Sunday, July 8, 2012

chocolate chip cupcakes

i can't believe it's been over a year since i've posted here. well, i sort of can, i guess. i can explain...sort of. i have fibromyalgia and it really hinders the amount of activity i can do when it's hot outside. i happen to live in central texas where we had almost 100 days of temperatures over 100 degrees last summer. so, as you can imagine, i was in pretty bad shape. i basically just went to work and came home. i did very little socializing and as a result of that, very little baking. i mean, i can't bake a batch of cupcakes if i don't have anyone to share them with! 

so, what about the fall/winter months? i can't really explain that but i will tell you that i made the most amazing chocolate tres leches cake as a thank you to one of my best friends for taking me to the wilco taping of austin city limits. i didn't take any pictures of it and i would honestly have to do some serious research to come up with the recipe that i used because i used elements of 2 or 3 different recipes that i found online. one day i will figure it out though because i'm sure i'm going to want to make it again. 

anyway, how about those chocolate chip cupcakes? tuesday is my little nephew's 2nd birthday so we're having a little family celebration today. tuesday is also the birthday of one of my favorite coworkers. she won't be there on tuesday so i have to bring her birthday cupcakes tomorrow. that means i have to make 2 batches up cupcakes today. in an effort to retain some sanity and order i decided to use a cake mix for karsten's cupcakes. 

1 betty crocker super moist white cake mix
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon brown sugar

i made the cake mix per the directions on the box, then added in the chocolate chips and brown sugar. with about 7-8 minutes left until the cupcakes were done (i baked them for 18 minutes) i started to caramelize some brown sugar. 

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water

i just put the ingredients in a saucepan and put it on high until it started to boil. then i turned it down to medium heat and stirred it with a whisk while it boiled for about 4 more minutes. after the cupcakes came out of the oven i poked holes in the tops of all of them, then i brushed the caramelized brown sugar on top. it's important to note that this needs to be done immediately after taking the sugar off the stove as it will start to harden pretty quickly, making it difficult to brush on to the cupcakes. i let them cool for a while, about an hour, before frosting them.

i made a chocolate buttercream. here's the recipe:

5 oz good quality semi or bittersweet chocolate (i actually used ghiradelli gourmet milk 32% cacao, so...not semi or bittersweet)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
4-8 tablespoons milk

melt chocolate in double boiler (i find that it's easiest if you shave down the chocolate or cute it into really small pieces). allow to cool to room temperature. in the bowl of an electric mixer, blend chocolate and butter until creamy, about a minute. sift in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and all of the cocoa, then beat until thickened and mostly combined, adding 2 tablespoons milk to loosen. add remaining powdered sugar and beat until combined, adding up to 6 tablespoons more milk until desired consistency is reached. 

this is one of the cupcakes after it was brushed with the caramelized brown sugar. i actually ate one of these without frosting and it was delicious!

and here is the finished product. i realize that the frosting looks like poop but i don't care. the frosting came out pretty soft and i knew that if i used a star tip, the design would fall pretty quickly anyway so i just used the big circle one. luckily it's just for my family so i'm not too worried about the appearance. also, they taste amazing.

if you're wondering about all the brown sugar i will tell you, it's because i wanted these to be kind of like chocolate chip cookies and brown sugar is one of the main flavors that i identify in a chocolate chip cookie. so there you have it. 

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