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Posts Tagged ‘cream cheese frosting’

Assuming that the DQ doesn’t only exist in the south (I think I’ve seen it in Ptown) most of us should remember the notorious dipped ice cream cone. You know, where they take a sugary cone, top it with sugary ice cream and then magically dip the whole thing in melty chocolate and somehow the impossible occurs and the ice cream actually stays on the cone and manages to remain “frozen” long enough for you to eat it. Well there’s been some dabbling lately in the whole dipping thing, but using cupcakes instead of ice cream cones. It’s been a long time coming – I first saw these things last November – but I finally, finally, attempted to make them.

And I succeeded!!!

I think these might possibly be the most fattening cupcakes I’ve ever created, due to the insane amount of frosting piled on top of the cupcake and the chocolately goodness that’s coating the whole damn thing, but sometimes you gotta say to hell with it! And then get up the next morning and run 8 miles. It’s a dessert – fitness balance, and I’d say these are worth every calorie.

The chocolate cupcake part comes straight from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, except I added some brandy soaked strawberries and, of course, brandy to the batter, but any cupcake recipe will do. I took the chocolate coating from Bakerella’s Hi Hat recipe.

Strawberry & Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes

  • 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries (organic preferably)
  • 3 T brandy or cognac

I believe I used about 2 oz hulled strawberries, but just fill up a cup and don’t worry about the oz. Pour about 3 T brandy over the strawberries, cover with lid or plastic wrap and let them sit there for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain as much of the brandy off as possible into a separate bowl.

  • Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
  • 2 T brandy (from the strawberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 and make the chocolate cupcake batter as directed on the website above, but transfer 2 tablespoons of strawberry brandy to a 1/3 measuring cup and then fill the rest of it with oil instead of using an entire 1/3 cup of oil.

Once you fill the liners with batter, divide the macerated strawberries up between the 12 cupcakes, and stir them up a bit to cover with batter. You could also just mix the strawberries in with the batter and then fill the cupcake liners (that would probably be easier, though some of the strawberries would stick to the liner). Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack after they rest for about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if they sink a little bit in the middle, it’s the strawberries’ fault but nobody will notice (or care).

  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (about 4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (stick form)
  • 2 tsp brandy (from the strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree
  • About 7 cups powdered sugar

Let the cream cheese and butter set out a bit to soften, then toss them into the stand mixer and cream them together. While creaming, use a small food processor or blender and puree some strawberries. I used 2 – 3 oz of strawberries and ended up with over 1/2 cup of puree (so less will do). Add the puree and brandy to the creamed butter and cream cheese. You can add all the sugar at once if you like, though you might find yourself in a cloud of powdered sugar if you do. I added it a cup or two at a time. 7 cups seems a bit much but I wanted to make sure the icing was thick enough to withstand the dipping. I also have a small bit left over so you could cut it back some but then you’d have all these weird measurements and who wants that?

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Some people use a fat, round tip. I’m cheap so I just use the hole at the end of the pastry bag (seems to make sense to me). Place the cupcakes in the freezer to harden the icing.

  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 T canola oil

Bakerella used the microwave but I try to use methods other than the microwave if at all possible. If you don’t have a double boiler (like me) fill a small pan halfway full of water and heat it almost to boiling on the stove. Put the chocolate chips and oil in a bowl and set it on top of the pan of water. Stir continuously until the chocolate is all melted.

Now this is where I almost had a problem. I don’t have a lot of fairly narrow but deep containers. You need to put the melted chocolate into something that’s wide enough to fit the cupcake in but has enough depth so that the cupcake doesn’t smash into the bottom. I used a tall take out container (the kind commonly found at Thai restaurants). This was about perfect size but even then the chocolate became too low after about six dips to submerge the cupcake all the way, but a little bit of tilting (of the container) and twirling (of the cupcake) worked just fine.

So, transfer the chocolate to an appropriately sized container; you can let it cool for a minute to make sure it’s not too awfully hot. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Pick one up. Hold your breath. Submerge it into the chocolate. Pull it out. Breath. Let the excess chocolate dribble off. Set it down and move onto the next one.

Isn’t that fun?!?! I had extra chocolate left over so I was trying to find anything I could to dip in it. Strawberries. Pretzels. Chocolate biscotti. =) I told my husband if I had known it was this easy I would have started dipping things a long time ago. But maybe it’s best that I didn’t (you can only run so many miles in the morning).

These cupcakes were for a friend’s birthday outing so I didn’t think I was going to be able to get a picture of the cross-section. But as fate would have it I was left with one little orphan cupcake, so I split him in half this morning and grabbed my camera! I wonder if our neighbors think I’m crazy when they see me out on the roof in 40 degree weather taking pictures of cupcakes?

These cupcakes were really good. I mean really good. Everybody at the table thought they were awesome. The gooey strawberry middle reminded me of those chocolate covered cherries you see at Christmas time (which gave me an idea for another cupcake).

If you dare to dip your cupcake, let me know how it goes!!

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The problem with baking and only having a two person household is the fact that there are only two people to eat all that yummy stuff that comes out of the oven. That may not seem like a problem to some people. To me, it’s a wee bit scary. So any time there is a group event or people are coming over, I jump at the chance to make something that I’ve been putting off for fear of calorie overload.

The other night my husband comes home from watching football (aka soccer) and tells me he invited a couple of people over for pizza. I immediately, almost as if on instinct, give him this half-felt, sideways glare like, “Oh really…” Then I smile. It’s pizza, I got this! I’m always frightened when I think about entertaining people for dinner because none of my friends are veggies, “What will I fix?’ And then there’s the minor detail of not having a dining table… But pizza is easy because everyone can have exactly what they want, and eat it anywhere.

My mind then went straight to the fun part, dessert! Initially I thought about making this caramel filled snickerdoodle cupcake I’d been thinking about, but my continual obsession with procrastinating by mindlessly staring at FoodGawker popped an idea into my head. Dessert pizza! My original version had Nutella in it, but the melting didn’t go according to plan so we ended up with chocolate ganache instead, but I wouldn’t complain.

I also finally got my camera outside in some sunlight (yes, there was sunlight in Portland last weekend) so I took a few more pics than normal as many of them were actually turning out ok – but I guess we’ll let FoodGawker be the judge of that (they reject all my pics).

Dessert Pizza (vegan, can be made gluten-free)

  • 1 tub of strawberries, sliced
  • Cream cheese frosting, recipe here
  • Brownie batter
  • Chocolate ganache

I used the brownie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, but any brownie recipe would likely do. Also in this book is a gluten-free flour mixture that will allow you to make this, or any other brownie or cookie, gluten-free. There is also an adaption of that mixture on this post (if you don’t have the book).

Bake the brownie on a large, round pizza sheet. Mine has holes in it so I laid a piece of baking parchment on it. It took a bit of finessing to get the batter spread out and round, but my little red silicon spatula did a nice job. Bake as directed and let it cool before applying the icing. If you’re impatient, stick it in the fridge.

While the brownie is in the oven, make the ganache. It’s just 3 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Barely scald the milk, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Set aside to cool. If it doesn’t set enough, stick it in the fridge for a couple of minutes, but not too long or you’ll be heating it up again.

Next, slice the strawberries and make the frosting while the brownie is cooling. When the brownie is cool, apply the frosting with an icing knife and then lay the strawberries on the pizza. I went in a circular direction starting from the outside. To drizzle the ganache on I used a pastry bag. It came out a little quicker than I expected but I think it’s way better than it would have been if I had free-handed it.

This was really tasty and actually pretty damn easy. I’m thinking there are going to be more dessert pizzas in our future.

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I’m back!!  Well, I’ve been back for awhile I just, um, haven’t gotten around to writing on this thing yet.  You know, you think that after you get the whole wedding thing done, get the family and friends out of town, and fly off to your honeymoon you can just relax… Wrong!  Once you get back to real life you remember all those things you’ve been putting off for the last month or two.  And then you have to write all those thank you notes and start culinary school.  Well, the latter is probably specific to me, but it still takes up a lot of your time.

A few days after we returned from our honeymoon in Dublin I started Oregon Culinary Institute in SW Portland.  I had thought that I was going to get to go right into the kitchen and start baking some tasty cakes, but they switched things around and didn’t tell me.  So, I don’t get to bake anything until like July, but the upside is I’m learning a lot about wine right now and that’s always very interesting.

Since I don’t get to use the handy dandy KitchenAid stand mixers at school, I’m finding reasons – making up excuses – to use one at home (that I was fortunate enough to receive as a wedding gift).  Things work a little bit different in a stand mixer though… so I’m glad I get to practice before using them at school for a grade.

Anyway, I had this random idea pop into my head the other day about a cupcake.  I’d actually thought about it before but hadn’t ever gotten around to doing anything with it.  This time I happened to have one lonely parsnip sitting in my fridge.  Now don’t be skeptical.  They actually turned out pretty good.  I even made cream cheese frosting from scratch, including the powdered sugar because I ran out (oops).  And!!! they are fairly healthy, for a cupcake anyway.  There’s no oil in it.  The only straight fat actually comes from the butter in the frosting.  They are still very moist however, I don’t think you’ll miss the oil.

So, without further ado, meet…

The Parsnip

The prep work:

  • Chop up a medium size parsnip, toss it in a pan and cover with water.  I added some cinnamon to the mix – it may or may not have made a difference.
  • Boil until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain the water and puree with an immersion blender (or blender or by hand if you must).
  • Scoop out 1/3 cup and set aside
  • Add a little salt to the rest and munch on it (pretty tasty).
  • While these are boiling, toast some pecans in a 350 degree oven.  I used a little soy milk and agave instead of butter.  They only take about 10 minutes so be careful and don’t burn them like I did.  Lightly salt them once they are done and chop them up into fairly small pieces.
  • Also, if mixing in dried cranberries, soak them in a liquor (I used vanilla vodka) for at least 30 minutes – I soaked them over night.  Drain before adding to cupcake batter.

For the cupcake:

  • In a small bowl whisk together:
    • 3/4 C soy milk
    • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • Sift the dry ingredients together:
    • 1/2 C wheat flour
    • 3/4 C unbleached AP flour
    • 2 T corn starch
    • 1 t baking powder
    • 1/2 t baking soda
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4 t nutmeg
    • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • In a large mixing bowl combine:
    • milk mixture
    • 1/3 C vanilla soy yogurt
    • 1/3 C parsnip puree
    • 3/8 C agave
    • 3/8 C raw sugar
    • 2 & 1/4 t vanilla extract
  • Mix the wet ingredients well and then add the dry ingredients.  Be careful not to over mix!
  • Fold in the cranberries (if using – I’m not sure they were necessary).
  • Scoop batter into a lined muffin pan.
  • Sprinkle the pecans and a little sugar on top of each future cupcake.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean of course.

Geez this post is getting long!  I’ve forgotten how long it takes to write these things out…

Now, for the Cream Cheese Frosting.

  • Cream together 1/3 C vegan cream cheese* and 1/4 C vegan stick margarine.
  • Mix in 1 t vanilla extract and 2 – 3 C of powdered sugar.
  • Add a little soy milk if it seems to thick.
  • Pipe or spoon onto cooled cupcakes.

*A note on the cream cheese.  Typically I use the non-hydrogenated Tofutti suff, but I really HATE buying it since it is so processed.  So I attempted to make my own this time.  It turned out better than my previous attempts but it still needs some finessing, and perhaps a little thickening.  Here’s what I did:

Vegan Cream Cheese

  • Half block Mori-Nu extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1/4 C whole cashews, ground
  • 1/2 – 1 T nutritional yeast (large flake)
  • 1/2 – 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 – 1 T agave
  • Scant 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t soy sauce
  • 2 T arrowroot starch

Add everything to a blender or small food processor and process until smooth – I actually used my immersion blender again (I love that thing). Refrigerate for a few hours to help it set.

You probably don’t need salt and soy sauce, but my brain skipped yesterday and I inadvertently put both in there.  It tasted ok though so whatever!  This was way better than what I’ve tried before, but it still needs to be thicker.  All the “1/2 – 1 T” measures up there are because I don’t remember exactly how much I put in, so experiment.  If you have a cream cheese recipe, please share it!!

Alrighty, I’m tired of typing. =)  Happy Sunday!!

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