Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's a chocolate kind of day....

So it's been one of those know, the kind that begins before you even fall asleep.  Apparently we are back on a 3 feedings a night kind of schedule. I thought he had graduated from that once he turned 7 months old. I also thought he was fully motivated to go down for his naps without much of a whine.  Hmmmm....I am learning in baby world things change, and they can change daily and ferociously.  One days pristine routine quickly turns to mayhem the next.  God definitely knew what He was doing when He knit together my little coco bean within my womb.  He knew that I wouldn't be able to handle a difficult baby.....because the fact is, I crumble.  Yes, I fall apart and cry like a...well, like a baby.  In the midst of baby mayhem I start to pick apart the very making of my being.  I highlight my inadequacies and shortcomings, and question why in the world God actually thought I had what it takes to be a good mother.  I know so many other wonderful women who are picture-perfect mom material and it doesn't make sense that He would choose me.

I don't always understand the "why's" in life, but I do know that God gave me my baby for a reason bigger than my earthly mind can fathom.  I am learning....yes, I am learning that you have good days and you have bad days; you have nights where you sleep uninterrupted, and then you have nights where don't even get to rest your eyes for more than a few moments at a time. One thing is for sure, there will always come sunshine after the storm. Like this morning, as I walked back in forth in the hallway trying to calm my crying baby, my ears were ringing, my arms were going numb, and my back felt as if it would buckle under the weight that I carried.....then I glanced down at that sweet little boy as his eyelids fluttered close, that perfect pug nose, those chubby, kissable cheeks, and his lower lip sucked in like an angel; and for a moment in time I forgot that I could no longer feel my arms....and the world was made right, he was my calming after the storm. He was and is my daily dose of sunshine.

Needless to say after 5 long hours of walking, singling and bouncing he is finally sound asleep. I am one tired mama, if I wasn't still breastfeeding  I would be drowning my sleepy head in about 10 cups of coffee and indulging my tired self in something super duper chocolatey.

Like one of these....

Photograph by Shannon Dickman
These are my ultimate favorite cupcake, you get chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate laced with salted caramel and topped with the most decadently rich dark chocolate frosting. Seriously, this is the perfect cupcake to offset any sleep-deprived day.  And I am going to share it with you, make a batch, throw it in the freezer and pull one out when you need a little indulgence, a little pick-me-up, or just need a good chocolate fixin'. I wish I had some stowed away right now, at least I keep a good stash of Guittard chocolate chips to do the trick! Oh, and the frosting actually stays wonderful when stored in the freezer, it also makes an excellent topping to homemade brownies....thanks to my mom for trying that one out!

Salted Caramel Mini Cupcakes:
Found From Bake or Break

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • sea salt, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Line mini muffin pans with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth.
Fill muffin pans about 2/3 full. Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to wire racks to let cool completely.
Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.

Caramel Filling:
  • 2 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 & 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Stir occasionally until syrup is clear. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Stop stirring, and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed.
Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and temperature just reaches 360°.
Remove from heat. Slowly pour in cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt. Use immediately. If caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until pourable.
Use a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece, about 1/2-inch deep, from the center of each cupcake. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of warm filling into each cupcake. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.

Dark Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 & 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Combine cocoa and boiling water. Stir until cocoa has dissolved.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until combined. Beat in cocoa mixture.

Frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth before using.

Fit a pastry bag with a medium open-star tip (Wilton #18). Fill pastry bag with frosting. Pipe onto cupcakes, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt.

Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

Makes about 56 mini cupcakes.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do....I was originally going to share with you what I made last night for dinner....but do to the lack of sleep and my slightly cranky manner I haven't felt like photographing it yet.  So, I will save it for tomorrow....hopefully.  But just to tempt your tastebuds a bit more think: coconut milk, curry and chicken.  I had myself at coconut milk. 


  1. These cupcakes should be included in the possibilities for the wedding.....that way I get to eat a bunch during the tastings!! :)

  2. I will see what I can do honey. :)