Wednesday, July 23, 2008


My new cookbooks arrived and after poring over them, I had to make room for them in the cabinets where they're stored. That, of course, lead to reexamining many of my old favorites. One of the first cookbooks I bought when I became serious about baking was Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts. My friend Norma, who was an exceptional baker, turned me on to Maida Heatter. I remember the first time I made her chocolate squares and her exquisite lemon cake. Since Larry was out of treats, I decided to try something new. The recipe for chocolate cupcakes is simple and I had all the ingredients except heavy cream (substituted milk and it was fine). I still have no sense of taste or smell, but they look very dense and yummy, albeit on the small side.

Chocolate Cupcakes - 24 cupcakes
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered, unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk

Chocolate Icing
6 oz semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tbs butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake forms with cupcake liner papers and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside. In large bowl of electric mixer, cream the butter. Beat in the vanilla and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Switch mixer to lowest speed and alternately add the sifted dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions. Continue to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat only until smooth; do not overbeat.

Spoon the batter into the prepared liners, filling the cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on a rack while you prepare the icing.

Icing - Place the semisweet chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, and butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Cook, stirring, until the chocolate is almost melted, then remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Transfer to a very small, shallow bowl and cool.

To frost - remove paper liners; hold cupcake upside down and dip the tops into the icing; twirl slightly and hold upside for excess to drip off; after dipping all, dip each one a second (and, if icing permits, a third) time.

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