Saturday, March 13, 2010

2 + 2 = FUN

Today is Cookie & Kiss' Birthday and they have come to town to celebrate! The request for dinner was Uncle Joe's pizza. Pizza is Kiss' favorite food and Uncle Joe was happy to oblige the birthday girl.

She is all smiles while eating her pizza. Lovin' it!

For dessert, chocolate cup cakes with marshmallow icing

Cookie wasn't so sure about the marshmallow icing, but loved the cake. Kiss was another story. She loved everything about these cupcakes, especially the icing.

Best cupcakes ever!

The Chocolate Cupcake recipe comes from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. The cake was moist, tender, and delicious. Molly makes a chocolate glaze for her cupcakes, but I wanted to please a younger palate. Recently, I was cleaning out the cookbook shelf and came across a recipe I had clipped from Food & Wine, September 2003 for Marshmallow Icing. As soon as I saw it I knew this was the topping for the babies' birthday cake.

Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup well stirred plain whole-milk yogurt (not low fat or nonfat)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line the wells of a standard-sized muffin tin with paper liners.

Put the semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl with the hot coffee. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and opaque.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the egg on medium speed until it is pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the oil, yogurt, and vanilla, beating well. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture, and beat to thoroughly combine. Add the dry ingredients all at once, and beat on low speed until the batter is just combined. With spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and briefly stir to make sure that all the dry ingredients are absorbed.

Spoon the batter into the wells of the muffin tin, making sure that it is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and cool for 20 minutes. And then very carefully remove the cupcakes and allow to cool completely before icing.

Marshmallow Icing

5 large egg whites
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of cream tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Bring 1-inch of water to boil in a wide saucepan. In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar, water, and corn syrup until blended. Set the bowl over the saucepan and whisk the whites until the sugar is completely melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Rub some of the mixture between your fingers to be sure it's not gritty.

Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the cream of tartar to the whites. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed for 1 minute to break them up. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until until the icing is fluffy, firm, and no longer warm to the touch, about 1 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Use right away.

Makes 6 1/2 cups of icing.

This last little note about the amount. Guess what? I didn't really see it until I was typing up the recipe. Of course, an abundance of icing was made. Way too much icing for a 12 cupcakes. I could have iced at least 3 dozen cupcakes, maybe 4. The icing is deliciously sweet. Cookie didn't really like the stickiness, but I got a big ole seal of approval from Kiss, as the pictures attest. Totally worth every sticky, sweet moment of pleasure. BTW, there were no complaints from the adults either. A crowd pleaser all the way around.

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