Tag Archives: chocolate

chocolate, guinness and blackcurrant cupcakes

I heard someone once say that St. Patrick’s Day without a drink is like Christmas Day without a tree! On the 17th of March St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated throughout Ireland and there will be lots of “ceoil agus crack” (music and fun), with the  festivities running well into the night! Many pints of the famous Irish drink called  Guinness will be served and even the drink itself will be turned green for the occasion.

Guinness is a rich dense black looking liquid with a distinctive burnt and tangy flavour and when poured has a thick creamy head which floats on top. Even though I love the look of Guinness I have never acquired a taste for it! I always think of Guinness as a man’s drink, but back in Ireland in my younger days we ladies were known to have a half pint or two… but with a feminine twistblackcurrant! The blackcurrant cordial makes this bittersweet drink more palatable and turns the creamy head into a delicate light pink… much more lady like.

Cooking with rather than drinking Guinness is my preference, it adds a depth of flavour and richness to cooking and baking which is not always so apparent.  So, based on this famous Irish drink I decided to bake some not so overly sweet chocolate cupcakes with a blackcurrant center, topping them off with fresh whipped cream to echo the creamy head that sits on top of a pint of Guinness! Sláinte


Chocolate, Guinness and Blackcurrant Cupcakes

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                            

  • 50g sour cream
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50ml whole milk
  • 150ml Guinness
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 25g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 4 tablespoons blackcurrant jam
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 1 -2 teaspoons of icing sugar
  • edible glitter (optional)

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/170 Fan/Gas 5.  Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cases.

In a medium mixing bowl add the sour cream and mix with a whisk until smooth. Next add in the butter, egg, vanilla, milk and Guinness, whisk gently until all ingredients are combined.

In a larger mixing bowl sieve in the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and  bicarbonate of soda. With a large spoon throughly mix all the dry ingredients together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and using a large spoon gently mix and fold together until just combined and no dry ingredients are visible.

As the batter is fairly liquid use a large globe ice-cream scoop or a small cup to help fill the cupcake cases with. Fill no more than three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed with your fingers. Remove cupcakes from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before removing from the tin and transferring onto a wire rack to cool.

When cold use a cupcake corer to hollow out the center of each cupcake and fill each one with a teaspoon of blackcurrant jam.

I used a cupcake corer which is a handy little gadget to hollow out the middle of these cupcakes, but you can use an apple corer instead!

In a medium mixing bowl pour in the cream and add the icing sugar. With an electric whisk, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form, be careful at this stage or you could end up with butter.

The fresh cream can be piped onto the cupcakes an hour or two before serving. Using a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle, pipe a swirl of cream on top of each cupcake. Or simply place a neat blob of cream on top using a spoon. If using, dust over some edible glitter for a sparkle effect.  Serve or store in the fridge until needed

chocolate dipped strawberries with orange flavoured liqueur

Having acquired a flavour injector from a friend and wanting to put the injector to some culinary use, I decided to make a favourite of mine… strawberries dipped in dark chocolate… but this time injecting the strawberries with a subtle flavour of Grand Marnier (orange flavoured liqueur), making these delicious gourmet treats a little extra special.

Using the flavour injector is quite a simple procedure but does take a little practice. Too much pressure applied when injecting the strawberries resulted in me desperately trying to control the escaping stream of liqueur from the needle tip, air trapped in the syringe and you will have a spray of liqueur… now if I was a medical student I may have just killed my first patient! I do suggest setting aside a few strawberries so you can practice your injecting skills… you never know you might just get addicted!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Grand Marnier

Ingredients:

  • 24 medium-sized strawberries
  • Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
  • 200g of good quality dark or milk chocolate (approximately)
  •  edible glitter dust (optional)

Useful Kitchen Jewelry: 

  • flavour injector
  • toothpick
  • silicone baking mat
  • cookie sheet
  • heat-proof bowl
  • saucepan

How to make:

Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or some baking parchment.

Wash and dry the strawberries (do not remove the stems), make sure the strawberries are completely dry as water will cause the chocolate to “seize up,” turning it into a grainy mess.

Tip: Before injecting the strawberries with the liqueur, insert a toothpick just under the stem to create a hollow channel about 3/4 ways down into the middle of the strawberry, otherwise bits of the strawberry get caught in the needle and block the flow of liqueur. While the toothpick is inserted in the strawberry, gently wiggle it around to create a cavity for the liqueur.

Insert the needle and carefully fill the strawberry cavity with the liqueur. Set the strawberries aside for about 15 minutes to help dry off any liqueur that might have overflowed, also room temperature strawberries (cold causes condensation) work better with melted chocolate than refrigerated ones.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate until smooth in a heat-proof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.

Holding onto the stem, carefully dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate, giving the strawberry a little shake as you withdraw it from the chocolate, twisting slightly before placing onto a prepared cookie sheet.

Refrigerate the tray of strawberries until the chocolate has set before transferring onto a serving plate.

 Add a little touch of sparkle… dust the chocolate dipped strawberries with some edible glitter dust! 
Do you have a flavour injector and what do you use it for?

A Real Hot Chocolate Fix

What to make for the Death by Chocolate Blog Hop, hosted by The Hungry Australian.

Thinking…  a decadent chocolate cake or some fudgy brownies, what about  chocolate pots, or maybe a rich chocolate mousse. The list is endless when chocolate is the subject and in the end, decided on “Real Hot Chocolate”… a fix of liquid chocolate in a mug. Good quality chocolate and cocoa percentage is the defining factor for flavour and intensity and it’s all a matter of taste.

Real Hot Chocolate with a Hint of Cinnamon

Ingredients: 

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate (around 50% to 60% cocoa solids)
  • 600ml whole fresh milk
  • 2 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

How to make:

With a sharp knife chop the chocolate into small pieces and place into a heat-proof bowl.

Pour the milk into a heavy-based saucepan and with a whisk blend in the powdered milk. Place the saucepan on medium heat and bring the milk to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the boiling milk over the chopped chocolate. Use the whisk to stir continuously until the milk and chocolate combine completely.

Pour the hot chocolate into cups or small mugs and serve with a cinnamon stick. Using cinnamon sticks to stir the hot chocolate with will impart a slight cinnamon taste.

The Cocoa Bean Pod… the beginning of all our chocolate addictions.

Try different types of chocolate, milk, dark, or even white. Chocolate with chilli or flavoured with orange could also be used. Using chocolate with 70% to 90% cocoa solids will need sweetening with sugar, unless you enjoy the taste of bitter chocolate.

This post was part of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop! Click on the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop Badge to check out all the other “Death by Chocolate” entries!
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