Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio Shortbread (Cheat)

Guys I’m dying and my mouth is in food heaven. This shortbread oh em geee.

  

I’ll probably regret eating 4 of these decadent shortbread cookies later on when I’m having roast duck for dinner, but I couldn’t help it! There is just layer upon layer of flavor and texture and I can’t stop eating them.

When these first came out of the oven, I had to will every atom in me not to grab the whole chunk of shortbread and eat it straight away. It smelled so amazing. Then, I had to torture myself with letting the damn thing cool (not before eating a few crumbs first, of course).

Of course, I couldn’t help but eat a cookie as I was dipping the others in chocolate. The shortbread itself was soo amaaziinnggg. It was perfectly buttery and flaky and left behind a gentle saltiness that made me swoon. Not to mention, the salt brought out the undeniable flavor of pistachio. The pistachio itself offered a delicate crunch that differed in texture from the shortbread. I was blown away.

Then, I ate the shortbread dipped in chocolate, and my world changed again. The chocolate paired so beautifully with the shortbread and the pistachio and the saltiness and it was so decadent and delicious and perfect and I honestly have no words. My babbling is a lame attempt at conveying to you exactly how foodgasm these shortbread cookies are.

You’d think, “it’s just shortbread”, but no, these are the ultimate shortbread. Better than any shortbread you’ve ever had before. I can guarantee.

By the way, in the unlikely event that you were wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a month – I’ve been busy stressing out about my final IB exams in May, so I haven’t really had the chance to bake much, not to mention take photos/edit photos/write posts. Anyways, after my exams end, hopefully I’ll find the time then to bake up a storm in my kitchen to make up for all the time lost. In the meantime, wish me luck and enjoy these shortbread cookies xx

Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (150g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1/8 cup (25g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (140g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (50g) finely chopped toasted pistachios
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth. Beat in both sugars until smooth.
  3. Gradually mix in the vanilla, salt, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is fully combined and forms a crumbly dough
  4. Mix in 2/3 of the chopped pistachios
  5. Line an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and press the dough tightly into the pan
  6. Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes until lightly browned
  7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the cake pan. Cut the shortbread into wedges while it’s still warm. Allow the shortbread to cool completely before dipping into chocolate.
  8. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring in between intervals until it’s completely melted
  9. Dip the shortbread into the chocolate and sprinkle with remaining pistachio and sea salt. Enjoy!
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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Cheat)

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I’ve always been a huge fan of anything involving brown butter. Remember this brown butter banana bread recipe? AKA my faavorite banana bread recipe of all time? Ever since I stumbled upon that recipe, I’ve just loved using brown butter in baked goods. It takes the flavour to a whole new level, building so much depth in the flavours and complexion. Plus, you can’t deny that it’s kinda fun to melt all that butter down and watch it foam and go brown.

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These brown butter chocolate chip cookies are just so heavenly. I made them for a bake sale and they sold out ridiculously quick! Almost every person who walked by inquired about the price of the cookies, and some of them even asked us to reserve cookies for them. One person said that he came by after seeing everyone else with the chocolate chip cookies. Not to mention, so many people came back to compliment me on how delicious the cookies were.

Needless to say, this is a recipe that I will be using for many bake sales to come. This one’s a keeper!

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I honestly don’t think these photos do the cookies justice. They’re suuper rich and gooey and full of chocolate and mocha chips, not to mention the nutty, caramel-y goodness of the brown butter! If that’s not a foodgasm, I don’t know what is.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Makes 24-26 cookies, depending on size

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (345g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup mocha chocolate chips

Method

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Make the brown butter by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. After a few minutes, the butter will begin to foam, darken to a brown color, and give off a nutty aroma. At this point, remove the saucepan from heat and transfer the brown butter into a bowl. Allow the butter to cool for 5-10 minutes, until cool to touch
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the brown butter and sugars together until well combined
  4. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and greek yogurt until well combined
  5. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips
  7. Chill the dough for 2-3 hours in the fridge, or up to 12-24 hours*
  8. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  9. Allow the dough to thaw for about 20 minutes before rolling into balls and placing them on a baking sheet 2 inches apart
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes

*Alternatively, freeze the cookie dough after you’ve rolled them into balls. When baking them, simply add a minute or two to baking time

 

 

Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake (Cheat)

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I went through so much to get this cake to work (none of which should discourage you from making it! You’ll see…)

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So Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I figured I’d find a mini chocolate cake to bake in my heart-shaped cake pan and share that with you guys!

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I found the perfect recipe. I precisely measured out all my ingredients and mixed them together, only to find that the batter had turned into a thick dough instead of a silky cake batter. In my state of despair, I added in a splash of milk to thin the batter, but no luck. I was utterly confused. Everything was perfect…right?

I decided to take a look at the recipe again, reading the first ingredients and – oh. It called for 1/2 cup of flour, but because I’m so used to making full-sized cakes, my mind automatically processed it as 1 1/2 cups. uGH. Unfortunately, I had to discard that batter (after eating a bit of it, of course), and starting over. You can observe this failure here:

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Also, the cake is meant for a 6-inch circle pan, but mine is heart-shaped so it’s smaller. I had a little bit of leftover cake batter, which I made into a cute little bear cake! I was planning on drawing on it’s little eyes and nose and mouth with melted white chocolate, only to find that I don’t have white chocolate at home. Since when is that a thing?? What happened to my emergency stash of 3 white chocolate bars?

And lastly, lighting was not my friend today. I must’ve tried taking photos in at least 6 different locations around the house, hence the inconsistency with backgrounds in these photos.

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Despite all that, the cake itself turned out amazing. Look at how fluffy it rose! It’s so fluffy and has the perfect chocolate flavor to it. If you wish, a chocolate ganache would pair beautifully with it, but a dusting of icing sugar works just fine as well.

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Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Dessert for Two

Makes one 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (37g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm coffee
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar or chocolate ganache (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream or yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, and coffee
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Transfer the batter into a lined and greased 6-inch round cake pan and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  6. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate ganache (optional)

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Clean)

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Happy New Year, everyone! (yes, I know, it’s been like two weeks but still).

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I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year’s. I definitely did. I spent the first Christmas at home for as long as I can remember. It was full of good food and good times and was probably one of the best ones ever.

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Now, it’s back to school. To be fair, workload was alright in the first week back, but I’m also training for a swim meet, which requires waking up early sometimes and leaves me tired all the time. So, you could probably guess (and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d know) that I’ve been pretty lazy with breakfast and food in general these days. I’ve just grabbed a Squarebar and a couple bread rolls for breakfast, but also – these cookies!

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I’ve always had my doubts with making healthy cookies. Cookies are just so technical, but these turned out beautifully. They aren’t super sweet, so they make a perfect on-the-go snack. I’d definitely want to have a batch of these in my fridge at all times. They’re healthy and delicious and studded with chocolate and they’re perfect.

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These cookies are soft, but hold their shape very well. They’re also slightly chewy thanks to the added oats.

And of course, chocolate makes everything better, so there’s that…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda
  3. In another bowl using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and egg together until smooth
  4. Mix in the mashed banana
  5. Fold in flour mixture until just combined, before folding in the oats and chocolate chips
  6. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough onto prepared baking sheet, flattening them down slightly
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until edges are golden brown

Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms (Clean)

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Christmas is only 4 days away! These past few days have been fully dedicated to Christmas prep, and I mean purely Christmas prep. Yesterday, I spent the entire morning putting up Christmas window stickers with my mom, spent the afternoon shopping for more gifts, and spent the night wrapping gifts. I’ve probably spent at least 5 hours wrapping gifts in the past few days, but it’s all worth it. Not to brag or anything, but those gifts are looking pretty damn good. I’d show you now, but I think I’ll save that for a separate Christmas post where I can show off how festive my house is at the moment.

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Pop quiz: Why did I choose to make peanut butter blossoms?

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Answer: Because Hershey’s kisses were on buy-one-get-one-free and I didn’t know what to do with all of them ^_^ (If anyone has suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!)

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Let’s focus on these peanut butter blossoms. I do realise that the cookie-to-chocolate proportion is a little off, but hey – more chocolate is never a bad thing, right?

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These cookies are so easy to make and are perfect for sharing during Christmas! You could even wake up half an hour early on Christmas Eve to bake these cookies – they’re that quick! You just throw together a bunch of ingredients, bake them for just under 10 minutes, stick a Hershey’s kiss on top of each one and voila! Cookies!

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What I love about these is the perfect pairing of both textures and flavours. The cookie has the wonderful texture of a crunchy cookie, while the chocolate just melts in your mouth. In terms of flavour – peanut butter and chocolate is a classic flavour combo, and all classics exist for a reason – because they pair so damn well together!

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This may perhaps be my last post before Christmas, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I hope that you get to spend time with your loved ones, receive lots of gifts, and eat delicious food. I know I will 😉

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Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms

Adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120g) white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg white, room temperature or 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (64g) natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (96g) coconut sugar
  • 15-20 dark chocolate kisses

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the aquafaba/egg white, almond milk, and vanilla extract
  4. Stir in the peanut butter until fully combined
  5. Stir in the coconut sugar
  6. Stir in the flour mixture (you may want to use your hands for this part) until a dough forms
  7. Roll the dough into 15-20 spheres and place onto a baking sheet lined with a parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Flatten each sphere until it’s larger than the base of the chocolate kisses
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. While the cookies bake, unwrap the chocolate kisses
  9. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press a chocolate kiss into the centre of each one*
  10. Allow the cookies to cool and the chocolate kiss to set before serving. Serve at room temperature

*If you don’t want the kisses to soften and have a truffle-like consistency at room temperature, place the cookies into the freezer immediately to prevent the kisses from warming up

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks (Clean)

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Ooh been a while since I’ve posted a muffin recipe. Been a while since I’ve posted at all, to be honest. Sorry about that, end of semesters are always ridiculously chaotic, but at least Winter Break is just around the corner! One more day!!

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Let me start off talking about the muffins so that you can skip directly to the recipe later without having to read all my random rambling.

I’ve made plenty of muffins in my life, and I have to say, that this is one of my all-time favourites. The crumb is absolutely perfect. It’s not dense, and it doesn’t fall apart when you bite. It’s soft and light and perfect.

And the flavour! It has a very distinctive banana bread flavour, but these are just so much easier. With banana bread, you have to wait over an hour for the banana bread to bake! With these, you need less than 20. Not to mention, muffins are the perfect snack size and easier to bring along as a to-go snack or even breakfast.

But of course, my favourite part would have to be the chocolate. I have a rule when it comes to muffins with chocolate in them. I either eat them cold – straight out of the fridge, or hot – microwaved or baked. When the muffins come straight out of the fridge, the chocolate chunks become so distinct in their tempered texture, demanding you to notice the chocolate chunks and appreciate them fully. On the other hand, when the chocolate chunks turn into melty globs of perfection…well then, they’re melty globs of perfection. It’s quite simple, really.

I happened to have hazelnut dark chocolate on hand, which I thought would add texture and contribute a nutty texture, and I’m really glad I did. Nevertheless, if hazelnuts aren’t your thing, then dark chocolate works fine as well.

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I’m so excited for break. Like, so excited. It’ll be the first time in forever that I’ve spent Christmas at home, and it’ll be extra special now because my family is rarely together nowadays. My brother’s off at university and my dad comes home once every two weeks because he was relocated. My mom is really excited too, going out and buying all sorts of Christmas decorations and gifts while I plan all the Christmas activities and movies and desserts. It’s going to be a good one.

And of course, this weekend my friends and I are going to have the best time ever. They’re both leaving quite early on in the break, so we’re making the most of this weekend – movie nights, visiting TianAnMen square, dinner dates, hot pot…

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If you’re still reading this, which I doubt many of you are, I have a question for you: Would you rather know how you die or when you die?

My friends and I were discussing the question. One friend and I wanted to know when, and the other wanted to know how. It’s an interesting topic and a question worth discussing.

I’d rather know when I die. My reasoning was that I would be able to truly cherish my last moments, whereas, if I knew how I would die, I’d just be paranoid of everything relating to that. For instance, if I knew that I would die by getting hit by a car, I’d just have a fear of cars for the rest of my life.

But then I asked someone else while walking home and he said that he’d rather not know anything about his death. I can’t believe it hadn’t crossed my mind, but as soon as he pointed it out, I realized that it’s not necessarily a good thing to know anything about your death.

If I did know when I would die, I’d see my life as a ticking bomb. I’d feel guilty every second I don’t do something “meaningful” and I’d live in constant terror of finding meaning to life. It’s better to just sit back and go with the flow. Enjoy life, friends xx

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Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 3 large bananas, mashed (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used hazelnut dark chocolate)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 350 degrees F
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg and coconut sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, coconut oil, and mashed bananas until combined
  4. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined
  5. Stir in the milk and mix until just combined
  6. Fold in the chopped dark chocolate
  7. Fill each muffin liner 2/3 of the way full with batter. (Optional: Place a very thinly sliced banana slice on top of the muffin and a little chopped chocolate before baking)
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden. Remove and let cool

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcake-Toppers (Cheat)

Happy birthday, Mommy!! ❤

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I made these cupcakes a couple of days ago for a bake sale, but the main reason I made cupcakes was so that I could reserve three of them for today – my mom’s birthday. I don’t like making small-batch cupcakes because making a batch of 24 cupcakes requires the same effort as making 3. (Hence, why I always make cupcakes for bake sales).

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This is the first time that I’ve used chocolate cupcake toppers, but it definitely won’t be the last. They’re deceivingly easy to make, and they look gorgeous! They take the cupcakes to a whole new level, while only requiring an extra 5 minutes.

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I forgot to take photos while I was making the chocolate toppers, but basically, you just melt down some dark chocolate and pipe it out on parchment paper. If you’ve melted the chocolate gently, they should harden at room temperature and peel off easily, giving you these beaautiful cupcake toppers!

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There are so many things that you can pipe out using the chocolate. I stuck to some simple shapes. I used stars, hearts, flowers, the little thingy in the photo below, and random squiggles. Next time, I’d definitely try words and maybe I’ll challenge myself to piping out a puppy or something. We’ll see~

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With the frosting, feel free to choose any color you wish! I like the way that the pink contrasts with the darkness of the chocolate, but I’m sure that blue would be gorgeous as well.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcake-Toppers

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 280g granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 240ml  milk, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 300g unsalted butter
  • *400g-600g powdered sugar, sifted
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Gel food colouring of choice

For the chocolate cupcake-toppers:

  • 100g dark chocolate

*To taste

Method

  1. For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt
  3. Add in the butter and beat until the mixture has a sandy consistency
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until combined
  5. Pour half the milk mixture in with the flour and beat on high speed until smooth
  6. Gently mix in the rest of the milk mixture until jut combined. Do not over mix
  7. Transfer the mixture into a lined cupcake tin and bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
  8. For the frosting, in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy
  9. Beat in the powdered sugar for 5 minutes or so, before adding the whipping cream and vanilla extract and beating for another minute
  10. For the chocolate cupcake-toppers, chop or break the dark chocolate into equal-sized chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl
  11. Microwave the chocolate for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between each interval so that the chocolate heats evenly. When the chocolate has 80-90% melted, stir the chocolate until it’s fully melted
  12. Transfer the melted chocolate into a piping bag or into a sandwich bag with a TINY corner cut off
  13. Pipe designs of your choice onto a sheet of parchment paper. Allow to harden before carefully removing and placing on your frosted cupcakes. Enjoy!