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

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

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!


Ahh… Sorry to burst your bubble, but this post is not about Xtina.
I know.  I’m sad about it too.
 Let’s talk about my OCD.
Because everybody loves a crazy person, right?
Today, I cleaned my entire KitchenAid with a toothpick.
Cleaned as in burrowed into every nook and cranny and crevice to pry out any old cookie dough, flour, and other nasty residue.
It was the single most horrifying and awesome thing ever.

Do you clean your appliances often?
Let me tell you right now, it’s probably not often enough.
I’m scarred after today.
 I mean, sheesh, I go at my stand mixer every so often, when the spirit so moves me, with a toothpick and a warm, wet paper towel, but not to the extent that I dug today.
How does all that even get all up in there?
All up in there in the weirdest places.  
Have you ever unscrewed the little button thing where the meat grinder attaches to your stand mixer?
Okay, new subject, same topic.
You know what my favorite commercials are?
Cleaning product commercials.
Ranging from face wash to shower cleaners.
I just love the feeling I get from watching dirty things become magically clean.
I get all of the satisfaction, and don’t have to get my hands dirty.
It’s like a wonderful dream.
Glad we talked about this.  I’m done rambling now.
This turned out to be a lot more about dirt than I meant it to be.
See, I was more thinking mud.
Because that’s what I’m sharing today.
Mud pie.
Mississippi Mud Pie, to be exact.
Only, this isn’t any ol’ Mississippi mud pie.  It’s MY Mississippi mud pie, redesigned and shined up a little bit by my imagination.
Traditional mud pie is comprised of a chocolate cookie crust and a chocolate pudding filling, topped with marshmallows and/or whipped cream.
(No, no, I know.  Quit your whining.  We all made gross-ass mud pies in puddles after the rain- those are not what I’m preaching about up in here.  You want that, you can walk yoself out of this fine establishment.)
I took it to another gut-busting, button-bursting, chocolatized level.
Because yes.
(Chocolatize me Cap’n!  Yes, Chocolate Cap’n Crunch is a thing.  I know.)
I was inspired in part by the Baked guys, because I saw a snapshot of their Mississippi Mud Pie and decided to make it my way.
Then, Russell of Chasing Delicious made this amazing Mississippi Mud Cake, and I decided it was high time to get back on the chocolate wagon.
It had been so long.  Summer just doesn’t always seem to be compatible with chocolate, which melts and makes a mess.  I usually stick to fruit.
But here we are, with a giant chocolate pie to talk about.
I’ll talk you through the layers- it’s not as hard as it seems, I promise.
Come your next chocolate craving, make this.  It will satisfy every bone and tooth in your body.

First up: chocolate cookie crust.
I used Oreos, because for some reason all the regular chocolate cookies were out of stock in all of the grocery stores near me.  Whatever.  
Smash up some cookies, add a little seasoning (sugar+salt) and bind the whole thing with a stick o’ butta.  Yum.  
Next: my favorite brownies.
These are a one-pot, one-spoon, super simple affair.
They come together in 5 minutes and bake in 15.

They’re fudgy and perfect to line the base of the crust.  
Simply cut off the top of the brownie base and lay it right in your crust.
Third: milk chocolate mousse.
This stuff has two major steps, but neither is difficult.  
You come away with the smoothest, fluffiest mousse, one that is very light on the tongue but is completely sliceable.
This would usually be a pudding, but I wanted something a little more sophisticated than chocolate puddin’.
A mousse is perfect for this type of molded dessert!  
Spread it over the cut side of the brownies and chill until it’s completely set.
Next: salted chocolate ganache.
Rich, dark, and so, so deeply chocolaty.  Need I say more?
Finally: Italian meringue.
These marshmallow-y clouds on the top of the cake are the perfect foil for all the chocolate they’re sitting on.  Traditionally, these would be marshmallows or whipped cream, but I prefer the lightness and softness of meringue.

One slice of this will do in your chocolate cravings in just the right way.
Mississippi Mud Pie just done grew up.

Mississippi Mud Pie
Assemble everything in the order shown here: crust, brownies, mousse, ganache, meringue.
Chocolate Cookie Crust:
2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used about 40 Oreos, after I had scraped the cream filling out)
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted
Mix the cookie crumbs with the sugar and salt, then gently stir in the butter.
Press into a 9-inch springform pan and chill until solid, then begin layering.
Classic Brownies
same recipe as here
8 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
9 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
In a heavy pot, melt butter, shortening, chocolate, and cocoa powder together.
Once they are all melted, add the sugar and remove from the heat.
Whisk in the eggs vigorously one by one.
Add in the salt and vanilla and whisk.
Finally, stir in the flour.
Spread the batter in a greased and floured 9-inch cake pan and bake for 20 or so minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
To use in the cake, allow to cool completely, then cut off the shiny, crackly top along with about 4 mm of brownie.
Gently place in the bottom of the chilled crust, cut side up.
Milk Chocolate Mousse
adapted from Cannelle et Vanille


For the pâte à bombé:


56 grams sugar


14 grams corn syrup


28 grams water


1 medium egg yolk plus 1 large egg yolk or 1.5 large or extra large egg yolks


For the mousse:


56 grams (2 ounces) pâte à bombé


4 grams gelatin


84 grams (3 ounces) milk chocolate


8 ounces (1 cup, 235 mL) heavy cream




Make the pâte à bombé: place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer.


Begin to whip them on high while you combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small pot and heat to 240 degrees F.


Once the syrup comes to temp, slowly drizzle it over the whipped egg yolks while the mixer is running.


Allow the yolks to whip until they cool to body temp.


Weigh out 56 grams (2 ounces) and set aside.


Melt the chocolate gently, then set aside to cool slightly.


Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water and set aside for 5 minutes to soften.


Set aside 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and whip the other cream to stiff peaks.


Once the gelatin is softened, microwave it with the 1/4 cup cream until melted. Gently stir into the cream; the mixture will become loose.


Stir in the pâte à bombé and the cooled melted chocolate, and gently mix until homogeneous.


Mixture will be loose.


Pour over the brownie in the crust and refrigerate until set.


Salted Chocolate Ganache
230 grams bittersweet chocolate
130 grams heavy cream
40 grams corn syrup
Small pinch kosher salt
Heat the chocolate until half melted in a microwave or over a double boiler.
Add the cream, syrup, and salt and heat until the chocolate is 2/3 melted, about 20 more seconds on medium power in a microwave.
Stir gently, increasing speed, until the mixture is shiny and homogeneous.
Use right away- spread over the chilled and firm mousse.
Small-Batch Italian Meringue
38 grams egg whites


Pinch cream of tartar

75 grams sugar
25 grams water
Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the cream of tartar.
Combine the water and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, whip the egg whites.
When the syrup reaches 245 degrees F, the egg whites should be at soft to stiff peaks.
Slowly pour the hot syrup over the meringue with the mixer running. 
Allow to whip until completely cool, then pipe onto the cake.


Cookies and milk.  PB&J.  Bagels and cream cheese.  Pancakes and maple syrup.  Sweet and salty.  Hipsters and food blogs.  (Jus keeding… kinda.)
These things just plain make sense together.
They’re better together than apart.  
Cookies and a good cause?  Doesn’t get any better, right?
The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap showcases the power of togetherness perfectly.  
By partnering with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, this event uses hipster food bloggers to help fund research for pediatric cancer.  
Not only am I super super excited for the cookie swap (Hello home delivered cookies. Yum.), but I’m also really enthusiastic about the charity itself.  
I want to do more of my part to help out Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, because I think it’s not only a worthy cause, but also a great and accessible idea!  
So, I’m hosting a bake sale at my school (tomorrow, Sandy permitting), all the proceeds of which are going to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  Any readers from the high school… Bring money!  I’m sure I’ll have something that you’ll want.
And the rest of you?  If you’re interested in helping, here’s my online giving page.
Or maybe organize your own event!  Why not?  It’s easier than you think.
Oh, and these Oreos?  Made with the awesome Bravetart’s recipe; she really has these down to a T.  They are Oreos reincarnate with better, fresher ingredients. 
P.S. Happy 70th birthday, Bob Ross! Personally, I spent my childhood watching this man and enjoying all of his happy accidents. 

Super Freak

Loosen your belts, unbutton your jeans, and ready your stomachs.  

Because I have two very delicious recipes today that are comprised of multiple dessert components.

I guess I was in a Dr. Frankenstein type of mood.
See, I’ve been seeing a thing called “Slutty Brownies” slutting flying around the blogosphere.  

What is this brownie they are speaking of?
A chocolate chip cookie bottom, with a layer of Oreos chocolate sandwich cookies, then a layer of brownies.  
Yes. Yes. YES.
But… I was sending these to my best frenemy friend, Mikala, in California.  I knew I had to ramp them up a notch.  (Surprise, Mikala! They’re on their way.)
And that is how the Super Freak Brownies were born.  So many other names were tempting me, but I’m trying to keep it P.G… Ugh.
Brown sugar blondie base… Oreos come next… Chocolate peanut butter ganache… Red velvet brownie with cream cheese swirl.
Holy $#!+

Now meet Frankenpie.
Or as I like to call this beaut… The Americana Dream Cream Pie.

Diners across the nation have been serving hundreds of different flavors of pie for ages.  (And thank goodness for it!)

Apple, banana cream, banoffee, blueberry, buttermilk, cherry, chess, chocolate, coconut cream, crack, derby, French silk, key lime, lemon meringue, mud, peach, peanut butter, pecan, pumpkin, raspberry, shoofly, strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, sweet potato… the list goes on.  
I combined banana, chocolate, and coconut: caramelized bananas into a chocolate-painted crust, covered in chocolate ganache, and topped with a coconut pastry cream.

And with that, I’m hungry.  Over and out.

Super Freak Brownies
blondie layer from smittenkitchen, red velvet brownies adapted from varying online sources
for the blondie layer:
1/2 stick butter, melted
119 grams light brown sugar
1/2 a large egg (weigh it out, divide by two, and save the other half.  You’ll need it.)
splash vanilla
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup flour
big handful bittersweet chocolate chips
Mix the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and salt together.  Stir in flour, then chocolate chips.  Spread over the bottom of a well-buttered 8×8 pan. Top with Oreos. (You’ll need 16)
for the ganache:
big handful of chocolate chips- I used bittersweet (use your discretion on how chocolaty you want it)
1/3 cup peanut butter
Heat chocolate and peanut butter together until melted and combined, either in a microwave or on a stove top.  Spread over Oreos.
for the red velvet brownies:
1/2 stick melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
splash vanilla
bit of red gel food coloring
pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 a large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
splash vanilla
Mix the butter and the first measurement of sugar together with the vanilla, food coloring, sea salt, vinegar, and cocoa powder.  Next, add in the egg, then stir in the flour.  Pour 3/4 of the batter over the ganache, reserving the rest to dot the top of the cream cheese mixture.  For the cream cheese swirl, beat the cream cheese, 1/2 egg, sugar, and vanilla together, then dollop it over the brownies.  Dot the cream cheese with the remaining red velvet batter, then swirl to your heart’s content with a toothpick.  
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool, then cut into 9 squares.

Americana Dream Cream Pie:
all-butter pie dough for 1 single crust, (baked at 425 for 8 minutes lined with aluminum foil and loaded with pie weights, then at 350 without the aluminum/pie weights, but pricked with a fork, for 15-20 minutes longer, until golden) brushed with melted chocolate once cool
3 super ripe bananas
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
100 g bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup half-and-half
1 can coconut milk
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 egg yolks
splash vanilla and coconut extract
1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
toasted chunk coconut, for garnish
Put bananas, sliced, into a pan with the butter, sugar, and flour.  Allow to cook until the mixture is thickened and very, very fragrant, about 10 minutes on medium heat.
Pour into bowl and allow to cool.  Once cool, pour into the cooled and chocolate-brushed pie crust.  Make the pastry cream:  heat up the coconut milk until simmering.  Whisk the yolks, flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.  Pour 2/3 cup of the hot milk over the yolks while whisking, then pour the yolk mixture back into the pan with the milk.  Allow to come to cook (it will boil and bubble) until thickened significantly.  Pour into another bowl, stir in the extracts and coconut, and allow to cool completely.  Next, heat up the half-and-half until almost boiling (I nuked it).  Pour it over the chocolate and allow to sit until the chocolate is melted, then stir until smooth.  Pour/spread over the bananas, then spread the cooled pastry cream over that.  Chill until well-set, then garnish with the toasted coconut.