Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache90

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Nuts, Step-by-Step Photos (Saturday February 25, 2006 at 2:14 pm)

I warn you, do not eat these cupcakes without a tall glass of milk nearby. They are crazy rich.

I made these peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes for my aunt. She is going to a ladies-only sleepover party down in Cupertino. While I have not been to one these parties, the way my aunt describes the backyard with the lit up plant life, the fire pit, and the red wine-induced revelry through the wee hours… I knew that whatever she brought had to be rich and completely decadent.

I also had to use the same chocolate recipe, this time without cherries, because I am just loving it. It is officially my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe – at least for now.

Chocolate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

5.4 ounces dark chocolate or 3/4 of a 200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cocao
22 tablespoons butter (yes, nearly three sticks of butter!)
1-3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
4-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

1. Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath.
2. Add sugar and stir, let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
3. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
4. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each
5. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
6. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


chopping chocolate

Peanut Butter Filling

4 ounces or 1/2 package of Philly cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

1. Beat cream cheese and peanut butter until combined.
2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until combined.
3. Add the milk and beat until combined.

Note: This makes a pretty stiff mixture, like the center of a peanut butter cup. If you want something pipe-able, you could add more milk. I wanted to retain the strong peanut butter flavor, so I kept the milk to a minimum.

Update: I think that the filling was too thick. As I was eating a cupcake (I managed to resist them until late last night) the peanut butter filling fell out onto the plate. It wasn’t too terribly hard to stick back on the cupcake, but if I were to do these again, I would add more milk to the filling.


peanut butter filling

Chocolate Ganache

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add butter and vanilla and stir until combined.
5. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
6. Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined.
7. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.


mid-assembly

Assemble
1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with a teaspoon or so of peanut butter filling.
3. Replace top.
4. Frost with ganache.
5. Decorate as you wish. I topped the cupcakes with fondant and peanut butter flowers.

Fondant and Peanut Butter Flowers

There are very few things I use in my recipes that are pre-prepared. There is often an abundance of chemicals, copious quantities of solid vegetable shortening, and lots of other things in these time-saving products that I would rather not consume. I make one exception, however, and that is for fondant.

Fondant in my opinion is gross. The smell of it alone turns me off. This is one of the main reasons I don’t do cakes and why I especially don’t do wedding cakes, as it is very difficult to get the look of a wedding cake without making extensive use of fondant. (You could use robes of white chocolate, but all my attempts at that tricky task have failed… ) So, the rare times I actually use fondant, it is only for small decorative additions. I must admit, sometimes small decorative additions are *nice*.

I purchase some pre-made white fondant at Sugar N’ Spice in Daly City ages ago. Lucky for me, it will last in it’s plastic container for a year. Yes, you should be suspicious of anything with that kind of shelf life. I grabbed a handful out of the container, shaped it into a disk and got to rolling.

Cornstarch is a must for rolling out fondant. Powdered sugar doesn’t cut it, it will still stick.

I like simple shapes. I got these cutters in Japantown a long while back.

The fondant is soft compared to gumpaste. So, you should be careful when cutting the shapes. Its best if you can bring the piece out with the cutter then let it drop out onto your hand. Avoid touching the top of it until the pieces have dried some.

I topped each cupcake with a dried fondant shape. I rolled a little peanut butter filling into a ball to top each shape. The result, a cute flower, that you should recommed your guests promptly remove and set aside before eating the cupcake ;)

Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes with Fennel Meringue Frosting16

Posted by chockylit in Advanced Techniques, Chocolate, Herbs & Flowers, Other Fruits (Monday February 20, 2006 at 12:52 pm)

I wasn’t planning on baking this weekend. I was planning on “taking the weekend off”. But all it took was my friend asking, “What about cupcakes for Sunday night?”, and I was all over it. Any excuse to bake, I guess.

I was pressed for time, so I went with the cherry chocolate cupcakes again. Mostly because they were so good, my cousin hadn’t tried them yet, and I had all the ingredients. I did change the frosting from fennel cream cheese to fennel meringue because I was itching to use the blow torch.

The cherry chocolate cupcake is, I am convinced, a great recipe and a crowd pleaser. The meringue frosting is a bit tricky, and I need to work on the recipe some, but I am providing it here for the adventurous.

Fennel Meringue Frosting

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 egg whites

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of sugar and the water in a small pan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
2. Crush the fennel seeds slightly with a mortar and pestle.
3. Add the crushed seeds to the sugar and let boil over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is somewhat syrupy. See step 6 for what to consider when cooking the sugar syrup.
4. Whisk the egg whites and 1 cup of sugar over a water bath in the standing mixer bowl until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees fahrenheit. This only takes only a couple of minutes.
5. Transfer to standing mixer and whisk using whisk attachment at high speed until soft peaks form.
6. Drizzle fennel syrup into the mixer. This part can be tricky. For one, you don’t want the syrup too watery or it can deflate the meringue. But if the syrup is cooked too much it could harden. Aim for a soft ball stage. If you see the meringue start to deflate put less of the syrup in and all of the fennel seeds.

Note: Once again, I had a lot of frosting left over. So, I spread it out on a silpat covered baking sheet, threw it in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, turned off the oven and left it there while we ate dinner. The result was like a big fennel, meringue cookie that was crispy, chewy, and tasty.

Assembly
1. Pipe meringue frosting onto cupcakes using a large star tip.
2. Using a blow torch, brown the meringue.

Coconut Rice Pudding Stuffed Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting & Fruit26

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Citrus, Coconut, Tropical Fruits (Sunday February 12, 2006 at 10:40 am)

It’s been downright balmy in San Francisco this week, sunny and in the seventies. It got me thinking about beaches, coconuts, papayas, and other things tropical. I had been planning on making Vietnamese coffee cupcakes and stumbled upon a recipe for baked coconut rice pudding. I settled quickly on using the rice pudding as a stuffing for a cupcake and went from there.

The end result was quite delicious. I found though that the cupcakes tasty significantly better the second day after all the flavors had time to meld together. The rice pudding is fantastic on its own and the recipe provides for plenty of left overs. In fact each individual component – the pudding, the simple cake, the frosting, the fruit – is great. And even if one thing didn’t quite come out, you’d still have a tasty treat on your hands.

Cupcakes from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped lime zest

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and lime juice/zest together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/lime juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Tip: It is important that the butter is at room temperature and beat well. Otherwise you might get butter chunks which sort of melt into little pools and make the cupcakes come out funny-looking. Not a huge deal, but I thought I’d mention it.


lime zest

Vietnamese Baked Coconut Rice Pudding

1/2 cup rice, short grain
2-1/2 cups coconut milk
1-1/3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, cut into chunks
1 cup loosely packed sweetened, flaked coconut – toasted

1. Toast coconut if you haven’t already. Spread on a cookie sheet and place in 350 degree oven for a five or so minutes shaking occasionally until golden brown.
2. Mix the rice with the coconut milk, the milk and the sugar.
3. Grease an oven proof dish. Transfer mixture into the dish, top with chunks of butter, and place in the oven. Be careful, as this is a liquidy mixture and tends to spill.
4. After 30 minutes stir in the coconut and return to the oven.
5. Cook for another 1-1/2 hours, or until almost all the milk is absorbed and a golden skin has formed on top of the pudding.
6. Remove and let cool.


toasted coconut

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add half of the sugar and the ginger. Beat until combined.
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Tip: For this recipe, where fresh fruit is set on top of the cupcake, it is best to use a cup or so more sugar to get a stiffer consistency. I didn’t do that and the fruit slid off somewhat in transit.


fruit garnish

Assemble
1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the base of the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with a teaspoon or so of rice pudding.
3. Replace top.
4. Frost with the frosting.
5. Arrange slices of thinly sliced tropical fruit, like papaya, mango, and banana.