Small Treat: Big Taste

There is nothing like chocolate to pull me out of the winter doldrums. Though calories count, there's one easy way to give in to temptation. Make small treats with big flavor by whipping up a batch of mini-cupcakes. German chocolate minis weigh in at 55 calories each. And they freeze well, so no excuses to overindulge in one sitting! 

For the frosting:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Dash salt
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted
For the cake:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
1/4 cup cocoa (my fave is Hershey’s special dark chocolate)
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup Splenda sugar blend
3 eggs, room temp
For the frosting: Whisk yolks, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Beat in the butter, and then gradually add cream and vanilla.  Cook over low heat to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.  This will take about 15 minutes, and the mixture should be the consistency of a cooked pudding.  Stir in pecans and coconut. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.  
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cocoa and instant coffee in a small bowl.  Add boiling water and mix until smooth.  Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the yogurt and vanilla.
Using a mixer, beat butter until smooth (about 30 seconds).  Gradually add the sugar and beat until light & fluffy (2-3 minutes).  Beat in eggs one at a time, combining well after each.  Scrape down the mixing bowl.
Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the cocoa mixture to the batter.  Repeat twice more, scraping as needed, until ingredients are just mixed - do not overbeat.
Drop enough batter into lined min-cupcake pans to fill each 2/3 full (approximately one well rounded tablespoon).  Bake 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5-10 minutes on wire rack.  Turn out of pans and cool completely before frosting each mini-cupcake with approximately one tablespoon of the frosting. Makes 48 mini-cupcakes at about 55 calories each.


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