CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 375° F and line muffin tins with paper cups. Stir together 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup milk and cocoa powder over medium heat until well blended. Remove from heat. With a hand mixer, beat softened butter and remaining 2/3 cup of brown sugar into cocoa mixture until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and blend. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with ¼ cup milk until all ingredients have been incorporated. Spoon into paper cups, filling halfway. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
For glaze, heat cream to just below a simmer and pour over chopped chocolate. Let sit for one minute then stir to smooth out. Stir in butter to melt in and thicken glaze. Pour over cupcakes while glaze is warm to fill to edge of cups.
Serve with Chocolate Sorbet (directions follow).
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
SORBET: Whisk together milk, water, sugar, cocoa, corn syrup, lemon zest and salt in a saucepot over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add chocolate and continue stirring until melted. Keep chocolate just below a simmer and stir until mixture is smooth, and visible chocolate grains dissolve away. Remove from heat and chill.
Pour sorbet base into ice cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions*. Scrape sorbet into a container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
* If you don’t have an ice cream maker, freeze sorbet until solid, then pulse in food processor or blender until smooth and return to freezer again until firm.
Yield: approximately 1 quart