Chocolate & Coffee Mini Cupcakes {37 Cooks & Lock-N-Load Java Challenge}


As mentioned in my previous post I am doing a food challenge for 37 Cooks and Lock-N-Load Java. Please head on over to that post to learn more about Lock-N-Load Java, what they stand for, who they support, and why and also to learn more about the challenge.

For my second entry I made rich mini chocolate cupcakes with a mocha cream cheese frosting. I made them mini so I wouldn’t feel so guilty on my journey to getting in shape. I’ll also be bringing these into school so I will not be tempted at home! But they are so dang tasty, it is kind of dangerous to have them hanging out for another day.

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes


Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes:

Organic granulated sugar                                          1/4 cup

Sucanat                                                                      1/2 cup

High Quality Gluten-Free Flour Blend                         3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

(if your blend does not have xanthan gum already incorporated in it add a scant 1/2 teaspoon)

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder                                      1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons

Baking Powder (gluten-free)                                       3/4 teaspoons

Baking Soda (gluten-free)                                           3/4 teaspoon

Salt, Kosher                                                                1/2 teaspoon

Sniper Choice, ground                                                1/4 teaspoon

Double Barrel Black, ground                                       1/4 teaspoon

Egg, Large                                                                  1 each

Soy Milk (unsweetened)                                             1/2 cup

Canola Oil                                                                   1/4 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Method of Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • In a large mixing bowl add all dry ingredients (organic granulated sugar, sucanat, gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if required), cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds). Mix well.
  • Add in egg, soy milk, canola oil, vanilla, and hot coffee.
  • Whisk until well combined, but do not over mix.
  • Line a 24 cup mini cupcake tin or a 12 cup regular cupcake tin with paper liners.
  • Fill each tin 3/4 the way.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes (for mini cupcakes, and 28-30 minutes for regular cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cook in pan for five minutes and then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack until completely cooled. Frost with a mocha cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Sucanat                                                                       2 teaspoons

Cream Cheese, 1/3 fat                                                8 ounces (room temperature)

Organic Powdered Sugar                                           1/2 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Method of Preparation

  • In a small sauce pan add coffee and sucanat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until reduced by half. (You are looking for a thick syrup to coat the back of a spoon).
  • Set aside and let cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add softened cream cheese and turn mixer on to low. Add in powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla extract and mocha syrup, mix on medium-low until incorporated.
  • Spread on cupcakes and enjoy.

If you have someone that isn’t a huge coffee person (this has a very rich coffee flavor) then reserve a small amount of the cream cheese frosting and then add in the mocha syrup and use that for their cupcakes (pictured above).


Be sure to check out both 37 Cooks (find us on Facebook and Twitter) to see what everyone else created and Lock-N-Load Java (you can also find them on Facebook)

Double Barrel Spiced Pork Chop {37 Cooks Lock-N-Load Java Challenge}


This is my first time participating in a 37 Cooks (an online group made up of, you guessed it, 37 Cooks) challenge and I am very excited about it. For this challenge we were sponsored by Lock-N-Load Java. A fantastic coffee company that is run by veterans and is dedicated to our military, veterans, and those who support them.

(borrowed from their website) Lock-n-Load Java is committed to supporting our military community through regular donations to charities who meet our criteria for being reputable, highly rated, fiscally responsible charities.  We look for charities that are well run… with low overhead and low fund-raising costs, so that more of their resources are used in carrying out their mission.

While many companies claim to support charities with nebulous claims of donating a “portion of profits,” we decided we would create a minimum standard for the money we commit as a company to the panel of charities we have chosen to support. We have set that threshold at the equivalent of $1 for every order shipped.  The more successful we are as a company, the more we donate back to these great organizations. We believe that this level of transparency will earn your confidence and loyalty.

This is my kind of company – great product and charity oriented!

We were sent two samples of our choice…I chose the Double Barrel Black and Snipers Choice (decaf) and were asked to create two recipes with the samples. Of course both of my entries are 100% gluten-free. Below is my first entry:

Double Barrel Spiced Pork Chop IMG_5044

Spice Rub:

Double Barrel Black, Ground                    2 teaspoons

Brown Sugar, Light                                     2 teaspoons

Cayenne Pepper                                      3/4 teaspoon

Salt, Kosher                                              3/4 teaspoon

Cinnamon, ground                                    1/2 teaspoon

Olive Oil                                                    1 teaspoon

Butter                                                        1/2 teaspoon

Pork Chop, boneless                                2

Method of preparation:

In a small bowl combine the first five ingredients and mix well.

Rub on both sides of the pork chops evenly and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook until internal temperature reaches 145°. Depending on the thickness of your pork chop this could be anywhere between 3-6 minutes per side.

Serve with a roasted sweet potato with butter, cinnamon and sugar, and candied pine nuts (recipe below)

Double Barrel Candied Pine Nuts


Double Barrel Black, Brewed                     1/4 cup

Sucanat                                                     1/2 cup

Pine Nuts, toasted                                     1/4 cup

Method of preparation:

In a small sauce pan combine the brewed coffee and sucanat and bring to a boil. Stir until the sucanat has dissolved. Stir in pine nuts and cook until the sucanat starts to crystallize around the pine nuts, about 5 minutes.  Continue to stir and once the sucanant starts to re-melt pour the liquid and pine nuts onto a silpat to let cool. Once cooled you ca break them apart.

Chefs Note: I choose the sucanat over granulated sugar because the sucanat goes well with coffee, it adds a hint of molasses.

Be sure to check out both 37 Cooks (find us on Facebook and Twitter) to see what everyone else created and Lock-N-Load Java (you can also find them on Facebook)


Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting

Not that long ago I received a box of products from Katz Gluten Free to review.  There were so many delicious looking gluten-free goodies in the box that it has taken me a little while to do a review (another one will be coming shortly). At first I was going to review them all in one post, but I think this post will go specifically to their Chocolate Cupcakes.  After reading the ingredients I noticed that they added coffee to the mix – and I personally love adding coffee to chocolate cakes, cupcakes etc.  I just think it helps enhance the flavor a bit. The first thing I thought of after reading the ingredients was “I should make some espresso frosting for these!”.

Gluten free flour (White Rice, Corn, Tapioca,) Sugar, Fresh eggs, Canola oil, Cocoa, Baking Soda, baking powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Coffee, Xanthan Gum, Vanilla (Pure).

These cupcakes were very tasty – almost a brownie like texture to them, which Bryan really liked.  I let them come to room temp before frosting and enjoying them (they suggest that you freeze them and keep them frozen).  Great chocolate flavor too that went well with the espresso frosting.  The combination is very mocha like – who wouldn’t love that?  Katz makes some great gluten-free products – so far everything we have tried, we have really enjoyed them.  I have noticed that some times after freezing them and bringing them to room temp they become a bit dry and crumbly, but I haven’t had that problem with these cupcakes.

Last month I was very generously blessed with an amazing coffee/espresso machine from Small Appliance (for more info click here).  Since receiving my lovely coffee maker I have been trying to think of recipes that incorporate coffee or espresso. Of course my thought was Tiramisu but I have yet to come up with a gluten-free version of this, but it is one of my goals.  Tiramisu is by far one of my favorite desserts and I tried as many pieces as I could while in Italy (pre GF).  This machine is amazing, I truly love it.

So seeing as I haven’t quite figured out a gluten-free Tiramisu I made the espresso frosting first:

Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting

4oz butter softened

4oz cream cheese softened

1-2 cups powder sugar divided (depending on how sweet you like your frosting, I used about 1 1/4 cups)

2 tablespoons espresso (cooled to room temp or very strong coffee)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

~In large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese with electric mixer
~Switch the mixer to low-speed and add the powder sugar 1/2 cup at a time until smooth and creamy
~Beat in the vanilla extract and espresso, and chill for about 20 minutes before frosting (to help thicken it up a bit, but you don’t have to)

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Katz Gluten Free products, you really should.  I have been told that Friedman’s Lunch uses their Challah Rolls for their burgers!  I think I’ll be trying the burgers there next time we go to NYC!.