Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Frosting

I recently had a discussion with a good friend of mine about the utility of being part of social networks (that sounds fancy, but really we were talking about dating and facebook). I hate to admit it, but I'm a bit of an internet junkie. I love the internet- I check the weather about five times a day, I'm on twitter, facebook, gmail and I have this blog. I don't think that I am any less connected to the real world because I'm so connected to the internet world- in fact, I am probably more connected.

Last week I was asked to bring dessert for a meal and I decided on cupcakes (see my last post, I was still on my frosting kick). I came up with two good sounding options- Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting, and Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Mint Frosting. I was having a hard time deciding which one to choose, so I decided to do a little online survey- I put the question on facebook and twitter, and mint won 12-5 (overwhelming majority!) The answers were pretty entertaining- thanks to everyone who voted!. Needless to say, its a good thing I have the internet, because otherwise I definitely would have made the banana cupcakes, and then no one would have eaten them. Good thing I'm connected.

Chocolate Cupcakes:
Recipe from www.joyofbaking.com

1/2 cup (50 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup (240 ml) boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or if piping, use a large Wilton 1M open star tip to make lovely swirls. Makes about 16 cupcakes

Mint- Chocolate Fudge Icing:
4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups (160 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 T ice water

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the extracts. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add the cocoa powder, mix well. Add enough ice water to reach desired consistency. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).