Every year, no matter what kind of wonderful parties and other festivities are going on, at some point there is a slump. Maybe it’s a friend or family member, co-worker, or yourself that goes through a rough patch during the dark, cold winter months. This, unfortunately, is something people tend to ignore and muscle through instead of confronting.
There is a delicious solution for your winter time blues, and it turns out it’s been there all along. Food is the great healer and always has been in every culture on the planet. Chicken soup when you have a cold, a glass of orange juice to get your vitamin C, it’s different for everyone. Many foods have been scientifically proven to have health benefits not the least of which is chocolate. This is not only coming from a long time chocoholic. Ask around, heck, ask your doctor! In fact studies have found dark chocolate in particular to be beneficial to your body and also can help to melt away the stress of your commute.
Now just because chocolate is good for you in moderation does not mean ganache dipped cupcakes are. However if you feel like you deserve a treat (and you most likely do) don’t go half way and eat a snickers bar, get some quality therapy. The kind only chocolate cake can provide, and don’t forget to share. Be well!
Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can try using any type of flour you want as long as it’s fine)
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup organic dark cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1 cup hot coffee (I recommend a darker roast)
1 cup extra light olive oil
1 cup half & half (or 1/2 cup milk/1/2 cup heavy cream)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl sift together all of your dry ingredients. Add coffee, oil and buttermilk and mix until combined. Using a mixer or on low slowly stir in oil, half & half, and coffee until combined. Add one egg at a time allowing them to stir in before adding the next. Then add our vanilla. Mix for 2 minutes to complete your cake batter.
Line a 2 1/2 inch muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each liner about 2/3 of the way full. Bake on your center rack for 25-30 minutes.
Remove your cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
5 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sweet cream butter
1 tablespoon Chambord (can easily be left out or replaced with a different booze such as rum)
In a heat resistant mixing bowl (I prefer glass) combine chocolate, butter, and Chambord.
Heat your cream in a thick bottomed sauce pan until it barely starts boiling (also known as a smiling simmer) then remove from the heat. Whisk the hot cream carefully into your mixing bowl of chocolate until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth. With rubber spatula stir your ganache until it starts to thicken making sure to scrape the sides as you go as to not form lumps. When you can drip the chocolate onto itself and it sort of lingers at the top before melting back in it’s probably ready to dip. This may take some time and practice but, trust me, it’s worth it. A trick I use is writing the letters “mm” quickly in cursive about an inch above the surface. If you can see the first “m” after you finish the last, it’s good.
Carefully dip your cooled cupcakes into your ganache and give them a little twist before pulling them straight out while flipping them right side up in a clockwise (this should be a fluid motion, lefties can go counter clockwise) motion. You can sift a little cocoa powder over the top for garnish or eat them as they sit.
Here are some chocolate and or cupcake related events coming up through Brown Paper Tickets!
Sunday, December 22nd | Truffles and Confections – Now We’re Cookin’ – Evanston, Illinois
Yes, truffles are back! It’s the holidays and whether you give them as gifts, or hoard them for personal indulgence, Now We’re Cookin’ knows you will want to have a stash prepared. Join them for this popular class – they simplify the process of working with chocolate, and show you how easy it can be once you learn the proper technique. Quick and fun, the truffles and chocolate bark you make will impress your friends and family. Let these confections become part of your holiday tradition.
Friday, December 27th | Chocolate Crazy Dinner Tour – New York, New York
Welcome chocolate lovers to the all-chocolate dinner tour. Chocolate will be the main headliner in four fabulous dishes, combined with other mouth-watering foods for unforgettable taste sensations. The tour begins with the decadent Chocolate Pizza, a thin crust dough covered with warm chocolate and topped with toasted marshmallows. The second stop is a top rated dessert shop known for their delectable Triple Chocolate Cupcake, made with Valrhona chocolate, chocolate buttercream frosting covered in chocolate ganache.
Saturday, December 21st | Wine and Chocolate Event – Ramona, California
Salerno Winery in Ramona, California and Johna of So Rich Chocolates have partnered to create a special event for you to enjoy. One white wine, two red wines and one port will be paired with four handmade chocolates. Johna will also have her other chocolate treats available for sale, including her amazing English toffee with prosciutto. Come to the beautiful winery and do your last-minute holiday shopping with wine specials and some of the best chocolates you will ever taste.
Tuesday, January 7th | Chocolate Party!! Chocolate NYC’s One Year Birthday Bash – New York, New York
Chocolate NYC was founded in late 2012 to guide you through the best chocolate of New York and beyond. To celebrate our one year birthday, they’re throwing a party with tasting samples of some of their favorite chocolates. There will be dark chocolate! Mint chocolate! Orange chocolate! Chocolate with nibs! The only thing there will not be is white chocolate, because that stuff is gross.
Saturday, February 15th | Heartfest 2014 – Hinsdale, Illinois
Heartfest is Mend a Heart Foundation’s premier fundraiser benefiting children born with congenital heart defects. The night promises to be a good time! Live music, great food, drink, the ever-popular cupcake bar, raffles and auction will keep guests entertained. They also have a few surprises in store for guests this year! Back at The Community House in Hinsdale, Illinois, they’re stepping out into the Field House for added space.
Image credit: Judith Doyle