Chocolate Bites with Espresso Ganache

I love these little bites of chocolaty heaven because they aren’t too sweet, they are full of chocolate flavor, and they have a sophisticated touch from the espresso in the sauce, and a nice crunch from the peppermints.  It’s definitely a dessert for adults more than kids.  If I were making it for kids I’d leave out the espresso in the ganache and replace with more heavy cream and probably add more sugar to the cake batter before I bake them.  I like to serve these as part of a dessert and cheese course with port or after dinner coffees. They are rich so one piece goes a long way.  Perfect if you are looking for something sweet but don’t want to go crazy on the calories.

  1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a mini muffin tin pan, making sure to shake off any excess flour.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar.  Starting on low, so you don’t make a mess, combine them and steadily increase the speed.  Mix until the butter is a pale yellow, stopping to scrape down the sides.
  4. Add the vanilla, orange zest, eggs, and buttermilk and then mix on low until just combined.  Add in the dry mixture and continue to mix on low.  Small lumps are fine, do not over mix or cake bites will be tough.
  5. Bake on 350 for 12-14 minutes (the top should be moist and just start to spring back).  Cool in the pan on a cooling rack.  Place a sheet of parchment paper underneath the cooling rack then carefully remove the chocolate bites and place them back on the rack.
  6. In a small bowl over a double broiler (a glass bowl set in a pan over simmering water without the glass bowl touching the water) add the chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula as it slowly starts to melt.  Add in the remaining ingredients and taste.  It will be a little thin but shouldn’t be too runny.  It will thicken a bit as it cools.
  7. Spoon a generous amount of Ganache on each chocolate bite, letting it drip down the sides.  Let it set at room temperature for about 10 minutes at least.  Then sprinkle with chopped candy canes or peppermints.
Chocolate Bites

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon Salt

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature plus extra for greasing muffin cups

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons good quality (Madagascar) vanilla

2 Tablespoons orange zest

2 Eggs

1 1/4 cups half and half

Espresso Ganache

½ cup (heaping) Semi sweet chocolate

2-3 Tablespoons Heavy cream

3 Tablespoons Espresso

Dash of vanilla

Pinch of salt

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