Thursday, September 13, 2007
Getting High with Hi-Hat Cupcakes
I believe it was a year or two ago, before I started my little blog, that I first heard of Hi-hat Cupcakes. I then found a recipe for them on Martha Stewart's site. I then searched a bit more and found quite a few people had terrible issues with the recipe on that site (which doesn't surprise me, as the recipes there tend to be hit and miss) and had worked out their own way of making them from trial and error. I set the idea to make them aside and it got buried in my ever churning thought process. Hi-hats seem to have broken through to the surface of my brain with perfect timing. I need an excuse to get out of this terrible slump I've been in. I know you've all noticed it. I haven't baked for weeks. I was lucky that I had baked the tart for my Daring Baker's Challenge early in the month of August, or I don't believe I would have completed my first challenge. I'll just say mid-month August we had a bit of a shake-up here at Casa del Barmy Baker, I was derailed for a bit but now I believe things are returning to some sort of equilibrium. I just need to kick myself in the arse a bit and bake.
I have decided to just combine a few of my favorite things ("Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things....Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels. Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles..." sorry about that, I just had to try get it out of my head by embedding it in yours) and try to come up with something that resembled a Hi-hat. The recipe starts with a chocolate cupcake. No problem there, I have my wonderful, moist fabulous chocolate blackout recipe to use for those(these cupcakes also bake up very flat-topped and i think this will help with the mounds of marshmallow). They are topped with a marshmallow topping that looks suspiciously like a very thick Italian Meringue (where very very hot sugar syrup is whipped into egg whites), which I have no problem making and can pretty much just wing it on that. Then the topping. It seems this is what was giving people the biggest problem. When they tried to dip the cupcakes into the chocolate coating it was too thick and killed the marshmallow. Well, I'm going to try the chocolate and oil mixture to dip them in and see how I fare. If it doesn't work well, I'll try a ganache. So, with those three favorite things of mine, I present to you my idea of how to get high(hat cupcakes).
Chocolate Blackout Cake (makes 20 cupcakes, or one nice 9x12" pan o' cake) This recipe first appeared on my blog here
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cocoa powder (natural, not dutch-processed)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces melted butter
1 cup brewed coffee (I used instant espresso powder in one cup boiling water)
3 large eggs
-Preheat oven to 350f
-Prepare 2 muffin tins by lining with 20 or 21 muffin liners.
-This is just like making a quick bread. Sift the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
-Mix together the wet ingredients, Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. This will be a fairly wet batter.
-Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling until about a quarter of an inch from the top of the liner.
-Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
-Remove from oven, let cool in pan about 10 minutes and then finish cooling on a rack. Place the room temperature cupcakes in the refrigerator while you make the Italian meringue. These cupcakes (or cake if you make one from this recipe) do tend to taste better the next day after the flavors have all come together.
Italian Meringue: (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
1/2 cup (4 egg's worth) egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp corn syrup
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract (or if you want to flavor this with something else, feel free)
-Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer.
-Place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer placed on the side of the pan dipping into the mixture. Bring the mixture to 238F.
-When the sugar syrup is about 10 degrees away from 238F, add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and begin whipping them to firm shiny peaks. If the whites get to this state before the syrup is at 235, turn your mixer to low speed and just let them keep moving.
-Once the syrup is at 235 and your egg whites are firm and pretty, Carefully (hot sugar=ouch, I know from past experience) and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites with the mixer running on high speed. Don't worry about any spatter on the sides of the bowl, it happens and won't effect the final product. Add the vanilla extract and continue whipping the egg whites until they cool to room temperature (I also add about 1/2 tsp salt, as I like my icing a bit salty with the sweet). Once the mixture is cool, scoop it into a pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip (or you can just use a plastic baggie with the corner cut off to pipe).
-Pipe coil mounds on top of the chilled cupcakes, mounding each high to form the marshmallow "hat". Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator and make your chocolate coating.
The first coil goes on like this:
Then you want to do a second smaller coil:
and a third coil:
Until it looks something like this:
I have yet to decide if these all standing together look like a Michelin Man convention or a forest of soft serve cones:
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used a 72%)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
-Place chocolate and oil in the top of a double boiler (I just use a stainless steel bowl) and place over just simmering water and let sit about 5 minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted and you have a nice smooth dipping chocolate.
-Scrape the melted chocolate mixture into a deep container (one that is narrow and deep enough to dip the "hats" in). Dip your cupcakes in one at a time, allow excess to drip off and place the cupcakes on a rack over a sheet of parchment to catch the extra drips.
Here is the forest of Hi-hats:
-Put in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set up. I believe these also can be stored in the fridge for a day or so. G will be taking them to work tomorrow morning, and I'm sure I'll hear how they survived the night in the cooler.
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