Monday, March 17, 2008

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting

I was in the mood for something special this St. Patrick's Day, and am always up for chocolate mixed with BOOZE. :) This is probably the best and most moist cupcake I have ever made!

The original recipe is posted on Epicurious (originally from Bon App├ętit) and the cupcake version is on the blog Batter-Splattered. I made a few tweaks, listed below. I'm definitely making this again!!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting
Yields 16 cupcakes
1 c. stout (such as Guinness)
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c. sour cream (not reduced fat)
1 c. whipping cream
1/2 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. Bailey's Irish Cream (optional; my addition)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper cups.

Bring stout and butter to simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add slightly cooled stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among cupcake cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make icing. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and optional Bailey's Irish Cream and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours. Spread over cupcakes.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Truffle Brownies

My second Fran recipe was another success, but part of me feels like I have become to "Americanized." I think I prefer a regular chewy brownie over this indulgence. But it's still worth sharing! It is excellent with ice cream.

Truffle Brownies
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch sheet pan.

In a double boiler over simmering water or a good nonstick pot, combine the chocolates. Remove when nearly melted and continue stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and continue beating until the mixture is smooth and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the cooled chocolate and mix well. If the butter begins to melt when the chocolate is added, stop pouring and let the chocolate cool further. The finished mixture should be glossy and smooth. Do not overmix. (I did; the mixture suddenly went from the consistency of brownie batter to that of cookie dough, and I had a really hard time folding in the flour.)

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour until all traces of white have disappeared. Be careful not to overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30 minutes, or until the crust is dull on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with dark, wet crumbs on it.

Let cool in the pan about 1 hour. Cut into squares and remove with a spatula. Store brownies in sealed plastic containers for as long as a week, or freeze.
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