Friday, February 6, 2015

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Chocolate Ganache Icing

Chocolate and Raspberries......That's the stuff Valentines Day brings to mind, isn't it?  

But chocolate doesn't have to be in the form of candy, it can be a delectable, delicious, divine, decadent, mouth-watering, baked cupcake.  Have I grabbed your attention yet?

Look at the finished product....don't you just want to take a bite?

Well, if you're willing to make an effort to bake something special for someone(s) you care about, this is the recipe for you.  For best results, I do suggest you use fine quality chocolate and in this case I used Godiva chocolate.

Don't be put off by what looks like a lot of ingredients and many steps.  This is really a simple recipe and very much worth making from scratch.


Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 24-cup muffin pan with mini cupcake liners. Set aside.

1/2 cup buttermilk

6 squares (2 oz.) Godiva 72% Dark Chocolate bar chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of Joe and Son's Butter Olive Oil

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons Joe and Son's Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

Warm the buttermilk and chocolate over the stove or in the microwave on low heat. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder and sugars.

Add the cooled chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar, Butter Olive Oil and eggs. Mix until combined.

 Do not over mix. The batter will resemble a thick pudding.

Divide the batter between the liners in your cupcake pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the Ganache Frosting 

1 cup heavy cream

pinch of salt

2 bars plus 3 squares (8 oz.) Godiva 72% Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Joe and Son's Butter Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Joe and Son's Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar


Combine the heavy cream and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Whisk in the powdered sugar, Butter Olive Oil and the Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar.
 Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the ganache, checking it and stirring every few minutes until it is thick enough to spread.

Transfer the ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe onto cupcakes.






Thursday, February 5, 2015

Strawberry Balsamic Bellini

This is a wonderful choice for a special Valentines celebration, and also works brilliantly for summer evening gatherings. It is a fresh and sweet cocktail, easy to produce and so delicious that you will have your guests smiling over the taste and the simplicity to prepare.

As far as flavor combinations go, it doesn't get much better than this. Strawberries and champagne are so well matched that it's a creation that could only have been forged by the Gods.

The Strawberry Bellini takes that combination to a whole new level. Blending the strawberries and balsamic into the sparkling wine creates a union that could easily be described as heavenly.

                               Try it; you’ll see what I mean.






3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1/4 cup Joe and Son's Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar

Sparkling wine or Prosecco


Blend 3 cups strawberries, confectioners' sugar, and Strawberry Balsamic together in a blender until smooth.
Chill in freezer for 20 minutes or until slushy.
You can make it in advance and freeze it, just let it thaw a bit in advance before your guests arrive.


Put a heaping tablespoon of the strawberry slush into the bottom of a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a slice of strawberry (optional).

Footnote: I have to give credit to “Ashley” for the use of her photo. Mine didn’t look as pretty as hers.