Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights...


     It's June, and while it is the month that most teachers long for, it is also the month that causes a great deal of stress.   For teachers, June is often the most busy and demanding month of the school year. This is the time when teachers not only have to deal with spring fever, class trips and end of the year parties; they also face the overwhelming prospect of writing formative report cards.  Very few things are more daunting than the task of composing constructive, insightful and original comments on dozens of official transcripts.

    Most teachers do not relish the challenge of forming genuine and unique comments about each and every child in their class.  While I have yet to do it myself, I can tell you that it is not easy.  Comments on a report card should not only reflect grade levels, but also provide parents additional information about their child and give them a picture of how they behave at school.  It takes hours upon hours to come up with intuitive comments that are worded in just the right way.  The English language takes on new meaning when teachers creatively use words such as determined, energetic and imaginative to describe less than desirable classroom behaviour.  While teachers would often like to write things such as; "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them" such honesty is frowned upon.  Rewording comments such as; "This student should go far, and the sooner she starts, the better" is in the teacher's best interest.  As well, teachers should avoid comments such as "He brings much joy to the class whenever he leaves the room."  It is important to stress the positive attributes of each student and list goals to work on to notify the parents about the negatives.  In some cases this is much more difficult than it would seem.

     I recently visited some of my teacher friends who are in the midst of report card season.  This picture best describes them;

Fortunately I had a tray of triple chocolate cupcakes in hand.  Apart from a bottle of wine, chocolate is the next best antidote.  My friends at SJV enjoyed these cupcakes so much that I may just have to return next week with a double batch. Hang in there ladies, the end is near.  In the mean time, here is the recipe for my killer triple chocolate cupcakes.  If you need a distraction from report card writing follow my instructions and enjoy. When all else fails, keep calm and eat a cupcake!

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes


For the cupcakes you will need:

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup buttermilk
*To make your own buttermilk put 1 Tbsp of vinegar in a glass measuring cup.  Add enough milk to   make one cup and stir. Let stand for 5 min.
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 glass of wine
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners
  • Sip wine
  • Sift cake mix into a bowl breaking up any lumps and set aside
  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs, applesauce, buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla extract and cinnamon together
  • Sip wine
  • Add cake mix and stir until smooth
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  • Enjoy the glass of wine while the cupcakes bake and fill your kitchen with the glorious scent of chocolate
For the chocolate ganache you will need:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl with whipping cream
  • Microwave for 20 seconds, remove and stir
  • Continue to microwave in small increments until smooth and creamy
  • Dip the tops of your cooled cupcakes into the ganache and let set
For the chocolate butter cream frosting you will need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream
  • With an electric mixer cream butter until fluffy
  •  Add vanilla extract and cocoa, beat well
  • Add 1 tablespoon of milk/cream
  • Slowly add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistency
  • Add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting and more milk/cream for a thinner frosting depending on your taste
  • Pipe icing onto cupcakes over ganache once it has set and garnish to your heart's desire (I used squares of Hershey's Chocolate)

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