A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Cream Cupcakes

I was going to jump on the Red Velvet Cupcake bandwagon for Valentine's Day but my daughter vetoed that choice and, instead, chose the Chocolate Cream Cupcakes that are featured on the cover of Cook's Country magazine. It didn't take much convincing, I had been coveting those cupcakes for a few weeks and was waiting for an opportunity to try them.
This is a modern day, new and improved take on the Hostess Chocolate Cream Cupcake. What could go wrong? Nothing. That's what. They are even better than I'd hoped. I was a little hesitant about the ingredients in the filling, being marshmallow creme, butter, gelatin and vanilla. But it's true what they say, butter really does make everything better. The filling was really delicious and not at all sickly sweet as I'd feared.

The cupcake itself is terrific on its own. It has a deep chocolate flavor and a moist, tender crumb. So if you weren't inclined to stuff it with marshmallow filling, it would still be great. And the glaze, oh the glaze...delicious. Nothing but chocolate and butter. I used a good quality milk chocolate instead of the semisweet chocolate chips called for in the recipe. Worth every penny and every calorie.
This recipe is easily doubled, which is what I did. It only makes 12 and since I was sending them off to school with my daughter for Valentine's Day, and I knew I wouldn't be able to part with them without at least trying one - or three, I doubled the recipe. I would point out that, if you do double it, it will take a little longer for the filling to set up in the fridge, so you'll want to wait a little longer than the alloted 30 minutes to reach the desired consistency.

Not as Valentine's Day-appropriate as the Red Velvet would have been... so I threw a candy heart on top and called it a day. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say these are my new favorite cupcake. 

Chocolate Cream Cupcakes
(adapted from Cook's Country)
yield: 12 cupcakes
For cupcakes:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed)
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. instant coffee
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For filling:
3 Tbsp. of water
3/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups marshmallow creme (not sauce)
For glaze:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used Callebaut milk chocolate)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I used salted)

Batter: Adjust oven rack to middle and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl, set aside. In large bowl, whisk boiling water, cocoa, chocolate chips and instant coffee until smooth. Add sugar, sour cream, oil eggs and vanilla, mix till combined. Whisk in flour mixture until incorporated. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick comes  out with a few dry crumbs attached 18 - 22 minutes. (I baked for 18). Cool for 10 minutes, remove from muffin tins, and allow to cool completely.

Filling: Combine water and gelatin in large bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave until mixture is bubbling around edges and gelatin dissolves, about 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla and salt until combined. Let mixture cool until just warm to the touch, about 5 minutes, then whisk in marshmallow creme until smooth. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. (Transfer 1/3 cup of marshmallow mixture to a piping bag fitted with small tip if you want to pipe decorate line on finished cupcake; reserve remaining mixture for cupcakes.)

Glaze and assembling cupcakes: Microwave chocolate and butter in small bowl, stirring occasionally until smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool glaze to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Cut cone from top of each cupcake and fill with about 1 tablespoon of marshmallow mixture. 
Cut the tip of the cone off the top of the cupcake and replace the circular disk as the 'lid'. Frost with 2 teaspoons of glaze, let sit 10 minutes. Pipe curlicues across glazed cupcake. Serve. Can be stored at room temperature in airtight container for 2 days.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Dinner Party, Ovaltine Chocolate Pudding With Honeyed Rice Krisps and a Dog Named Kona

We went to our friends' Ricky and Tamra's house for a dinner party a couple weeks ago. Knowing that they would be doing a gourmet and very elaborate multi-course meal, I offered to bring dessert. One less thing for them to have to deal with and besides, I had been eyeing this recipe from Saveur and was looking for an excuse to make it.

Admittedly, the idea of chocolate pudding on its own isn't something that I get excited about, however, these chocolate puddings had honeyed rice crisps so they piqued my interest.  Plus the addition of Ovaltine was interesting, to me anyway.

Round one of the honeyed rice crisps did not go so well. I sampled them and promptly threw them in the garbage. For round two, I used a higher quality honey. What a difference.  A whole world of better. The lesson: use good honey.  It matters.

I added vanilla whipped cream and the finished dessert was a great balance of flavors and textures. This is definitely not your average every-day chocolate pudding. The rich chocolate was balanced by the vanilla whipped cream, the sweetness of both balanced by the slight saltiness of the honeyed rice crisps, who's cripsy texture played nicely against the creaminess of the pudding. 
The pudding was a great finish to a fabulous meal. And the best part? They can be prepared ahead of time with little trouble. So there's that.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that most of these pictures were taken by my friend, Maria, as she worked with my sister and Tamra as my much-needed 'food stylists' so I could get a decent shot for my blog. A far cry from the usual eye-rolling I get when I pull out my camera to take pictures of food before it is allowed to be served. 

However, the wonderful food and conversation notwithstanding, the highlight of the night was a Portugese Waterdog named, Kona:
Kona likes to sit at the dining room table with 'her' guests. Unfortunately, she did not have a place of her own at the table, clearly an oversight, so she was relegated to a spot under the table until such time as a guest vacated their seat. Then she claimed their chair and joined the rest of us until such time as the guest returned. She has impeccable table manners, although she did help herself to my water as I sat on the floor taking pictures of her. But who can blame her, really? It was right in front of her and I was on the floor. She was also a fan of the dessert, by the way, and given her refined palette and cushy lifestyle, I was actually flattered.
Kona, I think I love you. You cannot, however, meet my dogs. Like, ever. There would be mutiny in my house, and I can't have that. 

Recipe for Ovaltine Chocolate Pudding with Honeyed Rice Krisps
(Source: Saveur Jan/Feb 2011 issue)
For the Chocolate Pudding:
2  1/4 ounce packages unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup milk
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup Ovaltine powder
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped and reserved
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used semi-sweet), finely chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
For the Honeyed Rice Krisps:
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. butter
1 3/4 cups of Rice Krispies
Whipped cream for serving

In a 2 quart saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over the milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the cream, Ovaltine and vanilla been seeds and heat over medium heat; cook, stirring often until gelatin dissolves and mixture is warmed through. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate and salt until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large pitcher; then pour into eight 6 ounce serving glasses or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set (at least 2 hours or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat sugar, honey and butter in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan often, until mixture turns the color of medium dark caramel. Add salt and cereal and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and spread out evenly. Let cool and then break into small pieces. 

To serve, uncover puddings and top with sweetened whipped cream and a generous sprinkling of the honeyed rice krisps. Serve immediately.
Related Posts with Thumbnails