February 24, 2010

Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

I've been dreaming of mini chocolate cupcakes for a few weeks now.  So I decided to try Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my Home to Yours.  Her recipe makes regular sized cupcakes, but I used a mini cupcake pan and cooked them for less time.  I overcooked mine slightly, so they are probably more moist when not overcooked and when regular size, but they were still scrumptious!

Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the cupcakes:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For the glaze:
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Fit the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan with paper muffin cups (my preference), or butter them, dust them with flour and tap out the excess.  Alternatively, you can use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither paper cups nor greasing. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and set it aside.

To Make the Cupcakes:  Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is blended into the butter.  Add the egg, then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear.  Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and mix it in with the rubber spatula.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are dry and springy to the touch and a knife inserted into their centers comes out clean.  Transfer the muffin pan to a rack and let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them.  Cool to room temperature on the rack before glazing.

To Make the Glaze:  Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Transfer the bowl to the counter and let stand for 5 minutes.

Using a small whisk or rubber spatula, stir the confectioners' sugar into the chocolate, followed by the pieces of cold butter.  The glaze may be very thin at this point, or it might be perfectly spreadable.  If it is too thin to spread or use as a dip (I often dip the tops of the cakes into the ganache, then give the cakes a little twirl as I pull them out, so they have a squiggle of glaze in the center), stir it over ice water for a few seconds--really, less than a minute.  With a small metal icing spatula, give each cupcake a crown of shiny ganache, and let the glaze set at room temperature (or in the fridge if you're in a hurry).  If the glaze loses its gloss and you miss it, give the tops of the cakes a puff of hot air from a hairdryer right before serving.

Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies

Back to peanut butter and chocolate!  

Yes, these peanut butter cookies really are flourless.  And fabulous.  They remain a little gooey even after baked and cooled.  My husband wondered if I had finished baking them or if I did something wrong.  But no, they are meant to be gooey (think peanut butter fudge) with a little crisp on the outside. Even though I'm a big fan of natural peanut butter, these are better with peanut butter that is solid at room temperature.  Grocery stores have recently started carrying solid peanut butter without trans-fats.

Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies
from Everyday Food PBS website

1 c. creamy peanut butter
¾ c. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ c. roasted, salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350°, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts.

With moistened hands, roll dough, about 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, into balls. Place 2 inches apart on two baking sheets.

Bake until cookies are golden and puffed, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

February 15, 2010

Ginger Crinkles

These cookies are highly addictive - even for an ol' chocolate lover like myself.  They're even a little healthy with half whole wheat flour.  Once I tried with all whole wheat flour, but I don't recommend it.  The batch pictured below are mini-sized, about two inches in diameter.  Very cute!

Ginger Crinkles
from BYU Food Services

6 Tbsp. butter 
1 c. brown sugar  
1 egg  
¼ c. molasses   
1 c. flour   
1 c. whole wheat flour 
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger 
½ tsp. cloves
½ c. sugar 

In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, egg, and molasses.  Sift or stir together dry ingredients (except ½ c. sugar).  Add to molasses mixture and mix until blended.  Cover and chill dough.  Form into balls and roll in sugar.  Bake for 8-10 min. at 375˚ until cracks form on surface. 

World Peace Cookies (or death by chocolate)

I ran across these cookies on two separate food blogs, so I gave in and tried them.  They do live up to their name!  These cookies don't have any eggs and the butter to flour ratio makes them a bit more like chocolate shortbread, so they literally melt in your mouth.  I never read a new recipe all the way through before I start making it, and so I added bigger-sized chocolate chips before realizing mini chips were required.  Of course bigger chocolate chunks are fine in my book!  Chocolate lovers must try these amazing morsels.

World Peace Cookies
Recipe from Dorie GreenspanBaking From My Home to Yours

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel.

Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

STORING: Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.