Beary-Cute Mini Cupcakes

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Do you have certain foods or snacks that you enjoy purely for the nostalgia factor?

I have a whole list. Most of them I rarely, if ever, consume today. It seems that as children, we were instinctively drawn to food that came in shiny, colourful plastic packets and was stuffed with sugar and fake flavours and colours… they were essentially staples of one’s diet.

As I grew up I turned away from these sugary, salty, colourful confections and instead snacked on things that came in more dull packaging that boasted words like “organic”, “gluten free” and “raw” because they make me feel like a proper adult.

But for the sake of nostalgia, and also to give me something to actually write about in this post, I’ve decided to scour the interwebs and share with you some of my favourite sugary snacks as a young lass.

heart

HavaHeart ice cream: I was honestly a little surprised that I only found one picture of these on the Internet… maybe they weren’t as popular as I thought. But these heart-shaped, chocolate-coated, vanilla ice-cream bundles of goodness on a stick were the Number 1 way to make a hot summer afternoon even better*. I think if they were shaped like regular ice-cream I probably couldn’t have cared less, but because they were shaped like hearts they were just downright amazing.

*Notice I said “even better” and not “bearable” like I usually would when talking about the hotter months of the year… yes, I actually liked summer when I was a child. Shocking, no?

roses

Cadbury Roses: Okay, so you were probably expecting more kiddie, colourful, sugary snacks on this list. I mean, Cadbury Roses? Aren’t those a little bit classy for a 5-year-old? Maybe. So I guess I was a rather classy 5-year-old, because I loved these. This bright blue box of chocolates would magically appear on most “grown-up” special occasions – parents’ birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers’ Day, and other such events. The shiny wrappers that clearly differentiated the chocolates were a bonus. Not only were they super pretty, but they allowed me to swiftly avoid the “disgusting” flavours which my 5-year-old self was not fond of, such as strawberry or mint.

tinyteddies

Tinny Teddies: Normal biscuits? Boring. Biscuits shaped like small bears with varying personalities? HECK YES. Tiny Teddies were the ultimate snack of my childhood. I used to pretend that they were going on little adventures into the “cave” (i.e. my mouth) where they would then proceed to scream in terror as they were chomped into a mush. Yes, that’s a bit creepy. Don’t worry, I don’t do that anymore.

Reminiscing about these beary-delicious snacks inspired me to whip up some cupcakes in their honour. Mini-cupcakes, so you can eat three times as much… I mean, because they’re small and cute.

Mini-cupcakes with pieces of dark chocolate in them, to balance out the childishness with a bit of classiness… everyone knows that classy adults love eating dark chocolate, right?

Mini-cupcakes with “Cookies ‘n’ Cream” icing made from crushed Oreos… because each Tiny Teddy might get a bit lonely by itself on each individual cupcake, and will need a friend… even if that friend is an Oreo that’s been crushed into tiny pieces and mixed with sweet buttercream icing to produce an unappetizing gray yet extremely delicious substance.

So the icing was a bit of an experiment, and could maybe do with oh-so-slightly less Oreo… hence why it’s that awkward grey colour. Everyone did seem to like the icing, but for aesthetic reasons you may want to cut back a little. It’s up to you; add as much as you’d like to suit your tastes. Maybe you could try out the choc-filled Oreos or one of the other flavours! That could be fun.

Here is the recipe – bake and enjoy!

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Beary-Cute Mini Cupcakes

½ cup caster sugar
80g butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped

ICING:
80g butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
75g Oreos, crushed

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 24-hole mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the egg, and stir well to combine. Sift in the flour and add the milk, vanilla extract and dark chocolate chunks. Stir well to combine.

Evenly distribute the batter amongst the cupcake cases, and bake for about 15 minutes, until cupcakes are well risen and spring back lightly when touched. Leave to cool fully before icing.

To make the icing, beat the butter and sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the crushed Oreos. Using a knife or a piping bag, ice the cooled Cupcakes. Top each with a Tiny Teddy or some other cute animal-shaped cookie. Maybe even Mini Oreos. That could look nice.

Mocha Cookie Cheesecake Ice-cream

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Remember in my last post when I said I was off to make a cake? Well, I lied. While I can think of nothing more enticing than the scent of a sweet, spicy carrot cake or a pan of rich, indulgent chocolate brownies wafting from the oven on a chilly, overcast Winter’s afternoon, it just doesn’t have that same effect on a hot sunny Summer’s day in Australia. It was the kind of day more suited for a sweet frosty dessert.

I made New York Cheesecake ice-cream once, quite a while ago, and it was amazing. The delicious, tangy tartness of cream cheese was a nice change from the typical sugary sweetness of ice-cream. I was in the mood for something along those lines, but decided to jazz it up a bit by making a Mocha version! I added some coffee to the mixture, and instead of having a “biscuit base” like an actual cheesecake, this ice-cream has crushed Oreos mixed in, much like a Cookies ‘n’ Cream flavoured ice-cream would. I used the chocolate-cream filled ones for extra chocolatey goodness.

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Personally, I think the combination of ingredients turned out great! The Oreo cookies were a fine substitute for the cheesecake base, adding a subtle chocolatey crunch and balancing out the tartness of the cream cheese, and it had a nice coffee flavour without being overpowering or bitter. I think it would also work as an actual ice-cream cheesecake, with a chocolate biscuit base, either with or without the Oreos mixed in.

Also, these photographs were taken with the assistance and expertise of my boyfriend John. You can check out his facebook page and contact him at John Behind The Lens!

As this blog progresses, I’m hoping to learn more about food styling and photography so I can capture all the deliciousness on camera. So hopefully you can look forward to some great photographs in the future!

Mocha cookie cheesecake ice-cream:

(adapted from 500 Ice Creams)

250g double thick cream
240g cream cheese, softened slightly
80g caster sugar (you can adjust this depending on how sweet you want it)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
90g chocolate-cream filled Oreo cookies

1. Whip the cream. Then beat in the cream cheese, coffee, sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is nice and smooth. Pour the mixture into your ice-cream maker and let it churn.

2. When the ice-cream is almost frozen but still quite soft, grab your Oreos, and crush them up into crumbs (I find a potato masher works quite well for all my cookie-crushing needs). You can leave a few slightly larger chunks if you’d like, for a contrast of texture.

3. When ice-cream appears ready (mine took about 20 minutes altogether, but this will depend on your ice-cream maker), pour in the crushed Oreos and let it church until evenly combined. Pour the ice-cream into a freezable container and store in the freezer for a couple of hours, until firm. You may need to take the container out 10-15 minutes prior to serving to allow the ice-cream to soften.

Oh, and serve topped with one of your spare Oreos!