Super Chocolatey Chocolate Cupcakes

Chef PickyKid really enjoys cooking and being in the kitchen.  When she was younger, her attention span was very short; she usually lost interest after about 30 seconds.  Now that she’s a little older, she likes to stay in the kitchen with me a little longer, especially when we’re baking up something sweet.  She reallllyyyyy enjoys baking…or, should I say she reallllllllyyyyyy enjoys sampling the treats while we’re baking them? Maybe a little of both, but either way, she loves sweet treats!

I’ve never been much of a baker, as I’m typically not one for following recipes.  That’s the beauty of cooking; you put a little of this, a handful of that, and (usually) you get something tasty!  I learned the hard way that baking doesn’t quite work the same way; it’s a very precise art form.  If you put in too much flour or bake it just a minute too long…well…you have a disaster.  But in the last few years, I’ve taken more of an interest in baking (and in following directions! :)), and my baking skills have improved. I don’t know that I’m incredibly good at it, but it’s something fun Chef PickyKid and I can do together, and that’s what this is really all about anyway.

Last weekend Chef PickyKid wanted to make chocolate cupcakes (chocolate is her favorite, of course).  In the past we just used boxed cake mix, but this time, we decided to make something that would actually taste good, so we created our own chocolate cupcakes from scratch. Chef PickyKid decided she wanted these to be “super chocolatey” by adding chocolate chips; hence the recipe name. This is a very basic recipe, but it’s a good start for home made cupcakes.  Maybe next time we’ll experiment with some other ingredients!

Here’s what you’ll need for Super Chocolatey Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 1/3 Cups white flour; I like to use cake flour, but you can use all purpose flour too.

1/4 Teaspoon baking soda

2 Teaspoons baking powder

3/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 Teaspoons salt

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 Cups white sugar

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Cup milk

3/4 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin pan with paper or aluminum cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until its fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each egg.  Mix in the vanilla.  Add the chocolate/flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture a little at a time.  Between each addition of flour, add milk and mix together before adding the next addition of flour; you should be alternating between flour/milk until you’ve mixed all of it together.  Add the chocolate chips to the batter and mix by hand with a wooden spoon until the chocolate chips are folded in.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  In my oven, this actually took 18 minutes, but oven temperatures can vary.

I don’t have a recipe for frosting this time; Chef PickyKid likes to use white frosting and add food coloring to make her cupcakes bright and colorful.  🙂

 

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S’mores Muffins

This is officially Chef PickyKid’s first recipe posting! Well, it’s her first recipe idea; obviously I’m still doing the writing, but my guess is that Chef PickyKid will be writing her own blog posts in no time.  You see, our little chef started Kindergarten last month, and I’m continuously amazed at how quickly she is learning.  In just a little over a month, she is doing addition and subtraction, and beginning to read words and sentences.  Not only that, but a whole new social personality is forming, and yes, much like her mother…she is a talker. She really, really likes to talk.  Getting her to stop talking is the real challenge, so the school years are going to be interesting to say the least.

Anyway, a little off topic, but since ChefPickyKid will be adding more of her ideas to the blog (which she is incredibly excited about by the way). it’s important to know a little more about her. 🙂

I initially got the idea for the muffins from a blog post I found on Foodbuzz.com.  The original recipe was for Pumpkin Smore Muffins  on Keep it Sweet’s food blog.  They looked so tasty, I couldn’t wait to make them on my own.  But of course, being the picky kid she is, ChefPickyKid didn’t like the idea of using pumpkin.  Here’s a replay of our conversation, which pretty much happens every time I attempt to introduce a new food or ingredient:

Chef PickyKid: “Mommy, I don’t like pumpkin, it doesn’t taste good!!”

Me: “Have you ever tried pumpkin?”

Chef PickyKid” “No!”

Me: “Well, how do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it?  You have to at least try it before you decide you don’t like it!”

Chef PickyKid: “Mommy, I just know I don’t like it!!”

If you’re a parent, I’m sure this conversation sounds familiar.  I will say that she is really beginning to expand her food palate, and I think it has a lot to do with this blog.  But, she is still Chef PickyKid at heart.  As a result, she decided that these muffins would taste delicious as S’Mores Muffins, minus the pumpkin. And, they were quite tasty, although I still think they would be fantastic with pumpkin…maybe next time…..

This recipe is pretty much the same as the Pumpkin S’Mores recipe, minus the pumpkin.

Here’s what you’ll need for S’Mores Muffins: 

5 or 6 graham cracker sheets

1 package yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare the cake according to box directions

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups mini-marshmallows

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray two muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray

Break up the graham crackers into pieces and place them into the muffin tins; the graham crackers will be similar to a crust for the muffins.  Save the rest of the graham crackers to sprinkle on top of the muffins after baking.

Prepare yellow cake according to package directions

Stir in chocolate chips by hand

Fill each tin about 1/2 way with the batter and bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven and press about 4-5 marshmallows into the top center of each muffin and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.  Return the muffins to the oven and bake for 1-2 minutes or until the marshmallows have puffed.

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tins.

Enjoy!