Monday, February 6, 2012

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes with Browned Butter-Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes: 3 dozen
Hands-on Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  2 hrs, 40 mins including frosting

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate morsels
½ cup butter, soffened
1 (16 oz.) package light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Microwave morsels in a mixrowave-safe bown at high 1 to 1 ½ minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals.
Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes).  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.  Add melted chocolate; beat until blended.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Gradually add hot water in a slow stready stream, beating at low speed just until blended.  Stir in vanilla.
Place 36 paper baking cups in 3 (12 cup) muffin pans; spoon batter into cups, filling ¾ full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Remove from pan to wire rack, and let cool completely (about 45 minutes).
Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.  Garnish, if desired.

Browned Butter-Cinnamon-Cream Chees Frosting
Makes: 5 cups
Hands on Time: 15 mins.
Total Time: 1 hr, 15 mins.
Cook ½ cup butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown.  Immediately remove from heat.  Pour butter into a bowl.  Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.
Beat butter and 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened, at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 2 (16 oz.) packages powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Stir in 1 tsp. ground cinnamon and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.
Pipe on frosting and garnish with chocolate curls and white candy sprinkles.
Note:  I made these for my girlfriends at Christmas and they were a hit.  Very sweet and yummy!  You have a lot of frosting so just pipe it all on in a pretty swirl.

Snickers Cupcakes

Yield: 20 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup hot water
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. coarse salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1¾ tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
For the caramel sauce:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
24 fun-size Snickers bars, chopped
For the frosting:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup caramel sauce
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tbsp. heavy cream
For garnish:
8 fun-size Snickers bars, chopped

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. 

Mix in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. 

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar begins to foam a bit.  It will look and smell like it's on the verge of burning.  Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream.  Stir until the sauce is smooth (you may need to return it to the heat to smooth it out), then mix in the vanilla and salt.  Let cool.  (This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a paring knife.  To make the filling, combine the chopped Snickers bars in a bowl with 1/3-½ cup of the caramel sauce, and mix to coat.  Drop a spoonful of the filling mixture into each cupcake.  

To make the frosting, add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed 1 minute until smooth.  Blend in the confectioners' sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla, caramel sauce and salt until incorporated.  (Note: the caramel sauce should be just warm enough that it is workable, but not warm enough to melt the butter in the frosting.)  Add the heavy cream and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  

Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.  Drizzle the frosted cupcakes with additional caramel sauce and garnish with chopped Snickers bars.

I made these for a friend and they were going in less than 24 hours.  They are yummy.  The recipe looks long but it wasn't hard.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 cans crescent rolls
3  8 oz. cream cheese--softened
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 t. vanilla
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stretch one can of crescent rolls on the bottom and up the sides of a buttered 9 by 13 inch pan.  In a bowl blend the cream cheese with vanilla and 1  1/2 cups sugar.  Mix until creamy.  Spread mixture over the crescent rolls.  Stretch second can of rolls over the top of the cream cheese.  Pour melted butter over the top, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. sugar and cover generously with cinnamon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  Let cool and chill before cutting into bars.
Mom says this dessert isn't pretty, but very tasty.  You could cover the top with sliced fresh strawberries to make prettier.