Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

This has been adapted from a recipe in the Gluten Free Baking Classics cookbook and is my favorite recipe for chocolate cupcakes.  Gluten free cupcakes can be heavy and dense, but these cupcakes are light, moist and oh so chocolaty - just the way a cupcake should be!  I usually frost these with a chocolate butter cream frosting, but cream cheese frosting would be really yummy too.

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake papers or spray with cooking spray. In a medium bowl sift together cocoa powder, gluten free flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthum gum. Set aside. Beat sugar and egg in a mixing bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients and the milk. Turn the mixer to low speed and stir until just combined. Add in the oil and the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix on low until combined. Scrap down the bowl then turn the mixer back up to medium speed and mix for 1 minute.

Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full. You should have just enough batter for 12 cupcakes. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean (mine were done in 20 minutes). Cool cupcakes completely before frosting with your favorite chocolate butter cream frosting (you'll need about 1 cup of frosting).

I usually freeze 6-8 of the cupcakes before frosting them. I store the frosting in the refrigerator and pull out a few cupcakes at a time to enjoy throughout the week. They thaw on the counter in about 30 minutes. Frost and enjoy! They taste just as good as the day you baked them.

If cake is more your style, you can bake the cupcake batter in a 9 inch round cake pan for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.  For my daughter's birthday I doubled the recipe and made a chocolate layer cake.  Everyone (gluten and gluten free eaters alike) loved it.

Mexican Style Black Beans and Pork in the Slow Cooker

This is one of our new favorites.  It's quick to put together and it tastes delicious.  The recipe makes enough for 4-6 adult servings, which means leftovers for us.  The first night I serve this over brown rice (I prefer short grain) and I garnish it with cilantro.  Later in the week I like to make it into tacos.  For tacos I heat up the pork mixture, drain off the liquid and serve it in warm corn tortillas topped with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  My husband usually adds sour cream and chipotle tabasco sauce to his.  We've also had these in burritos using my gluten free multi-flour tortilla recipe.  Any way you choose, this one is a keeper!

Mexican Style Black Beans and Pork

2 1 inch thick pork chops cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (based on your heat preference)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans drained black beans (or 3-4 cups if you make your own like I do)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can water (use the tomato can once it's empty)
chopped cilantro, sour cream or any other garnishes you like

Place pork into the slow cooker and sprinkle with all of the seasonings (chili powder, salt, garlic powder, cumin, red pepper flakes and pepper) stir to coat the meat. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the garnishes and cook on HIGH for 4 hours (or low for 6-8).  Serve over rice and garnish as desired. 

Slow Cooker Black Beans

We love beans and have them almost every day.  In an effort to save money, I decided that I wanted to start using dried beans instead of buying canned beans.  I asked for and received a pressure cooker for Christmas last year with the specific intent of cooking my own beans...and it's still in the box.  Frankly, I'm intimidated by it.  And even though I've read the instruction manual several times, I don't want to be the one responsible if it blows up. 

Last week I got out the pressure cooker, read the manual again, put it back in the box, and pulled out my slow cooker.  I'd never done black beans in a slow cooker, but I have tried this recipe for refried beans without the refry so I went off that for bean and water measurments. 

Success!  We love the black beans!  This recipe makes 6 cups of beans and I used 2 cups for a recipe (a can of black beans is almost 2 cups). Then I divided the 4 remaining cups of beans into two freezer containers and froze them until I needed them.  Not only am I saving money, but since I buy dried beans in bulk I'm rotating my food storage so my beans stay fresh.  Best of all, there's NO SOAKING with this recipe and the texture is very much like canned beans! 

Slow Cooker Black Beans

3 cups dried black beans, rinse and remove any small pebbles or floating beans
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon kosher salt (1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons table salt)
9 cups water

Place everything into your slow cooker and cook on high for 8 hours.  Drain liquid.  Use beans straight from the pot or allow them to cool and refrigerate up to a week or freeze up to 6 months.