Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hello, Sweet Tooth

Don't get me wrong, I love most things dessert related, but I just don't have the world's biggest sweet tooth. When I do get cravings for sweets they're usually random and easily taken care of with as much as a bite of chocolate. Tonight, however, I've been looking through FoodGawker and I have never before encountered SO MANY good looking dessert recipes. Maybe more specifically so many chocolate-based-recipes. You would think that Triple Chocolate Gelato this afternoon would have settled my chocolate cravings for at least a week...

But really, it would be rude of me to not share these with you.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes from Bakers Royale
 (Yep, like the Starbucks drink. Only, I don't like my coffee to be THAT sweet. My cupcakes? Definitely.)

 Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes from See Brooke Cook
("Mmmm Bailey's... creamay!" This one just looks so cute and classy. And what you probably don't know is that there is a little chocolate ganache baby hiding in there. You can't ever go wrong with chocolate ganache.)

 Drinking Chocolate from Fields of Cake
(Does anyone else remember when Starbucks had this stuff for a brief period of time? You don't need anymore than a shot glass sized amount but it is SO GOOD.)

 Salted Caramel Chocolate Mug Cake from The Family Kitchen
(Whoa, what? 2 minute cake? If that's not good for random sweet tooth cravings I don't know what is.)

 Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter French Toast from... big surprise, How Sweet It Is
(I should have known the second I saw this it had her name written all over it. Yum.)

 Chocolate Pretzel Pie from Tidy Mom
(I will be making this for Thanksgiving festivities... assuming I can wait until then!)

Sorry if your mouth is now watering. I should know better than to look at FoodGawker any time other than right after a much-too-large meal has been consumed. I think I have said this before but really, it's about as smart as going to the grocery store on an empty stomach and without a list. 

And yes... I did just reference Old Greg up there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

These were a BIG hit and might just be one of the best cupcake recipes I've ever made. I found the frosting recipe here on Cooking Classy, but I wanted to use a different recipe for the cupcakes that didn't use buttermilk or applesauce, which I didn't have at home. I'm not a big Martha Stewart fan, but I have to give it to her that this pumpkin cupcake recipe was DELICIOUS.

The overall process is a little time consuming, though you can do things simultaneously... such as making the frosting while the cupcakes are baking. I don't recommend making the ganache until all cupcakes are out of the oven and cooling because it needs to be put on right after making it.

Cupcake Ingredients and Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
(While the cupcakes were cooling, I poked some holes in the top with a chopstick to help them cool and also allow a little space for the ganache to get into the cupcake.)

Ganache Ingredients and Recipe

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Original directions: "Place chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl, set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring whipping cream just to a boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and whisk until smooth. Spoon 1 tsp ganache over each cooled cupcake and spread near edges, allow to cool. Meanwhile make spiced cream cheese frosting."

(I always do ganache in a glass bowl set on top of a pan with boiling water that does not touch the bowl's bottom. Just put the chocolate chips in and when they start to melt, add the cream and stir frequently until everything is melted and combined. I then transferred it all into a measuring cup to easily pour onto each cupcake immediately.)

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

"In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla, salt, powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and whip until smooth and fluffy. Pipe cream cheese frosting over cooled chocolate ganache covered cupcakes."

If you don't have any fancy piping equipment, it's ok! I have a set of the plastic cake frosting tips you can just buy in a 4-pack from the store in the baking aisle (they're intended for those tubes of frosting you can buy) and I cut a hole in the corner of a Hefty ziplock bag and wedge the tip in. Start with a smaller hole and cut more as necessary, you want to try to make it airtight.

I sprinkled some cinnamon over the cupcakes afterwards as a little bit of a garnish, though the original frosting recipe used chopped pecans.