What happens when you obey your cravings and let chocolate take the lead… (Chocolate ganache, that is.)

Cakes and Breads / March 8, 2017

I’m just curious. When was the last time you made something with the sole purpose of simply satisfying your own, simple, intense craving? I know, you’re not an island. There’s people around you who expect you to be logical in the kitchen. Or at least democratic. It’s tempting to ask the fam, “Hey, anyone want dessert?” And then feel duly justified to begin extracting flour, sugar, butter and vanilla from the pantry even if only one hand goes up. It seems at least ONE other partner in crime turns the act from criminal to casual.

That’s not what I mean. I’m speaking about that moment when you’re standing in your kitchen and you just say, “BECAUSE, I WANT TO.” Thrilling thought, yes?

Impulse. It’s a beautiful thing. Well, not if you’re an surgeon. Or flying and airplane. Or speed dating. Those things require a bit of intention and discipline to avoid certain disaster. You see, I’m talking about that feeling when you leave your frontal lobe to lane changing and — in spite of every cell in your body screaming you’ve gone raving mad — you simple say “Get ready for greatness, Lloyd!” Which is EXACTLY what the character Corey said, (played by Lili Taylor) in the movie, Say Anything.

So, I say, do what you want…

I’m not sure how this wild streak started. Maybe I was reliving a moment from a Barefoot Contessa episode where Ina Garten tortures me with her little not-so-innocent double boiler. Maybe my meds were out of whack. Whatever the reason, that wonderful baking chocolate began to shatter and crumble with power and then melt ever so seductively in that warm cream.

I’m used to recipes calling for cocoa powder, and then eggs and corn syrup and such. But I have used ganache in cakes. Why couldn’t I just figure this out? (Maybe because I had fired my frontal lobe? Oh, well.)

The good news is three-fold.

1. My experimentation was successful. Moist, rich, texturally on point, and yummy.
2. Others in my home who I had not consulted about this mid afternoon folly were equally happy with the results.
3. I have decided that impulses should be obeyed from time to time without fear.

Let’s get crazy together, eh?


Chocolate Ganache Cranberry Muffins

Makes 6 jumbo muffins


2 C sifted all-purpose flour
¾ C sugar
½ t kosher salt
2 t baking powder
¼ C light oil
½ C cold, strong coffee
1/3 C milk
2 t vanilla
1 T cranberry ginger balsamic vinegar
½ C heavy cream
4 oz. semi sweet baking chocolate
Butter to grease muffin tins


  • In a large bowl thoroughly sift the flour in first, then add the sugar, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  • Grease the large muffin tins with the butter.
  • Place a glass bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and add the chopped semi-sweet chocolate and the heavy cream. Whisk gently but constantly until all of the chocolate is smooth and melted. Remove pan from burner but keep melted chocolate over the pan.
  • In another bowl blend the oil, coffee, milk, vanilla and cranberry ginger balsamic. Whisk to combine.
  • Making a well in the flour mixture add the oil mixture and then the melted chocolate on top. Using a spatula, fold everything together until just blended. Do not over mix!
  • Divide batter into cups making sure not to fill above about ¼ inch below the rim of the cup. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Take out and place on rack for about 10 minutes, then remove and cool muffins on rack.

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