Random Thoughts

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taking Stock

Taking stock, no not chicken stock more like lets true up here folks.  So I said this year my "new beginning"  hear that? it's the roar of the crowd......or not.  Anyway I said hey I can do 2 new recipes a week for an average of 104 for the year. Sure I can do it, why not, hmmm well life sometimes gets in the way, but its back in the saddle or more appropriately the kitchen again for me!  So this week I got right back at it.  I made Monday Night Pasta from that cooking queen at www.thepioneerwoman.com on appropriately enough Monday night! Let me just say this one is a keeper mmmm.  Inspired by my own culinary abilities on Tuesday I made (don't be mad Dad) Chicken and Dumplings over Mashed Potatoes, my Dad loves loves loves Chicken and Dumplings.  I promise Dad I will make it for you :)  So here I am back at it again!
Here's a peek at that pasta mmmmmm

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes!!!!

Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

Aren't they just gorgeous and my oh my are they delicious!  Perfect balance of chocolate and peanut butter!  They are so worth the effort!!!  
Gotta give credit where credit is due this recipe comes from Food and Wine magazine, by Peggy Cullen.

So lets get to it here are the players!

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
First pre-heat that oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.  

Put the cocoa in a bowl and add boiling water, whisk until it forms a smooth paste. I love chocolate!  Isn't it pretty !

Next whisk in the buttermilk (so here is a little trick if you don't have any buttermilk add a teaspoon of vinegar to the measuring cup then add whole milk and voila!) 
In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Now normally I wouldn't sift, I know I know bad bad baker but in this case I think it is important!!! Sift baby Sift!
Next in a mixing bowl add 1 1/2 sticks of butter and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy and then add the eggs and vanilla,  mmmmm just beautiful, now try to resist sticking your finger in for a taste...I did.....honest!

 Next beat in the dry ingredients in 2 batches alternating with the cocoa mixture.  It smells delicious mmm sniff! Again try to resist eating it straight from the bow, I assure you I completely resisted :)

Iganache so no foul no repenting :)
FIll the cupcake liners two thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes the cupcakes should be light and springy. 

Cool them in the pan for 5 minutes and then plop them on to the wire racks to cool.  While they are cooling in a medium size bowl beat together the peanut butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Nice and creamy.  Next sift in the confectioners sugar and beat until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.  Next spoon the peanut butter mixture into a pastry bag with a star tip. Now if you don't have one of these, don't panic, no biggie.  You can use a ziploc bag, fill the corner tie it off with a rubber band, clip the corner on an angle, then use a sharp knife to carve a small hole in the center of the cupcake and then squeeze in the filling.   The lovey, shiny and delicious ganache will cover up the hole.

Ok so let me go ahead and apoligize for the post from this point forward.  apparently I am screaming the rest of this recipe and while I am excited by these cupcakes I can assure you screaming was not my intent:) Something occurred with the formatting and I simply cannot undo it i have even tried deleteing everything and starting over (Not my favorite thing by far!) So sorry up front!

Speaking of the ganache (and we were before all the screaming) lets get started on it.  First chop that Chocolate! 

In a small saucepan bring the heavy cream to a simmer.  Remove from heat add the chocolate to the cream and let sit for 5 minutes (seriously don't touch it resist hold back I know you can do it!) 

Waiting....waiting......waiting.......ok all this waiting a whole 5 minutes gives the chocolate a chance to melt.  Now you can whisk and whisk away until it is smooth.

Now comes waiting again, I know I know anyway let it sit for about 20 minutes as it cools it will thicken slightly. 
Now comes the fun part dip cupcakes in the icing and then back to the rack to set up.

There is that claw again hmmm I got to work on that!

See how shiny and beautiful!  So next I added a peanut butter cup and a dolop of the peanut butter filling and beautiful.
These are by far my favorite cupcakes enjoy!!