Saturday, March 16, 2013

Easy Guinness Cupcakes with Chocolate Whiskey Frosting

Happy St. Patty's Day!  I know the internet is littered with similar recipes, but I couldn't refrain from taking part.  It's fun to cater your menu around the holidays and these cupcakes turned out so well, that I had to share them.  This is my EASY version of the impressive originals.  The cake is dark and flavorful with a slightly bitter taste from the Guinness and is complemented perfectly by the sweet and subtle whiskey flavored chocolate frosting.

Guinness Cupcakes

1 Chocolate cake mix
2 T. cocoa powder
1 t. instant coffee powder
3 Eggs
1/2 C. applesauce
1 1/3 C. Guinness

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray and flour cupcake pans.  

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.  Fill the cupcake pans 1/2 way full with the batter.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick skewered into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.  

Chocolate Whiskey Frosting

1 Container of your favorite chocolate frosting
1 1/2 T. Whiskey

Gently fold together the two ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  If you'd like your frosting to taste more like Whiskey, add more, but the frosting will become more like a ganache, instead of a firmer cake frosting.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Marsala Sausage & Arugula Pizza

There’s a brilliant little restaurant in Phoenix, AZ called Pizzeria Bianco.  It’s the perfect date restaurant – someone took me on a fabulous date here and I still compare most dates to it.  We started next door at Bar Bianco and enjoyed a delicious cheese plate with wine.  When our table was ready, we moseyed over to one of the most magnificent dinners I’ve ever experienced.  And guess what we ate!  Pizza!

Not just any pizza though.  The Biancoverde.  You may have heard of it on Food Network.  Yes, it’s THAT good.  Ricotta, Mozzarella, Arugula.  MmmmHmmm.

Thanks for the great date, M.

The following recipe is my humble version, inspired by the astounding original. This pizza is crunchy, savory and satisfying with a hint of fresh pepper from the arugula. 

Marsala Sausage & Arugula Pizza

Italian Sausage (I like mine in chunks, but it’s up to you)
½ C. Marsala Wine
1 pizza crust (I used Tyler Florence’s Recipe)
Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Arugula (found near the herbs in your grocery store)

In a medium skillet, brown up some Italian sausage.  When it’s gained a bit of crunch, add the Marsala wine.  Let it reduce and caramelize.  When most of the liquid has been absorbed by the sausage, remove from the heat and set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 450. 

Roll out your pizza dough and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and Marsala sausage.  Bake until the cheese has begun to brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two.  Cut into your favorite shapes. 

Top the pizza with arugula.