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Chocolate-Lemon Verbena Cupcakes

At a local organic farm some woman handed Brian a weed and declared, "you know if you tuck this in your bra strap, you don't have to wear deodorant."

He was appalled. Do I look like I'm wearing a bra?!?"

"No, I mean - here! - maybe you can hang it behind your ear."

Do I stink?!?

"'s just good for you."

So, he graciously took the weed, enclosed it in a baggie and [I quote] "brought it to his resident weed expert." That would be me. Lemon verbena.

When I searched for recipes, I was drawn to lemon verbena cake. But the resulting cake was too eggy. It was dense, though the lemon verbena flavor was nice.

Ugh. I was out of the weed. So, I had Brian go back to the farm, hunt down the woman, apologize, and beg for more. He did and promised her a taste. Here we go for take two. I am glad I attempted this again with some major modifications. Fluffy, light, not too sweet. And the lemon verbena really comes through. The verdict: deliciously successful!

2 C all-purpose flour
1 C powdered sugar
3 t baking powder
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T grated lemon peel
2 T minced fresh lemon verbena leaves
1/2 t smoked sea salt
3/4 C milk
1/3 C canola oil
1 egg
1 T chocolate extract

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line baking pan with liners. I used 24 mini cupcakes, but you could also do 12 regular-sized cupcakes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, lemon peel, lemon verbena and salt; mix well. In a small bowl, combine milk, oil, extract, and egg; blend well. Add dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy.)

Fill cups 2/3 full. I pressed a semisweet chip into the top of each cupcake and might dust them with powdered sugar to serve. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool a few minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm.


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