Friday, July 29, 2011
I've been on such a cupcake kick lately. I know, I'm about 5 years behind! Mostly I've just posted the photos on Facebook here and left it at that...but the thing is, I also have a recipe column on the Folsom Telegraph website and that's a conflict for a couple of reasons. First, the readers are probably not going to be into recipes with step after step after step, and secondly, my editor isn't going to want to read/edit/cut the bejeebers out of it. And that's what my cupcakes have been lately. However, I do have people asking how I do it, and I'd like to explain the process (and take crummy photos to boot - I am not a photographer) so here, at last, is my blog. Intro over...
So, I've had Oreos on the brain. I lurve them. I was informed by a dear friend the other day that one of our local grocery chains had them on sale this week for under $2 a package! I loftily informed him that I don't eat Oreos. That isn't entirely the case.
You see, I don't eat Oreos in public. I distinctly remember one occasion from my youth when, at a party, the at-the-time love of my life had been chowing on Oreos and his teeth were caked in black goo. Not romantic. Not first-kissable. Ick. And the image has stuck. So I rarely (and furtively) eat Oreos now (except when with my family and then we go whole hog and eat the Double-Stuft kind and throw our cares to the high desert winds). Plus I usually am baking homemade cookies anyhow so why buy them?
Yes, of course I could probably make my own, and they would be good but they wouldn't be Oreos. What I can do, though, is turn them right into a cupcake.
It's been done. Betty Crocker did it. Annie's Eats did it like so (gosh I love that blog). Being me, though, I had to do it my own pigheaded-probably-over-the-top way. I got to thinking...what would make a cupcake like an Oreo? Well, in part, at least, it would have to be chocolate on the outside and creamy in the middle. I liked the idea of cookies inside the cupcake, but I was dead set on a marshmallow filling, and looky at that half Oreo on the bottom of Annie's (linked above)...ok, that's it. I am doing all three.
My cupcake recipe was a no-brainer...it's one I adapted from Cook's Illustrated for my faux Hostess cupcakes which started this whole mess (I'll have to make them again for this blog). Marshmallow creme? Check. Chopped up Oreos? Easy, but I have no idea how many my son and I ate in the process. Frosting? Hmmm...see, I figured that I ought to do a whipped cream frosting but I knew I'll be passing these out and I needed a frosting that will stand up well. Buttercream would have been too sweet, so...yep. We're going for the cream cheese. Also, I ground up the tops of the cookies that I used in the bottom of the cupcakes (because who wants to be wasteful?) to fold into the frosting.
Then I drizzled on leftover ganache that I happened to have in the fridge (because who doesn't, really?) and topped it all off with a cookie and then I needed to stop RIGHT THEN. Before I reached for glitter or something.
"Gilding the lily!" I can hear my mom crying. Well, sure. I can't be just from German peasant stock all the time. Sometimes the French in me comes out and...Frenchifies. With an American twist. Alors, le cupcake!
12 - 15 Oreo cookies, split (top half without filling reserved)
9 Oreo cookies, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot coffee
1 tbsp. espresso powder
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. Place one halved Oreo (with filling) in the bottom of each cup, filling side up. Place the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso in a bowl and pour the hot coffee over. Stir to combine and let the chocolate melt. Let cool to about room temperature (10 minutes or so).
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda; mix well and set aside. To the cooled chocolate mixture, whisk in oil, eggs, and vinegar. Stir until well combined. Add to the flour mixture and mix well. Divide the cupcake batter evenly among the cupcake cups (I usually have enough for 15, so add another cupcake pan if needed), filling about 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the chopped cookies on top of the batter (do not stir), using about 1 tbsp. for each cupcake.
Bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
1 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (clear if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup marshmallow creme
2 - 3 tablespoons heavy cream (or milk, really)
Beat the butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add in 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream and the vanilla; beat well. Add in the remaining sugar and salt and beat to combine. Add in the marshmallow creme and beat until mixed in. Add in enough of the remaining cream to make the mixture light and fluffy and easily piped with a pastry bag.
To fill cupcakes: Spoon filling into a large pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Insert tip into cupcake and slowly and carefully squeeze the bag to fill (the pressure will push the tip out of the cupcake). Try not to overfill too much, but it's fine if filling pokes out of the top since it's going to be covered by frosting anyway. Once all the cupcakes are filled, chill in the refrigerator.
Cream Cheese frosting:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream (or again, milk is fine)
1 cup crushed chocolate cookies (from the halved Oreos above; I just ground them up in the food processor)
Cream together cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add in 2 cups of the sugar and mix to blend. Add in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of cream; mix well. Add in the remaining sugar and cream; mix to blend. Fold in cookie crumbs. Transfer to a pastry bag if you wish to pipe on the frosting, or ready your spatula.
Frost the chilled cupcakes and top with melted ganache (if you want to) and a whole Oreo cookie. I'm not including the ganache recipe because it's easily googled and for heaven's sake, you don't need it. I was just in a mood!
Filled. Creamy, no?
I think the boy approves. Even if it's getting his hands messy.