Ganache


Red Velvet
September 5, 2011, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Dessert, Food and Recipes | Tags: , , ,

Red velvet has a special place in our hearts. It’s one of the few desserts that my husband will eat, and it was served to us on the night of our rehersal dinner. The first Valentine’s Day after we were married, I made these cupcakes in cute little silicone heart shaped cupcake molds. I’ve been making them ever since.

Recently, a group I’m involved with at work had a bake sale. I made these, and people flocked to them. I add a little vanilla bean to the icing so you get those cute little specks througout the frosting. Store leftovers in the fridge to keep the icing at its peak.

Don’t even think about the WW points on this one… It’s a treat, and it’s a Paula Deen recipe. That means butter, lots of it! If I know it’s just going to be and my husband snacking on them, I’ll split the recipe in half. Works good either way!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen
Makes 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
For the cupcake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Icing:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed

1. For the cupcakes: preheat your oven to 350. In a bowl, mix together your wet ingredients (oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla) until well combined. You can use either a hand mixer, whisk, or stand mixer. In a seperate bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well combined.

2. Line a muffin pan with liners and fill each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

3. Set out cupcakes to cool. While they are cooling, whip together your cream cheese and butter, whipping on medium high until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla extract and beans. Add powdered sugar slowly, whipping on high until icing is light and fluffy. Once the cupcakes are fully cool, cover generously with icing and serve.



All the Rage

Cupcakes are all the rage these days. There’s a cupcake store on nearly every corner with a delicate cake, piled high with frosting, calling your name.

Maybe with nursing I’m in the wrong business. I long to be covered and flour and powdered sugar serving delectables to the public. But, for now, I cook for those I love, the families and friends that make life sweeter.

I made these for a wedding shower not too long ago, and they were a hit! Better than your cupcake store on the corner, you can serve up a little portioned controlled sweet from your oven (unless you eat more than one, which is possible with these!).

Hummingbird Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of marthastewart.com

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 large bananas)
1 tablespoon clover honey
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup hot water
1 batch of vanilla bean cream cheese icicng (see recipe below)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

2.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

3.Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar, and cream together until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes.

4.Add eggs, one at a time, beating slowly after each addition. Add banana and honey and mix on low until well combined. Add pineapple; mix on low until combined. Add 1/2 cup pecans; mix on low until well combined.

5.With the mixer on low, slowly add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the hot water. Repeat process twice, alternating flour mixture and hot water, and ending with hot water. Mix until just combined.

6.Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full with batter. Transfer to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 24 to 26 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cupcakes cool completely.

7. Top with icing and remaining chopped pecans.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe slightly adapted from marthastewart.com

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds removed

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla extract, cream cheese, and vanilla bean seeds in a mixer and mix until well combined and fluffy.



Ganache
March 10, 2011, 12:41 am
Filed under: Dessert, Food and Recipes | Tags: , , ,

It’s about time that I wrote a post about ganache. Seriously. I apologize for not writing about the food that inspired the title of this blog until now.

Ganache. What is it? Ganache is a French term used to describe a mixture of chocolate and cream. It can be used for a glaze, filling, or thick icing, like the application we will use here.

I’m a serious chocoholic. That’s no lie. I have trails of chocolate bits stashed here and there into nooks and crannies for whenever the craving hits. I prefer the dark stuff, the seriously rich, wine-like, near bitter stuff. But I’ll take whatever form I can get. It doesn’t matter. Just hand it over.

Inspired by a friend’s birthday, and my favorite cupcake at my local bakery, called the Prozac (how can you not like that??), I decided to make some serious chocolate on chocolate action in the form of cupcakes. I wasn’t sure what recipe to use, never having made chocolate cupcakes before. So, I turned to the baking and entertaining guru: Ina. I sure am glad I did.

These cupcakes turned out to have a moist, dense, almost brownie like texture with a thick coating of dark chocolate icing. The cupcake was just sweet enough to remind you it was dessert, but not so overly sweet that the chocolate was overpowered in any way. Decorated with a few sprinkles for a little flair, the beauties were a sight to behold. If you’re feeling naughty, happy, or sad, these cupcakes will suit. They are hands down a chocoholic’s dream come true.

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
Slightly adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS:

For the batter:
1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt

For the icing:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup good dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli brand)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 325. Line your muffin tin with paper liners. The original recipe states it will make 12, but it made 15 for me. All the better.

2. With either a hand mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined, light, and fluffy. Add your eggs, one at a time, thoroughly incorporating each egg after each addition. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the pinch of salt and flour, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix here, better to get the last few stirs in with a spatula than over mix. It will make your cupcakes tough. The batter will be thin.

3. Fill cupcake liners until just under full. Like I said, it made 15 for me, but may be the size of my muffin tins. Bake for around 25-30 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. Mine took right at 30.

4. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins until cool enough to handle. Around 20 minutes.

5. Make a double boiler. Place a large pot over medium high heat with about an inch to two of water in it. Place a glass bowl over the opening, bring water to a boil. You want the water simmering, but not touching the bottom of your bowl. This heats the chocolate gently without burning it.

6. Add all icing ingredients to the bowl, stir until well melted, thick, and chocolate is shiny.

7. Dip the top of the cooled cupcakes in the icing and then place onto a cooling rack for chocolate to set. Before it sets, decorate as desired with sprinkles, colored sugar, or you can leave them plain!

8. After chocolate has set, serve and eat until your heart is content.

Note: I had some leftover icing. You may too. Don’t waste that good stuff!! Chill it in the fridge and make these homemade truffles!