Chocolate Dipped Strawberry-Chocolate Cupcakes are heaven

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Cupcakes:

2 cups self-rising flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs, separated, egg whites beaten stiff

3 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup fresh strawberries, mashed

about 7 cups powdered sugar

Ganache:

12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

22-24 strawberries for tops of cupcakes

1/4 cup white chocolate, melted

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with about 22-24 liners; set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat well between additions. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and blend well. In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. Add in thirds the flour and half the milk to the butter mixture; blend just until combined. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Beat the egg whites until stiff in a separate bowl.  Fold in the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Scoop evenly 2/3 full into the liners. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Remove from oven and allow to set for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

Combine all the ingredients and beat until blended and fluffy. Add sugar gradually until it’s the correct consistency. Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large start tip and pipe on cooled cupcakes.

Ganache:

Heat cream and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until blended completely. Place the ganache and drizzle some over the cupcakes. With the remaining ganache dip strawberries into ganache and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Place dipped strawberries in the refrigerator to allow the ganache to set up. Meanwhile melt the white chocolate. Remove from the refrigerator and drizzle the melted white chocolate over the firm dipped berries. Place back in the refrigerator to allow white chocolate to firm up . Once the chocolate coating is firm on the berries place one on each cupcake.

There’s nothing like a gourmet Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwich to satisfy the soul.

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1(8 oz.) package Cream Cheese, room temperature

1 cup grated Fontina cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons grated Pecorino

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 small jar marinated artichokes , drained

salt and pepper; to taste

Sour dough bread

Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade except the bread and process until fully combined. Spread on slices of sour dough bread .  Lightly butter the outside of the sandwiches and grill until golden.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

1 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts, divided

1 jar store bought caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin pans for 24 cupcakes.

In a saute pan saute the apples and 1/2 cup sugar until caramelized. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a large bowl , beat the 1 cup sugar, oil and eggs on low until blended. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla and salt; beat on low just until blended. Stir in caramelized apples and 1 cup nuts.

Divide equally among the muffin cups. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Careful not to over bake. Cool 10 minutes in pan and then remove from pan to cool completely. Frost once cooled.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. cinnamon

2-3 tsp. milk

4 cups powdered sugar

3 peeled and cored apple sliced into 24 slices

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

Saute the apple, butter and brown sugar until caramelized. Set aside to cool completely.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat all the ingredients smooth and fluffy.

Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Place a caramelized apple slice on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with nuts and drizzle store bought caramel sauce over the top.

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

1 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts, divided

1 jar store bought caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin pans for 24 cupcakes.

In a saute pan saute the apples and 1/2 cup sugar until caramelized. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a large bowl , beat the 1 cup sugar, oil and eggs on low until blended. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla and salt; beat on low just until blended. Stir in caramelized apples and 1 cup nuts.

Divide equally among the muffin cups. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Careful not to over bake. Cool 10 minutes in pan and then remove from pan to cool completely. Frost once cooled.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. cinnamon

2-3 tsp. milk

4 cups powdered sugar

3 peeled and cored apple sliced into 24 slices

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

Saute the apple, butter and brown sugar until caramelized. Set aside to cool completely.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat all the ingredients smooth and fluffy.

Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Place a caramelized apple slice on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with nuts and drizzle store bought caramel sauce over the top.

Very Berry Mini Cheesecake Bites are great used for sweet appetizers and can easliy be turned into savory as well.

Very Berry Mini Cheesecake Bites

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg , room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 cup sugar

seedless raspberry jam

Mixed Fresh berries, black berries, blueberries, raspberries

12 vanilla wafer cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly butter a 12 hole mini cheese cake pan. Place a vanilla wafer in each slot; set aside.

In a stand mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla and zest; blend until well combined. Evenly divide into each of the 12 indention’s.  Using a 1/4 tsp. measure, spoon raspberry jam on top of each cake. Place a whole blueberry on top of the jam. Using a spoon , push the jam and berry into the center of each cake. Smooth the tops. Place in oven and bake for about 14 minutes or until set. The tops will fall as they cool. Remove from pans after they have cooled for about 20 minutes. Place on rack to continue to completely cool. Using a thin knife , slide it under the each cake to remove the metal disc. Dollop a small amount of jam on top of each cake and decorate with the mixed berries.

For savory bites, substitute crackers for vanilla wafers, sauteed vegetables for garnish and chutney replacing the fruit jam in this recipe. Use fresh herbs to brighten it up.