Monthly Archives: October 2011

Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries with Pomegranate Dipping Sauce

So let me just start by saying I’ve always said I’m not a fan of sweet potato fries.  And then I made these.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod were these good.  Not good – AWESOME.  I loved them so much I made them two nights in a row.  And kind of ate that entire plate right there for dinner last night.  S’okay.  Sweet potatoes are good for us right?

To start, grab a couple sweet potatoes.  Obviously there are four sitting here.  I only used two.  That’s all that would fit in one layer on the baking sheet.  We’re gonna slice these up into fries.  As thick as you like ’em.  I left the skins on but you can peel them first if the skin skeeves you out.  I did some a little thicker, some thinner.  We’ll say I was experimenting and not that my knife skills leave something to be desired.

Yeah…we’ll go with that.

Here my fries are all cut, tossed with canola oil, and in the oven (because I forgot to take a picture before they went in).  I also obviously forgot that copious amounts of steam do not a clear picture make.  Duh.

That’s better.  They’re in there at 400 degrees by the way.  For about 25 minutes or so, tossing them around about halfway through if you have the presence of mind to do so.  I often don’t.

While our fries are roasting let’s make our seasoning mix.  The ramekin in the middle is our mix.  Super simple – 1 teaspoon EACH sugar and Kosher Salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a dash of Ancho Chile Pepper.  (Not to be confused or substituted with Cayenne which is much hotter.)  Ancho Chile Pepper is smoky, a bit hot, and just a little sweet.  It doesn’t give the fries a lot of heat, just pumps the flavor up a notch.  Also – do use kosher salt here, not the regular kind – the granules are bigger and provide that great texture we love on our (fake) fried foods.

Finally, for our dipping sauce, should you choose to make it.  It’s just three ingredients – pomegranate juice, honey, and butter.  I used a pomegranate/cranberry 100% juice blend because buying straight pomegranate juice???  Too rich for my blood.  Er, wallet, anyways.

Just put 1 1/2 cups juice and 2 Tbsp honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling.  Lower the heat and let simmer until the juice mixture is reduced down to a third of it’s original volume.  Just leave it alone until it looks like you’ve only got about half a cup left.  (This takes a bit.  Maybe half an hour?  Can’t remember exactly.  I made this when I was not pressed for time.  So just in case, it’s probably best if you start this first before cutting the sweet potatoes up.)  Remove from the heat and swirl in 2 Tbsp butter.  The resulting pomegranate syrup will thicken as it cools.

Salty and sweet, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.  Yummy yummy yummy.  I will be making these often.  Enjoy!

Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes/yams (a little over a pound)

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

a dash of Ancho Chile Pepper (found in the “gourmet” spices section)

Pomegranate Dipping Sauce

1 1/2 cups Pomegranate Cranberry 100% Juice Blend (I used Wegmans brand.  Ocean Spray has one too.)

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp butter


For sauce:

Combine juice and honey in a small saucepan.  Heat on medium-high until boiling.  Lower heat and allow to simmer until juice is reduced down to about 1/2 cup.  This takes some time, maybe half an hour.  Remove from heat and swirl in butter.

For fries:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut fries to your preferred thickness (I liked them best cut thick like steak fries).

On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with oil and spread out into one layer.

Bake for 25 minutes, turning with a spatula halfway through cooking time.

While fries are roasting, make seasoning mix.  Combine sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, and ancho chile pepper powder in a small bowl.

Toss fries with seasoning and serve with pomegranate dipping sauce.

Makes 4 (hefty) servings.


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Cheesy Loaded Potato Soup

I was not intending on posting this soup when I made it the other night.  Hence the lack of pictures.  But it was sooooooo good I had to share.  Every single person in my house actually tried this.  I know that doesn’t sound big but trust me, IT IS.

This is slightly adapted from a recipe on Food  There’s even a video there that you can watch.  It was super easy – I watched the video and then was free to just cook and not worry about reading a recipe.

I have grown to hate reading recipes.  Whenever possible I freehand stuff.  Or if I’m baking, I memorize the recipe before I start so I don’t have to constantly be going back and forth, making sure I’ve gotten all the steps in right.  This, I think, has to be the dividing line between beginner home cook and intermediate.  Getting to the point where you know enough to cook intuitively is an AMAZING feeling.  So freeing.

Anyway, just one last thing I have to point out on this soup – for those of you that are calorie conscious – this soup is NOT cream based.  It is super rich and soul-statisfyingly thick to be sure, but the calorie count is actually pretty reasonable.  Which leaves room for lots of yummy toppings!  Sour cream, shredded cheddar, chopped crisply-cooked bacon, chives – whatever you like on your baked potato is awesome as a garnish on this soup.

So good.  So quick and easy.  And you probably have everything you need to make it in your kitchen right now.

So go.  Do.  Have fun.  And enjoy!

Fully Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup (slightly adapted from Food

3 Tbsp butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend (or regular flour if you can eat gluten)

1 tsp Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup whole milk

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 cups (8oz) shredded cheddar cheese

A few dashes Tabasco

A few dashes Worcestershire sauce (check the label for gluten if this is of concern to you)

Sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, more shredded cheddar for topping


In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat.

Add celery, onion, carrot and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in flour to coat vegetables.  Cook a couple minutes to toast the flour.

Gradually stir in broth and milk.  Turn heat up to medium high and add potatoes, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and leave it for 25 minutes (or until your potatoes are fork tender).

Prepare your garnishes during this time.

When potatoes are tender, puree soup using an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor or blender) and blend until smooth.

Add in cheese gradually (so you don’t get one big lump of cheddar in your soup).

Season to taste with Tabasco and Worcestershire.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.  (Never under-salt soup!)

Garnish as desired and serve hot.

Makes 6 modest servings.  (Or 4 enormous ones.  Take your pick.)

(One more note:  The original recipe calls for a 12oz bottle of beer.  You can certainly sub in a gluten free bottle of beer like Redbridge or Bard’s if you like.  It doesn’t need it and since I’m not a big fan of beer (even in cooking) I left it out.)

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White Pizza

Okay, so you’re probably wondering by now, “Do these people eat anything besides pizza???  Good lord.”

Well yes, yes we do.  Six out of seven nights a week we eat something other than pizza.  I just happen to LOVE pizza.  I also happen to LOVE creating specialty pizzas.  Because HELLO – if you want a specialty pizza at a restaurant they charge like twice as much for it so why not make it the way you like it at home?  There is pretty much no limit to what you can put on a pizza crust.  This means every time you make it it’s like embarking on a great creative endeavor.

The only guideline I try to stick to when choosing toppings is keeping the cheese limited to 8 ounces.  I know we all LOVE lots of gooey cheese on our pizza.  And as you can see from the photo above we’re not lacking in the cheese department.  I just know how easy it is to load up the pizza with a mile-high pile of cheese – and super boost the calorie count of each piece.  That and I have a tendency to eat half the pizza in a sitting regardless of how much cheese it’s boasting  so it’s in my own best interest to be prudent before it comes out of the oven.

This pizza comes together very quickly.  If you buy a ball of dough at the deli, making a pizza is not much more difficult than making a sandwich.  If you’re making your dough from scratch you’ll want to start a couple hours before you plan to eat – OR you can make it the night before, wrap it up in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge.  Just take it out maybe a half hour before you plan to use it so it has time to come to room temp.  If it’s still a little cold when you stretch/roll it out it’s not the end of the world.

First thing we’re gonna do is make some garlic oil.  This will be our “sauce”.

Super easy – just put a 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 sliced cloves of garlic, and 1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes in a pot over LOW heat until it’s boiling.  Let it simmer for 10 minutes.  I have twice that much in this pot.  I used the leftover oil on some roasted potatoes the next night and it was aaaaahhhhhhhmazing.

So just take your garlic oil (slices of garlic and all) and pour it onto your rolled out dough, leaving a border for the crust.  Next, sprinkle on 8 oz of cheese of your choice.  There are a million options here.  Use what you’ve got handy.  I always have at least 10 kinds of cheese to work with and this week I had even more than that.  I am a lucky girl.   I used roughly equal parts shredded mozzarella, fontina, crumbled goat cheese, and grated parmesan.  You could also use monterrey jack, provolone, a white cheddar, ricotta in place of the goat cheese, a pecorino or romano in place of the parmesan.  Semi-soft cheeses like Taleggio, Camembert, and Brie would be awesome too.  Some are gooey, some are creamy, some are tangy, and some are quite salty.   Follow your intuition and mix and match to your preference.

Just please – no orange cheese.  Because then it wouldn’t be White Pizza.  Duh.


White Pizza

1 1lb ball prepared pizza dough (wheat based or gluten free)

3 oz Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

2 oz Fontina, shredded

2 oz Goat Cheese, crumbled

1 oz Parmesan Cheese, grated

Dried Parsley for garnish

Garlic Oil

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes


Prepare your pizza dough as directed (bringing to room temp if it was in the fridge).

Make your garlic oil.  In a small saucepan, heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over low heat until boiling.  Turn down heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Set aside until ready to use.

Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If using a non-stick pizza pan do the same thing but put it in upside down.  I don’t know why exactly but I’ve read that advice a million times.

On a sheet of parchment paper stretch or roll out your pizza dough to about 1/4″ thickness.  (Roughly the diameter of a large commercially baked pizza, about 12-14 inches across.)  If you’re using gluten free pizza dough you may want to go a little thicker as it does not rise nearly as much in the oven as a wheat-based dough will.

Spread garlic oil on dough, leaving a rim for the crust.  Sprinkle on cheeses and parsley.

Carefully slide pizza onto your hot pizza stone, parchment paper and all (or onto your non-stick pan – just make sure you turn it right side up first!).

Bake 12 minutes.

Makes 8 large slices.

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Hey everyone!  See that wooden serving bowl there?  I bought that at a yard sale a couple summers ago for 50 cents.  And I’ve never used it.  Not once.  Not before today anyway.  Isn’t it cute?  Just perfect for showcasing our freshly made guacamole and tortilla chips.  And it also makes this picture oddly resemble the Lebanese flag.  Hmm.

Guess someone likes trees

I can’t tell you how much I love freshly made guacamole.  And it’s actually good for you, all those heart healthy, good cholesterol promoting fats and all.  When I was pregnant I used to make a whole recipe of it and eat it for dinner.  With a spoon.

“No, Doctor OBGYN, I don’t know why I’m gaining so much weight.  I eat a really healthy diet.”  (For four people anyway.)

So let’s get started shall we?

All you need is two ripe avocados, a handful of fresh cilantro, a red onion (you don’t even need a whole one), Tabasco sauce, salt, and lime juice.  Pay no attention to all the junk in the background.  I actually live in a house, not a photo studio.

Don’t mind me, I just had to show you a picture of the inside of my avocados because they were so beautiful.  These are actually not quite as ripe as I like them for guacamole though.  You want them soft but not turning brown inside yet.  The day after they turn black is probably the best day.  We’re going to dice them up rather large for some chunky guacamole.  No food processor this time.  Pureed guac makes me want to hurl.

Yay!  I love it when vegetables dice themselves!  Thanks guys!  Tell your onions to dice themselves pretty small.  I’ve learned from experience people don’t generally like biting into huge chunks of red onion.  To our avocados, cilantro, and onion I’m going to add four dashes of the Tabasco, a three-fingered pinch of kosher salt, and 1/2 Tbsp of lime juice.  I measure that because if I don’t I consistently use too much.

Here I have put all our ingredients in a bowl to be mixed.  Spatial reasoning is not my strong suit if you couldn’t tell before.

Here it all is, mixed (and just a little mashed), in a bowl big enough to mix it in.  I ❤ washing dishes.












Also, just real quickly here – if you have any leftover after your party or dinner – when you go to put it away you have two options.  You can cover it with plastic wrap like you do with everything or you can mush the plastic wrap down onto the guac, pressing out any air bubbles.  I’ll let you decide which method lasts longer before it turns brown.

And there we have it!  Enough guacamole to feed the party…or yourself if you are pregnant and consider this a suitable dinner….

On that note – enjoy!




2 Ripe Avocados, large diced

1/2 cup Red Onion, diced finely

1 handful Fresh Cilantro, chopped

1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice

4 dashes Tabasco Sauce

a three-fingered pinch of Kosher Salt (about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp)



Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Serve with tortilla chips or alongside anything you want.  I love mine on burgers, omelets, and with all Mexican food, of course.

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Brie Smoked Ham Pear Pizza

Okay, I can say, without hesitation, that this was the BEST non-traditional pizza I have EVER made.  You see this beautiful pizza with the gooey cheese and the sweet soft pears and the smoked ham (which I realize you can’t actually see)?!?  I literally ate HALF of it last night in one sitting.  And I don’t even regret it because it was phenomenal.  It was an experience, man.

I love brie but I usually reserve it for the holiday season because of the price tag.  However, I recently discovered you can get a big ol’ wheel of it at Sam’s Club for like, half, what you pay in the grocery store.  Win.

Brie en croute is a Thanksgiving/Christmas staple in our house.  I make it every year at least once.  (For a gluten free puff pastry recipe, check this out.  I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve been meaning to.)  Now that I know I can get my beloved soft cheese cheaper I’m starting to think of new ways to use it.  Like in this awesome pizza.

I’m thinking this will be a new staple appetizer at holiday gatherings 🙂  Not that my husband or children will eat it.  Sigh.  I live in a household full of people who don’t really enjoy eating.  I know.  It’s very sad.   But that will make it all the more awesome when I serve it at a party.

I should say here that since I knew my husband would not be eating this I made this pizza using a regular (wheat) pizza dough.  If you are doing this gluten free, use the GF pizza dough recipe below.  I promise, it looks, tastes, and chews  similar to a wheat crust.  It’s just more expensive than making a glutenous one so if I’m just making something just for me I use wheat.

For all you pizza purists out there this one may be a teeny stretch for you.  There’s nothing red in this at all.  I say a pizza, at it’s most basic, is crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings (maybe).  This fits that super-vague criteria to a T.  The sauce, in this case, is a simple mustard vinaigrette.  The slight tang of the vinaigrette perfectly complements the creamy cheese, the sweet pears, and the salty, succulent ham.

Make it for dinner with a salad.  Make it as mini-pizzas for an appetizer.  Make it to eat by yourself in bed watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Just make it please?



Brie Smoked Ham Pear Pizza

1 lb ball Gluten Free Pizza Dough OR Basic Wheat Pizza Dough

2 oz Smoked Ham from the deli, torn into bite size pieces

8 oz Brie, sliced (I remove the rind, you don’t have to though)

1 Pear, sliced (I used a crunchy Comice Pear but any one you like will do)

Freshly Ground Black Pepper


For the vinaigrette:

1 Tbsp White Vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch of Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Prepare pizza dough as directed (or use a store bought ball of dough or crust or whatever you like).

Place a pizza stone or an (upside down) non-stick pizza pan  in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.  Pre-heated surface = fully cooked crust + unburnt toppings.

On a sheet of parchment paper, roll dough out to your preferred thickness.  Remember, if using wheat dough, it’s going to rise quite a bit in the oven.  The gluten free dough will rise a little bit but not nearly as high as you’re used to a glutenous dough rising.

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, oil, salt, and pepper for the vinaigrette. Spread on pizza dough leaving a rim around the edge.

Top with torn pieces of ham, sliced brie, and pears, in that order.  This prevents the ham from losing all it’s moisture in the super hot oven.  Grind some black pepper all over the top.

Carefully slide onto hot pizza stone, parchment paper and all (or onto your non-stick pan – just make sure you turn it right side up first!).

Bake 12 minutes.

Makes 8 large slices.




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Thai Coconut Sweet Potato Mash

A couple nights ago I told my husband I was craving Thai food.  If you live in a major metropolitan area that probably sounds like a pretty normal thing.  You can get Thai food everywhere nowadays…except here.  Where we live we have ONE Thai restaurant.  So when I say I want Thai, I’m pretty much saying I want to go to THAT restaurant.  It’s a nice little place.  It’s downtown, small, quiet, good food, fast service.  But going there with four kids?  Yeah, no thanks.  Taking toddlers into a restaurant is almost invariably a bad idea and we have two of them.

We hardly ever go out for exactly that reason so I figured I’d better devise something to make at home to satisfy the craving.  I woke up with the recipe for these sweet potatoes in my head yesterday morning.  I usually wake up thinking about cooking.  Or eating.  FYI.

These are not your basic sweet potatoes.  In other words, they’re not just sweet.  They are much more complex with a really nice flavor balance.  Salty and sweet, savory with just a hint of spiciness.  Mmm.  Comfort food to the max.  And so easy to make.  After three doctors’ visits in three days, each with all the kids in tow, I needed these big time.

And a stiff drink.  But that’s a story for another day.

Here’s what you need:  2 medium sweet potatoes (yes, they’re actually yams), butter, salt, sugar (not shown ’cause it forgot to show up for picture day), lime juice, cayenne pepper, coconut milk, and sweetened flaked coconut.

First, peel and large dice up your sweet potatoes.  Taking the time to do this in the beginning saves you a lot of cooking time in the end.

Next, throw them in a pot of COLD water.  (It’s important you don’t throw raw potatoes straight into boiling water.  Doing so shocks them into dumping their starch into the water and you end up with gluey mashed potatoes.)  Turn the heat up to high and bring them to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down the heat and let simmer about 10-15 minutes or until a fork slides easily into them.

Strain out the liquid…

…and throw them into a bowl.  Add 1/2 a stick of butter, a dash of cayenne…

…a teaspoon of salt…

…two tablespoons sugar…

… 1/2 cup of coconut milk (you want to shake it up first, it tends to be lumpy in the can)…

…and 2 tsp lime juice.  You can use the bottled kind if you like.  You don’t even need half a lime’s worth of juice.  I just needed to use this lime before it turned into a green rock in my fridge.

And mash it all up.  You can use a potato masher if you have one but a fork works just as well.

Top with shredded coconut for even more coconuty wonderfulness.  You could also toast the coconut before adding it on if you’re feeling ambitious…which I obviously was not last night.  We had it with very simple pork chops and spinach and cranberry salad with balsamic glaze.  So beautiful and mouth wateringly yummy.  I’m excited I get to eat it again today for lunch.  And it came together so quickly and easily – doesn’t get any better than that!


Thai Coconut Sweet Potato Mash

2 medium sweet potatoes/yams (about 2 lbs)

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp lime juice

1 tsp salt

dash of cayenne pepper

Sweetened Flaked Coconut for garnish (optional)


Peel and large dice sweetpotatoes.  Add to a pot of cold water.  Set over high heat until boiling.

Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are fork tender.  Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine drained sweet potatoes with butter, coconut milk, sugar, salt, lime juice, and cayenne pepper.  Mash to combine.

Garnish with flaked coconut and serve hot.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Double Chocolate Cupcakes with “Fluffy” Whipped Cream

I think I’m on a chocolate kick.

I realize it’s been like a week since I’ve last updated on here.  It’s been a crazy couple weeks of trying to overhaul our entire upstairs.  Getting close to finishing up phase one.  And it’s not that I haven’t been cooking.  Far from it.  I just haven’t been taking pictures at the same time.  I did, however, peruse a Food Photography book at Barnes and Noble for like 15 minutes last night while waiting to get my eight year old from gymnastics.  I flipped through it and got overwhelmed with the vast oceans of photographic/technology knowledge I am lacking and put it back on the shelf.

Baby steps.

Anyway.  So the chocolate… We’ve had a glorious summer of fresh, local fruits and vegetables – and we’ve loved and devoured every second of it.  But, if you know me, you know I always say “If it’s not chocolate – it doesn’t count as dessert.”  It’s like my brain had forgotten and has now finally remembered my most favorite food.  Like an old friend, her high school note to me buried under boxes of junk in a closet that hasn’t been touched in years.  Okay, not the best analogy but it gives you a little snapshot of my week of cleaning/re-organizing/updating/generally trashing our upstairs.

These cupcakes I actually made last weekend and intended to show you guys days ago and just never got around to writing about.  They are nicely balanced Devils Food cupcakes with ganache filling and “Fluffy” Whipped Cream on top.  I’m not a huge fan of buttercream frostings (I know, shocking), so these were just perfect.  The cupcake recipe comes straight out of my old Better Homes and Gardens generic cover-everything cookbook (adapted to be gluten free).  The ganache is basic ganache like we made last week for the Salted Caramel Squares, and the Whipped Cream topping is from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes cookbook I got a couple Christmas’s ago.  It uses Marshmallow Fluff to give the whipped cream a mouse-like consistency.  Yummy.

You can use the Devil’s Food cupcake recipe I’ve given below or you can use your own, or a box mix.  Whatever floats your boat.  I’m gonna give you guys lots of credit and assume you know how to mix up and bake cupcakes.    Or I might just be using that as an excuse for the lack of pictures pre-baked stage.  In any case – here is one of my purdy little cupcakes.  That’s me taking my vegetable peeler and coring them.  You can save the cores if you want.  Maybe make some cake pops later if you’re feeling ambitious.  Or if you’re like me you can just eat them.  All.

Here is my leftover ganache from earlier in the week.  Nom.

Now grab your baby spoon the hospital gave you and fill the holes with ganache.

Here we have our Fluffy Whipped Cream, beaten with the whisk attachment to stiff peaks.

You can cover your cupcakes however you like but I quickly piped the whipped cream on using a #12 round tip.

And then dusted them with cocoa powder.  Beautiful!

I love it when there’s a surprise in the middle!  Uh oh.  Someone heard mommy say chocolate.  I’m pretty sure that food photography book would advise moving the baby bouncy seat before taking the shot.  Oh well.

“Yes baby.  Go ahead.  But don’t tell your brother I let you eat it before dinner.”

It pays to be in the right place at the right time 🙂


Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Whipped Cream

Cupcake (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)

300 g All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend (if using regular AP wheat flour this works out to 2 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

1 1/3 cups water

Basic Ganache

4 oz (1/2 cup) Heavy Cream

4 oz Chocolate Chips

Fluffy Whipped Cream (from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes)

2 cups Heavy Cream

2 Tbsp Sugar

1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 muffin/cupcake tins with foil or paper baking cups.   I actually had enough batter to make 27 cupcakes.  I must have erred on the small side.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour (whatever kind you’re using), cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), mix eggs with sugar until light and creamy looking.  Add oil, vanilla, and water.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix until well combined and smooth.

Pour into baking cup lined cupcake tins.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

Allow to cool.

While cupcakes are cooling make your ganache and whipped cream.

For ganache, put chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.  Pour a half cup of heavy cream into a microwave-safe vessel (I just use a coffee cup), and nuke until boiling.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and allow to sit five minutes.  Stir until combined.

For whipped cream, in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, combine cream, sugar, fluff, and vanilla on low speed until combined and still thin.  If you start out on high speed you will have cream flying around your kitchen.  Turn up to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form when the whisk is raised up.  This can also be done with a hand mixer.

To assemble, core a small hole out of the middle of each cooled cupcake.  Fill the hole with ganache.  Top with whipped cream either by spreading or piping.  If you’re a fan of piping, use a #12 round tip.  I haven’t tried but I suspect this whipped cream would not hold the pretty ridges of a star tip.

Dust with cocoa if you’re feeling extra domestic and fancy.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

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