31 May 2011

Absurdly Decadent Cupcakes

How is is possible to make a chocolate ganache cupcake even more sinfully delicious? Just add salted caramel and potato chips. Yes, potato chips. I was reading an email from Portland Monthly about Portland's microbakery and noticed these little treats. I had to make them, oh yes, I had to make them. 

I started with the Cook's Illustrated recipe for chocolate ganache cupcakes.
Fresh out of the oven

A close-up of just how moist and chocolatey these suckers are

Then took a handful of Lay's Wavy potato chips and dipped them in the chocolate buttercream frosting I made (ran out of pure chocolate), and threw on a sprinkle of kosher salt for good measure.
Good idea to let these cool on wax paper so you don't lose the chocolate
Then I made a classic caramel with some salt in my other liquids (seen above), which was then finished off with some grey sea salt I discovered after putting salt on the chips. Sigh...my cabinets will never be completely organized.
Don't take your caramel off the stove before it turns a nice,
deep amber color or it'll lack the depth of flavor you want
Once cooled, I then frosted my cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting.
Before they go completely overboard
I jammed in the potato chips. I put in some non-frosted ones for good measure.
Little cupcakes waiting for the caramel storm
Drizzle the caramel over the cupcakes once it has cooled down a bit and serve!
Probably a good idea to do this over the wax paper or something you can throw away
This is just absurd...but delicious.
Even two days after baking these, the cupcakes are still moist
For those of you not able to purchase one at Sugarcube in Portland, here are the recipes I used.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling
From Cooksillustrated.com
Use a high quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for this recipe, such as one of the test kitchen's favorite baking chocolates, Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate L-60-40NV or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar. Though we highly recommend the ganache filling, you can omit it for a more traditional cupcake. The cupcakes can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored unfrosted in an airtight container.

Ganache Filling
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Chocolate Cupcakes
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
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
1 recipe Frosting

1. 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.
2. FOR CUPCAKES: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan 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.
3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
4. 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.
5. TO FROST: 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.

Easy Caramel Sauce*
From Cooksillustrated.com

1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon high quality salt

1. Place water in heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan; pour sugar in center of pan, taking care not to let sugar crystals adhere to sides of pan. Cover and bring mixture to boil over high heat; once boiling, uncover and continue to boil until syrup is thick and straw-colored (syrup should register 300 degrees on candy thermometer), about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until syrup is deep amber (syrup should register 350 degrees on candy thermometer), about 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring cream and salt to simmer in small saucepan over high heat (if cream boils before sugar reaches deep amber color, remove cream from heat and cover to keep warm).
3. Remove sugar syrup from heat; very carefully pour about one quarter of hot cream into it (mixture will bubble vigorously), and let bubbling subside. Add remaining cream, vanilla, and lemon juice; whisk until sauce is smooth. (Sauce can be cooled and refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)

*I halved this recipe and had more than enough to cover the cupcakes. Make sure to use the smallest pot you have or the water will evaporate too fast.