Happy New Year! So, how did you ring in the year? Asleep? Out and about? Or like me, surrounded by family and friends? In my case, the friends actually fall under the family category, so I should say I rang it in with family. Either way, I hope it was an enjoyable time and a great kick off to the new year ahead. And how about those resolutions? Did you make any? I may have mentioned it before, but, I don’t make resolutions. I think it’s great for those people who do so, but, I don’t think you need a new year to make a new start. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to do something different and better for yourself and those around you. I sound like self-help guru or something… LOL! But, it’s true. Every day we have a choice as to how we are going to lead our day and we can make the decisions that are best for us or the ones that are not so great. But, it’s up to each of us to make those decisions. So, maybe that’s my resolution, to live the best day possible each and every day. And trust me I know from experience that it’s not always easy, but, you always have to try and find the silver lining because if you don’t you may always wonder, “Why me?” And now on to the Chocolate and Strawberries!
So, I always want to make something different and delicious as a sweet treat for New Year’s Eve and I was pondering attempting to make macarons, but, I quickly decided against it. I think that’s best left for when it’s just a random day and if they don’t come out well I don’t have to scramble to make something else in their place. So I opted for cupcakes. Something that is foolproof and always a crowd favorite. And these were cupcakes that I wanted to make for a month or two now. I came across the recipe when I was flipping through an old holiday magazine for cookie recipe ideas – remember I am a bit of a recipe hoarder! They are a super simple mocha chip cupcake with a chocolate sour cream frosting. The coffee in the cupcake offsets the chocolate from the chocolate chips in it and the sour cream adds a nice tang to the frosting so overall this isn’t an overly sweet or chocolatey cupcake. And to make it festive I sprayed a few using an edible gold shimmer spray and topped the others with strawberries.
And since I had leftover strawberries and half a bag of chocolate chips left it was the perfect set-up for some chocolate covered strawberries. I simply melted the chocolate chips in the microwave in minute intervals and then dipped the strawberries in it and then placed them on a wax-paper covered cookie sheet and placed them in the refrigerator until set. Once they were set I drizzled more melted chocolate over them. These were a HIT and barely made it to midnight!
So, stay tuned in 2016 for more sweet treats, slow cooker meals, beaded jewelry and yarn projects!
Mocha Chip Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 12 standard cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. While the mixer is running, slowly poor in the sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, with the mixer on medium-high speed beet until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed. Beat until the batter is smooth and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate and beat until smooth and blended. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the dissolved espresso powder. Finally stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin and bake 20 to 22 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed in the center.
Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes on a wire rack and then remove them allowing them to cool completely on the wire rack.
Recipe from Fine Cooking
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, spooned and leveled
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
milk, if necessary
In a medium bowl whisk butter, sour cream, vanilla extract and salt to blend. Gradually whisk in the sugar until smooth. Add the chocolate and beat it in with the whisk until the frosting is smooth and creamy. The frosting must be thick and spreadable; if it’s too thick thin it with a drops of milk. If it’s too thin, chill it briefly, stirring occasionally until thickened.
Recipe from Fine Cooking