Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Week 23: Little Miss Sunshine: Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes with Butterchocoscotch Ganache

Hi friends! To all of my readers who have endured this awful winter weather.... I hope you have been inside with something hot to drink, or near a warm, toasty fire away from the winter elements. While I have no fire place to curl up to and I have had to shovel more snow than I care to think about, then chip more ice than I care to think about, my little guy and I have had our share of hot drinks to keep us warm! The pervasive winter chill has gotten to me this year. It must have been when we hit the -12° degrees F I decided I was done with winter! I am so over this weather! I hope the little groundhog was wrong and Spring hurries up and gets here.

I hope you will enjoy this delicious recipe combination of both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, topped with a creamy chocolate butterscotch ganache and a nice butterscotch morsel on top. This cupcake makes my mouth dance and complements any "hot" beverage really well! Without further delay, here is a wonderful winter treat. I think the butterscotch ganache looks like a little bit of sunshine and the chocolate ganache drizzled along with it, is divine!

Best!

Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen

1 3/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons table salt
2 large whole eggs plus
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line cupcake pan with liners; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla; mix batter until mixture is smooth and combined, for about 3 minutes.

5. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

6. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway.

7. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 18-20 minutes. Rotate the pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack.

8. VERY IMPORTANT to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!

Buttercup Bake Shop Golden Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl on medium speed, cream the sugar and butter until fluffy.

3. Add the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition.

4. Mix the milk and vanilla together.

5. Combine the flours and add in two parts, alternating between the milk and vanilla mixture, beat well after each addition.

6. Spoon the batter into the cups, about 3/4 full. The tops should spring back when lightly touched. Bake about 21-23 minutes.

7. VERY IMPORTANT to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!

Butterscotch Ganache

12 oz. (1 package) Butterscotch morsels
6 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1) In a double boiler combine the cream and butter together just before boiling.

2) Pour butterscotch morsels into the mixture.

3) Stir until mixture is smooth with no lumps.

4) Drizzle over completely cooled cupcakes.

For the chocolate ganache, replace butterscotch morsels with chocolate morsels.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How sweet it is: Kelly Ripa and Electrolux team up to help the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

Hi friends! I am sure by now you have heard the buzz on the circuit about the lovely Kelly Ripa and Electrolux teaming up to raise more than $500,000 to support a virtual bake sale which will raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). For every virtual cupcake sent from the Electrolux site, $1.00 will be donated to OCRF with a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $30,000 when a virtual cupcake is sent to a friend. Electrolux is proud to support The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

When you make your cupcake you can choose a variety of flavors from favorites like carrot cake and classic yellow to German chocolate, devil's food cake and angel food cake. You can pick frosting flavors like buttercreams and fondants, sprinkle different toppings on your cupcake, add candles, select a variety of baking cup designs and then personalize your cupcake for an extra special touch! It really is a fun way to raise money for a worthy cause. Click here to register and send your cupcake now! It's fast, it's fun and most of all, you are helping fund a research program to find a cure for ovarian cancer!

Cupcakes can do that!

The benefit to registering on the Electrolux site, is that when you log on every day and send a virtual cupcake you are automatically entered for a chance to win a new Red Hot Red Washer and Dryer from Electrolux. I don't know about you, but I have seen the commercial when Kelly Ripa rushes through her house multi-tasking after doing laundry and putting it away... and let me just say if she can do that, in heels! I want to win that washer and dryer and do that too, looking that cute!

And finally, because you know how much of an advcoate I am about cancer research after my own skin cancer troubles; you can also support research by purchasing a shirt Kelly has designed. A really sweet "wear your heart on your sleeve" T-shirt which can be purchased here. Kelly Ripa cares so passionately about raising funds to help fight ovarian cancer she helped design this new limited edition T-shirt, especially for Valentine’s Day. Her hope is that everyone joins her as she “wears her heart on her sleeve” to help raise awareness of this important cause. This beautifully designed, premium cotton T-shirt is available in fitted or relaxed fit. Quantities are limited so order soon. Purchase one now.

My hope is you and those closest to you always have good health. I am delighted to see a celebrity dedicated to using her influence to support a very worthwhile cause. You never know when a sudden illness will strike and we should never take our health for granted. Make someone's day a little sweeter and register to send your cupcake today while helping to support The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!

Best!

(Images courtesy of Kelly Confidential-Electrolux website)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies on a Stick

Hi friends! Aside from my cupcake devotion, I truly adore brownies. Mmmm. Brownies. Just the word alone makes me happy. I cannot even count the thousands of brownies, cookies and cupcakes I have made in my lifetime. Brownies, much like cupcakes, bring smiles.

I was trying to come up with something fun and different for my little guy to bring in for his classroom Valentine's Day celebration. I wanted something other than "Fun Dip" or "Tootsie Pops" to go with his Valentine cards. Last year my little guy and I made heart shaped cupcakes and while I think candy makes perfectly good treats, I was seeing something different this year! I was in Michael's Craft Store the other day replenishing my satin ribbon supply (it was on sale for 50 cents per spool). While peeking down a few of my favorite aisles, I noticed a really fun mold for brownie pops on a stick, and that my friends, is when I had my "A-ha!" moment. I thought how darling they would be with pink chocolate drizzled on them, rolled in red hearts, then wrapped in cellophane tied pink and brown ribbon. The possibilities were endless and so delicious!

The best part is this gooey recipe from Ina Garten which she adapted from a recipe for chocolate globs in the Soho Charcuterie Cookbook. Brownies are delicious and special. Once your treats are all dressed up and ready to be handed out, watch the face of the person you give them to light up! I love that feeling.

As always, treats taste better when you share them with a friend!

Best!


Heavenly Chocolate Brownies on a Stick
(Adapted from Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies)

1 pound unsalted butter

1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

6 extra-large eggs

3 tablespoons instant coffee powder

2 tablespoons real vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups diced walnut pieces (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees

2. For this project I am using the brownie pop mold pan. For regular brownies which can be cut out with fun cookie cutter shapes, grease and flour a 13 x 18 x 1 1/2-inch pan.

3. Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly.

4. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar.

5. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

6. Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt.

7. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts (optional) and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter.

8. Pour the batter into prepared mold (Be sure to spray mold with non-stick cooking spray).

9. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Do not over-bake!

10. I had to watch the brownie mold pan closely, my oven baked the molds at 28 minutes. When I make the pan of brownies it is 30 minutes. So keep an eye out! Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough.

11. Cool thoroughly!

Dressing Heavenly Chocolate Brownies

1. After the brownie mold yields the number of Heavenly Chocolate Brownies you want and they are cooled, dip them into melted Wilton candy melt.

2. Wait until the candy has cooled slightly, then roll the dipped brownie in different colored sprinkles.

3. Finally, inserted the lollipop sticks gently on top of the brownies and wrapped the pops in cellophane, tied with a satin ribbon!

Lovely!