With frigid temperatures one day and icy rain and snow the next, March is a month about fortitude. It’s about marching forward against all odds. How do I know this? I don’t. I made it up but it sounds good. It sounds good because March is Women’s History Month and history is filled with women who moved forward against all odds.
Famous and infamous women fill the history books or should. Women we admire like Jane Austin, Elizabeth Blackwell and Shirley Chisholm. There is also the list we keep close to our hearts. Long or short, it includes all the women who have personally influenced our lives. That one includes our grandmothers, mothers, sisters and aunts, a neighbor, maybe two and a couple of friends plus a few teachers and mentors. Most of these women will never have a Wikipedia page but they helped make us who we are.
If you haven’t been paying attention, don’t worry. It’s a thirty-one day month. You have plenty of time to celebrate the women who have inspired, encouraged and influenced you. Now, the only question is – how to celebrate? Here are a few ideas:
Send a note to a woman who made a positive impact on your life. Perhaps she helped you over a rough patch or led by shining example. Maybe she encouraged you when you were at an impasse or read you the riot act when you were floundering. If you’ve lost touch, she may be wondering how you turned out. Share your story with her, thank her and let her know how much she means to you.
Do a little research and look deeper into the lives of some of the women you admire. We all know the two minute version of our favorite heroines. How about a deep dive? Environmentalist might want to learn more about Rachel Carson. If you’re a numbers person explore the life of Katherine Johnson. Musicians can read up on Aretha Franklin and art lovers research Mary Cassatt.
Share stories about your mother, grandmothers and aunties with your kids and grandkids. Help them understand their roots and family history. You might even try writing some of those stories down. Not as a series of dates and data points; focus on the wonderful, strong, vulnerable, living, breathing human beings who helped make you – you.
Tell your own stories. How exactly did you end up being so terrific and right here, right now? Think your story isn’t all that interesting? Think again. Of course, it’s old hat to you. After all, you were there; you lived it. Take some time to stop and reflect. There must be a thousand little things that make you special.
Gather friends around the table for a meal and storytelling. Throughout history, women have gathered around tables to make quilts. Our stories are like the patches in a quilt. Each piece represents a memory and together they form a brilliant whole. Our personal experiences are set against a background of both ordinary and historic events. Embrace and share the crazy hodgepodge of memories. That wonderful, disorganized mix is a beautiful summary of life.
As Abigail Adams once said, “Remember the ladies” and bon appétit!
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature and cut in pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Framboise or raspberry liqueur
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups less 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Chocolate-Raspberry Glaze (recipe follows)
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Fresh raspberries for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Put the jam and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and add the butter and chocolate. Let the butter and chocolate sit and melt for a few minutes and then whisk to combine.
Add the sugar, Framboise and vanilla to the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Put the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly add the chocolate to the eggs. Add the sour cream and whisk until smooth.
Put the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and combine thoroughly.
Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir a quarter of the egg whites into the batter and combine thoroughly. Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter.
Use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to fill each muffin cup about 2/3 with batter. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
To assemble: spread warm Chocolate-Raspberry Glaze on the cupcakes. Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator or freezer to cool until the chocolate has set. Use a pastry bag fitted with a large tip to add a hefty dollop of White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting. Top each cupcake with a raspberry.
If making ahead, store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate or a mix of bittersweet and milk chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, cut in pieces
Combine the cream, jam and salt in a heavy saucepan and heat to steaming over medium. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and butter. Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes and then whisk until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted.
Let the ganache cool for about 10 minutes before frosting the cupcakes.
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sour cream
About 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon Framboise
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
Put the butter, cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.
Reduce the speed to low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until just combined. Add the Framboise, vanilla and white chocolate, increase mixer speed to medium-high and continue beating until smooth.
Print-friendly version of this recipe.
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Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
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Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019