Monthly Archives: October 2009

Cupcake Friday: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

Source: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Makes: 22

tray

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.

See?

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.

bite

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.

Thai Coconut & Jasmine Rice Soup

Source: Enlightened Soups
Serves: 6 – 8

spoonful

Have you ever gotten a big bowl of that steamed jasmine rice at a Thai restaurant? Where it’s all sticky and smells kind of salty and sweet and nutty at the same time? And the giant bowl is always way too full with rice, but you have to physically restrain yourself from eating every last grain because it is just so warm and good? This soup is kind of like that. Continue reading

Cookie Friday: Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Source: The back of a whole wheat pastry flour bag
Makes: 3 dozen or more, depending on the size you make them

stacked

Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking. You’re all “Man, if Jill is turning this blog into a healthful-baked-treats blog, I am so leaving.” At least, that’s what I’d be thinking if I were you. I love me some healthy, whole-grain food, and I generally try to put good things into my digestive system, but we all know that an abiding love for baked goods can never be squelched, and especially not by the (non)temptation of whole wheat. Continue reading

Pumpkin Apple Spice Bread

loaf

Okay, so it’s 70 degrees and sunny outside and it smells like spring, because I live in San Diego. But it’s autumn-time, dammit, and I’ve been craving pumpkin. This moist, fruity, warmly spiced bread is the perfect vehicle to fulfill my desperate need for fall flavor. And at least it’s chilly in the evenings, when the woodsmoke smell of people faking it saturates the beachy air.

I made this bread on Saturday morning, when it was gray and cool outside, and the smell of it baking made me feel like I was as good as back in Pennsylvania for the holidays. When it came out of the oven, I promptly ate two slices and forced some on Terwilliger. I’d been a little afraid it was overdone, because the crust was getting pretty dark on top, but nope — it’s perfect. And freaking delicious. It’s rare that I don’t bring baked treats into work to foist them upon my coworkers’ waistlines, but with this bread, I’m hoarding it. It’s mine. And T’s, of course. Continue reading

Cupcake Friday: Chocolate & Peanut Butter. Mmmm.

Source: Enlightened Cakes
Makes: 24?

on rack2

For the last couple of weeks, I have been craving chocolate and peanut butter so much that I’ve started to wonder if it’s a sign of some deficiency. It can’t be protein, because I’ve recently discovered Greek yogurt, which is freaking awesome and way high in protein. And it can’t be antioxidants, because come on — I’m not craving a restrained piece or two of the darkest of chocolate.

No, I’ve been craving the pure, unadulterated, utterly ideal combination of salty-sweet peanut butter and smooth milk chocolate. I’ve been craving Reese’s peanut butter cups, people, and I finally surrendered last weekend with the giddy excuse of making cupcakes for my friend Jake’s birthday. Continue reading