Monday, August 31, 2009

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I'm really obsessed with hazelnuts and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I've put them in brownies, in cheesecakes, you name it. Surprisingly, I haven't tried them in cupcakes... until now. Can we bask in the beauty of these things?! Let's allow a good 5 seconds of pure unadulterated viewing. Ok, now that that is over with... how could these not be good? If you love chocolate (check!) and if you love hazelnuts (check!), then this is for you!!

Nutella and dark chocolate wafers waiting to be stuffed into cake:

Filling them turned out easier than I had thought:

All stuffed, filled and ready to be bathed in yummy ganache:

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes
Yields: about 24 cupcakes
Original recipe from 6 Bittersweets, which can be found here.

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup boiling water
6 tbsn. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup yogurt, not too thick
1/3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsn. hazelnut extract
1/2 tsp. molasses
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 + 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

For the chocolate hazelnut ganache:
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ox. semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1 tbsn. light corn syrup
1 tsp. hazelnut extract
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted then chopped fine

Ferrero Rocher (for decoration)
Nutella (for filling)
Hazelnut wafer cookies, cut into small chunks (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, whisk the boiling water into cocoa until smooth and whisk in the yogurt, molasses, vanilla and hazelnut extracts. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 - 3 minutes and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Into another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the egg mixture in batches alternately with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well after each addition. Fill each wrapper about 1/2 way since they will rise a lot. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

If desired, cut a cone into the cupcake and fill the hole with a tsp. of Nutella. If using, place a couple of chopped hazelnut wafer cookies into the center then place the top back on and push slightly to secure.

For the ganache, heat the cream on the stove until it boils. Pour over the chocolate and stir to melt, adding the corn syrup and hazelnut extract. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts. Once it has cooled and thickened slightly, use a spoon to spread over the tops of the cupcakes. Top with half of a Ferrero Rocher and enjoy!

The final result, topped with a real Ferrero Rocher chocolate:
YUMMM! Can ya see the filling?!?! Can ya, can ya??!?!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Little Dom's {Los Angeles, CA}

Little Dom's is another one of those "Best Thing I Ever Ate" finds, gosh I love that show. They tell me jump off a bridge, I jump off a bridge.... just kidding. But really, they told me how delicious this breakfast pizza and look at me, I went and got it!
This place is definitely charming. It has a modern feel but still has a "run-by-an-Italian-mother" feel to it. My friend & I brunched here and we got the baked french toast as well as the breakfast pizza, so highly recommended. The french toast was awesome, though, a bit burnt on the edges and the pizza, though good, was not as delicious as I expected it to be. The speck on top though was a chewy delight and the egg on top? Mmm eggs are always good.
Look how cute the iced tea is!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicken Empanadas with Chorizo and Olives

Since I've been back from Chile, I've missed the country and the people like no other. So when it was time for my classmates and I to have our little reunion, I thought it best to make something reminiscent of our time together in Chile... empanadas! When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen I instantly knew I had to make it. Then, when I read her review on it, I almost died from anticipation!

These empanadas were so effing good! The dough was so flaky and so easy to deal with. I was so hesitant about this recipe because it took a look of work, but it was so, so worth it. And the filling... I mean how could you go wrong with chicken, onions and chorizo!?? Honestly people, you can't. This recipe might be time consuming but is definitely worth it!

Evenly dividing the dough into 24 pieces:
Filled and formed empanadas ready to be baked:
A whole tray of delicious empanadas!

Chicken Empanadas with Chorizo and Olives

Yields: 24 empanadas

Original recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which can be found here.

Printable Recipe

For the dough:

4 1/2 cups flour

3 tsp. salt

2 sticks/ 1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 large eggs

2/3 cup ice water

2 tbsn. distilled white vinegar

For the filling:

3 whole chicken legs, 2 1/4 lbs. total

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 1/2 tbsn. extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California

1/3 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo

1/2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika

1/4 cup chopped, pitted green olives

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

For the egg wash:

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsn. water

To make the dough, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and blend in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles a coarse meal with pea-sized butter lumps. Beat together the egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, knead with the heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring the dough together. Form into two flat rectangles and chill then, at least 1 hour at max 6 hours.

To make the filling, pat the chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsn. oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the chicken, turning over once about 6 minutes total and transfer to a plate. Saute the onions, garlic and bay leaves in the skillet, stirring frequently until onions are softened, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add the chorizo and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add olives, wine and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping any brown bits. Return chicken to skillet along with juices accumulated on the plate, then reduce heat to low and simmer the chicken, covered, turning over once, until tender, about 25 - 30 minutes total.

Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. Sauce in the pan should be the consistency of heavy cream, if not, continue to simmer until thickened. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat and discard the skin and bones. Stir chicken into the sauce and discard the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, if needed and then cool the filling, uncovered for about 30 minutes.

To form the empanadas, put the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 400 F. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and form each into a disk. Keeping the remaining pieces covered, roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Spoon 2 tbsn. of filling into the center and fold in half, enclosing the filling. Press edges to seal, then crimp decoratively with a fork. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Lightly brush empanadas with the egg wash and bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, switching position halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 5 minutes. 

YUMMMM, spreading hot sauce all over this baby!

A Brooklyn Bride.

I was recently on one of my favorite blogs: Brooklyn Bride. I'm in no position to be married any time soon but I just adore this website! If I were to get married, all of my inspiration would come from this website. 

These engagement photos particularly struck my eye. They took my breath away! Completely and absolutely DIVINE.

Silhouettes are always classic.
I love the contrast against the aggressive black fence.
Such small dots in an amount of vastness.
Wood cannot separate true love.
Completely and utterly cute.

Post can be found here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tailored Tuesdays

1. Elizabeth and James "Elizabeth twill blazer"
2. Red Valentino "Ruffled silk organza blouse"
3. Citizens of Humanity "Avedon skinny jeans"
4. Valentino "Pailette embellished tote" 
5. Jimmy Choo "Billie lizard print sandal"

all images can be found at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Peach & Creme Fraiche Pie

Humminah humminah humminah.
Not a joke people.

This is serious stuff. If you could see me right now, you'd recognize the serious expression on my face. This pie is un-fricken-believeable. Absolutely amazing if not outright ridiculous! The hardest part about this pie is the crust, other than that, everything else is a snap. Tender, sweet peaches topped with crisp streusel, all mounded on top of a buttery crust... what more could you want?!?! 

Pie crust making is serious science people. It takes care and an immense amount of love. Take the time to make it right and make it delicious! I followed Deb's directions here.
See that mish mash of colors in the dough? The more uneven the butter is spread throughout the dough, the better. Butter pockets allow for a more flaky and yummy crust:
That's the streusel. Oh my goodness how good it was on this pie, no words can do it justice!
Fresh, ripe yellow peaches:
The pie filling:
Getting ready to par-bake the crust, not the most beautiful of crusts but didn't matter to me:
Stuffing in the filling and spreading the creme fraiche:
YES YES YES! Give me more streusel: 
All ready to be popped into the oven:
All mine!!!

Peach and Creme Fraiche Pie

Yields: 1 8 -9 inch pie

Original recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which can be found here.

Printable Recipe

1/2 recipe of Pie Dough, chilled for at least 1 hour, or store bought (if you wish)

For the streusel:

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

3 - 6 tbsn. flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the filling:

1 1/2 lbs. ripe, yellow peaches (pitted and quartered), 4 - 5 medium peaches

2 - 4 tbsn. sugar (depending on sweetness preference)

pinch of salt

5 tbsn. creme fraiche

To prepare the pie dough, roll the dough out about 1/8 of an inch thick to fit a regular pie dish ( 9 - 10 inches in diameter). Trim the edges and fold under or crimp as desired. Use a fork to poke holes all throughout the bottom. Transfer to a freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F before you remove the crust.

To make the streusel, mix the powdered sugar, baking powder, salt and 3 tbsn. flour. Add the cold butter and use a fork to work it into the flour until it resembles course crumbs, add additional flour as needed, set aside.

To par-bake the crust, tightly press foil against the crust and fill with beans or pie weights in order to keep the crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove the foil and weights carefully. Return into the oven for another 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Transfer to rack to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F. 

To make the filling, sprinkle the peaches with sugar and salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Spread 2 tbsn. of creme fraiche onto the cooked pie crust, then add the peaches and top with the remaining 3 tbsn. creme fraiche, and then the streusel. Bake until bubbly and golden brown about 40 - 50 minutes. If the edges brown up to fast, cover with foil and continue cooking. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tailored Tuesdays

OH hey there fall! Are you ready for fall? Cause I sure am!

1. Crumpet "Dolman cashmere cardigan"
2. Zimmerman "Frankie halter dress"
3. Tory Burch "Bar embellished leather boots"
4. Chloe "Paraty leather tote"
5. Giles & Brother "Wishbone necklace"

all images can be found at

Monday, August 17, 2009

Video of the Day

Call me a woman obsessed...

MSTRKRFT – Featuring John Legend from vincent haycock on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New York, I Love You

Look familiar? New York, I Love You is similar in form to Paris, Je Taime. It's basically a compilation of different stories of love taking place in one of the biggest cities in the world, New York. Each segment is directed by various filmmakers, then compiled with each other in order to create a smorgasbord of stories. The cast is all-star enough, but let's hope the cast, and story can live up to my expectations.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

Favorite movie and soundtrack of the summer, granted I haven't really watched many...

1. (500) Days of Summer -  A Story of Boy Meets Girl
2. Regina Spektor - Us
3. The Smiths - There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
4. The Black Lips - Bad Kids
5. The Smiths - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
6. The Doves - There Goes the Fear
7. Hall & Oats - You Make My Dreams
8. The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
9. Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un M'a Dit
10. Feist - Mushaboom
11. Regina Spektor - Hero
12. Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends
13. Wolfmother - Vagabond
14. Mumm-ra - She's Got You High
15. Meaghan Smith - Here Comes Your Man
16. She & Him - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (Smiths Cover)

The "Best" Made Even Better.

I personally don't really love love love brownies like others do. I don't know why... I don't have that gene (and I know it's strange). That gene is missing along with the "love of watermelon" gene. I feel like I am the only person in the world to not love watermelon, but oh well! 

On to these brownies... wow. For someone who doesn't really love brownies, these were the ones to convert me. Honestly, add Ferrero Rocher to anything and I'm a happy camper! But these also had a nice chewy texture which I loved. Chocolate-y and rich!

The Best Fudge & Ferrero Rocher Brownies Ever
Yields: 9 large brownies
Original recipe from Cooking On The Side, which can be found here.

1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
2 cups of sugar (original recipe calls for 2 1/4)
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups of Dutch-process cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsn. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
12 Ferrero Rocher chocolates, chopped (original recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13" pan with butter then line with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the butter. Add the sugar and mix to combine. Continue heating until mixture is hot and looks shiny, but not bubbling. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl then stir in the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla. Mix until combined then add the eggs, one at a time. Once combined, slowly stir in the flour and chopped Ferrero Rocher (or chocolate chips) until well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pan and then allow them to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Tailored Tuesdays

This is how I would do summer. I don't know about you but I am definitely not a shorts girl. It's simple, clean and sophisticated. 

P.S. I'm backkkk!!! Kinda depressed about it but now posts will come back again regularly :)

1. Helmut Lang "Sleeveless wool blend blazer"
2. Splendid "Cotton blend tank"
3. J Brand "7/8th ankle crop jeans"
4. Chloe "Sally shoulder bag"
5. Christian Louboutin "Fortuna 120 platform pumps"

all images can be found at