Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Cupcakes


Our pumpkins have been carved - and then eaten by a very large Weimeriner.  (All within a 12 hour period.)  The costumes pieces have been gathered up, the candy has been bought (and not COMPLETELY eaten) and we are officially ready for Halloween.  Bring on the trick or treaters!!!


We live in a neighborhood that is absolutely loaded with trick or treaters on Halloween.  I love it.  I sit on my front porch with a cup of hot coffee and pass out candy to each princess and Ninja turtle that walks up my sidewalk.  Mia sits beside me and it might be the only night that she allows strangers to walk into our her yard without threatening to eat them.  To be honest, any small child who walks up carrying a wand or a sword or wearing any sort of mask causes my large grey dog to hide behind me in terror.  (Its actually quite hilarious to see her cower before Elsa the ice princess.) 


In preparation for Halloween, I am getting my pumpkin cupcakes ready as well.  (To hand out to the adults of course.)


Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Cupcakes
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-count standard muffin pan with baking cups or grease.
In a mixing bowl, blend together the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, oil, water, and vanilla until combined. 
In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until smooth {make sure not to overmix}. 
Pour batter into the baking cups, until approximately 2/3 full.
 
Put the Nutella into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds or until it thins out just enough to swirl. Using a spoon, drop a small spoonful or two of Nutella onto the top of each muffin and swirl using the tip of a knife.




Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.








Frost with whipped cream cheese.



OK, NOW I'm ready for Halloween.

Ciao!







Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

What happens when you fuse a snickerdoodle and a pumpkin cupcake?  A pumpkin snickerdoodle cupcake happens - that's what. 


A moist, cinnamon spiced pumpkin cupcake brushed with melted butter, dipped in a cinnamon sugar coating, topped with whipped cream cheese icing and a crunchy snickerdoodle cookie - now that's what I call Fall cupcake perfection.


It just doesn't get any more perfect than this.


Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  •  






Combine flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.












Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.







Add dry ingredients, alternating with pumpkin. 


Scoop batter into muffin cups and bake 25 minutes at 350.  (For jumbo size cupcakes.)













Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a small bowl.  Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon in a small bowl.








Brush the top of each cupcake with butter and then dip in cinnamon sugar.


 These really are good - just like this.  You can stop here OR add a swirl of cinnamon cream cheese frosting and a mini snickerdoodle cookie if you like. 


The epitome of Fall in a cupcake!  Enjoy!

Ciao!









Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hi Hat Cupcakes

Happy National Chocolate Day!


I have made a LOT of different kinds of cupcakes and to be honest, I'll try just about anything in the name of experimental chocolate baking. 


These hi hat cupcakes through me for a loop though.  I was instantly drawn to the perfectly smooth chocolate coating that enveloped a delicate tower of meringue.  I couldn't even imagine how one would go about getting that thin chocolate shell on top of the cupcake without it dripping down the sides of the paper. 


As I did some investigation, I realized that the only way to achieve hi hat cupcake perfection is to turn the cupcake - icing and all - upside down in a bowl of melted chocolate!  UPSIDE DOWN! 


It took me about 6 months to work up the nerve to try this strange technique and as you could imagine, there is a huge learning curve.  My advice is to be patient and take your time because you WILL get better at dipping cupcakes in chocolate. And ...you can eat all of the mistakes. 


Hi Hat Cupcakes
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate         
1 cup flour                     
½ teaspoon baking powder               
½ teaspoon baking soda             
¼ teaspoon salt              
½ cup butter                    
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 eggs                         
1 teaspoon vanilla                 
½ cups sour cream
1/2 cup coffee               

Meringue
2 cups sugar
8 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chocolate Coating
1 bag of Wilton candy melts
1  Tablespoon canola oil










Cupcakes:  Melt chocolate.  Cool slightly.













Combine dry ingredients.



 



Cream butter and sugar in mixer.


On low speed, mix in chocolate.


Add eggs, one at a time on medium speed.


Add vanilla and sour cream.

Add flour mixture alternating with coffee.


Fill cupcake liners.


Bake 20 minutes at 350. 








Meringue:  Combine sugar, egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl over a double boiler.




 







Remove from double boiler and whisk on high until stiff peaks form.


 
Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain ½” tip.  Pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2” cone on top of each cupcake.  Freeze 10 minutes.












Chocolate Coating:  Combine chocolate and oil in bowl and microwave until melted.












Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip in chocolate to coat.


Transfer to a baking sheet and let stand 15 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate 2 hours – serve cold. 


Sorry about the awkward pictures but if you think it's hard to dip a frosted cupcake upside down melted chocolate, you should try it one handed while trying to use a phone to take pictures with the other.  (AWKWARD)


The most important thing to remember is to freeze the frosted cupcakes for at least 10 minutes before dipping.  This will prevent the frosting from sliding off when you turn it upside down - hopefully.
Give this recipe a try - it really is fun and the results are delicious.

Ciao!