recipe and photos by contributor Nanette of Cultural Chromatics
Recently, chocolate muffins have popped up in my Pinterest feed, and suddenly I became obsessed. I needed some rich, uber-chocolatey muffins in my life and that’s what inspired the recipe for these dark chocolate cherry muffins with stout. Originally, I had wanted to try making a black forest style muffin, but kirsh, a cherry brandy, was a little difficult to find as it turns out. However, I was set on making these an “adult” muffin– so stout was the next choice, and it totally works! The slight bitterness of the guinness contrasts wonderfully with the sweet syrup of the dark cherry. Or you can skip the stout and make them family friendly…
- 1 box chocolate muffin mix (I used Duncan Hines)
- 1 can cherries in syrup
- 1/2 cup cherry syrup (from above)
- 1/2 cup Guinness (if you don’t want to add guinness, you can replace with water)
- eggs (amount called for by the mix)
- oil (amount called for by the mix)
- shaved chocolate (optional)
To see the recipe: Continue reading
If you’re December has already gotten as jam packed as mine, you probably won’t have the time to spare for making and shipping your own sweets for Christmas gifts as perfect as they may be for long distance family and friends. Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of extra time to console each other on our chaotic schedules by skipping the kitchen and heading to the good ole’ world wide web for eight of the cutest mail order sweets out there.
Of course, we all know it’s all in the details when it comes to gifts and packaging and these select favorites of mine fit the bill for that too, not just the sweet tooth. Don’t forget though, most require you to order by December 13th to meet the Christmas deadline so jump on it now! Also, if you’re a U.S. resident and Instagram user, you can keep an eye out for a chance to win a gift certificate to The Cravory today! Follow my Insta account for details!
From top to bottom, left to right:
Honestly, where did November go?! I swear I just blinked for a second and now it’s Thanksgiving! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good excuse to stuff myself on turkey, dressing, and as much pie as the next person, but I’m just a little astonished (and way, way underprepared). Luckily, I have a token last minute Thanksgiving recipe or two, and one of them happens to involve snacking on chocolate covered strawberry turkeys (would you really expect any less from me?)…
- Melting chocolate
- Candy corn
- Fudge stripe cookies (cut into halves)
- Wax paper
- White royal icing (optional)
Cut the tops off of the strawberries, making sure that you cut the “back” flat so that the tail stands upright. Dip a few strawberries in chocolate and place them on wax paper. Once the chocolate is almost dry (but still sticky), press a half of a fudge stripe cookie onto the back to make the feathers, then press a candy corn on the tip to make the beaks. If you have any excess chocolate on the side of the turkeys, use a butter knife to cut it off. That’s all you have to do! You can put eyes on them with royal icing, but I like to keep it simple, especially since they never last long.
Not only are these perfect for snacking on throughout Thanksgiving (and the few days before and after, ughm..), but they also make really cute hostess gifts!
I have a new found respect for cake-namers. I spent a solid 15 minutes trying to come up with a catchy, new name for this cake combo I concocted but I was seriously stumped! I’ll just claim that I didn’t want to blow you away with my creativity, ughm, so I settled on a tell it like it is name with Cream Cheese and Dark Chocolate Frosted Cake recipe. On an even more serious note, how could a cake with a macaron on top not be totally delicious? I mean, if nothing else, the cuteness alone would make me grab a second piece.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.
For the dark chocolate frosting:
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 sifted dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted margarine
- 1/3 cup of soy milk
Put all ingredients into the bowl of the mixer. Beat on low to combine. Beat on medium high speed until very light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Check that the consistency is good for spreading, not too soft and not too thick, if it’s a bit too thick add a little more soy milk.
For the yellow cake recipe:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes.