Monday, July 4, 2011

An Easy Chocolate Dessert

Happy Fourth of July! And Happy Birthday to my sister and niece--both firecrackers!

I haven't shared a recipe with you in a long time and this is a good one, so here goes--It is an adaptation from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe--Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes. I think the name is a little deceiving because it really is chocolate cakes with fresh strawberries on top. They looked festive and were easy to transport to a Fourth of July party last night. 

1/2      cup butter
1         cup sugar
1/3      cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1         egg
1         teaspoon vanilla
1         cup all-purpose flour
1/2      teaspoon baking powder
1/4      teaspoon baking soda
1/8      teaspoon salt
3/4      cup milk
1/4      cup strawberry jam (I used more)
           Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache (see recipe for 3 ingredients)
           halved strawberries
           Cool whip or whipped cream for topping
           Chocolate curls or nuts for garnish if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour or line with paper baking cups twelve 2-1/2 inch muffin cups; (I stretched it to 14.); set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Add egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly just until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the edges; carefully remove cupcakes. Cool completely on a wire rack. (I used paper liners and made them the day before, storing in a air-tight container. When ready to use, remove liners.As if you didn't know that!
  5. Place in cups or individual dessert dishes. (These are Chinet--9 oz.) Spread strawberry jam over each cupcake. (I was fortunately enough to have yummy homemade that someone gave me.)
  6. Prepare Chocolate Ganache. (below) Spoon ganache over cupcakes, covering top and letting it run down sides. Spoon strawberries over that, then drizzle lightly with ganache, letting strawberries show through. Dollop with whipped cream. Could add chocolate shavings or finely chopped nuts if desired. 
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup whipping cream just to boiling over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips and do not stir. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then stir until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until ganache is smooth. That's it!

And while I'm in the kitchen and thinking of it, I have two tips to pass on to you---
  1. I  was serving bananas flambe and wanted some glass desserts bowls. Not finding the right size anywhere for what I was willing to spend, I went to the dollar store and bought glass candy dishes with lids. I didn't need the lids, but the dishes were just perfect! I have used them for a lot of other things too.
  2. Save the inner bags from cereal or cracker boxes. When it comes time to pound chicken pieces or tenderize meat, these are perfect because they are heavy and will endure the wear and tear. I have used them when I wanted to chop nuts also. 
Hope you enjoy the little break from my crafting. Thanks for stopping by.

Oh, and for you mah jongg players, can I brag that I got a pure mah jongg yesterday? It was concealed too, but I did not realize it because my change purse was in the way! Ha! It was in the 369 section and I had never played it before. Fortunately I did not expose anything.

Have a wonderful day. If you are traveling, be safe.

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