Thursday, February 9, 2012
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cream Cheese Cupcakes
I love chocolate-covered cherries. Do you? They are one of my dad's favorite candies and I have many fond memories of him sharing one of the sweets with me out of the special box in his stocking on Christmas Day or at his place on the table on Valentine's Day.
As I was trying to think of what to share with you this year (I already shared my chocolate covered cherry cookies and love story last Valentine's Day, and my favorite rolled and cut cookies to make into hearts for Christmas and St. Patrick's Day), I thought back to this chocolate-cream cheese cupcakes recipe my dear friend and college roommate Ginny posted last month.
Those cupcakes! When I saw her post, I was instantly transported to a time in my younger years when a friend's mother made cupcakes, only miniature, nearly identical to these on special occasions. I would pop them whole into my mouth and never got sick of them. I have that recipe and have made it a time or two and it's very similar, but there are a few differences - namely it is from scratch and doesn't use an easy cake mix.
With everything going on these days and my oldest daughter's birthday a couple of weeks ago and needing cupcakes for her class, I thought I'd make these super-easy delights that Ginny shared. Even the boys in third grade wanted the recipe.
The other day as I was mulling over what to fix for you this Valentine's Day, it occurred to me I should combine chocolate covered cherries into these amazing and simple cupcakes. Win!
In case you're wondering, Cella's chocolate cherries are gluten-free. And they happened to be on sale last week in my grocery store.
The combination was fantastic, and everyone loved these cupcakes. I hope you do, too.
Projected prep time: 15 minutes: Projected bake time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 24 regular cupcakes
1 box or bag gluten-free chocolate cake mix (I used Pamela's chocolate cake mix which is 21 oz.)
Ingredients required to prepare chocolate cake mix according to original recipe directions on bag (eggs, oil or butter, water or other liquid, etc.)
12 gluten-free chocolate-covered cherries (Cella's brand is gluten-free), chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup organic pure cane sugar
pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with baking cups. (If you are using a gas oven, top rack will be best on this recipe.)
Chop chocolate cherries, save as much of the liquid as possible.
Place in bowl, liquid filling and all. Add chocolate chips. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese together with sugar, egg and salt until creamy.
Fold the chocolate cherries and chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture.
It will have a lovely light pink color that won't stay through the baking, but it's okay. Set aside.
Drop chocolate cake batter into baking cups about 2/3 full.
If you want to attempt hearts on top of the cupcakes, place two spoonfuls slightly apart to make a heart shape on top of the cake batter. This will spread some and not keep the nice shape as much, but it's fun to try. I tried other ways, including filling a heart-shaped cookie cutter on top of the batter, to no avail. This spoon method worked best. If you don't want to mess with it, just drop a whole tablespoon onto the top of each.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until the center is completely cooked. Cool on wire racks.
I found that what wasn't eaten within a few hours kept best in an airtight container in the refrigerator.