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Florida Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients

12 fresh Florida strawberries, whole

1 ½ cups Florida strawberries, diced fine (reserve ½ cup for sauce)

1 teaspoon natural Florida sugar

1 cup dark or milk chocolate chips

½ teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cake mix, store bought or homemade

12 ounces cream cheese frosting, store bought or homemade

Homemade Cupcake Batter Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Florida strawberries, diced fine (reserve 1/2 cup for sauce)

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup Florida cane sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 large eggs

½ cup milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees if using the homemade recipe (if using store bought, follow package instructions). Prepare cupcake batter using box mix or homemade recipe provided, then fold in the diced strawberries. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside. Evenly divide the batter in the liners (about 2/3 full) do not overfill. Bake for about 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Set aside to cool completely. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler on low heat, stirring often. Dip each strawberry in the melted chocolate, 2/3 the way up, allow excess to drip off. Place berries on the baking sheet and refrigerate until chocolate is set. In a small pot over medium-low heat combine the reserved ½ cup diced strawberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar. Cook, while stirring, until a sauce has formed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Once cool, use a blender to create a puree. In a medium-sized bowl add the frosting and the puree. Gently swirl together and do not over mix. Fill a pastry or sandwich bag with the frosting and frost the cupcakes. Top with a chocolate dipped strawberry. Homemade Cupcake Batter Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the cupcake liners in the cupcake pan and set aside. To prepare the batter sift all the dry ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Mix in the softened butter until it looks crumbly (the butter does not have to be fully incorporated). In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together and add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Next, fold in one cup of the diced strawberries. Using an ice cream scoop, evenly divide the batter into the liners (about 2/3 full) do not overfill. Bake for about 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool completely before frosting.

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