Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting

Baking doesn’t have to be a complicated process.  Does it?  No, it doesn’t.  Sometimes you should just pick a recipe out of your tried-and-true recipe box and make a sweet treat without over-thinking it.  That’s exactly what I did when I made these chocolate cupcakes.  My mind had settled on something chocolaty, and something that I knew I was comfortable baking.  No new recipes, just tried-and-true.

Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. espresso powder

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. sour milk

1/2 c. hot water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line 1 to 1 1/2dozen cupcake cups with cupcake papers.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add butter, sugar, eggs, and melted chocolate chips. Mix until completely blended with electric mixer. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and cocoa; mix again. Add flour, milk and hot water; mix thoroughly. Add vanilla; beat again until batter is light and fluffy.

Fill cupcake papers about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake. Remove from oven and cool on bakers rack.

Baker’s note: This is a thin cupcake batter, but don’t worry, the cupcakes will turn out just fine.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting

1 c. heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp. chocolate pudding mix

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place ingredients in a chilled bowl and beat on high until cream thickens.  Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.  Keep cupcakes in refrigerator prior to serving.

If you’d like to see what these cupcakes look like on the inside, check out this link.  I  have posted these cupcakes before, but the last time I made them I added cinnamon, and eliminated the espresso powder.  I also frosted them with a buttercream icing that favored a hint of cinnamon.

What’s the last tried-and-true recipe you made?

Strawberry Bliss Ice Cream

I finally made it to the strawberry patch and I am in complete strawberry bliss.  So what’s that mean to you?  Strawberry recipes and photo’s of course!

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Let’s start  this strawberry recipe extravaganza out with my favorite recipe for homemade strawberry ice cream.

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This recipe does not call for eggs, nor does it require cooking.  I have yet to make a custard ice cream because I love the simplicity and taste of this recipe.  Not to mention, it has fewer calories because there are no egg yolks and calls for skim milk.

*I use my small, inexpensive ice cream maker when making homemade ice cream.  I have to say it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve made as far as small kitchen appliances go.  I wouldn’t be without one now.

Strawberry Bliss Ice Cream Recipe

2 c. heavy cream

1 c. skim milk

3/4 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. whole strawberries

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Rinse, hull and chop strawberries into small pieces.  Place in a bowl and cover with 1 tbsp. of sugar.  Set aside while preparing your ice cream base.

In a large bowl, add heavy cream, skim milk, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Mix thoroughly until sugar is dissolved; set aside.

Puree the berries you previously set aside and add to the heavy cream mixture.  Stir until blended.

Transfer into your ice cream maker bowl and finish according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.  Freeze until ready to serve.

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The thing that I like most about making my own ice cream is knowing exactly what fresh ingredients go into it. 

In the near future I’m going to make a custard ice cream.  The kind you cook, and the kind you use egg yolks in.  I’ll be sure to share that recipe when I’m done experimenting, and I’ll let you know my preference; eggs or no eggs.

This ice cream would make a perfect finish to your Fourth of July celebration!

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? And how are you going to celebrate the Fourth? 

 

Apple Rum Ice Cream Topping

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The temperatures here have been hovering in the high 70’s and low 80’s here in the Finger Lakes.  It’s unseasonably warm, but you won’t hear any complaints from me. 

As it happens, I found heavy cream on sale during these warm days. Warm days and heavy cream equals; homemade vanilla ice cream. 

Once I bought the cream, I kept thinking apple pie would taste great with the vanilla ice cream I was about to make, but I just didn’t feel that ambitious.  So instead, I came up with a less ambitious project that generated a delicious, and probably healthier alternative – Maple Apple Rum Topping.

Apple Rum Ice Cream Topping

6 small McIntosh apples, peeled, quartered, and sliced thin

4 tbsp. butter

4 tbsp. light brown sugar

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

3 tsp. Bacardi Gold Rum (Or spiced rum if you prefer)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. corn starch

In a small bowl, add brown sugar and corn starch; mix thoroughly and set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt butter.  Add apples, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and cook on low heat until soft and tender. 

Once apples are tender, add maple syrup, remaining cinnamon, rum, and brown sugar mixture; stir until liquid thickens.  It should appear slightly caramelized. 

Remove from heat and serve warm, or refrigerate and warm in the microwave prior to using. 

This topping is not overly boozy flavored.  The rum does give it a unique flavor.   You can add more rum if you’d like a little more zip, or you can make this without alcohol – just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract in place of the rum. 

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I think a piece of yellow cake or some toasted pecans would also have fit perfectly in this equation.  But only if you aren’t watching calories!

What is your favorite ice cream topping?  Do you buy it, or make it from scratch?

King Kahlua

My most favorite liqueur is Kahlua.  Did you know they claim it takes seven years to make a bottle of this Mexican liqueur?  Aged to perfection I’d say. I love using Kahlua when I make some of my sweet confections. It’s rum base, coffee flavor, and slight hint of vanilla makes it the King in my book.  I have a recipe for an awesome Kahlua cake, a Kahlua mousse recipe that will knock your socks off, and over the weekend I had my first taste of Kahlua fudge – oh, my dear Lord!  But just when I thought it could get any better; I crafted one more Kahlua recipe to add to my trusty recipe box.

Here are two key ingredients you will need.

Any guesses?

Here’s another hint. It goes best on vanilla ice cream. 

Kahlua Hot Fudge Sauce

¼ c. heavy cream (preferably Upstate Farms)
1 tbsp. sugar, plus 1 tsp.
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 dash of salt
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Kahlua

Place all  ingredients (except Kahlua) in double boiler.  Melt on low heat until sugar is dissolved and texture is smooth and creamy.  Add Kahlua; mix thoroughly. Serve while warm, or keep in refrigerator until needed.  Re-warm in microwave when ready to use.  Makes one pint.

This hot fudge is so simple to make.  And it is for certain, the most delicious hot fudge I’ve ever had, especially on homemade vanilla ice cream (pictured below).