I cannot believe it, but this week Brian and I are celebrating a big anniversary. Twenty years ago we went on our first date. I can remember it like it was last month, and besides our move to Seattle I think we would both agree that it was the best decision we ever made.
When Brian asked me out I honestly thought I would have a nice night out with someone who I found interesting. I was ready to go off to college and move on with my life. I was not looking for anything more, and why would I - I was only 18. But that night I realized I was actually having a conversation with someone who was a really listening to me. He was asking me questions, sharing things about himself, and laughing along with me. A couple of weeks later I was ready to go off to school and Brian said to me that he wanted me to go off and have fun and experience college, and if it works it works. That is just what we did. We kept in touch, called often, and saw each other on breaks. We were three states away from one another but it worked for us. We had our lives, our school, our hobbies, and then we had each other.
Now I can wax on forever expressing how much I care for him and how I knew he was the right person for me, but that would be boring for most to read. (I know we are not that interesting!) The thing is, we always mutually respected and cared for one another. I know it may seem weird to some - celebrating the anniversary of our first date when I personally can never remember our wedding date. But to us, nothing else really matters. Yes, I can truly say that the care and love we have has grown as time has passed; but that is when you know you have it good. Somehow we got it right. Relationships are never easy, but when you have the right person next to you and hold your hand it is more like a the icing on a cake. If you take your time, it will go on smoothly.
So what might this anniversary and time have to do with food? Nothing really. But it was Brian who pointed me in the direction of culinary school. Without that I do not think I would be as pleased or happy with my career. There is one dessert I created and would make at the bakery we had in Phoenix that was Brian’s favorite. It was a brownie cupcake topped with a white chocolate ganache and seasonal fruit. He loved it and often asked at the end of the day or week if I could bring one home for him. So I am making it special for him to celebrate. He deserves it. I don’t know how we did it, but we did. We have come a long way! For twenty years with me, he can have all the cupcakes he wants.
Happy Anniversary Brian, thank you for two happy and wonderful decades!
Brownie Cupcakes (makes 13 cupcakes)
6 oz unsweetened chocolate (chopped)
1 ½ cups of butter
1 cup of A P flour
1 cup of almond flour (or almond meal)
1 tsp of baking powder
pinch of Salt
4 eggs at room temperature
2 cups of sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
First, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a double boiler over medium to low heat. melt together the chocolate and the butter until smooth. Let cool slightly.
Next, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, almond flour, baking powder, & salt) and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Once mixed add the vanilla and the chocolate mixture and stir well.
Finally, fold your dry dry ingredients into your chocolate mixture until evenly combined. .Fill into cupcake wrappers 1/2 way full. Bake about 35 minutes, until your brownie cupcakes are still oft but set in the center. Remove from the oven and cool bout and hour before topping with White Chocolate Ganache.
White Chocolate Ganache
*Note: this is enough for 2x's the recipe above, but cutting the recipe in 1/2 is just as easy.
1 lb of white chocolate (28% cocoa butter)
6 tbsp of butter, at room temperature
5 oz of heavy cream
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
First, over a double boiler melt the white chocolate and the butter together. Once all melted and cohesive add the cream and combine. Be sure all is heted through and stirred well.
Next,add the vanilla extract to the mixture and stir well. The mixture will start to become somewhat set so you need to work with it quickly at this point.
Finally, pour a bit of the ganche at a time over each cupcake. Do not over fill! Pour until your ganache reaches the top of your cupcake wrapper. Let cool slightly before topping with seasonal berries / fruit.
** NOTE: Once cupcakes are done you can store them uncovered or loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Be sure cupcakes are at room temperature when serving. When the cupcakes are cold they are quite firm and hard.