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The recent demise of Hostess recently got me to thinking about junk food and i began researching how to make my own since i can no longer depend on finding my ho-ho's in the store.

What's For Dinner is a community diary scheduled every Saturday night around 7:30 EST or 4:30 PST. We talk about food, share recipes and anecdotes. So, leave your politics at the door, pour yourself a drink and relax.


Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Makes around 20 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 1/4 C sugar
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
2 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

For the filling:
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 t pure vanilla exrtact
1-2 T heavy cream
2 C marshmallow creme

For the ganache:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 C heavy cream
1 T unsalted butter
1 oz sugar
2 t vanilla extract

For the icing:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1-2 T milk
1 C powdered sugar
1/8 t vanilla
To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to  350° F. Line muffin tin with paper liners. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour into a large bowl and add chocolate and butter. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled a bit. Using an electric mixer, beat in the vanilla and eggs.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and mix to combine.

Place 1/4 cup of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To make the filling:

Cream butter with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar, then add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Beat until smooth. Mix in the marshmallow creme. Add more cream, powdered sugar or marshmallow creme until you reach your desired consistency and flavor. Set aside (or refrigerate if you are making this ahead).

To make the ganache:

Place the chocolate in a glass or stainless steel bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

To assemble:
Using a small paring knife, a large pastry tip or a small melon baller, cut out a small hole in the middle of the cupcake. Spoon some filling inside. If desired, place some cake back on top (I tried with and without adding a little cake to seal the hole, and it was fine both ways.) Spoon a little ganache on top and spread with a knife or offset spatula. Chill in refrigerator for 15 mintues or until ganache is set.

In the meantime, prepare the icing:
Beat the butter for a minute. Add vanilla, milk and powdered sugar and beat utnil smooth. Add more milk if needed. Place in a pastry bag with a small round tip and pipe onto cupcakes.

Store finished cupcakes in the refrigerator.


 serves 6 to 8 (about 3 1/2 cups)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

From Katie: When I was in college we used to melt cheese and chili in the microwave on movie nights. I recreated my college junk food obsession with this chili-cheese dip that only takes a few more minutes than the microwave version. It's so good -- seriously, I need to step away from the tortilla chips.


1 pound ground sirloin beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes


In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown beef. Remove beef from skillet and drain on paper towels. Return to skillet and add taco seasoning and salsa. Bring to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drop the heat to very low. Stir in cheddar cheese and cream cheese and cook until just melted. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Well, now it's time to tell us what's for dinner at your house?


My Favorite Junk Food is....

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