I know, I am all about the make-ahead recipes this week! First beef stew, and now this. Well, again, it works well for a girl who can’t handle much cooking or baking for long stretches of time. This is a “dump in one bowl” recipe (mostly) and I have never EVER had such easy cupcakes to spoon out. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t make a mess pouring cupcake batter into muffin cups? So hard for me. Each time I try to come up with a better plan, and it never works. Well, this batter was so easy to portion out. I will probably keep the recipe just for that reason.
And for how wonderfully domed the cupcakes came out. Each one was perfect! It made me feel like a master, which is just awesome.
You might remember I mentioned making these muffins when I made the banana bread for my dad. For his birthday month, he received 2 unexpected treats. The very first time I made him a treat for his birthday, I was still in college and baking was challenging, but I liked it. I offered to make him anything he wanted. I even let him look at my (limited) collection of cookbooks for ideas. He asked for carrot cake. Of all the possible chocolate treats he could have asked for, he asked for a carrot cake.
Celebrations require happy sweet desserts, and this is a perfect winter celebration treat. One of my favorite activities before returning home after visiting the family is planning what food we will eat, particularly what dessert I want to make. I forget when it started, but at some point I stopped buying desserts and just started making almost all of the ones we eat. Occasionally K wants a certain ice cream or maybe we are out at a nice bakery and pick up a few treats. In general, though, we have gotten used to homemade treats. I think he is okay with it, and I like it. It does mean that I am a BAR (Baking Aisle Regular) which makes me a bit cranky around the holidays. All of the “tourists” come to the aisle and hog prime locations near chocolate chips or confectioner’s sugar. Then, they refuse to budge or make room so that I can pick up one of my basic pantry needs. Ugh! Well, unless your pantry needs some stocking, you should be able to make these without buying anything fancy. The peppermint is super refreshing and perfect for winter, but you can also opt to leave it out. As in, leave out the chocolate entirely, or even just use regular chocolate.
I am still trying to decide if these were a success or not. When I took them to work, 4 out of 5 people loved them, the fifth person being a student. So, it is possible that these are “grown-up” cupcakes with their strong coffee flavor. In fact, her least favorite part was the frosting which my husband thought was the best part, so maybe it’s a tastebud thing? I only had one whole cupcake and I think it is a decent chocolate cupcake. Maybe not my absolute favorite one ever, but I think my feelings were affected by the one bad review. The frosting is definitely awesome, which is why I decided to go ahead and share this anyway. If you like a cake-y cupcake, I think you will like the cupcake part. They are not as sweet or fluffy as some store ones, which might also have been why they are not as kid-friendly. I made these for National Chocolate Cupcake day which was a little bit ago (posts are back-logged here). Save this for next year, or make them if you are having a chocolate/coffee craving.
Smores…what do they make you think of first? I think many associate it with campfires and camping in general. I do as well, but I am one of the last people you would expect to be camping. I made these because I wanted to use the mini-blow torch we received for our wedding (yes, we asked for one!). I had a few problems with it, but that was just me being silly. Overall, I really enjoyed the cupcakes and would make them again.
In my family, my mom led the tradition of a birthday dinner. She would make whatever we wanted for our birthday. I always had Cornish Hens cooked in her special way, along with roasted potatoes and whatever veggie I was in the mood for at the time (often green beans). Dessert was usually a birthday cake that we used for a bigger birthday party. Once we got older, birthday parties were smaller and the cakes became smaller, too. Eventually, she began making special desserts for us.
What can I make for K’s birthday dessert?
When I first was dating my husband, I wanted to extend the same tradition. Birthdays were never a big deal for his family, so I wanted him to get as excited as I did for mine. Dinners have fluctuated, but dessert usually involves something fruity for him. And, it’s usually strawberry because they are super tasty in July. The one big dessert he would have growing up were Carvel cakes, so I wanted to do a twist . . .
This past year, I surprised him with ice cream cupcakes. This was before I had had our ice cream maker for long, so I didn’t make all of the ice cream that went into it–just the vanilla. The strawberry was store-bought, but still tasty.
It’s super simple . . .