Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year's eve!

Happy New Year's Eve! In honor of the holiday, and a friend's party tonight, I made chocolate chip cupcakes with dark chocolate icing. They turned out nicely, especially the icing! My taste taster (also known as my husband) said the icing is my best yet. I'm more partial to vanilla icing, but the chocolate is pretty tasty! The cupcakes are also good alone without the icing, they remind me of chocolate chip muffins that my mom made for me when I was younger.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
3 1/4 cups plus 1 T sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 T milk
1/2 cup plus 6 T (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, room temp
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together 3 1/4 cups cake flour, the baking powder, and salt. Stir the vanilla into the milk to combine.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth. Adding the sugar in a steady stream, beat until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk mixture, and beating ntil just combined after each.
3. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (do not overmix). Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined. Toss chocolate chips with remaining tablespoon cake flour, and gently fold into batter.
4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean and the tops are springy to the touch, about 22 minutes (due to my super oven, I baked each batch for 18 minutes). Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Out of the oven ...

Dark Chocolate Frosting
* I halved this recipe because I didn't have enough semisweet chocolate, and the recipe turned out just fine... and it was the perfect amount to frost 24+ cupcakes.
The ingredient amounts listed below are for the full recipe.

1/2 cup plus 1 T unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 T boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, powdered sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

Tips from the baker ...
The recipe called for "best-quality semi-sweet chocolate," but I used good ole' Nestle Toll House chocolate rather than spend more more on one of the high-end brands like Giradelli. The frosting tastes great, so I don't think it made much of a difference. Also, when you're making the cocoa mixture, add the boiling water to the cocoa. Don't add the cocoa to the boiling water over the stove... bad idea! Trust me, tried it and the chocolate burned, so I had to start that part over. Also, if you use a Kitchenaid stand mixer, you MUST buy a beater blade! I received one from my in-laws for Christmas and it's fabulous! Its "wing system" design virtually eliminates hand-scraping and batter build-up on the blade. It makes baking a little easier and less time consuming.

You can find the beater blade at Crate&Barrel.

And, chocolate chip cupcakes ...

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve!

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