Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate cupcakes

It’s my friend’s birthday tomorrow, and she specifically requested that there be chocolate cupcakes at the game today to celebrate. With a request like that, how could I refuse? The only problem is that I’ve never really made chocolate cupcakes before and had no idea what I was doing.

I decided to use her own recipe and immediately ran into confusion: what temperature to set the oven? The first line of the recipe says to preset it to 375, but the last line says to bake for 15 minutes at 400. What’s a girl to do? I set it somewhere in the middle and called it good.

It also occurred to me after I started pouring that I really should have used my jumbo paper molds instead of the regulars — there’s a lot of batter in this recipe, so much so that I was wondering whether it’s meant to produce 24 cupcakes instead of 12. (The recipe doesn’t say.) In fact, some of the batter crept down a bit over the side of the molds, meaning that the paper is going to be obnoxious to get off.

Furthermore, the cupcakes weren’t even close to done at 15 minutes. I checked every 3 minutes thereafter, and it took until 27 minutes before a toothpick wasn’t coming out coated in batter. (In retrospect, I possibly should have baked them for a minute or two less. They’re a touch overdone.)

Next question: icing. Just as I’d never made cupcakes before, I don’t really have a go-to icing recipe either. I decided to try this one from the Tasty Kitchen Blog because it sounded really amazing. Sadly, it’s also a pain in the ass, particularly if you don’t have an electric mixer. No joke: baking is a better workout than going to the gym. My arm is so sore.

It’s tasty, don’t get me wrong. It’s the sort of thing I could eat right out of the bowl and just ignore the cupcakes. But I’m pretty sure that even after a good ten minutes of stirring it by hand, it still wasn’t quite at the right “whipped cream” consistency.

In any event, this is not a dietetic day in “adventures in cooking” land. Between the two recipes, I used a full pound of butter. I think I gained five pounds just by reading them. And even though I think I slightly overbaked things and didn’t whip the icing long enough, it’s hard to completely mess up chocolate cupcakes.

Final verdict: I’ll probably make the cupcakes again, but the icing recipe will have to go back on the shelf until I get an electric mixer. I’m sure I can find something easier that doesn’t dirty two large bowls and a saucepan in the process.


Today’s flawed plan

So the coffee machine at work makes really watery hot chocolate. Today I decided to see if adding soy milk to it would thicken it up a bit and make it any better.

Now it tastes like watery hot chocolate with a soy aftertaste. Blech!

Time to go make some tea, I think.

Hot chocolate… failure

Discovering we had no hot chocolate mix in the house (at least, none that didn’t date back to my days in elementary school… I wish I were kidding), I decided to makeshift some of my own.

Point for future reference: mixing melted chocolate chippits and soy milk will not produce hot chocolate, no matter how much you want it to.

Like water for chocolate… fondue

Yesterday I went to a holiday party. There were children. There was a fisher-price style remote-control helicopter. The combination was almost as much fun as cats and laser pointers.

There was much food, all of it tasty. I attempted to help the host make the chocolate fondue. It did not go well. Picture the scenario: the host and I, neither of us having done this before, but both of us generally knowing what was required: heat chocolate, put in fondue pot. How hard could it be?

Well, it started fine, the chocolate was nice and melty, when the host (who was stirring at that point), said it was sticking to the bottom. So we took it off the burner and poured in a bit of water to thin it. Somehow this resulted in the crystallization of all the sugars in the chocolate and we wound up with a mass of chocolate having the consistency of crunchy fudge. It would not re-melt, no matter how long we kept it on the burner. I tried taking a little bit of it and putting it into a new pot, hoping that it would melt. It didn’t.

Finally, we took a second bar of chocolate and started over, and it worked okay. There were still crystalline bits once we put it into the fondue pot (perhaps it wasn’t hot enough?), but eventually chocolate was, and it was tasty.

But when I say I can’t cook, this is the type of stuff I’m talking about.