Friday, May 1, 2009

Plenty of dodo moments while making my first cupcakes from scratch

Does this seem a little confusing to you? My first attempt at making cupcakes presented a problem. By the way, totally copied Bakerella's idea here...did you see how she wrote "help" in flour in a recent post? What a creative way to gain reader interest on your blog! I thought I'd try something like it to display my math problem. The conundrum was this: My recipe called for 4 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped. Thinking I would save time, I bought a bag of dark chocolate chips (Hershey's Special Dark-it came highly recommended by America's Test Kitchen). As I began to make the recipe (posted below) and measured 4 ounces of chips, I realized the recipe was calling for 4 ounces in weight and I was measuring 4 ounces in volume in my measuring cup. To spare you all of the details, here's how I solved it...basically I had to figure out how many ounces in volume equaled 1/2 a cup. As you can see, on the side I wrote, "brain it 1/3 cup."
Okay, disaster averted. Let's continue with the recipe. I like that I didn't have to use my hand mixer, although my arm didn't like it.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Newton Cupcakes - adapted from America's Test Kitchen

16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped OR 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips :)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature (I wasn't prepared, so I followed Test Kitchen's tip to cover the eggs in hot water-not boiling-and let stand for about 10 minutes. Seemed to work great!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
24 raspberry newtons

After preheating the oven to 350 and preparing your cupcake pan, microwave the butter, chocolate, and cocoa together. I put it in increments of 20 seconds and whisked after each time. To get smooth it takes 1-3 minutes. Let it cool off to the side.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in sugar until combined.

Whisk in the warm-to-the-touch chocolate mixture. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the batter, then whisk it in.

Whisk in the sour cream. Sift the remaining flour mixture over the batter and whisk until completely mixed. Batta will be thick. Put a raspberry newton in the bottom of each cupcake cup. Fill your cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Love this tip: "Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the cupcake comes out with a few crumbs attached, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking." (America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

Makes 24 of these delicious cupcakes (seen below)...or you can half the recipe. These would be great as minis because they are rich!

*A variation I tried that I thought was yummy...put about 15 raspberry newtons in your blender or food processor. Whisk this in after you whisk in the remaining flour mixture. They turned out pretty good...tasted like raspberry-chocolate newtons! You've gotta like 'em a lot though.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Frosting - adapted from America's Test Kitchen

8 ounces melted semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups confectioner's sugar

2 T cocoa powder

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen, thawed

Add the vanilla extract and salt to the melted chocolate. Stir to dissolve salt. Beat the butter with a mixer on med-hi speed until smooth, about a minute. Reduce speed to med-low and slowly add confectioner's sugar. Beat in the cocoa powder, then beat in the raspberries. Beat until smooth, 2-5 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture (I had to heat it up again for about 15 seconds). Increase speed to med-high and beat until fluffy, 4-6 minutes. My fave part was this frosting-delish!

Note to Self: Clean the kitchen as you go along. (I know this is ridiculous, but who wants to be bothered with cleaning when you are creating???)

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