Thursday, June 30, 2011

Snow Covered Mountain Cupcakes

My first cupcake of the summer was inspired by my most recent trip to Denver. My Mom and I went to celebrate Maureen's birthday (since she had been there for work).  We had a great time and saw a lot of beautiful mountains
Mountains from the car


Denver is also known for its great beers, so we took the opportunity to check some of those out!

Three of us at New Belgium
 So I decided to combine those two things into one cupcake!   They are my snow covered mountain cupcakes.  Not only was it an entirely new recipe, it was also my first experience with "high hat" cupcakes.  For those of you who dont know what a high hat is, it basically means that there is a big pile of icing on top and that is dunked into melted chocolate. In my case I used white chocolate to make it look like snow. 

The cupcakes were a chocolate stout cupcake, made using Great Divide's Chocolate Yeti (a stout), but you can use any type of stout.   I wanted to keep with my Denver theme, so I went with a Denver beer.  This beer came all the way back in my suitcase... thanks to Brian from Great Divide for donating to the cause!

Since it was a chocolate stout, I used a little less chocolate than the recipe asked for and a little more beer to make sure the cupcakes were moist and had a lot of the stout flavor.


I should also point out that I really don't like peanut butter.  I've been known to eat a Reses cup or two, but you will never catch me eating a PB&J.   So for me to make cupcakes with PB icing, says a lot.  Also, I've learned that  peanut butter is one of those things that if you don't know where to find it in the grocery store, you NEVER will... I spent 20 minutes wandering around Giant until i finally asked and the high school aged clerk went "Um, near the jelly, duh".   Good thing I knew the jelly was near the bread....  But I will admit that I did try the icing and it was actually pretty good.  I impressed even myself!


Now, for my first attempt at high hats... of course I had to choose the type of chocolate that is a PAIN IN THE BUTT to melt.   I started with Nestle White Chocolate chips.   I melted them on 50% heat for 3 minutes (stirring every 30 secs or so) and they were melted, but the mixture was still pretty thick.   So i thought, how would i thin it out.... just like icing... add a little milk.   Here's a hint... doesn't work that way!  It became a gigantic mess and led me to google... only to find out that white chocolate's worst enemy is moisture.  Good to know.   But at this point, I was out of white chocolate, so back to the store i went!  There's nothing more frustrating then being in the middle of baking and having to go back out and get more supplies.  Seriously.   But, I did discover my saving grace


 Not only did it melt perfectly, but it also was amazingly easy to work with and using 5 pieces (so 10oz) was the absolute perfect amount.  But dont worry, I also bought bag of ghiradelli white chocolate chips... just in case!

The construction process was interesting....   I wish i could have made them a little taller, but I already felt like I was using a crapload of icing, so I really didn't want to use any more!   And if i used any more icing, I wouldn't have had enough!  And went i went to dip... well it kinda dented the entire cupcake.  So they didn't really look like peaks.  And i didn't want to cover the entire thing in white chocolate.... just the tip.  So they didn't come out even or uniform.

Finished product.  I can totally see how they kinda look like mountains!
However, my focus is always taste over visual appeal.  And everyone gave me amazing reviews on these!   The cake was moist, the icing not too overpowering (although a few people said there was a little too much icing) and the white chocolate added the perfect flavor.   Overall I was extremely pleased with how these turned out and will defintely add them to my recipe box.  If only I could have made them look more like mountains....
 

 Recipes:

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
  • 1-1/3 cups Great Divide's Chocolate Yeti Stout (you can use any stout... i chose this one!)
  • 1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate (because I used a chocolate stout,  I used less chocolate, with a non-chocolate stout like Guiness I'd up this to 3 oz)
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Sour Cream
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Bring stout and butter to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil.
  • Add unsweetened chocolate chunks to hot stout/butter mixture. Whisk until chocolate melts. Turn heat off and let cool.
  • Add sugar to chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl (I just use a whisk)
  • In a stand-alone mixer with a whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sour cream on medium speed.
  • Add stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and combine on medium-low speed until encorporated.
  • Slowly add flour mixture in thirds to chocolate mixture with whisk attachment. Scrape the sides with your whisk to make sure you get all the dry ingredients combined.
  • Place cupcake papers in pan and divide batter into cups evenly. Fill about 2/3 of the cup.
  • Bake for 18-24 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch, and a toothpick/fork comes out clean when put in the top 
Peanut Butter Icing
2-1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
8 cups is powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

- using an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together on medium high speed.
- reduce the speed to slow/medium and slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time.   
-add in vanilla and milk and beat to desired consistency.  For stiffer frosting use less milk and for creamier frosting use more.

White Chocolate Topping
Melt approximately 10 oz of white chocolate in a glass bowl.  You can either do this on 50% heat for three minutes in the microwave or using a double boiler.  

Assembly
-Let cupcakes cool on wire rack for 30 min- 1hr

- Once cooled, using a large opening tip (like 1M), pipe frosting on to the cupcake so that it forms little peaks. 
- Place cupcakes on a baking sheet and then place in the cupcakes in the fridge for at least an hour 
- Once cooled, dip the tops on the cupcakes into the melted white chocolate
- Let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes
- Put back into the fridge until you are ready to serve.

cupcakes cooling
Iced and ready for fridge
All done!

Cupcake Recipe adapted from :Celebrations.com
Icing recipe... all me :)

1 comment:

  1. MeghannnnnnnnnnnnnnJuly 1, 2011 at 4:58 AM

    Love it!! Great job on the post. The cupcake was very yummy, even the next day :) I'm an icing person, so I thought there was the perfect amount!

    ReplyDelete