Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Chocolate Factory!

When I found out that THIS is CHOCOLATE DAY, I was instantly happy! Who doesn't like chocolate? Right? Please tell me you do LOVE chocolate!
And what is your favorite kind of chocolate? Dark, Milk, White, or some wonderful combination of flavors covered in chocolate? How about chocolate covered peanuts; almonds; hazelnuts or malted milk balls? Do you prefer Fannie Mae? See's? Hershey's; Nestle; Ghirardelli? Belgian; American; German or another? Do you ever dream of choclate? What is the best chocolate treat you've ever enjoyed?

I could go on and on...and on.... about always makes me happy!

There is a chocolate factory in Chicago which fills the air with the most heavely aroma. I just love driving by that is as if I've entered a chocolate ozone!
As I pass through this area, inhaling deeply, I notice a strange phenomenon....I'm Calm! So incredibly calm. As I glance out my window...left, then right, I see the most pleasant expressions on the faces of my fellow citizens. It is as if they are in a state of limbo between here and heaven...floating on a chocolate cloud! I feel that way too! I drive as slow as possible so that I can linger and breathe in this heavenly aroma for as long as I can. Oddly enough, as I inch my way down the avenue, I realize that everyone else has slowed down along with me...not a single horn beeping at me to move out of the way...not a single gesture telling me which way I should go...not a frown to be found! This simple pleasure of chocolate...wafting through the air...has us spellbound...all of us!

As I turn the corner...the aroma what?! Accelerating to move out of the way of the impatient drivers who obviously did not come from the same direction, I decide I MUST circle around the long city block to re-live the out of body experience just once more before I return to reality! Ahhhh Chocolate! It's CHOCOLATE DAY every day on this side of town!

Perhaps this just a glance of what heaven will be? Oh please God, let there be chocolate in heaven!

(I'll be sure to recognize my favorite indulgence again! There are several days set aside to celebrate and indulge in chocolate: Chocolate Day on July 7th & National Chocolate Day on October 28th; and…World Chocolate Day on September 4th. There is always a reason to celebrate chocolate!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sweet Cherry Surprise!

Call them a Cupcake,

Call them a Muffin,

Call them Sweet Cherry Surprise...

A delight for the tastebuds...

A delight for the eyes!

This delicious little cake is derived from a recipe from my mom's collection. The original recipe did not have a cheescake filling. As one of my recent contributions to the "Real Women of Philadelphia" cooking contest, I concocted my own version and decided to make a cupcake/muffin with the required cream cheese, and it turned out to be a hit here at home.

As much as I like my mom's original recipe for cherry cobbler cake...I think I prefer this embellishment and will probably be making these often. Pie cherries and a light cream cheese filling on top of batter, then baked to become moist, delicious cupcakes...Simple and beautiful!
I hope you like them!

Prep time: 20 minutes ; Cook time: 20 minutes ; Total time: 40 minutes; Servings: Approx. 20

•2 Sticks unsalted butter, softened
•2 cup(s) of Flour
•5 Eggs (4 eggs for batter and 1 egg for filling)
•1 Tbsp. of Fresh lemon juice
•2 Sticks unsalted butter, softened
•1 Eight oz. pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
•1 & 1/2 cup(s) of Plus 2 Tbsp. Sugar
•1 tsp. of Vanilla
•1 Can cherry pie filling
•1 - 2 TBSP. unsalted butter, softened
•1/2 cup(s) of skim milk (approx.)
•1 cup(s) of Confectioners sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350
2.In large mixing bowl, cream 2 sticks butter with 1 & 1/2 c. sugar.
3.Add four eggs
4.Gradually mix in 2 cups flour and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice until smooth.
5.Set aside and combine the filling ingredients as follows:
6.In second bowl, combine cream cheese with one egg, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla until smooth.
7.Into lined cupcake pans, spoon in cake batter with an ice cream scoop to approx. 2/3 full, then make a slight well in the center of each.
8.Add approx. 2 tsp. cherries, then top with approx 2 tsp. cream cheese filling
9.Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into cake portion of cupcakes.
10.Remove to wire racks to cool.
11.When cool, remove cupcakes to a platter and drizzle a small amount of glaze over each cupcake and serve!
12.Enjoy! (I also love them warmed up for breakfast with a nice cup of hot coffee)
13. For glaze: combine 1 cup confectioner sugar with butter & skim milk until smooth and the consistency of a glaze.

Cherry Cobbler Cupcakes Video
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