(Photo by my dear friend Kory)

Here’s my entry to Quirky Cupcake‘s CUPCAKE HERO competition for the month of August. (Honor system: please don’t steal this recipe!)

The challenge ingredient was jalapeno peppers– I’ve already made a chili and chocolate based dessert, and decided to try it out again for this recipe. The result? Wonderful moist chocolate brownie cupcakes with a jalapeno taste and a bite that catches you by surprise. I’m quite delighted.

I made this recipe gluten-free and the result is the same as any made with wheat. Brownie’s are pretty resiliant that way.

:Ingredients:

  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 6-8 small jalapeno peppers
  • .5 cup sweet cream butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (.5 cup super fine white rice flour, .5 cup tapioca starch)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. De-vein and seed the jalapenos, (TIP: Wear gloves! My fingers are still tingling from doing this bare-handed.) and puree them, along with the semi-sweet chocolate. (TIP: Don’t breathe in as you take the lid off the pepper puree. I did, and couldn’t breathe properly for a minute and a half. Remember, there’s a reason why it’s called pepper-spray!) Transfer the chocolate/jalapeno combination to a small sauce pan, add the butter, and melt, stirring frequently. When the mix is thoroughly combined, remove from heat and allow to cool before combining with the rest of the batter.

Meanwhile, combine the eggs and salt in a bowl and beat until frothy and pale. Add the sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until thick and pale yellow. Fold in chocolate combination. Fold in flour– use minimum strokes necesary to completely combine the ingredients.

Scoop .25 cup each into 18 cupcake papers. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out covered in crumbs, rather than batter.

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DULCE DE LECHE FROSTING

:Ingredients:

  • 1 can Carnation Dulce de Leche
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

In a bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff.

In a small sauce pan, heat the dulce de leche to 230 degrees fahrenheit, stirring constantly. (Dulce de Leche is made with condensed milk, and so it’s important to keep a constant watch on it to make sure it doesn’t burn) When the caramel reaches this tempurature, remove from heat. Pour hot dulce de leche into the egg whites in a thin stream, beating constantly. Allow to stand for at least 20 minutes before using.

I topped my cupcakes with a little sprinkle each of cinnamon and chili powder.

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