Fit For A Queen

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair,
Playing in the wanton air:
Through the velvet leaves the wind,
All unseen can passage find;
That the lover, sick to death,
Wish’d himself the heaven’s breath.

–Shakespeare, Love’s Labour Lost, Act IV, scene 3

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Oh, I know, this month is never May.
It’s snowy and windy and cold instead.
(It’s not even snowing that much here in Chicago.  For you poor folks on the east coast, I’ll keep quiet.
My advice—find a good movie or book and a cup of hot cocoa or soup and curl up for the day.
Snow storm or not, that’s what I wish I was doing…)

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

These cute little cakes are miniature prinsesstårta.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, princess cakes are Swedish pastries, traditionally favored by princesses.

These are like traditional prinsesstårta, only mini: a simple round of soft vanilla sponge is spread with a layer of tart raspberry jam and then a heaping dome of barely sweetened whipped cream hides away a single raspberry in the center.
The creamy little snowball is topped with pink marzipan, sweet and fragrant with almonds, and a dusting of powdered sugar atop another perfect berry.

They’re really, really delightful.
Light and not too sweet (and thus a very European dessert), with the floral almond contrasting wonderfully to the raspberry, with vanilla and cream playing (very important) supporting roles.
They taste very much like shortbread or shortcake to me, with the combination of fruit and cream.

I definitely recommend giving these a try—the assembly is really not difficult, and the final product looks like it came out of the pastry case of a little Swedish pâtisserie.

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini pink prinsesstårta with ruby red raspberries would be perfect for a light Valentine’s day dessert.
If you are really, really kind and love your S.O. very much, you might be able to split one cake.
But you should really each plan on having two one.
Trust me.

There will be more sweets for your sweetie gracing this page soon, because once I’m out of the weeds of 4th week (Two science midterms in 4 days. Ouch.), I fully intend on getting lost in some butter, flour, and sugar to soothe my ego, which will most certainly be aching.

For more inspiration, check out some of last year’s V-day treats:

strawberry pocky cake
grapefruit possets
mendiants

Pee. Ess. check out Molly’s gorgeous mini princess cakes!
(How can anyone not just adore her and her blog? Ugh so much mooshy blog love.)

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini Raspberry Prinsesstårta (Princess Cakes)
sponge portion adapted from Poires au Chocolat

ingredients:
for the sponge:
80 grams flour
30 grams cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of fine sea salt
3 eggs
25 mL cold water
120 grams sugar

to assemble:
480 mL (2 cups) heavy (double) cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup raspberry jam
15 raspberries
200 grams marzipan, tinted however you like
powdered sugar

directions:
Make the sponge: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease, line with parchment paper, and lightly flour an 11×15 inch jelly roll pan.
Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and sea salt together.
Separate eggs and place whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Whisk the egg yolks with the cold water and sugar for 4 minutes (until pale and fluffier), then sprinkle the flour mixture over and gently fold in until mostly combined (some pockets of flour should be present).
Begin to whip the egg whites with the whisk attachment; whip until they reach stiff peaks.
Fold the egg whites in, gently, to the egg yolk mixture.
Fold until the flour pockets are gone and the egg whites are all incorporated homogeneously.
Do not over-fold.
Spread the batter all over the jelly-roll pan.
Bake for 12 minutes, until golden and springy in the middle.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.
Cut 2-3 inch rounds while still somewhat warm; discard/snack on scraps.
Allow the rounds to cool before assembling.
To assemble, first roll the marzipan out very thinly and cut rounds that are approximately 2 inches larger in diameter than the sponge cake rounds.
Spread a small amount of raspberry jam onto the cakes, then place a raspberry in the center.
Heap up whipped cream on the cake, shaping it with a mini offset spatula into a dome shape.
Drape marzipan over the cake and smooth, folding wrinkles to look uniform.
Repeat with all the rounds.
Top each with a second raspberry and a dusting of powder sugar.
Serve slightly chilled, with strong tea.

It Ain’t Broke

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Your heart is a weapon the size of your fist.
Keep fighting.
Keep loving.

—Leah Wilson

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

How is winter treating you lately?

We’ve had a string of not-so-terrible days, so mild, in fact, that parkas are forgotten, gloves and hats stripped off and left behind, where the prospect of a fresh salad for dinner doesn’t seem nearly as cold and uninviting of an idea as before.

I mean, gosh, 40 degrees F—anyone up for iced coffee?

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Actually, I’m still off of caffeine, miraculously.
In fact, I’ve used more caffeine in my Organic Chemistry lab experiments than I have actually consumed over these last few months.
Last July, I went off of coffee—I was drinking too much of it, and still feeling tired every day.
The transition was unpleasant (migraines, vomiting, etc.), but luckily for me, it was summer.  Sleeping until 12 wasn’t so big of a deal after all—and how can one really be grumpy when it’s sunny and warm?
(Don’t ask my parents, because they’ll tell you I was plenty grumpy sometimes…)

This December, I went completely off of caffeine—no black or green tea, no diet coke.
I’m still feeling fairly fresh in the mornings.  I think my body has transitioned well; not having that extra boost definitely pushes me to get more sleep, which is never a bad thing.

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

So even though I sleep like a baby without the interference of the caffeine fairy who so conveniently likes to flit around right when you try to go to sleep, there is one thing that keeps me up at night:

N can’t eat anything that I make, since he’s lactose intolerant.

Life without butter and cheese is sad indeed (although that being said, he can eat truly prodigious amounts of food and not worry about the accumulation of a single ounce of fat, so don’t feel too bad for the kid…); but I daresay it might be worse if your girlfriend is, allegedly, some fanatic pastry blogger, and yet you never get to see even a single thing that comes out of her kitchen.

(Save for this cake that I made with him in mind, of course.)

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

So I made him cookies that he could enjoy without worry.
I went for the classics, because, honestly, there is no better cookie than a soft, still-warm chocolate chip.
(He can’t dunk them in milk, though! GAhhhh.)

These cookies are soft on the inside, but crisp on the bottoms; they’re rich and full of texture and flavor.
Made with plenty of brown sugar and rice-milk based chocolate chips, with Earth Balance and a hit of salt.
They’re everything you want chocolate chip cookies to be, just without the dairy.
The secret is to underbake them, and let them settle into little pillows of perfection.
I made them tiny, because it means you can eat 9 of them without a second thought, obviously.

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Note: these cookies can easily be made with real butter and dairy-full chocolate chips.
But since you can eat dairy, might I suggest this divine, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread?
Or these softbatch peppermint cookies with buttery chocolate frosting?
Or even these extra-intense brown butter chocolate chip cookies, fat and fluffy and the opposite of dairy free?
Or dairy-full vanilla and chocolate roll-outs in the shape of dairy cows? (Mooo.)

Back soon (with butter)!

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 36 small cookies

ingredients:
113 grams (4 ounces, 8 tablespoons) Earth Balance buttery sticks (or other dairy-free butter sticks)
75 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) white sugar
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons, packed) brown sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
180 grams (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use RiceDream brand)

directions:
Place Earth Balance in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 3 full minutes.
Add in the white sugar, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and scrape the bowl; beat for 4 full minutes until fluffy and light.
Scrape the bowl, add in vanilla extract and egg and beat for 4 more minutes (set a timer) until very light colored and glossy.
Scrape the bowl and add in the flour and, on top of the flour, the baking soda.
Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until dough comes together; it should be thick and require a little elbow grease.
At this point, taste, and if it needs more salt, sprinkle another 1/4 teaspoon over the top of the dough and either use your mixer or spoon to fully beat the dough.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Portion out in 2 tablespoon scoops onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Freeze for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Space cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on the sheets and bake for 9 minutes; they will look puffy and still a little underbaked.
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
Serve with a cold glass of (almond) milk!

Just Like You

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“There’s no one just like you,” she said.
“That’s why we need to celebrate.”

—Karen Kingsbury
FAME

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“A party without cake is just a meeting.”

—Julia Child

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

A birthday without cake is just another dreary day.
A birthday without cake, loves, is not a birthday at all.

Birthdays are for cakes.
(Note: cakes are definitely not only for birthdays, however.)

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

I’m slowly curating the birthday cakes of my roommates (Daly’s birthday is 3 days before mine, so it always happens before we get to school, but a half birthday, perhaps?).
Alexa will love this—it tickles me pink how much she loves her birthday posts.  She also, for the record, loves pink.

Just for reference, here’s Alexa’s cake from last year, and the one from this year.

Dunno if I can possibly link back to that caramel popcorn cake one more time, but oh well.

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

But this is a birthday cake (and post) for a girl who loves the color mint and Paris, soy lattes and Back to the Future, the Old Major sandwich at Z&H and puppies.
Who embodies the Duchess Kate Middleton and has the most brilliant hair and sleeps like Sleeping Beauty (yes, that deeply).

The one who inspired these whole wheat peppermint mocha brownies with her love of Starbucks.

Betsszzyyyy!

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Elizabeth made it through 2 decades of life.

Obviously, we needed to celebrate with a very big, very chocolaty cake.
Thing is, her birthday was the day after we got back from winter break!  So I hadn’t prepared anything (usually I’ll bake the layers a day ahead or something along those lines, since the days can get so excitingly monotonously busy around here) the day of.
Still, I poked around in my kitchen for ~2 seconds and knew exactly what I had to make her.

A cake tailored to a few of her favorite things.
A cake just like her.

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

This cake is really easy, and miraculously fast.
I had it imagined, made, decorated, and photographed within 2 and a half hours.  Not too bad, especially when you consider that the photography took longer than any of the other processes.

The cake itself is a springy dark chocolate and coffee—mocha—cake.  It’s soft and feels light yet rich at the same time, with a good balance of sweet and bitter from the coffee and cocoa.
It’s a one bowl, one whisk, and one measuring cup kind of recipe, perfect when you need a cake, stat!

The frosting is a Nutella Italian meringue buttercream, so conceived because I had no confectioner’s sugar but lots and lots of bittersweet chocolate.
It’s impossibly light and buttery while still maintaining plenty of chocolate flavor, which I always find is missing in chocolate egg-based buttercreams.
First, a plain Italian meringue buttercream is whipped up, one big glossy cloud.  Then heaps of cooled chocolate get whisked in, and a fair dollop of Nutella, too.
The color change is mesmerizing: from the palest yellow to a red-brown cocoa.

The end result is seriously amazing.
It’s salty and sweet, chocolaty and a little bit nutty.
Italian meringue buttercreams are so silky—they pair perfectly with a cake that has a soft, tight crumb.

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

 This is a cake that’s perfect for a birthday.
It’s fun (sprinkles!), has flavors that everyone will like, and makes the right size cake for sharing with friends.

It frosts like a dream and will look impressive no matter how you decide to finish it up—just don’t forget the candles.

But seriously—don’t the adorable candles on this cake practically beg for extra sprinkles?!

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy belated birthday, Elizabeth darling.
xx

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream
makes 1 3-layer, 6-inch cake

ingredients:
for the mocha cake:
1 2/3 cups (190 grams) flour
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (60 grams) cocoa powder
1 5/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5/8 cup (200 mL) buttermilk (or milk plus 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup (120 mL) coffee (or hot water plus 1 tablespoon espresso powder)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (105 mL) vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

for the Nutella Italian meringue buttercream:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (345 grams) unsalted butter, soft but cool
8 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup (~120 grams(?)) nutella

sprinkles, for decorating

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour 3 6-inch baking pans.
Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
Whisk buttermilk, oil, coffee, eggs, and vanilla extract together, then whisk wet ingredients into dry.
Portion batter out evenly into pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a tester comes out nearly clean and the cakes are springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.
Make the icing: place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place sugar, salt, and water in a small pot over medium heat, fitted with a candy thermometer.
Begin to whisk egg whites while syrup heats up.
Once syrup reaches 245 degrees F, the egg whites should be at semi-stiff peaks.
Pour the hot syrup into the meringue while beating at high speed.
Whip until the meringue is glossy and cooled to body temp.
Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the butter at a time, beating until the frosting comes together into a glossy, fluffy, light mixture.
Slowly add in the cooled chocolate while whipping, then add in the Nutella.
Scrape the bowl and whip for another minute to ensure homogeneity.
Frost cooled cake as desired, and add sprinkles!

Crunchy

Granola | La Pêche Fraîche

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant.
You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself.
You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”

—John Lennon

Granola | La Pêche Fraîche

Welcome, brand new baby year, fresh and bright white and snow covered.
Welcome, welcome 2015!!

(I’m back in Chicago, and it’s snowing a fair amount.
Class starts tomorrow.
It’s going to be below 0 deg F on Wednesday.
Le sigh.)

Granola | La Pêche Fraîche

My mama loves granola.  She eats it for breakfast almost every day.
My mama is *ahem* particular about her granola.  She likes maybe one out of every 5 she tries.

So before I left to come back to school, I made a whole bunch of simple, healthy granola for my mom.
Heaps of oats, plenty of maple syrup, rich and buttery coconut oil, a hint of spice.

This batch fills up an entire large canister of rolled oats, and it uses about half of one, so it’s a perfect way to finish off the jar floating around your pantry.

It’s utterly delicious with cold milk—cow’s or otherwise (I recently tried hazelnut-almond-cashew and fell in love)—and fresh raspberries or strawberries, difficult as they are to source in the depths of winter.

Granola | La Pêche Fraîche

This granola is crunchy, sweet, with a whisper of salt.
It’s toasty and full of almonds and coconut.
It’s simple—a hint of cinnamon, maple syrup to sweeten, and that’s pretty much it.
It’s vegan and gluten-free if you want it to be—just make sure all your ingredients are certified vegan or GF either way.

It’s super easy to customize: add a tablespoon of vanilla extract or replace the almonds with hazelnuts or pecans, use coconut chunks or chips instead of flakes, toss in dried mango or raisins or cranberries or banana chips.

Anyways, this is meant to be a nourishing first post of 2015 (!) but also a short one, as I have to unpack and settle into our little home here in Chiberia.

Granola | La Pêche Fraîche

Almond Coconut Granola
gluten-free, vegan
makes ~6 cups of granola

ingredients:
5 cups of rolled oats (certified GF if necessary)
1 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut (or use unsweetened)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or ghee)

directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stir oats, almonds, and coconut together.
Stir salt, maple syrup, and coconut oil together, then pour wet ingredients over and stir with a spoon until all is coated.
Spread oats out onto baking sheets and tamp down lightly to pack.
Bake for 15 minutes, then lightly stir with a spatula and rotate sheets.
Bake for 15 more minutes, then stir and rotate again.
Bake for 10-15 more minutes, until evenly and lightly browned and toasted.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on sheets.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Inspired

Nectar & Stone inspired chocolates | La Pêche Fraîche

Or should I say, iN&Spired?

Nectar & Stone inspired chocolates | La Pêche Fraîche

 If you’re on instagram, then you’ve seen Caroline Khoo’s work.
She runs an account called Nectar and Stone (n&s), and she works utter magic on chocolate and confections.

Here’s her online lookbook.

Here’s her instagram!

I love her pastel and gold work, and her chocolate are, in particular, my favorites.
When I found a little pyramid silicone mold for sale, I snapped it up and promptly made some n&s-inspired chocolates myself.

These are super simple.
White chocolates tinted pale baby pink, with veins of dark chocolate wafer crumbs running through.

They’re more pretty than delicious, to be honest.  Although I myself am quite partial to a crunchy white chocolate, I know some people aren’t.
These, in all their white chocolate simplicity, are definitely not for those people.

white chocolate111_02

These are simple and clean and pretty, and they’re a perfect way to ring in the New Year.  (Um, champagne and chocolates always go together, don’t question it.)

I’ll be back in a couple days to share something on the lighter, healthier side with you. (What?!)

Here’s to 2015!!
May it be filled with little pretties and chocolate and lots and lots of inspiration.

Nectar & Stone inspired chocolates | La Pêche Fraîche

White Chocolate Bonbons

ingredients:
quality white chocolate or couverture
food coloring, if desired
crushed chocolate wafers

directions:
Finely chop your white chocolate (very, very finely).
Place 3/4 of the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.
Heat in 30 second bursts, taking the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
Once the temperature reaches 112 degrees F, remove from the microwave and stir in the remaining finely chopped white chocolate and food coloring as desired.
Stir until chocolate is melted; let it sit until the temperature has reached 78 degrees F.
Heat for 15 more seconds until the temperature reaches 84 degrees F.
Fill half of the wells in your mold with chocolate, then sprinkle a little wafer dust over the chocolate.
Fill the rest of the mold with chocolate, then use a scraper to even out the tops.
Freeze for 5 minutes, then release from the mold.

Une Souche de Noël

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

 Mais non, mes chéris, pas une bûche!  Vraiment une souche!

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

That’s right, we just upended the Yule log—literally.
Took the classic bûche de Noël and made it into a souche de Noël.
A stump!  A stump de Noël.

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

 This cake is an endeavor.  It’s intricate, it’s large.
But while it is detailed, it’s also charmingly rustic.
It doesn’t have to be perfectly made—rough edges around the bark make it all the more realistic.
Fallen moss and dirt add character to the forest floor.
Crooked mushrooms—perfect.  They don’t pop out of the ground white and symmetrical, after all.

Basically, this cake can be a little rough around the edges and still sparkle and shine.
The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

The first component of the cake is a buttery, yolk-rich eggnog cake, redolent with nutmeg and whiskey (traditionally—rum).  It comes out of the oven as fragrant as can be.

Brushing with maple-whiskey syrup adds more flavor and ensures that the cake stays moist.

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

The whipped ganache that covers the cake is rich and thick, with a touch of salt and deep, dark bittersweet chocolate.
The cream keeps it light and fluffy, so that you don’t have a big brick of solid ganache bark.

The dirt is made from chocolate cookie crumbs and the moss from chopped pistachios.  Both add a little crunch and texture and a realistic touch.

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

The final touches are the mushrooms and the holly branches.
The mushrooms are made of Italian meringue, dried in the oven until super crunchy and crispy.
They’re sweet and soft on the inside, like marshmallows, but have a crisp shell which is brushed lightly with cocoa powder to mimic real mushrooms.
I got the idea from the wonderful, brilliant Stella of Bravetart.
They’re pretty damn cute, I must say.

The holly branches are made of marzipan, colored with a touch of cocoa for depth and plenty of food coloring.
I’m addicted to marzipan—the sweet almond taste is so good!  When you add a hint of cocoa, it only gets better.
Adding a tiny bit of cocoa is a great way to deepen the color of food coloring and make it seem more realistic.

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

The end result is five layers of golden cake, wrapped in dark chocolate ganache and garnished with magical little touches of the forest.
A sprinkling of snow brings the whole thing to life—it’s an enchanted cake, really.

It’s also a showstopper.  Definitely worthy of Christmas dinner, the necessary showpiece dessert that sparkles and shines and captures all eyes.
It may be a bit of work, but not much more than any regular layer cake.  And in my humble opinion, it’s worth it.
It’s a cake to show off; a cake of which to be proud.

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads…”

A Visit from Saint Nicholas, Clement Clarke Moore

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Love, your resident holiday-crazed blogger.

Une Souche de Noël | La Pêche Fraîche

Souche (Stump) de Noël
cake portion adapted from Joy of Baking
makes 1 large 8-inch cake

for the eggnog cake (you’ll need 1.5 times this recipe, to make 5 8-inch layers and 4 cupcakes):
2 2/3 cup (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (40 grams) cornstarch
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup (170 grams) butter, soft
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups (265 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 large egg yolks (110 grams)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) rum or whiskey
1 tablespoon (15 mL) vanilla extract
1 cup (240 mL) milk

for the maple soak:
1/3 cup (80 mL) maple syrup
2 tablespoons (30 mL) whiskey or rum

for the whipped ganache:
18 ounces (500 grams) bittersweet chocolate
2 pinches kosher salt
2 cups (500 mL) heavy cream

for the meringue mushrooms:
3 egg whites
small pinch cream of tartar
3/4 cup (300 grams) sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) water
cocoa powder, for dusting

to assemble:
marzipan holly branches
chopped skinned pistachios
crushed chocolate cookies
powdered sugar, for dusting

directions:
Make the cake: grease and flour 4 8-inch round pans and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the sugar, nutmeg, and salt and beat for 3 more minutes.
Add in the eggs and beat for 5 full minutes, until mixture is fluffy, shiny, and pale white—it shouldn’t be gritty.
Whisk vanilla extract, milk, and whiskey then beat slowly until partway combined.
Place the flour, cornstarch and baking powder on top of the batter, then gently stir to combine everything, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Portion batter out into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until springy to the touch and a tester comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool completely. (You’ll need to make another half-batch of batter, baking 1 8-inch round and 4 cupcakes.)
Meanwhile, bring maple syrup and whiskey to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Brush cooled cakes with the whiskey syrup.
Make the chocolate ganache: chop chocolate finely and place in a bowl with the salt.
Heat cream to boiling, then pour over the chocolate and let sit for 4 minutes.
Whisk the chocolate and cream together, starting slowly, speeding up until the ganache is smooth and shiny.
Allow to cool until room temperature, then whip with a mixer until fluffy.
Frost two cupcakes into a tower to make the small stump; put 1/3 cup frosting between each layer and also place a crumb coat on the cake.
Using the rest of the frosting generously, to frost the cake roughly.
Use a fork to scrape the sides to look like bark, and swirl the top to look like the top of a stump.
To make the meringue mushrooms, preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
Place sugar, water, and salt in a small pot over medium heat.
Start to whisk the egg whites.
By the time the egg whites are at stiff peaks, the syrup should be at 240-245 degrees F.
Pour the hot syrup into the meringue while whisking at high speed.
Pipe the meringue into stem and cap shapes on parchment paper-lined sheets.
Bake for 2 hours, turning the oven to 175 degrees F after 90 minutes.
Allow to dry in the oven until mushrooms peel off the parchment paper.
Dust the caps with cocoa powder and rub in with your fingers.
Use your cocoa-y hands to lightly rub the stems to make them slightly colored too.
Decorate the stump with chocolate cookie crumbs around the bottom, pressing some into the sides of the cake.
Place mushrooms and holly branches around the cake, and press some chopped pistachios into the bark to be “moss.”
Dust a little powdered sugar over the top, and then impress all your friends and family with your very own stump de Noël!

Holiday Kitsch

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I’m lying on the moon
My dear, I’ll be there soon
It’s a quiet, starry place
Times were swallowed up
In space we’re here a million miles away

There’s things I wish I knew
There’s no thing I’d keep from you
It’s a dark and shiny place
But with you my dear
I’m safe and we’re a million miles away

The Moon Song, Karen O

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

It’s grey and dreary here.
Us folks from the Fingerlakes (and upstate NY in general) are used to harsh winters.  We don’t get the same kind of wind as Chicago or the volume of snow as Montana, but we do get the grey.

We pride ourselves on braving the cold, sucking it up, etc. etc.
(I’m serious: just the other day, I was told I had gone soft because I was wearing a big down parka and it was only, oh, say, 25 degrees.  Indignant, I cited that it was the only coat I brought home and that I need such a warm one because I live in a place where it gets to negative 50 Fahrenheit with windchill.  This remark was met with narrowed eyes and puffed, unimpressed nonchalance.)

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I suppose grey and dreary necessitates naps and snuggles and warm blankets+hot cocoa and plenty of good books and movies, but so does white and fresh, and I am positively certain that I would prefer a few feet of snow over this lingering, dripping rain.

Taking photos in this cursed weather is quite the bear.
In summer, the problem with Ithaca was the green.
All my photos were tinged with the reflections of so many thousands of bright young leaves, impossible to easily wipe out, without inadvertently creating purple food.
Now, in the winter, the problem is the darkness.  Low shutter speeds are prone to shake (guess who didn’t bring her tripod with her…), and noise is an eternal annoyance.

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Despite this, when I made these little tree-topped cupcakes, I was determined to get the (clichéd) powdered sugar shot.
So, I splayed out on the ground (unfortunately for me, I live in a 2-cat, 1-dog household and was wearing black leggings), with my camera perched on no fewer than 7 big books.

Now, I have another of these clichés to add to my resume.
Previously: here and here and here.
But, I will say, I have yet to get a coveted syrup-pouring shot.
I’m staying patient, friends: it will happen.

Definitely worth the hair-covered lulus.

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I saw a picture of cupcakes topped with tiny little trees on Instagram forever ago and they have been on my to-make list ever since.

I only had big tree cookie cutters, which were sure to overwhelm the cupcakes.  Luckily for me, I found the teeny-tiniest little tree cutter which is totally twee.

(Twee trees? Hmm?)

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

These little cuppycakes are made of the moistest chocolate buttermilk cake ever.  They’re springy yet rich, with a good chocolate bite that’s sweet with a thin edge of salt.

They’re topped with whorls of luscious, silky, peppermint Italian meringue buttercream.  The cool, clear peppermint pairs well with the buttery frosting, and a pinch of salt prevents it from being cloying.

The final touch is a little chocolate cookie, delightfully crispy and crunchy, with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar snow.

Perfect little wintermint cupcakes!

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I love the idea of topping cupcakes with little cookies, now.  So many possibilities and combinations!

For that matter, you could top these cupcakes with cookies made of honey spice dough, or regular sugar cookie dough, or any other type of roll-out cookie that you so desire (maybe up the chocolate-peppermint ante with a drop of peppermint extract in chocolate dough?).

If you don’t like peppermint, replace it with a drop of vanilla and you have utterly classic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes—equally delicious and versatile!

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

If I can manage, there may be a yule log up here, eking in on Christmas Day itself.
If not, have a happy, safe holiday, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Chocolate and Peppermint Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Peppermint IMBC
cupcake portion adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes 7 cupcakes

ingredients:
for the cupcakes:
1/4 cup (20 grams) dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (48 grams) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
scant 1/4 cup (40 mL) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup (60 mL) buttermilk

for the peppermint IMBC:
3 egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (110 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 mL) water
1 cup (225 grams) butter, cut into chunks, softened but cool
1 drop peppermint extract

directions:
Make the cupcakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 7 cupcake wells with liners.
Whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugars.
Whisk the oil, egg, vanilla extract, and buttermilk together, then pour into the dry ingredients until the batter is homogeneous.
Scoop 1/4 cup portions into each of the tins.
Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes, until springy and a tester comes out nearly clean.
Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
Make the peppermint IMBC: place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
Place sugar, water, and salt in a small pot over medium heat.
Start to whisk the egg whites.
By the time the egg whites are at stiff peaks, the syrup should be at 240-245 degrees F.
Pour the hot syrup into the meringue while whisking at high speed.
Beat until meringue is cooled, then whip in butter one small chunk at a time.
Beat until the frosting has come together; it should take about 3 minutes at high speed; it should be fluffy and shiny.
Frost the cupcakes as desired; top with chocolate cookies and powdered sugar!

Can’t Catch Me

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Not my gumdrop buttons!!!

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

The gingerbread man story is kind of dark, no?
Triumph after triumph, this little cookie man prances away unscathed, and then boop! gets eaten by a fox.

Cheery.

(I also find eating gingerbread men a little weird.  Do you decapitate?  Or systematically remove all the limbs?  Or just chomp your way up the torso?  Yikes.)

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Tell me, is it a bit late for holiday baking?
Because I have 2, possibly 3, posts coming at you this week.

Hark, all you procrastinators; all you who like to continue baking up until the very last moment.
Let’s make some cookies!

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Side note:
Not into xmas cookies?
I am straight up crying over Deb’s jelly doughnuts.  Help!! Someone get me a big pot of oil, stat.

Or, oh my god, if we’re talking about fried dough, Sam’s glazed pear fritters are SO necessary.  Hey, didn’t we just get a box of pears from Harry and David? Hmmm.

This challah.  So fluffy and perfect!

Finally, and most importantly, Molly put tahini in rugelach!  Have you ever heard a more beautiful union than halva rugelach?  I think not.  (It’s fun to say, too!)

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

So, these cookies.  I made a lot of them.
I baked off 5 or 6 sheets of them one night, covered them up nice and tight, and the next morning, settled down with piping bags, a #1 tip, and the Lord of the Rings (duh).
Unfortunately, I left all of my cookie decorating stuff at school, so I literally only had 1 pastry tip and 3 pastry bags, to last me through 5 colors (plus flooding!) and around 75 cookies.

It took me 5 hours to decorate all of these cookies, and now they are under lock and key so that no one eats them.
These are not for my family to eat.  They are for gifting, so that people nicer than us can enjoy them.
Just kidding!!!!  Kind of.  I’m a little loath to see them go.

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

The two types of cookie that you see here are dark chocolate and honey spice.

The chocolate dough bakes up buttery and crisp, with crunchy edges and a slightly salty, very chocolaty bite.  They are, in short, the most perfect chocolate sugar cookies I’ve ever made.  The deepness of the cocoa is complimented by the sweet royal icing.

The honey spice cookies puff up a little when baked but dry out and get very crunchy-crispy as they cool.
They’re a cross between a regular sugar cookie and a gingerbread cookie; lighter in color but still spicy.  Heaps of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves go into the dough, along with a touch of honey that rounds out the sweetness.
(To be honest, they taste a lot like graham crackers to me.  Which is a good thing, people.)

You can use royal icing made of meringue powder (follow the instructions on the can!) or do what I did, in a pinch, which is use plain old egg whites to get the job done (not if you avoid raw egg, however).  I actually prefer egg white royal icing because it seems to bubble less.  That’s just personal taste, though.

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Decorated cookies come out differently for everyone.  There’s a big learning curve—I certainly have experienced it (and my cookies are still far from perfect).

Part of the fun, however, is in designing your cookies and getting down and dirty in the icing.  The end product doesn’t matter that much—people will love and appreciate them (as long as they taste good!).
So, I’m leaving you with the recipes for the two types of dough, which are both guaranteed to taste good, and the royal icing.
The rest is up to your imagination!

Dark Chocolate and Honey Spice Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Dark Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies
adapted from Sweetopia
makes approximately 35 2-inch cookies

ingredients:
1 cup (225 grams) butter, softened but cool
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) flour
3/4 cup (90 grams) dark cocoa powder

directions:
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on high for 4 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add in the sugar; beat for 3 full minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the salt, vanilla, and egg; beat for 5 minutes until very, very fluffy and light.
Scrape the bowl and add in the flour and cocoa powder; stir until the dough is homogeneous.
Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes, wrapped well in plastic wrap.
To roll it out, flour a clean surface lightly.
Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookie shapes.
Collect and reroll scraps.
Place cookies on sheet pans lined with parchment and freeze for at least 1 hour and, wrapped very well, up to 2 weeks.
To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake cookies straight from the freezer, for 12 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Honey Spice Roll-Out Cookies
adapted from Sweetapolita
makes approximately 35 2-inch cookies

ingredients:
3 1/4 cups (405 grams) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (140 grams) butter, softened but cool
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 egg
1/2 cup (110 grams) honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions:
Stir flour and baking soda together.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on high for 4 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add in the sugar, salt, and spices; beat for 3 full minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg; beat for 5 minutes until very, very fluffy and light.
Scrape the bowl and add in the honey and vanilla extract; mix well.
Add in the flour mixture and stir until the dough is homogeneous.
Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes, wrapped well in plastic wrap.
To roll it out, flour a clean surface lightly.
Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookie shapes.
Collect and reroll scraps.
Place cookies on sheet pans lined with parchment and freeze for at least 1 hour and, wrapped very well, up to 2 weeks.
To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake cookies straight from the freezer, for 12 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Egg White Royal Icing
adapted from Joy of Baking
makes enough for 75 2-inch cookies

ingredients:
2 egg whites
pinch salt
3 cups (330 grams) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon water, and as needed

directions:
Whip egg whites and salt until foamy.
Sift confectioner’s sugar over egg whites and beat until smooth.
Add in water as needed to get desired consistency (check out Sweet Sugarbelle).
Tint as desired, and go to town!

Naughty To Nice

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche

Where do you stand with Mr. S. Claus?

Chocolate, sour cherry, and coconut cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Worry not, my friend.
Though I have been a bad blogger and neglected to share any holly-day recipes around here (Oreo cupcakes?! In December? Ugh!), I am now swooping in clutching everything you need to go from the Naughty list to the Nice.

Say farewell to Santa’s shit list.
These cookies are a guaranteed hit.

Grapefruit Butter Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

These cookies (and the caramels pictured, too) were bundled up and gifted to friends, all a jumble of holiday cheer and spirit sugar.

The first are grapefruit butter cookies, crinkled and cracked and crisp in their sugary coating.  They’re ever so slightly fragrant thanks to grapefruit zest and juice, which cuts gently through their buttery richness.

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche

Next come soft and chewy dark and white chocolate, coconut, and sour cherry cookies.  They’re full of brown sugar and stay soft for days (the trick is the cornstarch!).  They strike a perfect balance between salty and sweet, and are chockfull of bits and pieces without being overwhelmed by additions.

Finally, my favorite, and arguably the most interesting cookies I’ve made in a while: dark chocolate pecan snowcaps.
These cookies are made without butter or flour or any fat or grains—choose your chocolate correctly, and these are gluten and dairy free.
They’re dead simple: powdered sugar and dark cocoa powder, salt, pecans, chopped chocolate, egg whites.
The batter looks like thick black sludge, but once each piece of dough is rolled in Swedish peal sugar, it looks like a little snow ball.
Once baked, they’re crispy and ethereally light on the exterior, but soft and chewy on the inside.  The chopped milk chocolate is sweet and a good contrast to the deeply chocolaty exterior; the pecans add a wonderful toasty flavor, and the sugar-coated, crackled outside is tempered by a pinch of salt in the cookie itself.
This is cookie perfection, guys.
Simple and surprising!

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche
Here’s to cookie-filled holidays!
Stay posted for more giftable treats…

Holiday Cookie Platter | La Pêche Fraîche

Chocolate, Sour Cherry, and Coconut Cookies
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes 24 cookies

ingredients:
2 1/4 cups (280 grams) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup (170 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (135 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sour cherries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

directions:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk melted butter, sugars, and salt together.
Vigorously whisk in egg and egg yolk, then whisk in the vanilla.
Batter should be light colored and smooth.
Place flour, baking soda, and cornstarch on top of batter and stir to combine.
Stir in coconut, cherries, and chocolates until mixture is homogeneous.
Scoop out 2 tablespoon size balls and roll to uniform size.
Place on baking sheets and chill/freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake each sheet straight from the freezer for 12 minutes.
Remove and let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Grapefruit Butter Cookies
adapted from Cooking Classy
makes 30 cookies

ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
10 tablespoons butter, soft
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
zest of 1 grapefruit
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
juice of 1/2 grapefruit (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
granulated sugar, for rolling

directions:
Place butter, sugar, salt, and the grapefruit zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat on high for 5 full minutes, until very light and fluffy and not gritty.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the egg and egg yolk; beat for 5 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the grapefruit juice and vanilla extract; mix briefly to combine.
Add in the flour and baking powder and stir until homogeneous.
Scoop out 2 tablespoon portions and roll to uniform size; gently roll in granulated sugar to coat.
Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake straight from the fridge or freezer for 12 minutes.
Move to wire rack immediately to cool.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Snowcaps
adapted from Kim Severson
makes 30 cookies

ingredients:
3 cups (300 grams) confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup (90 grams) dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces (135 grams) chocolate, chopped (she suggests dark, I used what I had—milk—and they turned out fabulously)
1 1/2 cups (135 grams) chopped pecans
4 large egg whites
granulated and Swedish pearl sugar, for rolling

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together.
Stir in the chopped chocolate and chopped pecans.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the egg whites—keep stirring until the batter comes together in a very thick, shiny mass (this is an arm workout!).
Scoop out 2 tablespoon portions and roll in a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of pearl and granulated sugar; shape into a uniform ball once the sticky dough has been rolled in sugar and is easier to handle.
Bake the cookies from room temperature for 12 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the sheet pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

A Little Party

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

A little party may not, but you know what? a few finals definitely hurt me.

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

 Luckily for my sore, sorry self, I am done.

I turned off all my alarms this morning.  I got 10 hours of sleep.
I am home, and now the holiday fun begins.

Before I came home, I sent off some gifts to my person and his family, theirs snuggled in his suitcase, his meticulously packaged in thick wrapping paper and gold ribbon and carefully nested into a big fedex box.

I have lists of presents to collect and wrap and place under the tree.  Then I have to wait, breathlessly, for them to be opened.
For that matter, we have a Christmas tree to search for—we must find a properly plump one that won’t leave green trails scraping across my mother’s white ceilings (it always does).
I have cookies and caramels to make and citrus begging to be transformed into an olive oil cake.

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I actually remembered to bring my camera home with me, this time, so expect plenty of new posts coming through (so much free time for baking and blogging!!!!!).

These cupcakes are relics from before finals began.
I barely had time to shower during finals, people, let alone make sprinkly, happy Oreo cupcakes.

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I saw some birthday cake Oreos in the store the other day, and they were practically begging to be made into extra special, sprinkled cookies and cream cupcakes.

These are simple, but very fun, and perfect for birthday parties and the like.
Simple dark chocolate cupcakes with Oreos baked right in are topped with crumb- and sprinkle-flecked American buttercream icing with a heavy dose of salt.
They’re topped with half an Oreo and, of course, more sprinkles.

Easy, quick, cute—exactly what I want out of a cupcake.

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

It’s winter break!!  Plenty of reason to celebrate with cupcakes!
(Also, happy 12/13/14!)

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes
cupcake portion adapted from Sweetapolita

ingredients:
for the cupcakes:
3/4 cup (95 grams) flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon plus a small pinch kosher salt (~5/8 teaspoon)
1/3 cup (80 mL) low-fat milk
1/4 cup (60 mL) coffee, hot
3 tablespoons (45 mL) oil
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 birthday cake Oreos, cut up into pieces
1 teaspoon flour

for the oreo frosting:
1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons (45 mL) half and half
6 smashed birthday cake Oreos (1/4 cup crumbs)
2 tablespoons sprinkles
6 birthday cake Oreos, halved, for decorating
extra sprinkles

directions:
Make the cupcakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 12 cupcake tins with liners.
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch, and salt.
Whisk together milk, coffee, oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry while whisking vigorously; batter will be a little thin.
Toss chopped Oreos with flour, then stir into batter.
Portion out batter into cupcake tins.
Bake for 15 minutes, until springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.
To make frosting, place butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 5 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and beat for 2 more minutes.
Add in the powdered sugar very slowly, while mixing on low speed.
Drizzle in half and half once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, and beat on high speed for 2 more minutes.
Add in the Oreo crumbs and some sprinkles and stir to combine.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes, nestle half an Oreo on top, then top with more sprinkles!