A Kiss for the New Year

January 6, 2009

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Okay, so I know I’ve done a lot of cookies recently, but one of the very generous gifts I received over the holidays was The Golden Book Of Chocolate(can you say, “woohoo?” πŸ™‚ ). So my man and I had a lot of fun going through picking out all the recipes we plan to make this year. It’s actually got a great selection, even for someone as picky as I am, so we will be dipping into the great big book several times this year.

I honestly don’t know why we were so fascinated by these cookies and chose to make them first. Maybe it was the mint. Or the several layers of chocolatey goodness. Whatever it was, they didn’t come out quite like the picture in the book, and we will have to work on them a bit to make them come out as pretty, but they were definitely a great start to the new year.

Minty Chocolate Kisses
Slightly Adapted from: The Great Book of Chocolate

1 cup flour
2 tbl cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp mint extract
1 egg

filling
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz white chocolate
1 tsp mint extract
Food coloring, if desired

glaze
5 oz chocolate
1/3 cup butter

Mix flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy, then add the mint extract and egg beating until blended. With a mixer, gradually beat in dry ingredients. Press dough into a disk wrap and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven 350F. Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookie cutters*. Place cookies 1 inch apart. Bake until golden at edges 6-8 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.


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Bring cream to a boil, remove from heat and stir in white chocolate until completely melted. Add mint extract and food coloring, if desired.**

Cool until firm but not set, approximately 30 minutes. Pair cookies to match as closely as possible and fill.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Spread on top of cooled cookies. Drizzle with additional mint filling. Chill until set 30 minutes. Enjoy πŸ™‚

These things are incredible. Definitely the kind of thing you’d want to make a double batch, because even as thin and as tiny as we made them, it just wasn’t enough. Maybe next time we’ll double the size of the cookies πŸ™‚

* For this first attempt, the dough came out way too moist to roll, even freezing it for a few minutes first. If you would prefer to roll them out, add more flour until it’s nice and thick first. Otherwise, you can roll the dough into balls and press until thin disks before baking.
** We didn’t allow the filling to cool for nearly long enough so it was a rather fun, goopy mess. It didn’t look nearly as nice as it should have, but it was darn tasty.


Cupcakes Outside the Comfort Zone

September 17, 2008

I have mentioned that I am a picky eater. I know that I can be a little ridiculous with it sometimes, but it isn’t really something I can control either. It’s just who I am. However, with the experimentation I am doing with this blog, I want to step outside of that comfort zone and get a little daring. (Keep in mind something daring for me will probably be normal for most bakers).

It’s probably a little ironic to use something as comforting as cupcakes (which bring up happy icing-covered memories) for something like this but the end result sounded great so I thought it would be a good idea to just dive in.

At this point you’re probably asking yourself what it is about this recipe that is so daring. It’s actually not one, but two things: mayonnaise and sour cream. The mayonnaise because of an incident when I was a kid making sandwiches with mom and tasted from the wrong knife….and the sour cream because of my great aversion to anything with the word “sour” (it took much googling to convince myself that the tart I made a couple months ago wouldn’t actually be “tart.”) I am sure there is a deeper meaning to that one too but I really don’t need to know all the varying depths of my insanity. πŸ˜‰

Anyways, this recipe marries the wonderful goodness that is chocolate with two things I have taken great pains to avoid in the past, and thank god it turned out well. I also had a new and very enthusiastic helper, who ended up wearing almost as much chocolate as we put in this, so I was too busy enjoying the company, the chocolate, and the scent of these to-die-for cupcakes to really worry about the end result. Which, by the way, really did turn out incredible. πŸ™‚

Mint Cupcakes
Slightly adapted from: The Reckless Chef

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 oz chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons mint extract
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, oil, milk, and water and fold them into the mix with a fork. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, and vanilla, and beat the mixture on low-speed. Add in the mint extract, and if the batter smells like plain chocolate instead of mint chocolate, add a bit more. Blend until the dry ingredients are no longer dry, and you have a consistent texture throughout.

Melt the 3 oz of chocolate in a double boiler then mix well into the batter.

Put cupcake papers into your cupcake pan. Pour batter into each cupcake paper, being as generous as you want. These raise decently but it’s always more fun if they come out as monster cupcakes.

Bake the cupcakes for 17 minutes, and test for doneness at any point after that. When a toothpick stuck in the middle of the biggest cupcake in the batch comes out clean, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before removing from the cupcake pan.

Decorate as desired and enjoy πŸ™‚

These are really amazing cupcakes. Perfectly moist and the mint chocolate is just irresistable. The kind of thing you can impress everyone with…if you can bear to part with any of them. πŸ™‚