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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:

Chocolate coating:

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.

Happy Baking!

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Cinara said...

OH MY GOD!!!!! I saw a cupcake like these months ago, but never had the courage to try something so difficult... I am your number one fan! These look delicious and SO pretty... I wish I was your neighbor, just to steal one of these beauties! :oD

Susan said...

How fun! These bring back childhood memories of soft-serve ice cream cones dipped in chocolate.

I'm glad to see you back.

Anh said...

You have done a perfect job with these cupcakes!!!!

linda said...

They look sooo good! I think I'll use your chocolate cupcake recipe when I need a flat topped cupcake...

Delphine said...

WAOUAH!!!! I just woke up and I'm hungry!! ;)

Baking Soda said...

OMG! So utterly gorgeous looking!
The tophat reminds me of angel kisses only far more pretty.
Love to try these sometime!

Katie B. said...

I come to your site via Tastespotting... and you've totally won a spot in my Reader! Fantastic cupcakes - and as I'm comfy with the marshmallow recipe, I can't wait to try these myself!!! :)

Deborah said...

I have never heard of these before - they look GREAT!! Does the marshmallow stick to the cupcake pretty well or do you have to worry out it falling off into your chocolate?

Mandy said...

this is really stunning! I wish I could have one too!

Jim said...

Whoa, wow, and furthermore whee-doggies. Those look amazing!

Syd said...

I'm not sure if my reaction is religious or sexual.

Lisa said...

These taste amazing and are amazingly adorable too. I relished every crumb of the one I just ate. The meringue and chocolate coating together... soooo good! Thank you so much for sending your husband to work with them!!!

Graeme said...

This was one of those ones that makes your eyes open wider than they would normally.

Stunning! Like a Cupcake topped with a Walnut Whip (Look 'em up.)

Good on you!

Jennifer from NYC said...

Utterly gorgeous! I can't wait to try them!

Lewis said...

I absolutely love your blog! It is one of my first stops on my blogging rounds. Your illustrations and abilities are amazing!


Table Bread

Dolores said...

Heh... when you come back from a baking break you don't fool around, my friend. These are quite a work of art (and I bet they're tasty too).

Zarah Maria said...

WOW! Decadence!

landa said...

These are awesome. I have been wanting to try this things for ages.

Brilynn said...

Those are so much fun and make such a great presentation!

Sidetoide said...

Hm never seen these before but they look great, it almost looks like meringue topping with a chocolate either way the recipe looks great. If you ever wanna check out more recipes to try have plenty.

lynn said...

So fun, so cute, so delicious. I love them!

Peabody said...

These so remind me of a Dairy Queen dipped cone! YUM!

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thank you everyone for your comments! It makes me so very happy that you all enjoyed these so much. I really did love making them and they really were beauties. I'm sorry I've been so slow to respond. Now, there were some questions in the comments, so....

Cinara: These were not as difficult as I had feared, so give them a try! And if you lived next door, you wouldn't have to steal one, I'd happily share :).

Deborah: I didn't have any problems with the marshmallow falling off the cupcakes during dipping. It must have just had the right adherence or something like that :)

Carla said...

Oh my goodness!! I have never seen or heard anything like this!! I would love to try making these, but I'm not very good with layers so it'll probably fall over after the third layer or so LOL I will keep these in mind for when I want a challenge.

maninas: food matters said...

gosh! i see! so that's how you do it! i had sth similar in croatia, but with a biscuity base. it tasted fantastic! :) i bet yours do too! :)

Kristin said...

Hi, i know this is an old post but i have a question. i tried making the italian meringue and the egg whites cooked when i added the hot sugar mix. so now my meringue has tiny bits of cooked egg in it. did i do something wrong?

Anonymous said...

OMG these are so amazing! I've actually made the chocolate cupcake part twice - the first time I forgot the eggs and they were tastier than with the eggs... when I make them again I'll only add 1 egg (and also will cut the water in half and I used plain milk instead of buttermilk).

The marshmallow part is surprisingly less sweet than I expected, I assume the cream of tartar does that. I didn't do the coils, just piped a spiral continuously. I got 48 mini-cupcakes and 5 big cupcakes.

I can't believe I've waited years to make these.

Megancake said...

Made these today and I'm sad to say they didn't come out as pretty as yours but they were delicious!
In the italian meringue ingredient list you include corn syrup but then it is not included in the instructions so I did not use it. Perhaps I did not freeze them long enough (1 1/2 hours) but they sunk as soon as I dipped them in the chocolate and I made sure the chocolate had cooled quite a bit before dipping :(
I'm not sure what went wrong. Also I found the meringue recipe wasn't quite enough to frost them all (you need a LOT of meringue to get them high) I had about 4 unfrosted that I just dipped in the chocolate.

Cathleen said...

Wow. I have no words. Bookmarked, and may be my next project, thank you!

CallmeLorna2 said...

Hi - I have a question about the meringue instructions. You say to add the sugar, water and cream of tarter to make the syrup but don't mention adding the corn syrup. Did you perhaps mean to add the cream of tarter to the egg whites and the corn syrup to the cooked syrup? I realize this is an old post but I'm planning to make these tomorrow (7/12/12) and need clarrification. Thanks so much!

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Hi CallmeLorna2! Yes, you are correct. I must have completely missed that error when I did this post ages ago. Thank you for catching it! Have fun with the cupcakes!

CallmeLorna2 said...

Thanks so much for your prompt reply! One more question. Have you ever tried browning this meringue recipe? I think the cupcakes would be really pretty if the mounded meringue was toasted and then drizzled with chocolate. Do you think that would work or would the frosting just melt under the broiler?

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Hi again, Lorna! You're welcome for the prompt reply :)
I have not tried browning with this particular meringue recipe. I would suggest that you take a little dollup of meringue out before you frost them to test and see how it holds up under the broiler...that way you know before you frost. Happy Baking!

Avocat Petre Buneci said...

Wow SUPERR !!!! nice work