Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
~Norman Vincent Peale
What’s your favourite part? Watching the soft cottony marshmallows become a white satiny mush? Stirring in the crisp rice cereal? Pressing it into a pan with buttery fingers?
When I find the seasonal red and green rice crisps on the grocery store cereal shelf, I still get a giddy child-like rush. Crispy rice squares are such simple and beloved treats and they have become a Christmas staple in many homes. A few days ago, I was making a batch and I knew I had to make them a little *sin*ful – but of course!
The recipe on the cereal box is easy to follow and when I stirred in the vanilla, I also added 3 tablespoons of Irish Cream. Then, once the cereal was stirred in, I tossed in several handfuls of dark chocolate chips. When it comes to chocolate chips, generosity is the rule!
These squares are really rich and deeelish! And don’t worry; they are super kid-friendly.
*Tip – Use only fresh marshmallows. The first time I tried to make these squares I used older dry marshmallows, but they refused to melt. They just rolled around in the margarine and actually started to roast a bit! It made me laugh.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” - Anais Nin
by Alana Cholewa
Val and I met in the fall of 2000. We had just started university and lived in the same residence building. Val, God bless her, is the loudest person I know. She is short and Italian, and packs a punch if she feels the need to hollar. In all fairness, I must admit that I heard her long before I saw her: In a building that housed over one thousand first year students, that was quite the accomplishment!
While I became familiar with her during Orientation Week, I was actually introduced to her a few weeks later. While some people can find ample volume off-putting, I have always appreciated and respected Val’s ability to just put it all out there.
Over a decade later, our friendship is still holding strong. We picture ourselves growing old with each other — two grannies on a porch with extra large wine glasses. This recipe for cupcakes is much like our friendship, rich with colour and flavour. The icing, sweetness on top, isn’t as sweet and innocent as it appears. Gotta watch for this blonde and brunette friendship – it, too, packs a punch!
“Packs a Punch” Cupcakes
Step #1: Bake the Cupcakes
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
2 large eggs2/3 cup sour cream2 cups flour, all purpose2 cups sugar1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda3/4 teaspoon salt1 cup stout3/4 cup butter3/4 cup cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sour cream with a mixer.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Simmer the stout and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
4. Add the stout mixture to the egg mixture and beat until blended.
5. Add the whisked dry ingredients and mix slowly until all ingredients are just combined.
6. Filling muffin or cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake for 16 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Make sure to completely cool the cupcakes on a rack.
Step #2: Fill Cupcakes with Ganache
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate squares2/3 cup heavy cream2 tablespoons butter, room temperature2 teaspoons whiskey
1. Chop the chocolate squares into fine pieces and put them in a heatproof bowl.
2. Heat the cream until it simmers lightly then pour it over the chocolate pieces. Let stand for one minute until the chocolate melts then stir until the mixture is smooth.
3. Add the butter and whiskey and stir or whip with a beater until it is combined and smooth. Cool slightly, but still soft enough to pipe.
4. Scoop out the middle of each cupcake with a melon baller, or apple corer. Pipe the ganache into the middle of each cooled cupcake and fill to the top.
Step #3: Top with Icing
Irish Cream Frosting
2 cups confections sugar1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperatue4 tablespoons Irish Cream
1. With an electric mixer, whip the butter and powdered sugar, slowly adding the Irish cream until the icing is smooth and creamy.
2. If the mixture thins out, add more powdered sugar until thick again. If more liquid is needed, add more Irish Cream or milk.
3. Spread a generous amount of icing on each ganache-filled cupcake.
4. Enjoy packing a punch with this treat!
This recipe was inspired by – http://www.sweetspot.ca/SweetHome/recipes/32765/test_kitchen_guinness_cupcakes_with_irish_cream_frosting/
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“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” ~ Author unknown (commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin) “Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.” ~ W. C. Fields “Irish cream in my coffee this morning. Life is good.” ~ Author unknown
Today I looked at my Cooking With Sin stats and realized that we will probably reach 100,000 visitors this summer! That is 100,000 real people who will have clicked onto these pages since I started it in 2009! That’s pretty cool!
As of this moment 92,989 people have visited and last month alone we had 9,955 visitors, so it’s looking really good!
When we reach 100,000 I will yell a primal “Ye-ahhhhhhh” just like The Who in the theme of CSI Miami. And let me stand up and say I, for one, miss Horatio’s one-liner as he put on his sunglasses at the start of each show.
This recipe comes with a very special THANK YOU from me to each of you for making this project SO worth doing. I recommend making mini cupcakes so you get the taste of all 3 part of the cupcake in each bite.
*NOTE: If you’re looking for a real bomb recipe, fuggeddaboudit. Make these cupcakes instead. The name comes from a shooter called a Bomb. Ya, maybe not the best name, but here are 3 – count ‘em 3 – types of alcohol! Stout in the cake, whisky in the ganache and Irish cream in the icing. You’re gonna love them! Besides, I heard that British spy hackers are replacing online bomb recipes with cupcake recipes, so it’s all the rage!
My cupcakes ended up kinda messy looking , but they were amazingly deeeeeeeeelish!
“THANK YOU” Chocolate Cupcake Bombs
Makes 50 mini cupcakes
1/2 cup dark stout beer1/2 cup butter, melted1/2 cup cocoa powder1 cup flour1 cup sugar3/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with baking cups.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
3.Bring stout and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Take it off the heat and add the cocoa powder and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Let it cool a little.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream. Add the stout mixture and continue beating until it is combined.
4. With the mixer on slow speed add the flour mix and beat briefly. Continue folding batter with a spatula until the batter is combined.
5. Fill the liners 2/3 full with the batter and bake for 14 minutes.
6.Test with a toothpick in the center of a cupcake to make sure it comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool.
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heatproof or microwavable bowl.
2. Heat the cream on the stove until it is simmering. Pour it over the chocolate pieces. Let it sit for about a minute to let the chocolate melt then stir until smooth. If the chocolate is not yet melted, heat carefully in a microwave on medium/low for approximately 20 seconds.
3. While it is still warm stir in the butter and whisky until smooth.
4. Using a small cookie cutter, an apple-corer or a melon baller, cut out the centre of the each cooled cupcake about 2/3 of the way down.
5. Fill each cupcake hole with the ganache using a piping bag. I used a zipper bag with a hole snipped in one of the corners. You may want to let it cool before you squeeze the bag.
1 1/2 cup icing sugar1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature3 tablespoons Irish cream liquor
1. Put the icing sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. As you start to beat, slowly drizzle in the Irish cream.
2. Whip until it is combined and smooth. You may need more or less Irish cream depending on your preference. If the icing is too thin, add a bit more icing sugar and beat.
3. Spread the cupcakes and decorate as you wish.
If you are familiar with other recipes here on Cooking With Sin, you might recognize that the cupcake batter recipe is very similar to the “A Suitcase and a Dream” Chocolate Stout Cake recipe. I’m sure it would work as well. It’s at
“If it wasn’t for the olives in his martinis, he’d starve to death!” ~ Milton Berle
“La scoperta di un piatto nuovo è più preziosa per il genere umano che la scoperta di una nuova stella.” (The discovery of a new dish is more precious to human beings than the discovery of a new star.) ~ J. A. Brillat-Savarin
It was the annual Wine Pairing gala event held in Kitchener Ontario, an invitation-only dinner that has been held over the last five years. It was in grand style on this evening that “Chef D” Chef Darryl Fletcher was the host for the gourmet six-course wine and food pairing dinner.
Each course was a unique and special plate that Chef D had prepared using only the finest ingredients with exquisite presentation. Just before each course was served he would come out and describe the dish to the guests. Then he was followed by the wine importer who would share the complexities of the wine that was being paired with each course.
The evening started with teasing the diners palates with a mouth watering amuse bouche that was greeted warmly with a wine that paired perfectly. The next course brought forward, a spring pea soup, took everyone by surprise with its light fresh flavour whose taste only crescendoed with the subtle grape essence that slipped past your taste buds with a lovers touch. These diners were excited. These diners were curious. These diners were stoked. Then the atmosphere took a dramatic turn.
There are a few things that distinguish a chef from a common cook. One of them is that Chefs know food on an intuitive level and can vision combinations that no one has thought of before. Those combinations often test the limits of the most adventurous palates.
When Chef D came out to present the Scallop Martini course, he was excited. It was a whole new dish presented in a whole new way and he knew it was a winner. He began by describing how he seared the large fresh scallops in butter. Then he explained how he prepared the sauce by reducing a mixture of cream and Irish cream. It was at this point that the crowd held their tongues. They listened politely as Chef finished the description. It was both a tantalizing flavour and a tantalizing experience. The wine maker came up and described what delightful tastes would compliment this unique oral experience to a less than silent crowd. The wine was poured. Swirled and smelt in the glass. As the scallop martini was placed in front of the hesitant guests soft murmurs of, “I’m not eating that,” “Why would you ruin a scallop like that?” and “Why would you ruin Irish cream like that?” were heard around the room.
Slowly the murmurs were replaced with moans of pleasure as the scallops disappeared from the glass in front of each delighted diner. Questions of doubt were replaced with questions as to whether it is polite to drink the sauce out of the bottom of the glass dish? I would be lying if I didn’t share that, yes, some licked the glass clean. Everyone in the room was pleasantly amazed and delectably surprised.
Chef D’s wife Tric calls his artistry “Edible Magic” for many good reasons. That night his magic melted a cautious, reluctant crowd into a room of smiling, delighted diners.
Chef Darryl Fletcher “Chef D” is the talent and culinary genius behind Chef D TV, the popular online cooking show. With flare and enthusiasm he whips up amazing dishes that truly astound and amaze. “Great food. Great wine. Great company. These are essential parts of la dolce vita – the sweet life.” www.ChefDTV.com
Chef D’s Scallop Martini
Ingredients:8 large dry scallops2 tbsp butter1 cup 35% creme1 cup Irish Creme4 fresh basil leaves
In a medium size sauce pan, combine the Irish Cream and the 35% creme. On medium heat, let it boil until it reduces by ¾, stirring occasionally. It will become thick. This should take about 12 to 15 minutes just make sure mixture does not boil over.
Once mixture reduces, take heat down to a simmer.
In a large non-stick fry pan (or cast iron) over high heat, warm up the pan for about 2 minutes, add butter and let it melt before adding scallops. Cook scallops 1-1/2 minutes on each side.
Place 2 scallops in each Martini glass. Drizzle the cream sauce over top & garnish with fresh basil.
Carla’s note: While this dish has scallops in them, the creme is very caramelly and sweet. It works best as an appetizer, but feels like a dessert. Yes, it is an extraordinary dish. It will make you melt!
“This recipe came about when I was creating a wine and food pairing dinner. I love to see the look on people’s faces when describing this dish and than seeing their faces when they actually eat it. It’s a winner!” ~ Chef D