Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting

March 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! All week I have been thinking about blogging my recipe for good old fashion Corned Beef and Cabbage but my sweet tooth won out and I couldn’t resist experimenting with creating Chocolate Stout Cupcakes, topped of course, with Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting.

Who would think stout beer would be such a wonderful flavor enhancer to chocolate? These rich, fudgy cupcakes have wonderful dark chocolate flavor but without the bitter beer taste. I have to admit that they are a bit delicate and the tops sink, but the flavor is mouthwatering and if you plan to frost them as I did, it doesn’t matter that the centers form a divot. This recipe works fine if you are making cupcakes using cupcake liners but I think it would be too fragile to use as a cake. At some point I will do more experimenting but this recipe is certainly worth blogging.

Oh, and as for the corned beef…stay tuned because I always make extra so I can make homemade Corned Beef Hash for breakfast!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup Stout Beer, such as Guinness
1 cup Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
½ cup Sour Cream
1 ¼ cup Flour
½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
1 cup (2-sticks) Butter, softened
*
1 ¾ cup Sugar
2 Eggs (extra-large)

* I use salted sweet cream butter. If you use unsalted butter add ¼ tsp. salt to this recipe

Preheat oven to 325°. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Measure cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside. Heat beer in a small saucepan until just boiling. Pour hot beer over cocoa and whisk until thick and smooth. Cool to room temperature. When the chocolate mixture is cool, stir in the sour cream.

In another bowl measure flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth and shiny, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat another minute. Add one third of the flour mixture, mixing well.  Add one third of the chocolate mixture, mixing well. Continue to alternately add the flour and chocolate by thirds until everything is incorporated. The batter will be very thick and easily hold stiff peaks.

Divide batter into the cupcake cups (it is approximately a quarter cup of batter per cup). Bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature before frosting.

NOTE: The cupcakes will sink in the center when they cool off.

Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
¼ cup (½ stick) Butter, softened
1 Tbls. Baileys Irish Cream, boiled*
2-3 cups Confectioners Sugar

* For this recipe I boiled the Baileys it in the microwave for 20 seconds because young children would be eating this dessert. If you will be serving adults you would not need to boil out the alcohol.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and Baileys until well blended and smooth. On low to medium speed, beat in confectioners sugar, a half of a cup at a time. Two cups of confectioners sugar will give you a smooth but drippier consistency.  If you would like to pipe your frosting onto your cupcakes you will need up to three (maybe more) cups of confectioners sugar.

Frosting can be piped onto cupcakes with a cake decorating tip or spread with a knife.

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting.pdf

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Chocolate Mint Cake in a Jar

March 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Our clocks have sprung forward, the weather is warming up, crocuses have popped out of the ground, and St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away. To help usher in the beautiful shades of green that comes with Spring, I’m posting this recipe for Chocolate Mint Cake in a Jar.

I recently came across an article online, “15 Dessert Recipes in a Jar – Cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more by Andrea Roxas” and became fascinated with the concept of eating a decadent dessert out of a jar. I find this simple concept so much fun! It reminds me of when I was a Girl Scout and we made Frito Tacos and ate them around the campfire (taco meat filling, chopped lettuce and tomatoes, stuffed into individual serving size bag of Fritos).

We’ll see where this goes but to start, here is my first entry of “Food in a Jar”…

Chocolate Mint Cake in a Jar

8 – 8 oz. (half pint) glass Bell jars
Pam Canola Oil Cooking Spray

FOR CAKE:

½ cup Cocoa Powder
2 tsp. instant espresso or instant coffee
1 cup Water, boiling
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 ¼ cups Flour
½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
12 Tbls. (1 ½ sticks) Butter*, softened
1 ¼ cups Sugar
2 Eggs

MINT TOPPING:

1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted to remove lumps
2 Tbls. Butter, melted
1 Tbls. Milk
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Peppermint Extract
2-3 drops Green Food Coloring

CHOCOLATE TOPPING

1 cup Semisweet or Dark Chocolate
2 Tbls. Butter
2 Tbls. Milk
½ tsp. Peppermint Extract

* I use salted sweet cream butter. If you use unsalted butter add ¼ tsp. salt to this recipe

In a bowl, combine cocoa powder, instant coffee, boiling water, and vanilla extract.  Mix until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the inside of the jars with cooking spray. Set aside. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth and shiny, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs, beating until well combined. Add 1/3 of flour mixture and beat until combined.  Add 1/3 cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Continue to add flour and cocoa alternately until everything is incorporated.

Pour ½ cup of batter into each jar. Place jars onto an oven safe tray and place in center of preheated oven. Bake for 17 minutes. Cakes are done when a long needle inserted in center comes out clean. Toppings can be added while cakes are warm but not hot.

NOTE: The cakes will rise to the top but shrink down to three-fourths the height of the jar. When the cakes cool they pull away from the glass, so the toppings will drip down the sides as opposed to forming a flat layer of frosting on top of cakes.

TO MAKE MINT TOPPING: In a bowl combine confectioners sugar, melted butter, milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts, and green food coloring. Divide mint topping among jars and pat sides of jar to help spread mint topping onto cakes.

TO MAKE CHOCOLATE TOPPING: In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate, butter, milk, and peppermint extract. Heat on high for 1 minute. Remove and whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not melted through, continue to heat for 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until mixture is smooth. Distribute chocolate evenly among jars on top of Mint Topping, tapping sides to help spread evenly.

Cakes can be served as is or cover with lids to save (3 days at room temp or 5 days in the refrigerator).

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF.

Chocolate Braised Beef Short Ribs

February 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

My nephew once said to me, “I don’t think you’re a Chocoholic…after all a ‘–holic’ is someone with a ‘problem’. You’re more of a…Chocolatarian…chocolate is your way of life.”

For most people, what generally comes to mind when people think about chocolate are images of truffles, steaming cups of hot cocoa, decadent cakes, and warm chocolate chip cookies. But familiar to any true Chocolotarian who has researched the origins of chocolate, it was a not always a sweet confection. The use of the cocoa bean for consumption can be dated back to 1900 BCE but it wasn’t until the 1500s that Europeans added sugar and honey to cocoa and evolved it into to the sweet treat we enjoy today.

I’ve always been intrigued with how chocolate could be used to prepare savory dishes. What I found most common was using cocoa to make Mole, which in itself is deceiving because it is a single word used for a broad array of sauces, many not using chocolate at all. But this blog post is not about Mole but using chocolate in a savory dish. The following recipe combines many of the most common spices used in Mole but adapted to work in a braised dish. The spices are combined to create a dry rub which becomes infused into the dish during the long braising time.

NOTE: I recently tried this recipe using lean stew meat and was very disappointed at the results. The dish lacked the hearty beef flavor that short ribs provide. The beef was dry, did not meld well with the herbs, and the overall flavor was surprisingly tart. There was relatively little fat to skim before serving but for this recipe stick with the fattier full flavor of the short ribs.

Chocolate Braised Beef Short Ribs (GF)

This recipe is inspired by Mole but instead of making a sauce, similar herbs are used as a dry rub. Despite the strong complex flavors of the various seasonings in this recipe, they meld together and are enhanced by the hearty flavor of the beef short ribs.

1 Tbls. Sesame Seeds, toasted and ground
2 Tbls. Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
2 Tbls. Penzey’s Chili Powder, regular [1]
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Coriander
1/8 tsp. Cloves
1/4 tsp. Salt and Pepper
2 Tbls. Oil, vegetable
2 slices Bacon, thick cut [2]
5 lb. Beef Short Ribs
1 Tbls. Turbinado Sugar (white or brown sugar can be substituted)
2 Shallots, sliced
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1 cup Carrots, chopped
1 28 oz. can Tomato, diced (Recommend San Marzano type.)
1 1/2 cups Cabernet Wine
1 1/2 cups Beef Broth

In a small bowl, combine sesame seeds, cocoa powder, Penzey’s chili powder, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, salt, and pepper. Rub the herb mixture onto the beef short ribs being sure to coat all surfaces well.

Preheat oven to 325°. Heat oil in a Dutch Oven or heavy stove-to-oven-safe pan. Brown bacon, being sure not to over cook (bacon should be brown and crisp but not hard or burnt). Set bacon aside and chop into ¾-inch pieces.

In the same pan, brown beef short ribs on medium-high heat but be careful not to burn the ribs or pan. After browned, lower heat to medium and sprinkle turbinado sugar onto ribs, being sure to get a little on each rib. Let sit for 1 minute to let sugar melt into meat. Remove ribs and set aside.

In the same pan, sauté shallots, celery, and carrots until vegetables look lightly glazed, about 3 minutes.

Return beef short ribs and bacon to pan.  Add tomatoes, Cabernet wine, and beef broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and place pan in the center of oven. Braise for 3 hours, checking around the 2 hour mark to see if it needs more liquid. If needed, add more beef broth.

Before serving, skim fat off of top or you can make this dish a day ahead, refrigerate and remove solidified fat prior to reheating.

SERVING RECOMMENDATIONS: Serve over mashed potatoes or a smooth Polenta. The ribs have a very robust flavor so this dish generally goes best with a bland starch accompaniment.

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Chocolate Braised Beef Short Ribs (GF).pdf

* Gluten allergy and intolerance has become increasingly common.  I will not go into detail about the specific symptoms, causes, or differences but I will note beside the recipe titles “(GF)” for those recipes that are gluten free.  Please note that although I have labeled these recipes to be gluten free you must do your due diligence to review ingredient labels of prepared products to verify that they are truly gluten free. Also consider the side you choose to serve. In some recipes I recommend pasta or bread, which in most cases are not gluten free.


[1] I specifically used Penzey’s brand of Chili Powder because of its blend of Ancho Chili pepper, cumin, garlic, and Mexican Oregano.

[2] I recommend Wellshire Farm’s Black Forest Bacon. Remember the type and flavoring in the bacon will effect your dish. For example, if you choose a maple or heavily smoked flavored bacon it will have a significant impact on the overall flavor, which may not be bad, just an element to consider.

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