July 8, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes!

Lately I've been feeling like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.  The weekends are a blur, and the weekdays are packed with gym classes, family stuff, appointments, meeting friends, and everyday errands. I've also been taking an online Qur'an class that involves listening to two lessons a week, doing homework and then partaking in a live session with a TA. And just because I wasn't busy enough I went to a two-day board workshop on reading assessment!

I have also found myself connecting with the arts and crafts scene online.  There is this really cool iPod app called CraftGawker that tracks interesting craft projects people have created. It gives you a new selection of projects everyday and you can "heart" them and go to the artist's blog to learn more about the project.  I have already added 150 projects to my favourites in the hopes that one day I will be able to sit down and make them.  I did start a few Ramadan and Eid projects, but I'll save that for another post.

And now for this wonderful recipe from My Baking Addiction.  Jamie has a plethora of interesting recipes and I have more than one recipe from the site tagged as a future kitchen adventure. I decided to try out this recipe on my UNO friends as we were gathering at Shiva's house for our meet-up.  There was a lemon poppy seed cake in the mix, but that definitely is another story because it involves a cake falling apart and me trying to come up with a creative way to salvage it!

Although the recipe gives you exact measurements for the frosting, I decided to be more free-flowing with the confectioners' sugar measurements and just kept tasting the icing until it was "just right."  I made these cupcakes a second time for Canada Day and instead of using the cream cheese frosting, I used melted chocolate. Pictures and the alternative icing ingredients are below.

Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup of cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks), unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup 1% sour cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.  (Dark or white chocolate chips would also work well here)
a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips for decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup regular-sized muffin tin with liners.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until the consistency is light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the vanilla.  Mix in the flour in two batches, alternating between the flour and sour cream.  Begin with the flour and end with the flour.  Fold in the chocolate chips.   Since I wanted my muffins to roughly be the same size, I used a 1 1/8" ice cream scoop to fill my cupcakes-each muffin had exactly 3 scoops of batter.   Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to completely cool.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz bitter sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled  ( I melted the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave.  I set it on high for 30 seconds and repeated this until the chocolate was melted.)
confectioners sugar to taste, sifted.

In a bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until well blended.  Add in the vanilla and salt and mix well.  Pour in the melted chocolate and gradually begin to add the confectioners' a little at a time until you reach your desired sweetness.  Once your icing is ready, spread over the cooled cupcakes using an offset spatula. Top each cupcake with a semi-sweet chocolate chip.

 **Alternative icing
I made another batch of these cupcakes for a US and Canadian family reunion barbeque at my mom's during the Canada Day long weekend.  Since the cupcakes were going to be devoured mostly by kids under the age of 12, I thought it would be best to swap the cream cheese frosting for plain melted chocolate.  Following the same procedure from above, I melted 15 milk chocolate wafers in the microwave. Once the melted chocolate was slightly cooled, I spooned it over the tops of the cupcakes and added a toothpick Canadian flag as decorations

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