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Even around election time, when we are inundated with all kinds of messages, in particular, negative ones, I always maintain a sense of appreciation that people have the right to voice their opinions, particularly about people who are in powerful positions.

After reading todays paper, I am even more thankful for the free speech allowed in the United States of America. A blogger in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to receive 50 lashes once a week for 20 weeks, 10 years in prison, ordered to pay a fine of around 270,000, and had his blog shut down after he criticized Saudi Arabia’s clerics on his blog (The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Wednesday, January 14, 2015).

These Chocolate Cupcakes are as sweet and proud as the freedom we enjoy in this country, and should be savored, enjoyed and valued every bit as much! As I explained to my daughter, while she was in the kitchen making an after-school snack, and questioned (out of curiosity, not blame) why I hadn’t yet done the breakfast dishes, it was my honor and privilege to exercise my freedom of speech and recipedoodle instead of washing up.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

chocolate cupcakes

CUPCAKES

4 ounces of dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup water

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

4 ounces dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups powdered sugar

FOR CUPCAKES

Heat oven to 350F. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

Microwave chocolate pieces in small, uncovered microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 45 seconds, stir. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Combine buttermilk and water in a measuring cup. Beat brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl on high for 2 minutes. Beat in melted chocolate. Beat flour mixture into creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove to wire rack to cool completely. Frost with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

Microwave chocolate in a small, uncovered microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 45 seconds, stir. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature.

Beat butter and vanilla extract in medium mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate until blended, scraping occasionally. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy. If icing is too thick, add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to desired consistency.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cupcakes, March 2013

www.verybestbaking.com/

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