Source: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Ahhh, chocolate. Have you ever found yourself in a casual conversation with a group of people, and the news comes out that one of them doesn’t like chocolate? And then there’s this rabid flurry of “You don’t like chocolate???” like the person just confessed that they don’t like breathing air? If you’re a chocolate fiend, you expect others to commiserate and relate, am I right?
But not all chocolate is created equal, as I’m sure you know. If you don’t, well, get yourself a $9 bar of fancy chocolate and compare it to Hershey’s. Go on, I’ll wait. I promise it’s worth it.
Hershey’s has its place as an icon of chocolate, but it doesn’t hold a candle to, say, Scharffen Berger. Or Wilbur’s, in my opinion, but that’s another post for another time. (Okay, just quickly: Wilbur’s and Hershey’s chocolate are both local to where I grew up, so I had plenty of time to compare the two as a discerning chocolate-eating youngster. The Wilbur factory is, in fact, about five blocks away from Husband’s childhood home, so I like to think that maybe, when we were little, just maybe we were there at the same time. Isn’t that romantic? Anyway, the flavor of Wilbur’s chocolate beats the pants off Hershey’s, but then again, Wilbur’s doesn’t have a theme park, so… um… I think I’ve lost sight of where this was going.)
Anyway, the point is that chocolate is awesome, and I’m always on the lookout for the chocolate-themed dessert that is going to blow my mind.
These little flourless cupcakes are… not it.
They are good, mind you, and lushly chocolatey enough without being so dark and rich that you start to wonder if you’re actually eating something the devil concocted to blind you to evil-doings. No, these are not that kind of rich. They are quite light, too, thanks to the whipped egg whites and the smallish amount of added fat in the recipe. They are mousse-like, airy and inclined to dissolve once they hit your tongue.
My mom and I baked these when she was visiting recently, and the picture in the cookbook led us to believe that these little cakelets would come out of the oven with a crusty, cracked meringue crunch on top. They did not. It’s possible that we didn’t bake them for long enough, or maybe we didn’t whip the egg whites to the proper stiffness, but regardless, these cupcakes were not what we expected.
I think I’ve also determined that I prefer my chocolate in chewy brownie form as opposed to airy mousse form. I need some more heft to my chocolate desserts, thank you very much, especially if I’m going to pair them with ice cream.
But I will recommend these cupcakes for a light, easy chocolate dessert. They were pretty quick to come together, and they’re not going to attack your waistline with the vengeance of, say, a ganache.
So tell me: what’s your favorite chocolate dessert? And by the way, “chocolate ice cream” is not an answer ’round these parts.
Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
6 tbsp (3/4) stick of unsalted butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips)
6 large eggs, separated, room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
*I halved the recipe and made 12 small cupcakes. If I make these again, I might up the temp to 325 degrees and see if that crisps up the tops a bit…
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Melt butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave — just do 30-second intervals, stirring after each one.) Stir to combine, then remove bowl from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry (do not overbeat). Whisk one quarter of the beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then gently fold mixture into remaining whites.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes are just set in centers, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes (their centers will sink). Try them warm with vanilla ice cream, or eat them later at room temperature. Best eaten the day they are made, but they’ll keep for a day or so.