chocolate

black bottom cupcakes

Love these cupcakes!  And, so do the kids.  So rich and decadent.  The chocolate pairs perfectly with the cheesecake-like centers.  And chocolate frosting tops it off.  Enjoy!

Black Bottom Cupcakes
Adapted from Taste of Home

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FILLING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

CUPCAKES:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg and salt until smooth. Stir in chips; set aside.

For cupcakes, in a large bowl, beat the sugar, water, oil, egg, vinegar and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into egg mixture until blended.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with chocolate batter. Drop a heaping teaspoonful of cheese mixture in center of batter of each cupcake.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.

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I topped the cupcakes with a rich, chocolate espresso frosting. Could also use a prepared chocolate frosting, but this way, I was able to have lots of leftovers!  Store cupcakes in refrigerator.

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Yield: 20-24 cupcakes.  Enjoy!

elegance absent and dessert (or breakfast)

I love to cook and be in the kitchen, but I have to admit… I am not an elegant cook or baker. (Ina Garten is my personal favorite.) (And yes, she probably has a supportive team behind the scenes helping to make sure everything looks just right for the camera.) You know the kind. So calm and camera ready, always with great stories of entertaining and lively connections with food. The ones who wear aprons and never get them full of flour or grease. The ones who have mise en place mastered, with everything ready and at the tip of their fingers. The ones who have a spotless kitchen, organized cupboards and countertops clear of clutter.

Nope, that’s not me! As much as I strive to be, my husband will be the first to admit that I am more chaos than elegance in the kitchen. But, I am ok with that. It’s how I roll. My iPhone gets full of flour as I’m searching for recipes, my batter sometimes flies across the room and often, I am pushing my piles of paper aside to make room for cooking. However, I do have support in the kitchen. My husband, who washes the countless dishes that I dirty in my cooking adventures. Or, who picks up the kitchen and countertops in the midst of my chaos. My kids, who love to taste and see. It’s all good!

A new year and new year’s resolutions for 2013.

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A simple list – Be healthy.  Be happy.  Be thankful.  And, a new dessert recipe for the family, which uh… incorporates all three resolutions. Be healthy (well, not so much with this recipe. Although, chocolate does have some healthy qualities.) Be happy – always…with family and chocolate. Be thankful – for good dessert, and seconds.  King Arthur Flour’s Fudge Waffles with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.  I’ve swapped the words in the recipe to call it Chocolate Waffles with Ice Cream and Chocolate Fudge, which fits better with the end product.  A chocolatey waffle dotted with semisweet chocolate chips, topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate fudge sauce.  Amazing.  My favorite part of the recipe is the fudge sauce.  Served warm, it’s runny and easy to drizzle –  more like Hershey’s chocolate syrup, but once on top of the ice cream, the sauce thickens to a fudge consistency.  So delicious! I could seriously eat it by the spoonfuls right out of the refrigerator.

The kids loved this dessert. Thank you King Arthur Flour!  What’s not to love?  Chocolate waffles?!  Breakfast for dessert?!  Chocolate and Fudge?!  Ice cream and waffles?!  We did have some leftovers, so we served up some chocolate waffles for breakfast the next morning.

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Chocolate Waffles with Ice Cream and Chocolate Fudge
adapted from King Arthur Flour’s recipe

2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk (I substituted with 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice.)
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, butter and vanilla, and beat until light, about 2 minutes. Blend in buttermilk, then flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

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Bake waffles in a preheated well-greased waffle iron until done (following directions for your own waffle iron). Serve with the ice cream of your choice and chocolate sauce (recipe follows). Waffles can be served immediately, or wrapped in plastic wrap and served the next day. Warm them in a toaster oven if you wish.

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Chocolate Fudge Sauce

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup and milk or half-and-half. Stir to blend. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.
Makes about 1 cup.

Serve warm or at room temperature; this sauce reheats easily in a glass cup in your microwave.

Enjoy!

chocolate crinkles – a cookie from the past

I recently had a craving for a cookie from my childhood. A chocolate cookie, coated in powdered sugar … chocolate crinkles. The cookbook recipes are all about the same, with a few minor variations or additions in each, i.e. nuts. I used a recipe from a classic cookbook my grandmother gave to me around my 20th birthday.

The recipe goes something like this…

Chocolate Crinkles
adapted from the Regent Community Cookbook, originally published in 1978

1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. nuts, chopped (optional) – I didn’t add nuts to our cookies.

Combine oil, chocolate, sugar, vanilla and blend well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine remaining dry ingredients and add to chocolate mixture gradually. Stir in nuts (if desired.) Chill batter overnight or for several hours.

Form into 1 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes – do not overbake.  Makes about 6 dozen.

Clare helping me roll the dough in powdered sugar…

Kids eagerly waiting for the oven timer to sound…

Fresh out of the oven…

Mmmm…

The kids devoured these.

One word of advice…serve cookies to kids well before bedtime (no later than 5 pm), and in moderation (no more than two.)  You may want to consider having them run a few laps in the backyard afterwards as well.  I’m just sayin’…

Otherwise, yum sums it up.  Enjoy!