What happens when you obey your cravings and let chocolate take the lead... (Chocolate ganache, that is.)
I'm just curious. When was the last time you made something with the sole purpose of simply satisfying your own, simple, intense craving? I know, you're not an island. There's people around you who expect you to be logical in the kitchen. Or at least democratic. It's tempting to ask the fam, "Hey, anyone want dessert?" And then feel duly justified to begin extracting flour, sugar, butter and vanilla from the pantry even if only one hand goes up. It seems at least ONE other partner in crime turns the act from criminal to casual.
That's not what I mean. I'm speaking about that moment when you're standing in your kitchen and you just say, "BECAUSE, I WANT TO." Thrilling thought, yes?
Impulse. It's a beautiful thing. Well, not if you're an surgeon. Or flying and airplane. Or speed dating. Those things require a bit of intention and discipline to avoid certain disaster. You see, I'm talking about that feeling when you leave your frontal lobe to lane changing and -- in spite of every cell in your body screaming you've gone raving mad -- you simple say "Get ready for greatness, Lloyd!" Which is EXACTLY what the character Corey said, (played by Lili Taylor) in the movie, Say Anything.
So, I say, do what you want...
I'm not sure how this wild streak started. Maybe I was reliving a moment from a Barefoot Contessa episode where Ina Garten tortures me with her little not-so-innocent double boiler. Maybe my meds were out of whack. Whatever the reason, that wonderful baking chocolate began to shatter and crumble with power and then melt ever so seductively in that warm cream.
I'm used to recipes calling for cocoa powder, and then eggs and corn syrup and such. But I have used ganache in cakes. Why couldn't I just figure this out? (Maybe because I had fired my frontal lobe? Oh, well.)
The good news is three-fold.
1. My experimentation was successful. Moist, rich, texturally on point, and yummy.
2. Others in my home who I had not consulted about this mid afternoon folly were equally happy with the results.
3. I have decided that impulses should be obeyed from time to time without fear.
Let's get crazy together, eh?
RECIPE: Chocolate Ganache and Cranberry Muffins
Makes 6-7 JUMBO muffins or 12-14 regular size. / Click here for printable version.
2 C sifted all-purpose flour
¾ C sugar
½ t kosher salt
2 t baking powder
¼ C light oil
½ C cold, strong coffee
1/3 C milk
2 t vanilla
1 T cranberry ginger balsamic vinegar
½ C heavy cream
4 oz. semi sweet baking chocolate
Butter to grease muffin tins
In a large bowl thoroughly sift the flour in first, then add the sugar, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Grease the large muffin tins with the butter.
Place a glass bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and add the chopped semi-sweet chocolate and the heavy cream. Whisk gently but constantly until all of the chocolate is smooth and melted. Remove pan from burner but keep melted chocolate over the pan.
In another bowl blend the oil, coffee, milk, vanilla and cranberry ginger balsamic. Whisk to combine.
Making a well in the flour mixture add the oil mixture and then the melted chocolate on top. Using a spatula, fold everything together until just blended. Do not over mix!
Divide batter into cups making sure not to fill above about ¼ inch below the rim of the cup. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Take out and place on rack for about 10 minutes, then remove and cool muffins on rack.
I know, I know. This is cruel of me. Really cruel. We're within spitting distance of bathing suit season and I'm posting the photos and recipe for a jumbo Banana Milk Chocolate Chip Muffin with White Chocolate Ganache Glaze.
Except that I believe in the power of endorphins. And that they're severely underrated. And when you bite into one of these intensely flavorful heaps of heavenly happiness you'll take a bit of bulge around the middle to mitigate the explosion of joy in your mouth, mind and soul.
I seriously made these in less than an hour as my husband was just a few yards away from me in the garage, rotating the tires on my Mini Cooper and doing all the other garagey-type things he's famous for. While looking over towards the screened door from time to time and sniffing in the aromas as they baked in the oven he nearly leapt through the door when I told him they were ready for the official tasting. And when he took that first bite and licked that beautiful, transparent, white chocolate drippingness off the top, I knew you'd still want to be in on this. And you'd find a way to put summer off for just a little bit longer. ~~ They do make bathing suits with skirts, ya know.
RECIPE: Banana Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins with White Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Makes 6 Jumbo Muffins - Click here to download a printable version.
2 ¼ C all-purpose flour
1 ½ t baking powder
½ t kosher salt
1 egg beaten
2 ripe bananas mashed coarsely
¾ C heavy cream
3 T melted butter (I used salted)
2 T soft butter to grease muffin tin
½ C packed light brown sugar
1 ½ T unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ t vanilla extract
¾ C milk chocolate chips
In one bowl beat the egg, then add the bananas and mash them, then add the cream, brown sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Beat well to incorporate. In another bowl stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the liquid into the dry and stir gently, mixing only until incorporated. Do not overmix. Now add the milk chocolate chips, folding them inside and over with a spatula until well incorporated.
Spoon the batter evenly into the 6 count jumbo muffin tin that has been greased with butter. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 30-35 minutes until starting to brown on the edges. Let cool on a rack for about 30 minutes then make the ganache and drizzle it over each muffin.
To make the ganache, melt ½ C white chocolate chips with about ¼ C cream. Melt over double boiler. Drizzle on muffins. Store in airtight container once cooled. Can freeze is desired.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.