Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baking is Good for the Soul

With the holidays and a random busy stretch at work I haven't been able to post but I'm back! So much has happened in a month! I'm signed up for 2 half marathons early next year, I've begun to foster puppies from a local animal shelter, and started a Bible study with a group of girlfriends!

Our first Bible study was last night and, in true Southern fashion, I started by planning the menu first. I made Chicken Salad, a fruit tray with creamy fruit dip, and, la piece de resistance, Chocolate Cherry Port Wine cupcakes. Yea, you read that right. A sweet friend turned me on to the website Ming Makes Cupcakes. I was hooked as soon as the website loaded. I decided to make Cupcake #26 because I have a bottle of Port that I use for a special chicken dish I make but haven't used for anything else. It was the right decision.

Chocolate Cherry Port Wine cupcakes

3/4 cup Port wine
3/4 cup canned cherries (I used frozen and they worked great!)
1 stick butter
3 T & 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (I used semisweet)
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Simmer Port and drained cherries in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Reserve 1/8 cup of the liquid. Add butter, 3T sugar, chocolate, and cocoa and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and let cool. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together egg and sour cream. Add Port mixture and beat briefly. Add flour mixture and beat briefly. Pour into a lined cupcake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Spoon remaining Port liquid on the cupcakes before frosting (this is important, added a lot of flavor).   

Mascarpone Frosting
8 oz mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy wipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
cherries or chocolate shavings for garnish

Beat ingredients together at high speed for 2-3 minutes. Spread on cupcakes and top with cherries or chocolate shavings. 

These cupcakes are ridiculous. The only thing I will do differently next time is use more cherries to ensure that each cupcake has AT LEAST one! Make these cupcakes for a holiday gathering and you'll be the belle of the ball, guaranteed!

love always,
Allie






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