Holiday Party – Chocolate Cherry Rum Spiced Tartlets

Turkey Day down and Christmas to go! We’ve just tackled that one day of the year where we bake and cook nonstop for 48-72 hours to enjoy about 30 minutes of eating, and now we’re onto the holiday season of never-ending Christmas parties, holiday gatherings, and all things dessert! Now, whether you’re hosting a holiday party or want to bring something over to someone’s house, this is a quick and easy delicious dessert that involves two of my absolute favorite ingredients: cherries and spiced rum! Okay, three… and, chocolate!

This “no frills” recipe packs a solid punch of flavor without too much fuss, and you can make everything ahead of time, too. Also, it has one major shortcut that will save you tons of time and a few dishes to wash. I’m all about making things from scratch, and I’m also all about not having to wash a million dishes after I’m done. These tartlets meet the “scratch baking with minimal dishes to wash” criteria.

Ingredients:
1 Package Fresh Cherries, halved and pitted
1/3 Cup Sugar or Truvia
1 TBS Mexican Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Chocolate Extract
1/2 Cup Spiced Rum
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 TBS All-Purpose Flour
24 Dollops Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 Small Bar of Dark Chocolate
1 Box Ready to Bake Pie Crust Top and Bottom (2 rolls)  <—- major shortcut

Preheat your oven to 350°. Set aside two mini muffin tins.

Into a small saucepan and off the heat, add the halved and pitted fresh cherries, one cinnamon stick, and 1/3 cup of sugar or Truvia.

Add the vanilla extract, chocolate extract, and spiced rum to the cherry mixture.

Heat mixture on a medium-high stove until it starts to rapid boil, stirring frequently.

After approximately 10 minutes, the cherries will soften, and the rum will have cooked down to create a thin sauce.

Using a spoon, ladle a few teaspoons of sauce from the cherries into a small container, and add flour and stir briskly, avoiding any lumps. This creates a slurry or a thickening agent for the cherries. Add the slurry back to the cherry mixture and stir well. Reduce heat to medium-low and let thicken for another 10 minutes, stirring intermittently. Turn off heat after the 10 minutes and let cool completely in the saucepan.

While the cherries are cooling, unroll the two ready to bake pie crusts, and using a small glass or biscuit cutter, cut out 24 circles. Place them in the mini muffin tins to create tartlets.

Bake the tartlets off at 350° for about 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the tartlets from the mini muffin tins, and set aside to cool. Once the tartlet shells and cherries have cooled, spoon some of the cherries into each of the tartlet shells.

Place a dollop of sweetened whipped cream atop each tartlet, and then shave the bar of dark chocolate over the tartlets using a Microplane.

Cooking the cherry mixture and baking off the tartlet shells can be done a day or two ahead of time. And, you can fancy up the tartlets by creating ribbons of chocolate over top, too. This is an amazingly decadent dessert that you can make in no time!

Whether you make them for the holiday party or if you keep them all to yourself to enjoy by the fireplace (you know I’m not judging), you will absolutely love these Chocolate Cherry Rum Spiced Tartlets!

Boredom = Gooey Chocolate Cherry Cake in a Mug

Gooey Chocolate Cherry Cake in a Mug

I’ve been a little bored lately, as seen by the blatant, “Hi – she’s lost it – someone please take her,” expression on Cat’s face in this photo.

Bear’s out of town. (clearly) I had just wrapped up an assignment, missed a family hang by minutes and had already cashed in all my “fine, I’ll humor you” cards with Cat.

As you can imagine, the stale late afternoon only poked at my boredom, teasing it into a whirlwind of creative energy demanding to be utilized. After writing a song, cleaning our place, finishing a painting and walking with a friend, there was only one other thing to do – make chocolate cake.

But, the only problem was I had just cleaned the kitchen. (see earlier energy outlet activities) So, I needed an easy, no frills cake that would not ruin my freshly sanitized Fortress of Solitude. I needed a cake in a mug recipe.

So, I found this quick and easy recipe on the Food Network and molded it into what I needed. Recently, I’ve been trying to eat better so I don’t feel like I’m dying when I’m tying my shoes. So, I had to figure out how to tweak this bad boy without removing any of its decadence and delight, two things absolutely necessary for an enjoyable chocolate cake experience.

Here’s the original as I wrote down from their site – the parenthesis was my scribble-scrabble for myself. I’ll explain in the revised version.

Side note: the day before I’d made an easy cherry almond crumble – seen here:


And, I had some leftover cherry filling I’d made.

Super Easy “Sugar-Free” Cherry Filling

1 Cup – Fresh Pitted Black Cherries

2 tsp – Unsalted Butter

2 tsp – Stevia powder

1 tsp – Cornstarch

Dash of Nutmeg

Dash of Salt

Good Splash of water

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat on medium until thickened.

So, I had about 1/2 cup of refrigerated cherry filling left since my crumble was an individual portion. I knew I could make a killer Gooey Chocolate Cherry Cake in a Mug with what I had left.

Here’s my healthier, cherried-up version of the cake:

Gooey Chocolate Cherry Cake in a Mug

¼ Cup Flour

3 tsp Stevia Powder

2 TBS Cocoa Powder

1 Egg

3 TBS Almond Milk

3 TBS Melted Coconut Oil

1 tsp Mexican Vanilla Extract

Dash of Salt

Dash of Chipotle Chile Powder (substitute or add a dash of cinnamon for more depth)

Super Easy “Sugar-Free” Cherry Filling

Whisk all but the cherry filling together in a medium sized bowl until well combined. Add cherry filling into the bottom of a large mug. Pour combined cake batter over cherries. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. I like mine gooey, but you can microwave for another minute if you want yours without the muddy goodness.

My substitutions are the healthier alternatives and don’t take away any of the decadence or flavor. The addition of the chipotle chile powder is also just another layer of depth that adds to the cake. It’s that extra “something” that tickles the throat without creating a burn. Since the cherries already had nutmeg in them, I didn’t add more cinnamon. If you wanted to remove the cherry filling altogether and just add cinnamon, you’d have a wicked Mexican Chocolate Cake in a Mug! Plus, you probably won’t need that additional minute in the micro to avoid the gooey. And, you could add some sweetened condensed milk or cajeta (caramelized condensed milk) over it to really take it to another level!

Enjoy whatever version you decide to make!

I know I enjoyed mine, especially with my cafecito!

Gooey Chocolate Cherry Cake in a Mug

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