Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chocolate M&M Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

I want it to be understood that I LOVE eating healthy.  Seriously, I love eating salads, lean meats, fish, fruit, whatevs.  I'm even attempting to open up my palate to bananas...I recently added tomatoes which I NEVER thought would be possible.  However, bananas have been my arch nemeses for years.  I've gagged on them before (quit it...I know where your mind went with that) because of their texture.  It freaks me out.  Not as bad as wet paper but it's a close second like Susan Lucci was for so long...
 Moving on...

Since we are kicking back into our healthy swing of things since our lives are going back to normal...or whatever that is once you add a baby into the mix of things...I decided that we needed something to celebrate the end of our bad eating and the beginning of the healthy stuff.  

Which led me to making Chocolate M&M Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache.

 Mi marido is a good sport.  The whole triple chocolate effect is not really his favorite.  He prefers the yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  Me?  I like for there to be a marching band in my mouth.  
When I was at Ole miss, I had a long distance boyfriend...he lived in Louisiana and I think we saw each other twice during the two (?) months we dated.  He broke up with me over the phone the week before Thanksgiving break.  Or really, I pulled the trigger for him because I could hear him working up to it over the phone.  My roommate, Leslie, thought we should make brownies to help mend my broken heart.  Let's just say I was so upset that the batter never made it to the oven...
 Eric: So I think we have a rat problem.
Me: (muttering of expletives) Shut up.
Eric: Yeah.  Apparently, they ripped open the bag of m&ms and ate some.
Me: (insert pause and atom-bomb-powered-stare) Eric!  I needed that full bag!
Eric: I only had like three small handfuls.
Me: No cupcakes for you!!
Let's face it...I'm a sap and a softie when it comes to that man...
And this one too...
He's my sous chef...
And partner in crime...
 Baking tires him out.

Chocolate M&M Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Chocolate Cake (this is from the cookbook)
3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large bag of M&Ms (whatever flavor you like...I used plain)

Allow the eggs and butter come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease your cupcake pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time.  Make sure to scrape the sides so that everything is getting blended.  Once all the sugar has been added, continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time allowing them to blend completely before adding the next one.  Beat in vanilla (note: I ran out of vanilla and used vanilla powder as a substitute and it was fine...which leads me to wonder why and how I came to own vanilla powder???).  Alternately, add the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture.  Beat after each addition until it is combined.  Once all the ingredients have been added, beat on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  
Add the entire bag of M&Ms (or whatever is left after your husband/a.k.a. rat has broken into the bag) and gently mix in.
Fill each cupcake well about halfway full.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.

2 unsweetened chocolate baking squares
Vanilla (or vanilla powder in my case)

So I totally made this up as I went.  You can use a legit recipe or do what I did.  Play it by ear.
Melt the chocolate in about 1/2 cup of milk over medium heat.  Add milk as needed (some of it will cook out from the heat).  Stir continuously over heat to make sure the chocolate melts thoroughly.  Once the chocolate and milk are smooth, add about 1/2 cup of sugar and stir.  Add about 1 teaspoon of vanilla and stir.  At this point, if you need it to be sweeter, add more sugar.  Make sure to continuously stir so that everything mixes well.
Dribble the ganache over the cupcakes.  



Note: you'll notice if you look at a legit recipe for ganache, it calls for powdered sugar.  The reason why is that using granulated sugar can end up being gritty.  I think the reason why this is (and I'm TOTALLY guessing) is because everything is added together at the beginning of a ganache recipe.  However, if you do it the way I did it, and add the sugar AFTER the milk and chocolate have blended and melted together, the sugar dissolves nicely into the mixture.  

Again, I don't have any culinary experience so that's all just guessing/trial and error on my part.  

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