Heart’s Desire

HeartsDesireMuffin

Rich & moist, chocolate banana muffins with dried cherries and bittersweet chocolate.

Heart’s Desire Muffins

Makes 5

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. granulated white sugar

1/4 c. natural cocoa

1 1/4 t. baking powder

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. baking soda

3/4 c. mashed overripe banana

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted

1/4 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. dried cherries

1 1/2 oz. fine bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

2 T. confectioner’s sugar, stirred together with a pinch of cinnamon.

Cinnamon gumdrops, optional, or desired garnish

Paper heart-shaped muffin molds*

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together banana, butter, and buttermilk.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until no dry spots show. Fold in cherries and broken chocolate.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin molds. Smooth tops with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake for about 22 minutes or until muffins are firm to the touch.
  7. Sift confectioner’s sugar blend over muffins. Garnish, if desired. Serve (either in paper molds or removed from them.)
  • Available through Wilton and speciality baking supply companies.

Enjoy!

May your heart be full  of happiness this Valentine’s Day!

HeartsDesireMuffin@

Kentucky Bourbon Balls


BourbonBalls

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Makes 24 pieces of confections

Ingredients

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate

2 oz. semisweet chocolate

1/4 c. unsalted butter

2 T. Kentucky Bourbon

2 c. confectioner’s sugar

2 T. dried currants or chopped raisins.

3/4 c. chopped nuts

Directions

1. Melt together chocolates and butter, stirring until perfectly smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in Bourbon, then sugar until mixture is soft, smooth and glossy. Stir in currants or raisins.

2. Scoop about 2 t. of mixture and roll into a ball. Roll in chopped nuts to coat. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

These confections are a delight to lovers of chocolate & Bourbon and are super easy to make! Enjoy!

Happy Pi Day! Even Pros Have Their Off Days/Adventures with Bailey’s Chocolate Cream Pie

To celebrate Pi Day – 3.14.15 – a chocolate cream pie made with Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur! Happy Pi Day!

BaileysChocolateCreamPie

This is an incredibly delicious pie with a wonderful texture. So why is part of the title to this post “Even Pros Have Their Off Days”? I really, really wanted to make this pie for Pi Day. And I did; but things didn’t go perfectly smoothly. First, I wanted to make a gluten-free version, but my crust flopped. So then I made a non-gluten-free crust, which turned out fine. But then, I was behind schedule and I cut into the pie too early and it flopped onto the plate. So I stuck it in the freezer to firm it up for photographing it, but by the time it firmed up, the whipped cream in my pastry bag had lost its umph and I had to pull a can of whipped cream out of the fridge – strictly for emergency purposes. The lesson: ah, all’s well that turns out well. In other words, all is good that tastes good and makes people happy – which this pie does : ) Happy Pi Day!

Bailey’s Chocolate Cream Pie

(Note, this pie requires considerable chilling time – 3 periods of at least 1 hour )

Pie Crust 

1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

1 1/2 T. Dutch process cocoa

1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted

Bailey’s Chocolate Cream Pie Filling

1 1/4 c. whole milk, divided

2 T. + 2 t. cornstarch

3/4 c. Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Bailey’s Semisweet Ganache 

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

5 T. heavy cream

1 T. Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur

Bailey’s Whipped Cream

1 c. heavy whipping cream

2 T. Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur

1/4 c. granulated white sugar – or confectioner’s sugar, sifted or whisked until smooth

Optional Garnishes

Shaved bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Chocolate sprinkles

Toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped

Green decorator’s sugar

Directions

(1) Make pie crust – Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9″ pie plate and set aside. Whisk together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cocoa. Stir in melted butter until crumb mixture is evenly moist. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of pie plate and bake for 7 minutes.

(2) Cool crust – Remove pie crust from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 1 hour.

(3) Make filling – Whisk the cornstarch into 1/4 c. of the whole milk. Set aside. Place the remaining 1 c. of milk, Bailey’s and chocolate chips in a medium non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Whisk frequently and scrape down sides of pan. Once chocolate chips are melted, whisk in the milk-cornstarch mixture, continuing to whisk and scrape down sides of pan, until the mixture comes to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, whisk constantly, making sure to get scrape the sides of the pan, until the mixture is thickened to the consistency of chocolate pudding.

(4) Fill crust and cool – Remove pie filling from heat and immediately pour into the pie crust. Quickly spread the filling to an even layer. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour or until completely chilled.

(5) Make ganache, once pie filling has cooled – Combine heavy cream and Bailey’s. Bring to a simmer in a pan on the stove top or in the microwave in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Immediately remove cream from heat and add chopped chocolate. Place in warm spot and let sit for 4 minutes, then stir until perfectly uniform.

(6) Top and chill – Remove pie from refrigerator and pour ganache mixture over pie filling. Return pie to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour.

(7) Make whipped cream, once pie is thoroughly chilled – Place ingredients in a large bowl, and beat on high speed until stiff. (If desired, transfer to a pastry bag for piping.)

(10) To serve, cut pie slices. (For best results, wipe the knife blade after each cut.) Plate the pie servings. Top with whipped cream and your choice of optional garnishes. Enjoy, what ever day it is!

Orange Chocolate Chip Baked Donuts

Warm from the oven, these baked donuts are hard to resist!
DonutsOrangeChocChip

Orange Chocolate Chip Baked Donuts

Donut batter ingredients:

1 3/4 c. + 2 T. white rice flour (for gluten-free) or all-purpose flour

1/3 c. granulated white sugar

2 t. baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 c. buttermilk

2 lg. eggs

2 T. unsalted butter, melted

2 t. fresh, finely grated orange zest

1 t. orange extract

2.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Topping ingredients:

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/4 t. ground cinnamon

1 T. + 1 t. fresh orange juice

1/2 t. orange extract

2 T. honey

cinnamon sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 6-mold donut baking pan with oil, set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, orange zest, and orange extract. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth. If the batter is a little too stiff, slowly stir in just a little bit more buttermilk. Fold in chopped chocolate.

4. Divide the batter between the oiled donut molds. Spread batter with the back of a spoon to smooth out tops. If needed, run your fingers under cold water, shake them off lightly, then use them to shape the donuts. Batter will stand slightly above the top of the donut pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until done to the touch.

5. While the donuts are baking, prepare the topping. Stir together confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, orange juice, orange extract, and honey until very smooth.

6. When donuts are done baking, invert onto a cooling rack. Glaze right away, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.

More baked donut recipes:

Strawberry Shortcake Donuts

Cinnamon-Dipped Donuts

Enjoy! Have a great day!

Black Forest Cupcakes

CupcakeBlackForest

These light-textured chocolate cupcakes, served with whipped cream and cherries, are really fun for guests. An added bonus is that you can make the cupcakes ahead of time and freeze them until you have company. Just thaw, top with whipped cream, garnish and serve! Ready to start thinking about Valentine’s Day?

Black Forest Cake Cupcakes

Makes about 24

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour

2/3 c. Dutch-process cocoa powder*

1 1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 c. whole milk (or sour cream for a denser cupcake)

3 lg. eggs

2 t. cherry liqueur

1 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. dried cherries, finely chopped

2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish

Sweetened whipped cream for topping

24 fresh dark sweet cherries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 12-muffin pans with muffin papers.**
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into medium size bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat together milk, eggs and cherry liqueur. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  5. On low speed, beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape sides. On medium speed, beat in 1/2 of wet ingredients. Scrape sides. Repeat, beating in 1/3 of  flour mixture, remaining 1/2 of wet ingredients, and then remaining 1/3 of flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl in between.
  6. Mix together chopped cherries and chocolate and then fold them into the cupcake batter.
  7. Divide batter equally between muffin cups. Cups should be about 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 20 –  25 minutes or until no wet spots appear on muffin tops and muffins are firm to the touch. Do not overbake.
  9. Place muffin pans on baking racks for 15 minutes, then remove muffins, and place them on racks to finish cooling.
  10. To serve, top with whipped cream, grated chocolate and a fresh cherry.

Enjoy!

* If you need to, you can substitute natural cocoa, but Dutch-process has better flavor in this recipe.

** I use plain white papers for baking, then slip the muffins into decorative papers or foils for serving.

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

CandyCaneHotChocolate3

When shopping recently, I found these Snowman Marshmallows and could’t wait to make a special hot chocolate to go with them. For this recipe I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate, Hershey’s Chocolate Mint Candy Canes and Peeps Marshmallows. “Hmmm, yum!” My company and I enjoyed our hot chocolate and cookies.

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

Makes 3 servings

4.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces

1/4 c. candy cane pieces (about 3 candy canes broken into pieces)

12 oz. boiling water

4 oz. half and half

whipped cream for garnish

shaved chocolate for garnish

whole candy canes for garnish

marshmallows for garnish, optional

Place chocolate and candy cane pieces in a small non-stick pan. Pour boiling water over chocolate and candy canes. Stir. Turn low heat on under pan. Whisk chocolate mixture until smooth. Whisk in half-and-half and continue to heat mixture until hot, but not boiling. Meanwhile,  assemble ingredients for garnishing. Carefully ladle into serving cups and garnish. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

CandyCaneHotChocolate

Related Recipes:

Chocolat Chaud Recipe

Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies

Have a great day!

North Pole Cupcakes

NorthPoleCupcakes4

These festive, chocolatey-peppermint, cheesecake cupcakes are easy to make with a food processor and can be made ahead of time and frozen so that you have them on hand for holiday company or surprise visitors – that is, unless a certain someone in your house likes to sneak into the freezer and eat them as is. You might need to make extras!  Enjoy!

North Pole Cupcakes

An easy to make, festive treat for the winter holiday season!

makes 12

Ingredients

• 12 Mint Oreo cookies (or gluten-free sandwich-style cookies)

• 2/3 c. granulated white sugar

• 16 miniature peppermint candy canes, divided

• 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips

• 16 oz. cream cheese, softened

• 1/4 c. sour cream

• 2 lg. eggs

• 1 T. chocolate liqueur

• 1/2 t. mint extract

• whipped cream for topping (canned is ok)

• shaved chocolate, chocolate sprinkles, sugar pearls, or sugar sprinkles for garnish

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers. Place one cookie in the center of each muffin paper.  (The cookies will be a little smaller than the bottom of the muffin cups, but the cookies puff out during baking.)

2. Unwrap 4 of the candy canes and break candy into small pieces (should be about 1 T.). Using a large food processor, process sugar and broken candy canes until they are crushed to a fine consistency. Add chocolate chips and process until the chips are finely crushed. Add cream cheese and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add sour cream and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add eggs, chocolate liqueur, and mint extract. Process or beat until well blended and perfectly smooth. Scrape down bowl.

3. Divide cheesecake batter between muffin cups, filling to the top, but not over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheesecake batter is puffy and set in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. (The cupcakes will sink in the middle as they cool and don’t look very pretty until garnished.)

4. Once completely cool, cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. (Once cooled, muffins can be removed from the baking pan, placed in a plastic container, covered tightly, and frozen until shortly before serving. If no one sneaks into the freezer to eat them, cupcakes should keep for about 1 month.)

5. Serve cold. (If frozen, remove cupcakes from freezer shortly before serving – about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, remove muffin papers. Garnish each cupcake with whipped cream, shaved chocolate or other decorations, and an unwrapped candy cane. Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Variation: Instead of whipped cream, top with chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream flavored with peppermint.