Mocha Cupcakes

Last week I whipped up a batch of Mocha Cupcakes with a mocha ganache filling and mocha buttercream icing. YUMMY

They certainly did not last long around here…coffee and chocolate are two things we love! I even took some to my CASA training and gave them out to the ladies I volunteer with. BTW, if you’re interested in volunteering or donating to a wonderful organization that helps children and families involved in the court system check out CASA.

These cupcakes were well received by everyone but be warned…they are very rich!! I will probably leave out the ganache filling when I make them again.

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The chocolate cake recipe is from the Jan/Feb 2012 edition of Food Network Magazine.

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.

Whisk cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups of boiling water in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

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Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth.

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Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in cocoa mixture in a steady stream until just combined, then finish mixing with rubber spatula.

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Divide the batter between 24 lined cupcake tins. Bake 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ganache Ingredients:              

8 1/2 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp butter, room temp

2 tsp instant coffee granules  (more or less depending on how strong you want it)

Ganache Method: 

Chop the chocolate and place in heatproof bowl and add instant coffee granules. Heat the cream until simmering and pour over chocolate. Let this sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.  Add butter and stir until combined.

Set aside to cool.

While the ganache is cooling, use an apple corer or pairing knife to cut the centers out of the cupcakes.  

Once ganache has cooled, spoon into a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut off the end.  Squeeze the ganache into the holes and fill to the top.

Frosting Ingredients:

6 cups powdered sugar (I know, That’s a lot!!)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 (about 1 ounce) shot of espresso, cooled (you can also use strong brewed coffee)

Frosting Method:

Whisk butter in bowl of electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add powered sugar a few tablespoons at a time.

Once the frosting looks thick enough, drizzle the espresso in and whip to combine it.

If the frosting is too thin add more powdered sugar.

You do not have to use all of the powdered sugar, just add enough for it to be thick enough to spread. I ended up using all of the powdered sugar and more because I didn’t let my espresso cool enough (Remember I told y’all I’m very impatient at times).

Ice the cupcakes and decorate with a chocolate covered espresso bean!

 

Banana Bread with Bourbon Sauce

Over ripe bananas are only good for one thing…Banana Bread! I had a few bananas that were past the point of being edible on their own so off I went baking, but I wanted a little more than just banana bread.  I wanted something to top my banana bread…BOURBON!!! Hey, bourbon is good on just about anything and in Kentucky we can think of some pretty creative ways to use it!

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Ingredients for Banana Bread:

1 stick butter, room temperature (use the wrapper to butter the loaf pan)

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 very ripe bananas

1 c. white sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 c. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a wooden spoon (leave some small chunks).

In another large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter & sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Stir in the bananas, sour cream, vanilla and beat until combined (you can add in nuts or chocolate chips at this point if you want).

Stir in the dry ingredients and pour batter in loaf pan.

Place pan on a baking sheet on middle rack of oven.

Bake for 1 hr & 10 min.  Cool 5 min in the pan then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Bourbon Sauce

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Ingredients:

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 c. bourbon ( I probably use more than this)

1/2c. water

Bring brown sugar, white sugar, bourbon & water to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to medium-low and continue to reduce until it is syrupy (about 6 min or so).  Stir it occasionally to prevent it from burning.  Cool for 5 minutes and serve over banana bread.

The bourbon sauce can be stored in the refrigerator.  Just warm it up and stir before serving. I have no idea how long it will keep because it really doesn’t last that long around here. 

Crock Pot Apple Butter

My son and I love apple butter. I was raised eating it on toast and biscuits and I love it so much I can eat it by the spoonful. I was really surprised to find out that not everyone knows what apple butter is.

Boyfriend: “It’s apples and butter, right?”

Me: “Nooooo…There’s no butter in apple butter!”

Boyfriend: “Then why is it called apple BUTTER?”

Heck if I know,why is a driveway called a driveway when you just park on it? If anyone has the answers, please enlighten me.

It must be a Kentucky thing, says my boyfriend!

Since fall is getting ready to start and it’s apple season (not to mention my grandmother gave me 21 pounds of apples when she found out I was thinking about making apple butter) I decided to try my hand at homemade apple butter. I scoured the internet looking for interesting, but easy, recipes and found one on A Year of Slow Cooking. I cut out some of the sugar after reading about how sweet the apple butter turned out and since I’m somewhat health conscious, I figured we didn’t need all that sugar anyway. It turned out just yummy and my boyfriend has now been educated on all things apple butter!

This is cooked completely in the crock pot and takes a day and a half to two days to cook. apple butter canned

Ingredients:

Apples (I used about 8 lbs of small to medium Washington apples)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla

2 teaspoons Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

Directions:

I peeled all the apples first because I didn’t want to pick out the peels after the apples cooked. Believe me, this extra step is worth it.

Core and quarter the apples and place in crock pot.

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Add vanilla. Cover and cook on low for 8 hrs.

After 8 hrs, mash the apples. I used a potato masher. At this point they are almost mush anyway so this was pretty easy. If you didn’t peel the apples now is the time to pick out all the peels.

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Add cinnamon, cloves and sugar and stir.

Cover and cook on low for additional 6 hrs.

Once the apple butter is done, blend with a stick blender (or Immersion blender, if you want to use the fancy name for it). Be careful, it is hot and it will splatter on you, speaking from experience!

That’s it…delish!

finsished apple butter

Now over the hills and through the woods to grandma’s house I go to get her to help me can all of this apple butter!