I used to spend days and days each February trying to create some ridiculously over-the-top valentine goody, dinner or surprise for Mr. Canteen. And here I thought all that gray hair came from raising teenage girls.
It was usually something very Martha-like where I had to grow the wool, shear the sheep, spin the thing and weave the place mat before I could set the table. Usually I did something too expensive, that looked rather great on paper or in my imagination and was in reality something you might see eventually on YouTube filed under titles like “never do this” or “watch this idiot” or “I’m so glad this is not my mother”.
One year I ordered lobster though I knew better because February is not Maine lobster season. Let’s just go with the lobsters never made it for dinner because they came down with the crustacean flu. One year I left cryptic notes for Mr. Canteen to follow which would lead him to the only hotel in town which was at best, sadly, a Holiday Inn like place. That he never stumbled over the first clue might have led to him never showing up and calling all over to locate his “lost” wife (think days well before cell phones and email, of course).
You get the idea.
These days I’d sooner forget about valentine’s day because the pressure to make it a perfectly lovely day has been foiled for as long as we’ve been married which is a lot longer than some of you have been eating solid food. Every day that we get to hang out together and still have a wit or two is a perfect day. I don’t need a calendar to remind me of that once a year.
But now that I’ve gotten that humbug thing out-of-the-way, let me offer you a wonderfully easy cupcake that is a simple little tasty indulgence for anyone on valentine’s or any other day. Leave off the little heart candy, and you have a wonderful birthday cupcake. Or just because you feel like having cake today cupcake. I’m good with that.
But if someone who might be your valentine is a big fan of caramel and chocolate, then they will love these cupcakes. The chocolate icing is a little fussy only because you have to wait for it to cool before it gets whipped, but the flavor is worth the effort. It’s a deep rich chocolate ganache. The cake will taste even better, more buttery and rich, the second day. A tiny bit of whipped ganache on top is the way to go so no need to make very much.
The recipe makes about 36 mini cupcakes or about 15-17 regular sized cupcakes. This Thursday I know what I’ll be doing. And it won’t have anything to do with weaving a place mat.
|Chocolate Caramel Cupcake Bites, Gluten Free||
- 160 grams AP GF flour (1¼ cups)
- 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 140 grams buttermilk (scant ⅔ cup)
- 130 grams butter, melted (9 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50 grams caramel squares (1/4 cup) (Trader Joe preferred)
- 45 grams semisweet mini chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon AP GF flour
- 50 grams heavy cream (scant ¼ cup)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 150 grams semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350. Place liners in mini muffin tins (36).
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla. Add to dry mixture and blend until mixture is fluffy, and pale yellow. Chop caramels into a fine dice and toss with mini chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon AP GF flour. Fold into batter. Fill liners ⅔ full.
- Bake 12-15 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out without crumbs. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely before icing.
- Place cream, butter, and chocolate in a double boiler over low heat until everything is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and cocoa until smooth. Cool 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. Whip mixture with an electric mixer until the chocolate doubles in volume, 5-8 minutes. Pipe or spoon a tiny amount onto center of cupcake and top with a candy heart, sprinkles or thingy of your choice.