Friday, October 31, 2008

Rocky Road

Not long ago, I tried a local cupcake sweetry called Gigi’s. I ordered a have dozen cupcakes of a variety of flavors to spur on my own creative juices. Confession: I ate then all myself! So as I often do…I ate each cupcake thinking how I could make it better. My top candidate for a makeover was the Rocky Road. Now in all fairness, I am sure Gigi’s cupcake would have been perfect if it had been fresh. However, a few days later not so much. It was good after I heated it up and added ice cream. But as my avid readers know, I do not do good rather I create magic. So off to the drawing board I went. Now one thing you need to know is perfection does not always need to be made from scratch. There are cases such as this that magic comes from a box with a little tweaking. May I recommend if you ever need a delicious chocolate cake in a hurry try this easy mix with chocolate chips. The icing for these cupcakes involved chocolate gauche which I have never attempted before so I went completely by the book or in this case my new favorite blog…

Rocky Road Cupcakes
1 triple chocolate fudge cake mix
1 1/3 cup of water
½ cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of almond flavor
1 cup of chocolate chucks (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees. Mix the first four ingredients together for about two minutes. Fold in chocolate chucks. Spoon into cupcake wrappers. Bake for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Gauche
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup mini marshmallows
½ cup chocolate covered or plain almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chucks
Put the chocolate, butter, condensed milk, and salt in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touch­ing, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler). Cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate and butter have melted and the frosting is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the water and stir in the vanilla. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until the frosting thickens further and cools to lukewarm (so it won’t melt the marshmallows), about 3 minutes. When thickened, the beaters should form lines in the frosting. Fold in marshmallows, almonds, and chocolate chips. Allow the frosting to thicken until it’s a spread able consistency that won’t run down the sides of the cupcakes. (Just play around with it, you’ll know when it’s ready.) Let the cup­cakes sit uncovered until the frosting firms up, about 1 hour. These cupcakes are best stored in a covered container to protect the frosting; store for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

One of favorite fall treats are Caramel Apples. A few weeks ago, I was strolling through the produce section when this glorious display of caramel apples caught my eye. I did what any pregnant woman would do and ripped open the package to bite into that sweet juice absolutely delicious fall treat. As I stood there licking the caramel off my figures, the strangers now staring at the pregnant woman eating in the middle of the store meant nothing to me because all I could think about was how great it would be to make this wonderful sweet into a whole batch of cupcakes. Thus, my caramel apple cupcakes were born!

Apple Cupcakes

2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 cups finely chopped apples (I used one Gala and one Fuji)

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder. Add flour to cream mixture. Mix in applesauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold in chopped apples. Fill cupcake wrappers. Bake at 350 for 25 min. Eat some hot out of the oven before proceeding to frost the others. I thought they tasted just like apple pie filling.

Thick Caramel
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups of nuts (garnish)

Bring the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk to a boil over medium-high heat stirring to combine. With a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients together and then slowly add the heavy cream. Continue to stir for about 20 minutes until the caramel reached 248 degrees. It is important to continuously stir the mixture and to allow it to reach temperature.Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer to a bowl and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes allowing the caramel to cool slightly. Drizzle caramel on top of the cupcakes. Sprinkle with nuts.