Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Desserts...


My favorite flair on Facebook is "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" -- Love it! Although there are new cupcakeries (is that a word?) on every corner these days, you just can't beat a cupcake made from scratch right at home! I found a delicious recipe for the chocolate cupcake that included Ghirardelli chocolate and coffee -- the perfect mocha cupcake! A little cream cheese frosting, and some mini chocolate chips = Heaven.
Ghirardelli Mocha Cupcakes (Recipe from AllRecipes.com)
Cupcakes:
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup whole milk plus
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Frosting:
6 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Ghirardelli Milk or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 cupcake molds or muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.
To make the cupcakes, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, and white sugar. Whisk in the milk, coffee, and melted butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake molds, filling them about three-quarters full.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Using a small spatula or knife, remove the cupcakes from the pan. Continue to cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
To make the frosting, melt the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl, over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Heat the cream until hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. Transfer to a bowl and cool to just warm. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Let sit until it reaches a spreading consistency, about 1 hour. Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Sprinkle them with chocolate chips.
NOTE: This recipe includes a chocolate frosting. On my cupcakes, I made a cream cheese frosting because that is what my boy requested! Very yummy either way...

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Perfect Midnight Snack...


Yes, I do think of the upcoming New Year, and my goals (one of which is eating healthier and starting a workout program -- like the rest of America!), but then I quickly push it way to the back of my mind and go and search the kitchen for one more delicious holiday dessert! I figure I have four more good days left before I have to be really disciplined, so why not make the best of it?! So, tonight I chose my favorite late night snack: homemade pound cake and a glass of milk. Yum! (You can tell from the above layout just how much I really do love homemade -- not store bought -- pound cake!) The kids were all sleeping, my husband was up watching a movie, and I sat by the fire and enjoyed every single morsel of my sweet treat!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Different Perspective...


My son recently visited Santa, and was delighted to have quite a lengthy conversation with him. A day or so later, he was telling me that he really thought the Santa he visited at the mall was the real Santa, not one of his helpers. That he could just tell by the way this Santa talked, and what he said, that he was the real deal. I could tell how excited he was, and told him that Santa himself did occasionally make special visits around Christmastime. He then asked me if I had ever seen the real Santa in person. I told him no, that I hadn't, but I then told him a story from my childhood how my sister and I were completely convinced that we saw Santa's sleigh up in the sky late one Christmas Eve. We saw the magical red light high up in the sky that we just knew was Rudolph's nose, and that he was leading Santa and his sleigh to our hometown. My son listened with great interest, and then instantly asked me if I took a picture of the sleigh. I told him no, that back in the seventies people just didn't carry their cameras around with them. (He's used to me having my small point & shoot in my purse at all times, and usually my digi SLR sitting on the kitchen counter top.) He then asked in total seriousness if I had at least taken a picture of it with my cell phone. I laughed, and once again answered no, and then explained that I didn't even own a cell phone until the mid-nineties, when I was already out of college and working a full-time job. All of the sudden, he came running over to me and gave me the biggest hug. He looked up at me, shook his little head, and said, "Gosh Mommy, I'm so sorry you had such a rough childhood!" I knew then that I just had to document this moment... :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1st...The Big Day is Here!


Day One of Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas! Guess what? I've actually done the assignment! (For those of you who know what a procrastinator I am, Surprise! For those of you who don't know me, just pretend you didn't read this part and think I'm one of those "On the Ball" over-achievers, 'kay?) I definitely prefer the 8x8 size compared to last year's 12x12. I feel like I can squeeze in a 8x8 layout even on a crazy day. Had fun, enjoyed the process -- hooray! :)