No Introduction Needed

November 24, 2008

Some recipes are easy to blog about. Whatever I baked just introduces itself, either because of what it is, the reason I chose to try it or whatever. These cupcakes, for some reason have been the exact opposite. I made them around June, and though they were absolutely amazing, rich, moist, chocolatey, with soft melted chocolate bottoms, I have really been drawing a blank.

I found this recipe on I Heart Cuppycakes (don’t you just love that name?) and I don’t really know what it is about these things that fascinated me so much. Wine and alcohol in general always seems to work well with chocolate, so it’s a pretty logical jump to add it to cupcakes (hell, I’ve already done it with brownies!), but even with my great lack of knowledge of wines, I just had to try this one.

I didn’t even want to wait for a real reason (a.k.a a party, a holiday, whatever) so I made these as both regular and bite-sized cupcakes, and loved them and then sat waiting for inspiration to strike so I could blog it. Well I have finally given up on the idea of a brilliant introduction, and have brushed the imaginary dust off the pictures so I can share it with all of you.

Red Wine Cupcakes
Slightly adapted from: I Heart Cuppycakes

1-1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup boiling water
1 bag of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with papers, or grease well.

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Cream the egg, sour cream, oil and wine together in mixer for two minutes. Stir in flour mixture until well combined.

Add 1/4 cup boiling water and stir. Fold in chocolate chips. Batter will be fairly thin. Pour into prepared cupcake tins and bake for approximately 17-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Once they have cooled completely, cover with frosting, as desired. Enjoy!

The batter of these things was so thin that the chocolate chips all sunk to the bottom and melted, leaving a soft, creamy, amazing cupcake. It’s like having icing on the tops and bottoms! How could anyone resist that? πŸ™‚

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Forget the Flowers

November 20, 2008

Β They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I am begining to think that is especially true when the man in question is a runner, but if you think about it, that’s true for just about everyone. Who (man or woman) would say no to breakfast in bed? Or a homemade meal? A simple, nice dinner out? A box of chocolate? Or just a Thinking-Of-You cupcake? I don’t know about you, but (ignoring the calories) I would certainly prefer a dozen of these to a dozen roses πŸ™‚

I am not typically a breakfast person, but lately we’ve been making breakfast a lot. Though this takes a bit long for a typical breakfast, it was a good change from the pancake recipe we’ve really fallen for.

It’s a complete coincidence that this is the second Epicurian Escapism recipe I’ve done in a row, because I’ve been holding the Oreo Cupcake recipe for a while now. But the important thing is that these things are really amazing.

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from: Epicurian Escapism

1/4 oz instant yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs
4 cups flour

FILLING:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
ground cinnamon powder
1/3 cup butter, softened

ICING:
8 tbsps butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Add sugar, butter, flour and eggs. Mix well.

Knead the dough into a large ball, and place in a bowl, covered with a damp towel, and allow to rise for about an hour.

When doubled in size, punch the dough down. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface to form a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

Preheat the oven to 375f.

To make the filling, combine the sugar and brown sugar in a bowl. Spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough, and sprinkle the filling evenly over the surface, then sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Roll the dough tightly from the long edge to the bottom edge. Cut into slices about 1 3/4 inch, and place in a lightly greased pan, slightly apart. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

To make the icing, beat all the ingredients until fluffy. Spread generously over the cinnamon rolls while still hot. Enjoy!

We decided to skip the icing this time around, but if you’re up for the extra work, you should try it. I think these are incredibly tasty naked these but would be great with the icing. (Yes, I have yet another naked confection for my blog) πŸ™‚


You Can’t Have Just One

November 19, 2008

I don’t know what it is about Oreos, but they are one of the very few things in this world that everyone seems to love. I don’t think there is a single person I know who would turn down an oreo, and you really can’t say that for any other type of store bought cookie. Even if you just like the cookies themselves, or just the cream, they bring up so many happy chocolate-crumb-and-milk-mustache memories.

Well, several months ago (even before I made homemade oreos) I was blog surfing and saw these beautiful oreo cupcakes on Epicurian Escapsim. Yes, milk’s favorite cookie is now in cupcake form, and now that I have finally tried the recipe I gotta say, it will easily become a favorite.

How can anyone resist a crumbly, chocolatey cupcake that comes with an icing so creamy, it’s almost better than dunking the cookies themselves in milk πŸ™‚

Oreo Cupcakes
Source: Epicurian Escapsim

180g unsalted butter
400g brown sugar
250g dark chocolate
3 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla
200g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
8 Oreo cookies, smashed to bits
1 3/4 cup milk

Icing:

225g unsalted butter
400 – 600g icing sugar (to taste)
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup marshmallow fluff
8 Oreo cookies, smashed to bits

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Set aside. Heat the oven to 180C and line cupcake tin with papers.

Beat the butter until it is soft, then add sugar and mix until fluffy.

Stir up the egg yolks, then add them to the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and the chocolate.

Mix the flour, baking powder, soda in a bowl, then mix that in with the first mixture, alternating with the milk. Stir in the bashed Oreos until evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until peaks form. Fold in the batter, mixing well.

Scoop into the cupcake liners straight away, filling them 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

To make the icing, beat the butter, then add in the sugar gradually and mix well. Add milk and vanilla and continue to mix. Once this much is to your taste, stir in the fluff with a spatula. Add the bashed Oreos until the texture is even. Spread or pipe on the cupcakes and enjoy! πŸ™‚

We left the bashed oreos out of the icing, opting to place half an oreo on top, and we only used approximately 200 g of the powdered sugar, but all of those options are completely to your taste. These are oreos after all, so have fun with it!


Show Me The Chocolate!

November 18, 2008

So far I’ve tried to keep my blog strictly recipes that I’ve tried, but after being teased for several years, now that I finally made it to the Chocolate Show, I just had to share.

I don’t know why the advertising for this thing is so poor, but every year before I’ve managed to find out about the show either a week after, or just a few days before (and of course the day after I’ve hit my splurge limit for the month)

But the chocolate gods have smiled on me this year, and we were able to go this year thanks to a complete coincidence (which would take a rather rambling paragraph to explain that would simply show you how crazy I can be), and a wonderful man (the new helper I’ve mentioned a couple times recently).

Yes, that is a chocolate Obama head.

The best thing about the show was all the chocolate samples! I think every booth had different samples, and besides the shot of spicy hot chocolate (that was great until it started getting hotter and hotter). The only real disappointment (if you could call it that) was that the company we had to thank for finding the show on time, ended up being a no show. The nerve, huh? πŸ˜‰

Don’t chew the truffles!

They had so many samples, they had to leave a sign so people wouldn’t eat decorations!

There were dessert wines…

And a few demonstrations…

Chocolate for every occasion…

They even had a fashion show with chocolate clothing….mess huh? πŸ™‚

One of the great things about this show was that it introduced us to many places in New York that we never knew existed. But of course our favorite will always be Jacques Torres πŸ™‚