Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and Some Arugula

Baking always serves as a great excuse to call friends and say, “can I come over?”. Never fails. I love to package little treats when I visit friends and it is this time of year when I find myself baking non-stop.

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving when C. took the kids for the day so I could finish some work. I spent the morning editing, writing and enjoying the silence after what had been a couple of busy days. Then I was overcome by this terrible urge to eat a piece of moist chocolate cake.

Do you know this urge? Yes, the urge that doesn’t let you focus on anything else but taking a bite of a rich and moist chocolate cake. I quickly converted this old chocolate and buttermilk cupcake recipe into a gluten-free one by using my gluten-free flour mix and adding some chocolate chips. It hit the spot.

As soon as I took the cupcakes out of the oven, I got an email from my friend Lena. “Would you like some fresh arugula from our garden?”. It was perfect timing. Some chocolate cupcakes in exchange for some beautiful arugula.

Lena had briefly mentioned their garden the last time we had lunch together, but my jaw dropped when I actually walked into their backyard and saw it. What a beautiful space that her boys and husband built from scratch. All heirloom cucumbers, purple beans, tomatoes, squash, arugula… I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this took my breath away.

So I brought them my cupcakes and I took away some of their fresh arugula.

We ate it in a salad with pears and fennel that night. I also saved some for this risotto that M. and I had for lunch a couple of days later. Fennel, leek and arugula risotto. She loved it, just as I did.

Fennel, Leek and Arugula Risotto

makes enough for 2 servings

3 Tbs olive oil
1 fennel bulb, medium diced
1/2 leek, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1 qt chicken stock, hot
1/2 cup arugula, finely chopped
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper

In a pot, heat the olive oil and saute the fennel, garlic and leek until soft but not brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and cook for about a minute. Add the white wine and stir. Add a ladle full of hot chicken stock and stir constantly until the liquid has evaporated. Continue adding one ladle at a time of stock and continue stirring and cooking at medium heat. Cook until the rice is al dente. The entire process will take about 15-18 minutes.

When rice is al dente, turn the heat off. Add a little bit of stock, lemon zest, arugula and parmesan. Stir. It should be creamy. Adjust seasoning. Serve.

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64 Responses to “Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and Some Arugula”

  1. Lovely cupcakes and risotto! So appealing.



  2. Yes, I know exactly how it feels like to get that urge, that chocolate urge. What beautiful cupcakes!
    Almost as beautiful as that ristotto. I’m more of a savory kind of girl :)

  3. These look incredible! Your photos are amazing!

  4. Friendships and food- what a great pairing. Those cupcakes are beautiful and look heavenly.
    I am itching to know what the garden looks like.

  5. whisk-kid says:

    Sounds like a pretty fair trade to me! Their garden sounds lovely.

    The picture of the risotto in the big bowl is absolutely gorgeous. I love the blue and white dish!

  6. I have risotto on my menu this week. Basil and pesto risotto, which is my favorite. Those little cupcake look devine :-)

  7. Krystina says:

    That risotto looks absolutely,da mindblowingly delicious.

  8. What I wouldn’t do for some fresh arugula right now. Delish.

  9. Anniki says:

    This risotto is spectacular! I think that the mix of the ingredients is fantastic!!! The touch of leek is very good in a risotto…

    Also, the cupcakes are great, but I prefer more dishes less sweet, so I choose a plate of risotto jejeje


  10. I’m officially making this risotto tonight! Yumm :)

  11. I love vegetable gardens, and most of all I love their produce! Argula in a risotto is something I truly adore!
    Lovely cupcakes as well!

  12. Wow,
    all the things you make seem so nice !

  13. Wow,
    all the things you make seem so nice !

  14. gardens are wonderful! the last is stunning aran!

  15. Susan says:

    Tis the season to connect with friends and what better way than with food? Cupcakes look fab–would love the recipe!

  16. Ahh, I had to google arugula to find out what it is to us in the UK – we call it plain old ‘rocket’! Arugula sounds far more mysterious..

    Have you tried rocket finely chopped in mashed potato/vegetables or chickpea/bean purees? It adds a really delicious peppery edge, I throw some in whenever I find a bit wilting in the fridge.

    I love your blog – swing by mine if you get a chance:

  17. Iratxe says:

    ¡Delicioso!, ahora mismo me “urge” comer ¡un cupcake de chocolate!…

  18. mette says:

    yummy! these are so cute ♥

  19. Elsa says:

    Je regarde votre blog depuis quelques temps, et je souhaite vous féliciter ! :) il est superbe, beau, gourmand! :)

    J’adore vos photos qui sont magnifiques!


  20. Elise says:

    Mmmm! Yes, please! This is exactly the post I needed to read after coming back from a cold morning of early classes.

    Quick question about the beautiful cupcakes: what kind of icing did you use? A recipe would be lovely. :)

    Thank you for keeping such a wonderful blog. <3

  21. Elise- it is a swiss buttercream i made with brown sugar. i will share the recipe soon. thanks for being patient! :)

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. It is a very sad day in my family as I lost my dear uncle to cancer. So difficult to be away from them today. I will miss him.


  22. Sally says:

    Such a lovely post, so jealous of the garden sounds amazing!

  23. Betty says:

    I would prefer the risotto, because I really don’t like sweet things, BUT the pictures are wonderfull, so or so;-)

    nice regards
    from Betty

  24. Fragolina says:

    Amazing pictures. I love chocolate cupcakes… these look extremely delicious.

  25. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful site! Thanks so much for sharing your photos and your recipes.


  26. Oh no.. I just wanted to leave a little comment, but I’m so, so sorry to hear about your loss and my thoughts are with you and your family.
    [I’ll still say these both look fantastic and I’m looking forward to trying them.] xx

  27. Jonathan says:

    I just made up some chicken stock and have been looking for a good risotto recipe – I think I’ll try yours! It looks simply amazing. And of course the chocolate beckons as well. Lovely!

  28. I really admire the bokeh you have in your photos, they look stunning… can you ship those cupcakes to me here in Tokyo?

  29. Once again, beautiful photos. And must have been the world’s best exchange! I’m jealous of both you and your neighbour:)

  30. Emm says:

    I know this urge you talk about well. I too had the chocolate urge this week…I made a New Zealand classic, chocolate afghan cookies. Totally hit the spot. How nice is it to be able to trade sweets for vegetables? I have a relationship like that with one of our neighbours, I deliver cookies and come home with lush bunches of pak choy. Beautiful beautiful photo’s as always :-)

  31. Ilke says:

    So sorry for your loss. I understand how hard it is to be away from your family and not to be able to go right away when you hear such news!

    Beautiful looking cupcakes and risotto. Looking forward to the icing recipe.

  32. Double is always better when it comes to chocolate. These cupcakes sound fantastic and the frosting looks sublime!

  33. Those cupcakes look so amazing for something you just whipped up :) I’ll have to check out that old recipe and tag this risotto one. Just bought some arborio rice!

  34. Trust me looking at at that I’m feeling that urge too :)
    Nothing like having friends over … :))
    If you ever make it to India-Mumbai … I’d love to have you over too :)

  35. Aaahhh yes, this is what its all about connecting through food with the wonderful people in your life. Love it. Risotto is on my menu this week too., love the sound of this one.

  36. Y says:

    Those cupcakes look delicious, as does the risotto. Love baking and swapping sweet for savoury with friends.

    Very sorry to hear about your uncle’s passing, however.

  37. €llY says:

    Your cupcakes are amazing even if they’re gluten free.
    The recipe for risotto is perfetc, as the real italian one!

    Happy Baking! ;D

  38. oooh! risotto! perfect for colder weather!

  39. Sini says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Aran. Must be hard to be so far away from you family in the Basque Country.

    I’m already craving for a warm bowl of delicious risotto…

  40. I have been looking for a cupcake recipe for a party I’m having on Saturday: these will be perfect and will pair quite nicely with a gingerbread punch recipe I’ll be road testing from Bon Appetit’s Dec issue.

    Please do include the frosting … it looks LOVELY!


  41. Kits says:

    Awesome photos as always!

  42. Your cupcakes are beautiful, but that risotto is really calling my name! It is freezing here today and warm, creamy risotto sounds fantastic! I have a fennel bulk hanging out in the frudge and I froze some arugula pesto over the summer so I might just make a version of this recipe tonight!

  43. Iratxe says:

    Un abrazo. Es duro estar lejos…

  44. Those are very pretty cupcakes! Great shots.

  45. What a lovely exchange. Your friend’s garden sounds amazing. I cannot wait to have one of my own someday! I enjoyed this post :)
    Heidi xo

  46. Very pretty. Look so elegant. Love those cupcakes!!!

  47. Sini says:

    Couldn’t resist long… Enjoyed your risotto yesterday evening. What a wonderful way to end the day.

  48. sally says:

    i love you site and pics …..

  49. Svet says:

    The cupcakes are stunning! I also love baking for friends and family.

  50. Allie says:

    I have recently found your blog and I LOVE IT. Gorgeous photos!

    Wondering – what is the recipe for the frosting?


  51. Amanda says:

    I’m hungry now. Thank you for the gorgeous photos.

  52. Difficult to decide which one to choose…Can I have both? Inspiring as always!

  53. For those who asked about the icing, this is a basic Swiss buttercream icing just like most of the ones I use.

    Use a little cocoa powder and coffee extract as the flavoring.

    Thank you!

  54. Those cupcakes look so very delicious. I’m a chocoholic so to me anything with chocolate is delicious!

  55. My daughter is lactose intolerant and so I wonder what can i use for cheese taste replacement. She is also fructose intolerant so it really is depressing her. Any ideas? Fiona

  56. Mindy says:

    I love fennel, but have a hard time finding good, quality fennel here in my part of Kentucky. Next time I stumble upon some, I’m making this risotto!

  57. Those cupcakes are a winner! This is a great gift idea to share with relatives and friends.

  58. Catherine says:

    Your blog and photos are absolutely stunning. Your gluten free chocolate cupcakes look really delicious! Looking forward to your recipe for them! Thanks for keeping and sharing such a beuatiful blog. =)

  59. Beautiful photos .. the tomatoes look absolutely scrumptous. Thanks for the recipe!

  60. Lex says:

    What sort of cupcake tin should I get for this?

  61. Lex says:

    and when you say buttermilk, is that powdered or liquid? does the same go for every recipe that calls for “buttermilk”?


  62. sahar says:

    hey!! can u please write your gf flour mix for the cupcake?? i would love to make them but not sure wich flour to use ( i don’t have a good store ready flour mix)

    thank you!!

  63. Jen says:

    Hi, just discovered your blog and ordered your book, very thankful for it. These cupcakes look gorgeous and I would love to make them for my 2 year old daughter recently diagnosed coeliac, however I am unable to find the recipe. Has it been posted? Kind regards

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