Monday, January 13, 2014

"Brownie Cupcakes" and why we call them that. :-)

 Since Lucy Guardino is "Just your average Pittsburgh soccer mom, baking brownies
and carrying a loaded forty-caliber Glock..." I had a crazy idea.  In the shower.
Which is where I get all of my crazy ideas. :-) "What if I offered some of my brownie 
cupcakes as a prize, if the novella reached 200 on the Kindle rankings?  I mean, I can't
offer a loaded glock, but this is the next best thing, right" ;-)

Well, I had no idea that the response would be so overwhelming!  Lucy Guardino fans
responded instantly, and AFTER SHOCK's rankings went up over three hundred
points in just two days!!  Fans from all over--including at least one all the way from 
Australia--had a sudden, incalculable chocolate craving. <3

Sadly, I can't send cupcakes to all of you, but you all certainly made my day--and CJ's!!
 At the very least, I'll share the (original)  recipe with you, and the story behind
creating it. (I also hope to add pictures soon, but I got preggo-sick tonight, so it
couldn't happen yet.)
See, I'm allergic to wheat and milk. Seriously.  Unlike Scarlet in BROKEN, my allergy
actually causes me to swell up, have trouble breathing, and cough my lungs out until
I'm doped up on Benadryl.  

This meant I had two options: 1) I could spend the rest of my life eating over-priced
gluten-free foods that tasted like processed cardboard, or 2) I could become the best
dang scratch-cook in allergy-friendly history.  

I chose the second option. :-)  It took about two and a half years, but I managed 
to develop a knack for making food that was nutritious, yummy, and wouldn't keep 
me in a perpetual Benadryl coma.  A girl's gotta have priorities.
A friend of mine posted a cupcake recipe on a blog that we tried to create together, but 
every time I tried to make it, the cakes kept falling apart.   Plus, they were dry, and I left a
trail of crumbs that would put Hansel and Gretel to shame with every bite.  It took about
three months, (I had to eat all my mistakes. Darn!) but I finally made enough tweaks and
changes that the cupcakes that came out were moist, held together fairly well....
...and when my kids ate them, instead of spitting them out and going "YUCK!!, Are 
these gluten-free?" they licked the paper liners clean and said, "Oh mom, they taste
like yummy brownies!!"  
And that's how these brownie cupcakes were born. :-) 

         3/4 cup Teff Flour
         1/4 cup Sorghum Flour
         1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
         1 cup good quality baking cocoa
         1/2 tsp baking soda
         2 1/2 tsp baking powder
         1/2 tsp salt
         1 1/2 sticks margarine (Earth Balance is is dairy free, and they have a soy free option as well) or butter, room temperature
         3/4 cup brown sugar
         1 cup granulated sugar
         4 large eggs
         2 teaspoons vanilla
         1 1/2 cups milk (dairy, rice, soy) plus 1 1/2 tsp vinegar to mimic buttermilk
         1-2 cups of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (these are dairy-free, but if you don't have any allergy, you can try regular chips)  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
This makes about 2 dozen cupcakes. Lightly grease the bottom of the
baking pans, then dust with a little cocoa powder, or line 2 muffin tins with cupcake

Whisk the three flours together. Add cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda to the 
flours and whisk together in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, with your mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the
brown sugar and the granulated sugar. Whip this mixture until fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture, then add the vanilla.
Turn the mixer to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk.
Using an eighth-cup measuring cup, fill the cupcake liners to 2/3rds full.  Then, one
teaspoon at a time, add the Enjoy Life Chips to each cupcake.  Stir with a toothpick to 
incorporate into the batter.  (If you don't do this, the chips tend to settle to the
bottom, and you lose a good bit of moisture.)  
Bake immediately for 12-15 minutes, until the cupcake is springy to the touch and a 
toothpick comes out clean.  [Careful, because the toothpicks can come into contact w/ 
yummy gooey chocolate chips!]
For frosting, you can either 1) Buy frosting that's labeled gluten-and-dairy free, or
 2) Try  mixing one part shortening to one part cocoa, and three parts powdered
sugar, then adding soy/rice/almond milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the
consistency you want. 
 (I wish I had a more specific recipe for this, but since I make different quantities all 
the time, I just TASTE it until I like the results I get. :-)  With a disposable toothpick, 
of course.)  
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!  
Lots of Love, 

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