How else to celebrate Fat Tuesday — aka Mardi Gras — than with decadent chocolate cupcakes topped with rich cream cheese frosting?



2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup Ghirardelli cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups whole milk


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cupcake tin with festive paper wrappers.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa together in a large bowl, then set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, until thoroughly combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl before adding the flour mixture.  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk until the batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.

Fill the cupcake tins 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.  Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together.  Add the powdered sugar in batches until you achieve the consistency you want.  Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate as desired. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

How They Turned Out:

These treats are sure to earn you the best beads at the parade.

MG Cupcakes 2

The fancification is from Fancy Flours (love! their goodies).


These fortune cookies are definitely just for fun. They taste fine, but aren’t a gourmet treat.  And they do not always turn out as pretty as you’d like.  That said, they are a fun addition to a Chinese New Year Party menu, especially if you write your own fortunes.


fortunes, typed or written on white paper
2 egg whites, beaten well
6 tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup fine sugar
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment or a silpat.

Cream the butter in a standing mixer.  Add the sugar and mix well at medium speed.  Add the flour in two batches and mix well at medium speed.  Add the egg whites and mix well at low-medium speed (do not whip the batter).  Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix the vanilla and spices in with a rubber spatula. You should have a light cookie batter (it won’t have the consistency of regular cookie dough).

On the lined cookie sheet, make three circles of cookie batter, each about 3 inches in diameter. You can prepare a second cookie sheet to pop in right as the first comes out, just to keep your assembly line moving.

Better Pre-Pic

You can only make 2-3 cookies at a time, unless you have help, because you have to be able to fold and crimp them while they are still hot from the oven. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. It takes a bit to figure this out.  Not done enough and they won’t fold without tearing.  Done too much and they won’t fold without breaking.

When they are done just right, remove the cookies from the oven. Immediately place a fortune in the center, fold the cookie in half and crimp the top, and then bend the cookie over the side of a muffin tin to cool and harden.

Fold Over

The cookies will cool very quickly, so work fast.  I have yet to master the art of the fortune cookie, so it took three batches of this recipe to make 24 cookies.  The mistakes were frustrating, but tasty.

How They Turned Out:

Not perfect, but a novel way to end a festive dinner party.  Especially if you have witty fortunes.

Final Fortune Cookie Pic