Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcake Bites

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”   
-  Bob Hope

My favorite time of year! It's not just Christmas coming very soon, but my birthday is December 11th, this upcoming Wednesday. So needless to say, this is the best time of year for me! Combined with December being a month that is filled with baking and shopping, well you could say I'm in heaven.

I used a combination of a dark chocolate bar and these chocolate chips. If you use chocolate chips make sure they are good quality. These Guittard ones are my favorite. They come in extra dark, semi sweet, milk and white. I think they are some of the best chocolate chips out there.

Christmas is a time of yummy sweet treats. There are always lots of cookie parties, office parties, and open houses that are filled with confections and goodies of all kinds.

Chopping the chocolate
If you have one of these holiday parties to attend, I recommend making these chocolatey morsels of goodness. They will certainly be the star of the party!

All of my ingredients ready to go. This recipe is quite easy, no mixer needed.

These little cupcakes are based on the Chocolate Friands recipe from the famous, Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Friand means a small rich cake. The idea is if you are going to eat something rich and decadent, it better be good, especially if it's just a few bites. So why not have the best, most gratifying and delectable mouthful of your life?

Adding the hot butter to my chocolate

They say these are “satisfyingly extra rich and moist." And they're right. They aren't as dense as a brownie. They are very chocolatey, like a brownie, but the texture, while not like a typical cake, they are sort of a cross between a brownie and a cake. The texture is light and moist and really melts in your mouth.

My melted chocolate

I topped these with candy canes since it's Christmas time. But you don't need to top them with anything other than the ganache icing. Or you can use sprinkles, for a festive touch without the taste of peppermint. The candy canes add a bit of crunch to the tops as well as the minty flavor. If you are a chocolate mint lover, you could even add a teaspoon of pure peppermint extract to the batter to bring home the peppermint flavor.

My batter is ready

I use dark chocolate for the recipe. I recommend using the best chocolate you can get your hands on. Or use some good quality chocolate chips. Since this recipe is simple, and doesn't have a lot of ingredients, the flavor of the chocolate really shines through. So if you splurge on some great chocolate, it will pay off here. You can really taste it. And the aroma while these are cooking? Oh, it's heavenly.

I accidentally used the silver cups on the right. I realized later that they are much smaller than a regular mini muffin cup. The ones on the left is the traditional size of a mini cupcake. So I made a lot more smaller cupcakes than I set out to make.

This is a really special time of year, not just because of the reasons I gave above. It is a time of friends and family, and of communion.  I will be traveling to Orange County, California to visit mine in the beginning of January. I am grateful for them. I love seeing my dad, and my sisters, and my friends. My oldest sister has the cutest and sweetest little boy ever, and I miss him. I miss them.

Filling my cups
Merry Christmas to you all! Happy Holidays! I wish you a peace filled season that is abundant with joy and love.

Just out of the oven

One more thing I want to let you know. Something I've been working on a lot lately. I've opened a second Etsy shop, called, Coco's Kitchen. I named it after our beloved dog, Coco, just as House of Lucien is named after our Papillon, Lucien.  At this shop I'm selling vintage cookbooks and vintage kitchen items, as well as a few pots and pans. Even a vintage Le Creuset set of pans, before they were Le Creuset, they were called Cousances. I've been adding items to it daily, and will continue to do so in the upcoming weeks and months. So if that's your thing, please favorite my shop, share it with your friends and come back soon! I don't even have a banner for it up yet, but that is coming soon as well.

Don't these look great? They are very chocolatey, but not as dense as a brownie. They really melt in your mouth. The perfect bite of chocolate. These are deliberately small, since most people only want a small bite of something so rich, making these little morsels perfect for parties.

I decorated my pot rack for Christmas. I collect different pots and pans. My favorites are the copper pots from France, and the silver plated pots. One of the copper pots is silver plated, it was made in Denmark, probably around mid century. Silver is an even a better conductor of heat than copper and it's food safe unlike copper. They don't make them anymore, since metals are so much more expensive than they used to be.

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!" 
-Hamilton Wright Mabie

There's our little Coco, sitting on the ottoman.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
- Charles M. Schulz

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."

    -Agnes M. Pahro

My ganache is ready for frosting the cupcakes

A just frosted gem. I used a spatula for frosting, but you could just dip them in the ganache.

I added candy canes and red sprinkles, since candy canes alone didn't read as candy canes, it seemed like there wasn't enough red on them, so I added the red sprinkles on top. 

Never miss a post! Follow The Alchemist on Facebook! Or Pinterest!

You don't need to top these with candy canes, you could just add sprinkles.

Vintage Chrome 2 Tiered Cake/Cupcake Stand available at my Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.

Small Sterling Silver and Glass Vintage Cake Stand, Wm Rogers Silverplated Vintage Cake Stand, Vintage Pressed Glass 2 Tiered Stand, and Vintage Grey Damask Tablecloth available at my Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.

Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcake Bites

This recipe is adapted from the Chocolate Friands Recipe from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, Ca.

Makes about 24 Miniature Cupcakes

Ingredients for Cupcakes

6 oz. (170 g.) good quality dark chocolate, chopped or good quality dark chocolate chips

1 cup (228 g.) butter

1 1/2 cups (275 g.) white granulated sugar

3/4 cup (102 g.) all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

4 eggs

Ingredients for Ganache Icing

4 oz. (113 g.) good quality dark chocolate, chopped, or good quality dark chocolate chips

2/3 cup (157 ml.) heavy cream

For Topping

about 5 standard size candy canes, chopped

red sprinkles


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. Line 2 mini muffin pans with mini cupcake liners and set aside.

Start making the cupcakes. In a large heatproof bowl, place the chopped chocolate. In a small saucepan melt the butter until it's very hot. Pour the butter over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the melted chocolate and whisk until all is incorporated. Add 2 of the eggs and whisk, then add the other 2, whisk again, until it's mixed together. Don't overmix the batter, just mix it until it's all incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups till they are 3/4 full. Bake about 15 minutes, until the tops start to crack. Let them cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, and then remove from tins and let cool on racks.

When the cupcakes are cool, make the icing. You can't frost them until they are cool, and you don't want the ganache sitting too long, since it hardens has it sits. So wait until they have cooled to make it. Or make the cupcakes the night (or day before) and store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

To make the Ganache Icing -  Place the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just starts to boil. Don't bring it to a full boil. Pour it over the chopped chocolate, (or chocolate chips.) Let it sit for 2 minutes or so to melt the chocolate. Stir it together until the cream is completely incorporated into the chocolate and the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Top the cooled cupcakes with the ganache by spreading it on, or dipping them into it. Then add some chopped candy canes and sprinkles while the frosting is still wet. Let them sit for about an hour to set up.

These are best served the same day they are made. Or you can make the cupcakes the night or day before (as mentioned above) and frost them the day they are served. When they have set up, they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Happy Baking!