peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
  4. Microwave the chocolate and remaining 5.5 ounces of cream for about 1 minute. Make sure to stir occasionally (to prevent scorching) until the chocolate is melted smooth. Pour a dollop of the prepared chocolate ganache into the bottom of each sugar cookie cup. Fill each cookie cup by piping the peanut butter mousse into a large rosette/swirl formation.
  5. Drizzle the remaining chocolate ganache evenly over the peanut butter mousse in personal preferred design.  Refrigerate the peanut butter mousse cookie cups until firm, at least 1 hour. 
  6. The Peanut Butter Mousse Cookie Cups can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Special Thanks to: My wonderful boyfriend Peter for the photography and Susan Bazan

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011