I am tired – I actually think my body still thinks it is in Paris – that is until mealtime. Then it knows, it is no longer in that wonderful food paradise. I am also a little depressed…I am in love with a city that is thousands of miles away. And the food here is good – but nothing compares what I experienced last week. The ingredients are just better there. The farmer’s markets are overflowing right now with beautiful looking produce. Oh, and the cheese and bread, and just when you think it can’t get any better – the pastries. All those butter-rich pastries.
So of course I couldn’t help but wonder…what about the people who are allergic to dairy, or allergic to gluten? Do they starve in France? Of course not – first of all, I hear there are far fewer people with allergies there because of how the food is regulated. Still – there is enough fresh food there for just about anyone to survive. My husband will do just fine there – especially since he has now successfully introduced gluten back into his diet – as well as eggs. We are now down to soy and diary – and to tell you the truth – those are actually pretty easy to stay away from. Things are looking up.
It was my husband’s birthday the other weekend, and I had to make him something special. We actually discussed it for a while, and settled on these delicious dairy-free cupcakes that I have made before. Because he is not a huge marshmallow fan – I decided just to melt dark chocolate, and create a glaze. Wow – these were something else. They were intensely chocolate – almost too much for me to handle. He loved them though, and the girls had a fun time decorating. It was a win-win. Now if I could just beam myself back to Paris with my husband and two girls – then we would have a win-win-win.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (3 1/2 ounces)
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with papers. Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups water; whisk until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate. Scoop into cupcake wrappers, around 3/4 full; smooth top. Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 17-20 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
To make the glaze, melt the bittersweet chocolate in a metal or glass bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. When the chocolate is completely smooth, it’s ready. Working with one cupcake at a time, spoon a heaping teaspoonful of melted chocolate on top. Tilt and rotate the cupcake to coax the chocolate out to the edge. Alternatively, use a knife or icing spatula to spread the chocolate. The top of the cupcake should be entirely covered with a thin layer of chocolate. Spoon on more chocolate as needed.
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