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Monday, September 26, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This week's Dawg Dish meeting was all about pairing ingredients that normally wouldn't go together. I've been wanting to try this out for a while, and with a challenge like that, I couldn't put it off any longer.

Cupcakes adapted from this post at Foodologie, which was in turn adapted from this Hershey's recipe that I've been using since I discovered it in one of my mom's cookbooks

Frosting adapted from Food Network


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot water

Start by combining all the dry ingredients. In the baking world, sugar is usually not allowed to play dry ingredient reindeer games, but he can tag along in this recipe.

I was mildly apprehensive.

A different kind of baking soda volcano

Stir these together and add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat all of these on medium speed for two minutes. If you're mixing by hand, mix until well combined.


Add the water and stir until well combined. Your batter will be very thin.

I can't tell them apart.

Pour into a lined cupcake pan. Each cup should hold about 1/6 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or set. Let them cool. Seriously. You'll be able to tango with about three dozen of these spicy lovelies once you've used all the batter, so there's no need to hurt yourself.

Temptation and first-degree burns


1 stick of butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-ish cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together the butter and cream cheese.

Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla.

Resist the urge to dip your face in the bowl.

Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Toppings (optional):

Mexican hot chocolate
Red hots

When I say Mexican hot chocolate, I mean those hexagonal or circular blocks of cinnamon-y chocolate-y deliciousness you'll find in your local grocery store. I think a lot of toppings would work on these; I actually wanted to use cinnamon gummies instead of the red hots, but they're kind of seasonal.

Chop the hot chocolate blocks into small pieces or powder or however they turn out.

I tried shaving, pounding with a knife, and finally chopping. If you have a food processor, using that would probably be a lot easier.

Sprinkle the fairy dust on your cupcakes.

And add your cinnamon candy of choice!

You'll wind up with a not-too-spicy cupcake. The cream cheese definitely balances everything out, but be sure to have some sort of beverage handy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chocolate Almond Meringue Cookies

Adapted from this recipe at Strawberry Spice

Well, I was going to make these cookies for a tailgate, but said tailgate was canceled, so I just halved the recipe and made them anyway. The halved recipe made about a dozen cookies.


1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (plus extra for dusting if desired)
1/8 cup cocoa powder
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
As many semi-sweet chocolate chips as you want (I used about a third of a bag)

First of all, do something with your almonds. If you so desire, you can pulverize them in a food processor and have a fine almond flour for your cookies. If you want some extra texture in your cookies or don't have a food processor, put your almonds in a bag and start smashing away until you get the desired consistency.

I don't recommend using your remote to do this, but it will get the job done.

Now combine the powdered sugar, cocoa and almonds.



And mix!

Add the chocolate chips.

Now turn your attention to the egg whites.

Whip them (whip them good) with the salt until they're opaque.

Increase the speed and gradually add sugar. Beat the egg whites and sugar until they're smooth and glossy. Basically, you want the Lucius Malfoy of egg whites.

Pimp cane optional

Once they're glossy, make sure the meringue holds a stiff peak. Then beat in the vanilla.

Now fold the sugar mixture into the meringue. It will deflate a bit. Be sure to not over-mix.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets. You can dust them with sugar if desired.
I personally like them both ways.

Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, then without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and bake for an hour longer. If you prefer a more undercooked cookie (or are impatient), feel free to knock off the last ten minutes like I did.

Let them cool completely. They're worth it.

Chewy, crunchy chocolate clouds of loveliness... on a paper towel