Monday, January 26, 2009

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The Caramel

...just because it takes a bit of time to cool down.
Start with half a cup of butter (salted or not) and one cup of sugar. Heat on low. It will start to look like this.

After about 10 minutes on low heat you should have a bubble mess something like this.

Add half a cup of heavy cream (whipping cream). Do not try and go low fat because you have a New Year's Resolution. It's not going to work if you do. Probably like that resolution...

Stir as you add the cream. It will bubble and spatter so don't do this in a bikini. A little cream at a time and you're nearly done!

Heat for a few more minutes...

Voila! You should have an amazing smelling concoction similar to what you see here. Let this cool for a bit, I poured it into a Pyrex cup and gave it a few twirls with a whisk until I was ready to use it on the cupcakes.

The Cupcakes

One cup of white sugar, one cup of brown sugar, one cup of butter...

3 cups of all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder (the magic kind)

The goodness of one fresh vanilla bean (or use 2 teaspoons of liquid vanilla if you want)

4 eggs, ideally left out half an hour before you start, but if you forgot...oh well...

1 3/4 cups of milk (I used non-fat, but use whatever you want. Soy works too)

Blend the sugars and butter on medium speed until it looks like this, and this looks like you wouldn't have any gritty sugar in it (If you do this by hand you are the Bionic Woman).

Add the eggs, one at a time... scrape down the bowl in between eggs (still hoping the paddle scraper thing a ma jiggy makes it to my local stores soon). Sorry, forgot to take an egg adding action shot.

Slowly add the flour/baking powder mixture. Alternate with adding milk. A bit of flour, a bit of milk. Make sure you end with a bit of flour, for some reason (science I'm sure) it blends better that way.

See... blended nicely...

With your ice cream scoop (I use a 1/3 cup scoop) divide the mixture evenly (one scoop each!) between 24 cupcake liners (I use large).

Bake at 350 (and you preheated cause you're smart like that) for 20 minutes. No more! You like a little spring in your step? Well these like a little spring too and 20 minutes seems to give it just the right amount.

Make a basic buttercream (I just don't have the energy to go through it with you. The chihuahua is pawing at me to go to bed and I have to agree, it's time.). Take a bit of the caramel and drizzle it through the mix. It will mix a bit and ribbon a bit... dollop each cupcake with a plot of buttercream and then drizzle more caramel on top. Finish each cupcake with a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel or whatever salt you like. I used a Raspberry Fleur de Sel from Maison Cote. (Love you Jean-Pierre). That's it. Go make them, Maisie and I are tired and going night night.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009 West Coast Tattoo Show

Just in case you're in the Vancouver area (Abbotsford to be exact) the weekend of April 17-19th. See you there. (Link in the list)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

I'm updating twice today! I hope that makes up for the recent laziness...

Recently (2 blogs ago- that's how I tell time in this land) Bakerella posted on how to make brownies stuffed with cookie dough. And holy hell they look good. But since I don't use packaged mixes I thought I'd give it a try using the good old fashioned "baked from scratch" routine. Turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.

The Brownies
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup good quality cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon espresso grounds
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs (out of fridge about half an hour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Nuts (optional)
The Cookie Dough
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • chocolate chips, chunks, pieces...whatever you like, about a cup and a half
Get your mixer out. Put the cocoa in the mixing bowl. Melt the butter. Add to cocoa. Blend well. Scrape/blend. Add the sugar and espresso grounds. Mix until the sugar is fully incorporated. I just turn it on and do other stuff for 5 minutes or so. Add the eggs ONE AT A TIME. Beat on medium speed until the mix is now fluffy (and scrape, you're so lucky if you have one of those new ScrapePaddles out for the KitchenAid. I can't find one! Anyhoo). In another bowl blend the flour and baking powder. Slowly add to the "wet" mix. Add the vanilla last.

Walk away...

In another bowl (if you have another mixing bowl for your electric mixer- woohooo! If not...) blend the butter and sugars together until smooth and by smooth I mean not gritty. Add the vanilla, blend, add the egg, blend well. Slowly add the flour/baking soda to the bowl. Mix until blended (your arm is probably on fire by now...). Fold in the chocolate. Voila! Cookie Dough. Divide into small balls, put on cookie sheets and throw in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

Clean up the mess while you're waiting.

Cut up the chilled cookie dough into whatever size you want and throw it into the brownie batter, give it a whirl or two and that's that.

I bake these in cupcake liners. Easy for measuring and an even cook. If this is the case for you, pull out the muffin tin, put in 12 liners and using your ice cream scoop divide the mixture evenly.

These take 17-20 minutes at 350 degrees, depending on A: the fickleness of your oven and B: how gooey you like the brownie.

If you want to use the pan method I suggest a 9" x 13" pan (buttered, floured or however you like to avoid the stick), it will take about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

You can add icing if you want, I didn't for the photos (I really need to invest in a Canon SLR. Canon if you're reading...), but had a tube of truffle mix on the side for those that wanted to be ensured heart attacks later in the day.

For the truffle in a small pan heat on low/medium heat until simmering 1 cup of heavy (whipping) cream, add a wee knob of butter if you want to go nuts.

In a bowl add one pound of good quality chocolate, chopped if in brick form, ok if in 'chip' form.

Pour heated cream over top. Leave for 10 minutes. Whisk mixture until smooth. Pop in fridge until cooled but not hard (we're not making truffles today). When cooled and not too runny pour into an icing bag.

Cover brownies or eat right out of tube.

Later this afternoon I'm attempting Salted Caramel Cupcakes. Wish me luck.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My "Holiday" Weakness

This ice cream only comes out Mid November each year until they run out, and then not again for another year. Unfortunately they didn't make Eggnog for whatever reason (probably only 5 of us buy it...) so I'm getting my fill of Gingerbread Cookie Dough (and Island Farms didn't cut corners on this one- HUGE pieces of gingerbread dough and the ice cream is fantastic). But the Peppermint Candy has always been my all time favourite.
Thank you Island Farms for realizing I have no self control and limiting my access.

The Bird

Decided to leave off the bacon coat this time. Added half a pound of butter instead :)

My Kitchen Shrine

What can I say? These doo dads make me smile.