Monday, June 7, 2010
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
So yesterday I experienced true spirit of dedication and friendship. Four of my friends met me at 5 a.m. for a run in the sauna that is Texas in June because it was the only time that I could get in an outside run. It was crazy nuts sticky and awful but still kind of fun because my friends are just that cool.
However, the effort at that early hour in the humidity took every ounce of energy out of me. I didn't have any reserves left and I needed a pick me up. Weeks ago, I had received my May/June Cook's Illustrated magazine and in it was a recipe for the "Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes". I had been thinking of them ever since.
I know that I said that I was going to try not to post about unhealthy baked goods, but I promise that these are worth it. Chocolate cupcakes are good for the soul. Oh, and DrRuckus pronounced them the best cupcakes he's ever had. They sound complicated, but they are sooooooo worth it. Make them. Don't hesitate.
The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, May 2010
Ingredients for Ganache Filling:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Ingredients for Chocolate Cupcakes:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for Frosting:
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
Pinch table salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened and cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate , melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions for Ganache Filling: Place chocolate, cream, and confectioners’ sugar in medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high power until mixture is warm to touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth; transfer bowl to refrigerator and let stand until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.
Directions for Cupcakes: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
Directions for Frosting: Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer; place bowl over pan of simmering water. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.
Place bowl in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter.) Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds, scraping beater and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary.
To frost cupcakes, mound 2 to 3 tablespoons frosting on center of each cupcake. Using small icing spatula or butter knife, spread frosting to edge of cupcake, leaving slight mound in center.
Yield: 12 cupcakes