I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: brownies are my favorite dessert. When I’m craving chocolate, I usually whip up a batch of brownies. When I’m feeling creative, I start with a base brownie recipe and improvise with the flavor. But brownies never seemed quite right for a special occasion — until I discovered Curtis Stone’s Brownie Cupcakes.
From the chocolate-loaded brownie cupcake to the decadent, creamy cream cheese frosting, these are perfection. The cupcake has a bit of give to it when you bite in and the frosting is wonderfully smooth. It’s the most delightfully messy cupcake I have ever made and eaten. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
My birthday is tomorrow. Each year, when I think about what to make, these cross my mind. I have only made these twice, but each time they left me wanting more — which is why I make them strictly for special occasions. Whether the festivities are for a birthday or other type of event, these cupcakes definitely merit being part of the celebration.
6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 percent to 70 percent cacao), chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 percent cacao), chopped
8 small, fresh strawberries
To make the cupcakes: Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 8 standard cupcake molds with cupcake liners.
Stir the chocolate and butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until the chocolate and butter melt and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the syrup and salt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl for 2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and light. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until blended, then stir in the walnuts.
Divide the batter equally among the prepared cupcake molds filling the paper liners completely. (Filling the liners completely is key — otherwise the cupcakes will collapse and will be less fudgy.)
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes puff and crack on top and a skewer inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out with fudgy crumbs attached.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.
To frost the cupcakes: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until light and smooth. Beat in the syrup. Place the chocolate in another bowl and place the bowl over a small pot of boiling water. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts. Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and beat until blended and fluffy, stopping the machine and scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is well-blended. Spread the frosting generously over the cooled cupcakes. Garnish each one with a fresh strawberry and serve.