Monday, March 24, 2014

Moist Banana Cupcakes




“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”
 
- Oprah Winfrey
 
 



These banana cupcakes are one of the cupcakes I made for an event recently, as I mentioned in my last post. They were so well received that someone who attended that event, had me makes these cupcakes and the raspberry cupcakes for her event a few weeks later. So hey, these are pretty great! (If I do say so myself.)



Here are my mashed bananas, from the freezer is fine, just thaw them first, drain them of liquid and mash. Make sure they are very ripe for the best flavor.
 
I like using bananas in baked goods because I have a husband who doesn't like to eat a banana when it has even a few black spots.  That means my freezer sees a lot of bananas. No problem. I just thaw them and use them for yummy baked goods like these moist cupcakes.
 
 

My batter is ready to go, ready to be scooped into the cupcake tins

These cupcakes are everything you want a banana cupcake to be.

1. Full of banana flavor.

2. A great, moist texture.



Ready for the oven
 
 
Yep, these hit all the right notes. 
 
I frosted them with a mascarpone frosting. I love mascarpone cheese. It's sometimes called Italian cream cheese. It's much better tasting than traditional cream cheese, in my opinion. It's richer with a less tangy flavor.
 

Right out of the oven


The only ingredients in the mascarpone frosting is the cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. I've made mascarpone frostings before that included cream, and also ones that included butter. This version is my favorite. The flavor of the mascarpone cheese really stands out. The only down side is mascarpone cheese isn't cheap. If you live in the U.S., Trader Joes is the best place to buy it that I know of. The last time I checked, at the Trader Joes closest to me (which is about an hour away, so not super close) I think mascarpone cheese was 2.89 for the 8 oz. container. But at my local supermarket it's close to 5.00. And you need 3 containers. So yeah, not cheap, but very delicious. If you don't want to make this frosting, don't substitute cream cheese, just make another recipe. I'll list a few other frosting recipes below.



Here is some of my mascarpone cheese - 2 of my containers are pictured, but I needed 3 to frost my cupcakes.



Since most people like bananas, I think these are a great choice for a crowd.



Here is my mascarpone frosting - this stuff is to die for, especially if you are a mascarpone lover like me.


I hope these are as successful for your people, as they were for mine!


We have deer that live on our land. They are really active now that it's Spring.


More frosting recipe choices that would be great with these cupcakes:

Traditional Cream Cheese frosting from my Super Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes.

A yummy vanilla Not Too Sweet Frosting from my Best Super Moist White Cupcake Recipe.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream - (also not too sweet, and so yummy,) from My Favorite White Cupcakes

Toasted Marshmallow Frosting from my Sweet Potato Cupcakes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream -or Caramel Buttercream with a little less salt - from my Whoopie Pies.

Chocolate Buttercream from my Best Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.




If you didn't already hear, I've started a second Etsy shop! Coco's Kitchen is where I sell vintage cookbooks and vintage kitchen items. I'm adding new items all the time, and I would love it if you checked it out, and favorited my shop, and even spread the word, if that's your kind of thing. Thank you!




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Vintage Blue Lace Tablecloth, Fenton "Spanish Lace" Milk Glass Cake Stand, Shelley Primrose Chintz Plate Set, Rosina Queens Daintyflower teacup, Antique Nippon Blue Cream and Sugar Set, and Vintage FB Rogers Silver Tray available at my Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.
 






Moist Banana Cupcakes

makes 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 cups (310 g.) flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks (8 oz.)  butter at room temperature

1 1/4 cup (278 g.) white sugar

3/4 cup (177 ml.) sour cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

5  very ripe bananas mashed, or 2 cups mashed (16 oz.) (473 ml.)

1 cup chopped walnuts - optional - I've made these cupcakes about 4 times now, and I haven't used nuts yet, but I plan to at some point, depending on who I serve them to.

Dried Banana Chips for topping, optional


Mascarpone Frosting

This amount of frosting will frost 24 cupcakes using about the same amount as I have used in the photos.

Ingredients

3 - 8 oz. packages mascarpone cheese

3 cups (315 g.) powdered sugar

3 tsp. vanilla extract


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners, greaseproof are best.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room temperature butter, and sugar and beat until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for a few seconds, just to make sure it's all been mixed in.

In another large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. The flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Add the sour cream and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat together until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat together. (I just start the mixer on low, and add an egg, wait a few seconds, add another, etc. until they have all been added.) (Of course I have the eggs cracked into a small bowl first, so as not to risk getting a piece of egg shell into my cupcakes.) Add the mashed bananas and mix again until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just to be sure it's all been incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Mix just until it's been combined. Be careful not to overmix it, now that you have added the flour, you don't want to overwork it. Just mix it until it's all been incorporated. Scrape down the bowl one more time, and mix it together. Stir in the nuts, (if using) just until they have been mixed in.

Scoop with an ice cream scoop, or spoon with a spoon, the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 2/3rds full. Bake for about 18-22 minutes until they pass a toothpick test. While cupcakes are baking, make the frosting, (directions below.)

Cool on wire racks for 10-20 minutes. Then remove them from the muffin tins and finish cooling on wire racks until cool.

Frost the cupcakes with the frosting and top with a dried banana chip, if desired.


Directions for Mascarpone Frosting

The mascarpone cheese is soft enough to be used straight from the fridge. It can be used cold, or at cool room temperature. If the cheese is at too warm of room temperature, it can melt like butter.

Beat the mascarpone cheese with the vanilla extract for about a minute. Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Start the mixer on low until the sugar has been mixed with the mascarpone, (to make sure it doesn't fly out of your mixer) continue beating on medium high for another minute or so.

Refrigerate any leftover frosting. If you want to frost cupcakes after it's been refrigerated, you will need to beat it again.



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Raspberry Filled and Frosted Cupcakes





"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."

- Joseph Campbell

 


 
I wanted to make some raspberry cupcakes since I started to see fresh raspberries in the stores. And I did! But, let's just say they didn't come out as expected.

 

Pureeing my raspberries

As you can see in one of the photos below, they came out so, well, dark. I even dyed the batter pink, didn't help. In retrospect, I think I should have added some whitener, like this. That may have brought the batter back to a more appealing pretty pink color like I wanted them to be. Oh well.



Putting them through a strainer to remove the seeds

They tasted great. Had a good raspberry flavor, and great texture. The only thing I did was substitute raspberry puree and raspberry extract instead of strawberry in my Pink Velvet Cupcakes. I just couldn't bring myself to serve them to anyone. I mean we eat with our eyes first, you know? I showed one to my husband and he said, "is it chocolate?" Umm, no.



You need to coax the puree through the strainer, you'll have a pile of raspberry seeds left over

But sometimes out of mistakes, something wonderful appears. Isn't there a quote that goes something like that?



These are the raspberry cupcakes I made. They almost look like chocolate, or even red velvet cupcakes. :( I was sad. They actually taste pretty good, and had a good raspberry flavor. If you want to make them just substitute raspberries for the strawberries in these Pink Velvet Cupcakes . I did add pink food coloring to these. Just raspberries are naturally dark.


I needed to make a few batches of cupcakes for a gathering. I had my choice of flavors. This was one of the choices I made. And one of the favorites of the group. I had raspberries on the brain, so this is what I came up with.



Making the raspberry cream cheese filling

I also wanted to make a filled cupcake, people love filled cupcakes. I can't believe I've never posted about one here. This can be the start of something wonderful. Me posting about filled cupcakes more often.


The tip on the right is an actual tip for filling cupcakes made by Wilton. The tip on the left is a standard round tip, which can also be used to fill cupcakes. Just make sure the round tip is big enough to get the filling through.

I started these by making a raspberry puree out of frozen raspberries. The great thing about unsweetened raspberries is that they are pretty tart and have a strong flavor. Making them a great ingredient to add to fillings and frostings.


Here's my disposable bag with a filling tip

The buttercream I used here is a typical American buttercream. Butter and powdered sugar with the added raspberry puree from the frozen raspberries. Usually the biggest complaint with this type of frosting is how sweet it is. I think the unsweetened raspberries offsets that sweetness well.


Put the tip in about 3/4 of the way through

Don't get me wrong, it's still sweet. So if you're looking for a 'not too sweet frosting', maybe make another choice. Another option to overwhelm all of the sweetness in this frosting, is to add fresh lemon juice. Raspberries and lemon are flavors that go well together. Adding a few tablespoons to the frosting would certainly help add another dimension to the flavor and make the frosting more balanced. But like I said, I do like the frosting the way it is as well. So I'll leave that decision up to you.



Fill it up while lifting up, to fill the whole thing. Don't overfill it, or it will burst. See how this one is about to burst, starting to crack where the opening is.


I do enjoy filling cupcakes, I think it's fun! And it's very little work for a big payback in the crowd pleasing department.



I recommend using a test cupcake to fill it, then cut it open to see how you did. This one looks good.


One more little thing - I know I don't post to this blog very often, but I actually have another cupcake post ready to go, already photographed! I haven't forgotten about you! I'll be back soon!
 
  
 
 
 
Happy Baking! Until we meet again ~  
 
 


 
 
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If you didn't already hear, I've started a second Etsy shop! Coco's Kitchen is where I sell vintage cookbooks and vintage kitchen items. I'm adding new items all the time, and I would love it if you checked it out, and favorited my shop, and even spread the word, if that's your kind of thing. Thank you!





Vintage Noritake Cheri Plates, Vintage Pink Lace Tablecloth, Vintage Etched Crystal Champagne Coupe Glasses, Vintage Rogers Silverplated Copper Tray, (holding cupcakes), and , Vintage Rogers Large Silver tray, (holding champagne) available at my shop, House of Lucien.







Raspberry Filled and Frosted Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 batch of 24 or 25 white cupcakes, I strongly recommend my "The Best White and Fluffy Cupcake Recipe" - baked and cooled

1 - 10 oz. (283 g.) package unsweetened frozen raspberries - thawed


For the Filling

1 - 8 oz. (227 g.)  package cream cheese, right out of the fridge is fine, or at cool room temperature

1 cup (105 g.) powdered sugar

1/3 cup (79 ml.)  raspberry puree - from the frozen raspberries mentioned above


For the Raspberry Buttercream

 (this makes enough to generously frost 24 or 25 cupcakes, about the amount per cupcake I've used here. If you are spreading on the frosting I would halve this.)

4 sticks (1 pound) butter - room temperature - salted or unsalted, if using unsalted, I'd add a little pinch of salt

10 cups (1025 g.) powdered sugar

1/2 cup (118 ml.) raspberry puree - from the frozen raspberries mentioned above


Fresh Raspberries for topping, if desired


Directions

Start by pureeing the raspberries. If the raspberries are still frozen, put them in a pan on medium high heat and stir frequently until they are thawed and a liquid. Place them (from the pan, or from the bag if thawed) in a blender or food processor and puree. Pour this mixture through a fine mesh strainer sitting on top of a bowl to strain out the seeds. You will need to coax the mixture through the strainer using the back of a spoon. Work the mixture back and forth until all the puree is gone through, and only seeds remain. Discard the seeds and set aside the raspberry puree.

Make the filling - Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Blend the cream cheese until it's creamy and blended. Add the powdered sugar. Mix together until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix again. Add the 1/3 cup of raspberry puree and blend again. Scrape down the bowl and blend until all is incorporated.

Spoon this mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a filling tip, (shown in photos above) or a round tip big enough to push the filling through.

Fill the cupcakes with the filling by pushing the tip 3/4 of the way down the cupcake, squeeze, then slowly lift up to fill the entire inside of the cupcake. I recommend using a test cupcake. Fill one, then cut it open to see if you filled it entirely. If you don't fill it with enough filling, the cupcake could just absorb the filling and not come across as a filled cupcake. Once you do a few and get a hang of it, it will go easy from there. Fill them up good, but don't overfill them. If you overfill them, they burst, or crack open. Set the filled cupcakes aside.

Make the Buttercream - At this point, I clean the bowl of my stand mixer and the paddle, to use it again to make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the room temperature butter inside and beat it until creamy. Add half of the powdered sugar and blend, on low at first so you don't spray powdered sugar all over your kitchen, then on medium high to blend. Add the rest and blend again until it's all incorporated. Add the raspberry puree, a little at a time, add some and blend, add a little more and blend, etc. Until it's all been added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again. Blend until it's quite fluffy about 2 minutes more.

Use the buttercream to frost the cupcakes. Top with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Serve these at room temperature. They will need to be refrigerated eventually because of the cream cheese, but if you do, just bring them to room temperature before serving. If you don't the buttercream will be on the solid side, since you know, cause it's butter, and butter solidifies when cold.


I hope you love these like I do!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homemade Boursin Cheese Recipe

 
 
"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

 
- Fernand Point




I live a few hours outside of Seattle. I've never seen so much team spirit in all of my life! At first, I really couldn't figure out why so many people were wearing blue and green this past few weeks. Then as time went by, I finally figured it out. People are talking about their beloved team, the Seattle Seahawks, everywhere I go. On the radio, at the grocery store, even at the salon. I've never seen anything like it.

 Their pride is contagious. I've become so proud and excited myself about this football team. I don't even know how the game is played. But I will be watching with my husband, as he talks me through the game. Super Bowl is coming, and you'll need to serve something yummy that pleases everyone. This is one of those things.


Just a few simple ingredients (with a few herbs/spices) combine together to make this irresistible spread.
 
This is my kind of recipe. Simple, easy and inexpensive, but sure doesn't taste like it. A big payoff, for about 10 minutes worth of work. When I say payoff, I mean people rave about it, they love this stuff. They might even expect you to bring it along to every party you are invited to here on out. Don't say I didn't warn you.
 
I've been making this spread for a while now and been wanting to share it with you. If I have the cream cheese in the house, I always have the other ingredients on hand, so it's a cinch to whip up on the fly. It can also be frozen for months without losing it's great creamy texture. So if you have company stopping by unexpectedly, you can have some ready quickly.

 

 
 
Sure it's perfect for an appetizer served with crackers and vegetables like I've shown here, but it can also be enjoyed in many other ways.
 
Such as:
 
- Garlic Bread - spread it on bread like you would for regular garlic bread and broil it under the broiler
 
- Use it as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayo
 
- Thin it with milk to use as a pasta sauce
 
- Use it as a topping for a baked potato or other vegetables

- Put it in your mashed potatoes instead of butter

As a filling for chicken like this  Boursin Stuffed Chicken

- Mixed in with scrambled eggs or in an omelet

- On top of a steak like you would with regular butter

and of course, Boursin.com has lots of recipe ideas, here.
 

 
 
Another plus to this recipe is the cost. A box of Boursin cheese is about 4 or 5 bucks, and the package is a little over 5 oz. This recipe makes 12 oz. and costs at most 2 dollars or maybe 2.50, (depending on what brand of cream cheese you purchase) so you get double the amount at half the cost, or even less. What a deal!
 
Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I hope your team wins. (If your team is from Seattle, I mean.)
 
 
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Large Footed Vintage Silver Butlers Serving Tray, Vintage Leonard Silver and Glass Relish Tray (holding celery and carrots), International Silver Vintage Jam Dish (holding the cheese), and Vintage International Silver Bowl with Spoon (holding the tomatoes), available in my Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.  Follow House of Lucien on Facebook!


I've started a second Etsy shop! Coco's Kitchen is where I sell vintage cookbooks and vintage kitchen items. I'm adding new items all the time, and I would love it if you checked it out, and favorited my shop, and even spread the word, if that's your kind of thing. Thank you!





Homemade Boursin Cheese Recipe

makes 12 oz. (340 g.) or about a cup and a half. Recipe can easily be doubled

Ingredients

1 - 8 oz (227 g.) package of cream cheese - at room temperature

1 stick (1/2 cup) or (114 grams) butter - at room temperature

2 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

OR instead of the 3 above, use about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp. of an Italian Seasoning blend

Freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Salt - to taste, a few pinches


Directions

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it all together for a few minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape everything down with a spatula and mix again for a minute or two. Conversely, you can do the same thing in a food processor.

A variation to this recipe is to make a roasted garlic version, if you don't like raw garlic. Just replace roasted garlic with the fresh. If you are using roasted garlic I may add one or two more cloves.

This is better the next day when the flavors have a chance to meld. Bring to room temperature before serving.

This keeps in the fridge for about a week. Or it freezes well for 4 or 5 months. Just make sure it's wrapped very well so no air can get in.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcake Bites



“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”   
-  Bob Hope



My favorite time of year! It's not just Christmas coming very soon, but my birthday is December 11th, this upcoming Wednesday. So needless to say, this is the best time of year for me! Combined with December being a month that is filled with baking and shopping, well you could say I'm in heaven.


I used a combination of a dark chocolate bar and these chocolate chips. If you use chocolate chips make sure they are good quality. These Guittard ones are my favorite. They come in extra dark, semi sweet, milk and white. I think they are some of the best chocolate chips out there.

Christmas is a time of yummy sweet treats. There are always lots of cookie parties, office parties, and open houses that are filled with confections and goodies of all kinds.


Chopping the chocolate
If you have one of these holiday parties to attend, I recommend making these chocolatey morsels of goodness. They will certainly be the star of the party!


All of my ingredients ready to go. This recipe is quite easy, no mixer needed.

These little cupcakes are based on the Chocolate Friands recipe from the famous, Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Friand means a small rich cake. The idea is if you are going to eat something rich and decadent, it better be good, especially if it's just a few bites. So why not have the best, most gratifying and delectable mouthful of your life?


Adding the hot butter to my chocolate

They say these are “satisfyingly extra rich and moist." And they're right. They aren't as dense as a brownie. They are very chocolatey, like a brownie, but the texture, while not like a typical cake, they are sort of a cross between a brownie and a cake. The texture is light and moist and really melts in your mouth.


My melted chocolate

I topped these with candy canes since it's Christmas time. But you don't need to top them with anything other than the ganache icing. Or you can use sprinkles, for a festive touch without the taste of peppermint. The candy canes add a bit of crunch to the tops as well as the minty flavor. If you are a chocolate mint lover, you could even add a teaspoon of pure peppermint extract to the batter to bring home the peppermint flavor.


My batter is ready

I use dark chocolate for the recipe. I recommend using the best chocolate you can get your hands on. Or use some good quality chocolate chips. Since this recipe is simple, and doesn't have a lot of ingredients, the flavor of the chocolate really shines through. So if you splurge on some great chocolate, it will pay off here. You can really taste it. And the aroma while these are cooking? Oh, it's heavenly.


I accidentally used the silver cups on the right. I realized later that they are much smaller than a regular mini muffin cup. The ones on the left is the traditional size of a mini cupcake. So I made a lot more smaller cupcakes than I set out to make.

This is a really special time of year, not just because of the reasons I gave above. It is a time of friends and family, and of communion.  I will be traveling to Orange County, California to visit mine in the beginning of January. I am grateful for them. I love seeing my dad, and my sisters, and my friends. My oldest sister has the cutest and sweetest little boy ever, and I miss him. I miss them.


Filling my cups
 
 
Merry Christmas to you all! Happy Holidays! I wish you a peace filled season that is abundant with joy and love.



Just out of the oven

One more thing I want to let you know. Something I've been working on a lot lately. I've opened a second Etsy shop, called, Coco's Kitchen. I named it after our beloved dog, Coco, just as House of Lucien is named after our Papillon, Lucien.  At this shop I'm selling vintage cookbooks and vintage kitchen items, as well as a few pots and pans. Even a vintage Le Creuset set of pans, before they were Le Creuset, they were called Cousances. I've been adding items to it daily, and will continue to do so in the upcoming weeks and months. So if that's your thing, please favorite my shop, share it with your friends and come back soon! I don't even have a banner for it up yet, but that is coming soon as well.




Don't these look great? They are very chocolatey, but not as dense as a brownie. They really melt in your mouth. The perfect bite of chocolate. These are deliberately small, since most people only want a small bite of something so rich, making these little morsels perfect for parties.



I decorated my pot rack for Christmas. I collect different pots and pans. My favorites are the copper pots from France, and the silver plated pots. One of the copper pots is silver plated, it was made in Denmark, probably around mid century. Silver is an even a better conductor of heat than copper and it's food safe unlike copper. They don't make them anymore, since metals are so much more expensive than they used to be.





"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!" 
 
-Hamilton Wright Mabie


There's our little Coco, sitting on the ottoman.




“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
    
- Charles M. Schulz






“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."

    -Agnes M. Pahro


My ganache is ready for frosting the cupcakes





A just frosted gem. I used a spatula for frosting, but you could just dip them in the ganache.



I added candy canes and red sprinkles, since candy canes alone didn't read as candy canes, it seemed like there wasn't enough red on them, so I added the red sprinkles on top. 







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You don't need to top these with candy canes, you could just add sprinkles.






Vintage Chrome 2 Tiered Cake/Cupcake Stand available at my Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.





Small Sterling Silver and Glass Vintage Cake Stand, Wm Rogers Silverplated Vintage Cake Stand, Vintage Pressed Glass 2 Tiered Stand, and Vintage Grey Damask Tablecloth available at my Etsy Shop, House of Lucien.




Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcake Bites

This recipe is adapted from the Chocolate Friands Recipe from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, Ca.

Makes about 24 Miniature Cupcakes

Ingredients for Cupcakes

6 oz. (170 g.) good quality dark chocolate, chopped or good quality dark chocolate chips

1 cup (228 g.) butter

1 1/2 cups (275 g.) white granulated sugar

3/4 cup (102 g.) all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

4 eggs


Ingredients for Ganache Icing

4 oz. (113 g.) good quality dark chocolate, chopped, or good quality dark chocolate chips

2/3 cup (157 ml.) heavy cream


For Topping

about 5 standard size candy canes, chopped

red sprinkles


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. Line 2 mini muffin pans with mini cupcake liners and set aside.

Start making the cupcakes. In a large heatproof bowl, place the chopped chocolate. In a small saucepan melt the butter until it's very hot. Pour the butter over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the melted chocolate and whisk until all is incorporated. Add 2 of the eggs and whisk, then add the other 2, whisk again, until it's mixed together. Don't overmix the batter, just mix it until it's all incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups till they are 3/4 full. Bake about 15 minutes, until the tops start to crack. Let them cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, and then remove from tins and let cool on racks.

When the cupcakes are cool, make the icing. You can't frost them until they are cool, and you don't want the ganache sitting too long, since it hardens has it sits. So wait until they have cooled to make it. Or make the cupcakes the night (or day before) and store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

To make the Ganache Icing -  Place the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just starts to boil. Don't bring it to a full boil. Pour it over the chopped chocolate, (or chocolate chips.) Let it sit for 2 minutes or so to melt the chocolate. Stir it together until the cream is completely incorporated into the chocolate and the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Top the cooled cupcakes with the ganache by spreading it on, or dipping them into it. Then add some chopped candy canes and sprinkles while the frosting is still wet. Let them sit for about an hour to set up.

These are best served the same day they are made. Or you can make the cupcakes the night or day before (as mentioned above) and frost them the day they are served. When they have set up, they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Happy Baking!

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