drunken cupcake

March 19, 2012

Happy (belated) St Patrick’s Day!  I hope you were able to celebrate in this lovely weather, thoroughly free of snakes!  Our plans changed several times throughout the day, and when a request came for something “Guinness delicious”, how could I not oblige with the epic car bomb cupcake?  Even in the realization that the muffin tin was lost in the move (the horror!), drunken cupcakes were enjoyed by all (with a fork)!

P.S.  Happy One Year Anniversary to the Gorge!!

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Greetings Gorgers, it has been a while!  The past two months has been filled with all the joys that house hunting, packing, moving, unpacking and settling in have to offer.  But now that the pots and pans are in place, the spice cupboard is filled, and the oven is in working order, it is high time to get back to baking!

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner (and Guinness specials aplenty in liquor stores everywhere), it seemed like a great time to appreciate all the ways you can enjoy stout.  Now, the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes are a certainly show stopper, but they are also a ton of work: Three separate recipes for the components! Coring tools! An insane amount of butter!  Ack!

May I introduce to you the Quatro Choco Guinness Brownies?

Quatro Choco Guinness Brownie ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (choco uno!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and sectioned
  • 8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped (choco dos!)
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (choco tres!)
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/4 cup (10 oz) Guinness Stout, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (choco quatro!)

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt until evenly combines.  Set aside.

Melt butter, bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate chips together in a double boiler under low heat, stirring constantly until completely melted and remove from heat.

If you are like me and do not have a double boiler, you can melt these together in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy.

Add melted chocolate mixture to egg and sugar mixture, beating until combined.

Beat in the flour mixture.

Whisk in the Guinness and vanilla.  The batter will seem kind of thin, don’t worry.

Fold in the semi-sweet chips.

Pour into a greased (or foil-lined) 9×13″ pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center removes clean.

The hardest part: let the brownies cool uncovered at room temperature.

These are some decadent mo-fos.  The richness of four types of chocolate paired with the creamy moistness delivered by the stout make these brownies a danger to well-articulated sentences.  Please enjoy responsibly, with a solid glass of milk.

banana bread pudding

December 17, 2011

It’s that time again!!  Banana bread – wait for it – pudding!  Bread pudding made with homemade banana bread!  Because really, what else do you have to do the last weekend before Christmas?

Make Banana Bread.

Use your banana bread to make Bread Pudding.  Substitute dried cranberries and golden raisins for the sprinkled fruit and Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey in the whiskey sauce.

Ponder how bread pudding – with its bland name and less-than-photogenic presence – can be such a pleasant dish?!

Grand apologies for the delay in action!  However, this dessert is nothing less than perfection and the rave review are pouring in!

“That food is good.” says Boyfriend.

“Really really good!” says Dad.

“Oh Leighann, the torte is fabulous!” says Mom.

While in the oven, the apple juices and the cinnamon work together with the vanilla to bake deliciously into the cream cheese creating a beautiful middle layer between the fruit and nuts on top and the amazing crust.

And the crust!!  This is better than any cheesecake crust I have come across ever!  Instead of bumbling crumbs loosely held together, you get to enjoy the this wonderful fruit and almond covered cheesecake on top of a cookie!  Lightly sweet and chewy, the crust is reminiscent of a sugar cookie or a soft shortbread and still holds everything in place.

The only downside of this dish (and I’m using “downside” incredibly loosely) was that the slices of apple were a little large and caused a bit of smooshing while plating each slice.  Next time I would try cutting the apples into chunks instead because I will definitely be using this recipe again.

Verdict: Sweet, creamy,  and lightly spiced with a cookie crust – this is a great dessert for the holiday season and all cold-weather months!

This is the time of year when we feel the necessity for all things to be nostalgic, familiar and steeped in tradition, but with the beginning of this holiday season,  I couldn’t help thinking of a friend who once told me that her favorite family Thanksgiving tradition was to never have the same meal twice.  Of course it can be risky to attempt a new recipe under the spotlight of the Big Thanksgiving Dinner, but the bigger the risk the bigger the rewards, right?

I found this recipe in a fashion magazine.  The instructions were weird, but the accompanying photograph looked divine.  So, I’m giving it a shot.  A shot in the dark.

Bavarian Cranberry Apple Torte

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups apples (4-6 medium apples)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 450°.

Peel, core and slice apples.  For me, four apples were more than enough to make four cups sliced.

In a medium bowl, cream butter, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.

Blend in flour.

Form a ball and press dough onto bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of a 9″ springform pan.

Cover crust in the raspberry jam and refrigerate while preparing the filling.

In another medium bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar.

Add eggs and 1 tsp of vanilla and mix well.

Pour over jam-covered crust.

In yet another bowl, toss your peeled, cored and sliced apples with the cranberries, cinnamon, and remaining sugar.  A spatula works well to ensure all apples and cranberries are equally coated in cinnamon sugar, but eat a few of these to be certain.

Spoon the delicious cinnamon sugar fruit over the cream cheese and sprinkle the top with almonds.

Bake torte at 450° for 10 minutes.  (Smart move: place the springform pan inside of a larger pan or on a cookie sheet.  The sugar makes the apples quite juicy, and unless you want to learn what your smoke detector sounds like, dirtying an additional pan is well worth it to catch these drippings.)

With the torte still in the oven, lower heat to 400° and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up filling.

I’m keeping mine in the fridge overnight – Do Not Open Until Thanksgiving!!  Stay tuned for part two tomorrow where I’ll see if the results of this new recipe was worth the risk!

Halloween candy used to confuse me as a kid.  “How can it be called ‘Fun Size’ when its smaller? With a name like that, shouldn’t it be HUGE?”  As an adult, I’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better, and some times a small taste can be a big treat.

I had originally made a full-size pumpkin pie cheesecake from a Cheesecake Factory cookbook for Thanksgiving a few years ago, but after a massive feast, no one wanted a full slice of anything, let alone cheesecake.  This is an awesome recipe and a fun twist on the traditional pumpkin pie, so I want to make sure everyone gets a taste!  After trying out some Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcake book this summer, I think I have successfully reimagined the delectable Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake in a very Fun Size.

Yum yum yum! Let’s get sharing!

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3-8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 275°.

Combine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir well enough to coast all crumbs with butter, but not so much as to turn it into a paste.  Keep it crumbly, yo, it is a crust after all.  A fork works well.

Press the crumbs into the bottom of the lined muffin cups so the bottoms are covered, this is generally a couple fork-fulls, but less than a tablespoon.

Bake for 10 minutes, until the crumbs become crusty (in a good way.)

While the crust is baking, mix the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

Add pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.  Continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

Fill ‘er up!

Bake for 22 minutes, rotating the tins at halftime.

Counter cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for several hours.  Like at least four.  But it make more sense to just come back to this tomorrow and allow everything to set overnight.

Remove the liner, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg for a teeny creamy sweet and spicy delight!  You’ll probably need a fork, and a trip back for seconds.

This recipe made 24 perfect little cupcakes, so one cupcake is less than half the size of an average cheesecake slice. This Fun Size version of the cheesecake allows more plate space to ensure that everyone has room for dessert!

cinnamon pecan pie

November 2, 2011

Happy November!  It seems like so many retailers are under the belief that this month is a pesky interlude between those big money makers, Halloween and Christmas.  Not this girl!  I couldn’t possibly fathom forgetting the joy that is the Thanksgiving feast!  As the month rolls on, I will be sharing more recipes as I try to narrow down the favorites for the big day.  Yay!  It’s an entire month of Thanksgiving practice!

Two things about me: I love pie and I LOVE cinnamon.  I usually celebrate these amours in the joyous union of apple pie, but I found this recipe on a bottle of corn syrup I bought to make stage blood last Halloween and had been waiting for the right time to utilize it for an entire year.  My dad’s birthday was finally the perfect opportunity to try this recipe, and I made the pie at my parents house so they would win all the tasty leftovers.

the goods

Cinnamon Pecan Pie Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 pie crust for a 9″ pie

temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°.

beat eggs

In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly with a fork.

more ingredients

Add brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, cinnamon and vanilla and stir until blended.  No need for an electric mixer, a wooden spoon will do just fine.

pecan party

Stir in pecans.

flour pie crust

You’ll want to flour both sides of the store-bought pie crust so that it doesn’t become soggy with the pie goo and fail to live up to its pie crust duties.

pour

Pour filling into pie crust.

almost there

Yummmm.  Bake for 50-55 minutes or until you can stab the pie halfway between the edge and the center and the blade comes out clean.

toasty

Allow to cool before serving.  It won’t be easy, but you have to eat dinner before you can have dessert.

dollop on top

With a dollop on creamy whipped cream on top, this pie is a sweet treat to ring in the autumn season!  Don’t forget to check back for more tasty recipes this month as I narrow down the winners for a decadent Thanksgiving dinner (and dessert)!

lemon tea cookies

October 6, 2011

Perfect for any time of year, these lemon tea cookies are an easy-to-make cake-like treat that will rival any of those chemically softened cookies you find at the store.

recipe

Revisiting the glorious Red and White Cookbook, this recipe calls for simple ingredients that I already had on hand – no special trips for silly one-time-only ingredients taking up valuable cupboard space!

ingredients

Lemon Tea Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
oven
Preheat oven to 350°.

lemon milkIn a small bowl, stir in only 2 teaspoons (not all!) of lemon juice into the milk and let stand for 5 minutes.  It’s going to look pretty gross.

butter towerIn a larger bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed.

beat beat beat

Add about half the flour, 3/4 cup of sugar (not all of the sugar!), the egg, baking powder, baking soda, lemon peel, and lemon milk mixture.  Beat until thoroughly combined, then bet in the remaining flour.

raw dough

Drop the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

tick tick tick tick

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

lemon sugar

Remember that lemon juice and sugar that were left behind?  We’re going to make a wonderful glaze thing that is sweet and tart and soaks deliciously into the cakey goodness that are these cookies.

stirrrr

Stir together until the sugar is dissolved.

soak it up

Brush the glaze onto the cookies.  There is no such thing as too much, these cookies are sponges and are waiting to soak it up.  (I’m using a foam brush to avoid any stray hairs.)

tea party

Enjoy with hot or iced tea to host the smartest tea party in town, fit for a lady and a cookie monster!

summer bread pudding

June 20, 2011

My own dear dad was beyond thrilled way back in March when I made bread pudding for the first time, so I decided to revisit the dish with a summertime twist this Father’s Day.

For scheduling reasons, I fixed up a brunch spread for the occasion, telling my brother’s family I was preparing a “baked french toast thing” because bread pudding just sounds so blah and bland.  Both my dad and my brother have extraordinary  sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) and since it was their special day, I heightened the sugar factor by using dried bing cherries in place of the raisins and amaretto in place of the whiskey for the sauce.

Served with a fresh cantaloupe and blueberry salad, a pound of bacon, and a pitcher of orange juice, the fathers in my family were delighted with my efforts (almost as much as watching my brother’s three-year-old twins use their forks to spear blueberries one by one by one).

Happy Father’s Day, for the man who introduced the concept of breakfast-for-dinner, I gave him the gift of dessert-for-breakfast!

 

 

Once a staple of fundraising bake sales and post-game soccer treats, these delightful cubes of gooey goodness have gone by the wayside.  Ever since the individually packaged interpretations of these came on the market in their bright blue wrappers, my aversion to these factory versions has kept me away from enjoying the simple pleasure of making a batch of these myself.  Now no longer the case!

I was alerted to this fabulously easy-to-make recipe from Poppytalk by my awesome friend Alda (of the printmaking duo Beside Herself), of Rice Krispie treats for grown ups.  By browning the butter, a rich almost-nutty flavour is introduced to a favorite childhood memory.

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 oz mini marshmallows (half a bag of minis – I had the fluffy full sized marshmallows and used about 20 which had to be torn into bits – a smidge sticky, yes, but it works)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups Rice Krispies

In a large pot, melt the butter while stirring frequently over medium heat.  Be sure to pay attention, as there is no fun in burnt butter Rice Krispie treats.  Remove from heat once the butter is browned and stir in the marshmallows until you’ve got a smooth goop.  Stir in salt.  Add cereal and stir until all is evenly coated.  Squish into a greased 8×8 pan with a flexible spatula.  Once cool, you’ll have nine yummy squares to share!

Between my dad, me, and a pair of three-year-old twins, this initial batch of treats disappeared at record speed.  Dad said plainly that these were the best Rice Krispie treats he has ever had (only slightly garbled by stating this fact with his mouth full with one). Since the recipe is easy enough to make, I whipped up a second batch, this time using Cinnamon Cherrios.  Two words for this adaptation: Do It.  With my attention compromised by bouncing toddlers matched with my eagerness to get these Cinnamon Cheerio treats into my face ASAP, I added too many marshmallows and didn’t wait long enough for them to completely melt into the butter.  This resulted in the appearance that Spiderman may have had a hand in helping make these.

In this instance, the subtle flavour brought by the brown butter was masked by the cinnamon, however this still yielded superbly tasty results.  Yum yum yum yum!

So, you’ve got a craving for a chocolate cupcake, but can’t afford the calories or fancy ingredients?  I hear that.  Well lookee here!  A magnificently moist brownie muffin recipe that consists of only two ingredients and 180 calories each?!  Would I lie to you?

(I will follow the logic that the addition of frosting makes a muffin into a cupcake – ex. morning glory to carrot cake – and therefore also makes these a-okay to eat for breakfast 100% guilt-free.  Feel free to call these tasty morsels anything you damn well please.)

Stupid-Simple Guilt-Free Brownie Muffins

  • 1-15 oz can of pumpkin (be sure  you grab a can of “pumpkin” and not “pumpkin-pie filling”)
  • 1 box of devil’s food cake mix

That’s it!  Really!  Now here’s the hard part, you’ve gotta combine the two.  Yeah.  But think of the fat you’ll be burning off with all that mixing, and before you know it you’ll have super hot First Lady arms too.  Scoop into a lined muffin tin and cook for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  (Or – since there isn’t any raw egg like with a normal cake mix – you can safely just eat the batter with a spoon, I won’t judge.)  Yields 12 muffins (if they make it to the oven).

A couple more things:

  • You might be thinking, “Pumpkin and Chocolate?!?” but it’s totally not going to be weird, promise.  And since you aren’t using any eggs, butter, or dairy it seems like its a solid “Maybe Vegan” contender (although, I really should have checked out the box mix for any funny business before taking out the recycling…)  Regardless, it’s still a pretty fantastic way to get your vegetables.
  • The batter is super thick.  It will come out of the oven exactly the way you put it in, so sculpture is highly recommended.  Muffins with mohawks, hells yes!
  • Since the pumpkin saves you all kinds of calories, feel free to spend them on mix-ins!  Cinnamon, chocolate chips, orange zest, a super decadent frosting, etc!  But whatever you do, don’t add anything to make the batter thinner, it’ll just ruin everything.

I like to think of these as extra credit.  You could enjoy one as maintaining a healthy lifestyle like eating just one after a morning jog with your herbal tea, but let’s get real, this is a spectacular way to essentially eat a fist full of brownie for breakfast and feel no shame.

So I urge you, do this totally easy project for extra credit and you can slack off later.

After a gray week in Chicago that got off on the wrong foot Monday morning with an inch of snow on the ground, I needed anything bright and would remind me that summer was on her way.  A combination of sweet and sour has always been a favorite of mine, so a couple years ago – in the perpetual pre-spring the midwest is able to produce – I came to the conclusion that I wanted to somehow eat a strawberry lemonade and found a way to do just that.  I adapted one easy cake recipe from several and came up with a deliciously tart and toothsome treat!

Strawberry Cake 

  • 1 (18 1/4 oz) box white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz) box strawberry flavored instant gelatin (weird, I know, but if you don’t use it, you’ll just have hot pudding and no cake – SCIENCE!)
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen strawberries in juice, thawed and pureed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • fresh strawberries (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Beat in wet ingredients until smooth.  Pour batter into two lightly greased 9″ pans (for a two-layer round cake) or into about two lined muffin tins (for cupcakes).  For layer cake, bake for 30 minutes; for cupcakes, bake for 17-25 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, cool completely on wire racks.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 tsp grated fresh lemon rind
  • 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • juice of one whole lemon
  • 3 tbsp water
  • dash of salt
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring (add more for a neon effect, but apparently people don’t know something tastes like a lemon if it isn’t a screaming yellow shade)
  • Lemon Note: I roll the lemon on the counter for a minute so it becomes juicier, and cut it in half.  I grate the rind of each half lemon and use it all because it’s kind of hard to measure all the tiny lemon bits.  It’s much easier to grate the rind while the juice is still in the lemon.  When squeezing, mind the seeds before you beat the frosting!

Combine lemon rind to butter, cream well.  Add sugar gradually (one cup at a time is good), blending well after each addition.  Add lemon juice and water, blend well with remaining sugar to a spreadable consistency.  Add salt and blend until smooth.

Here’s the final result as a cake from a couple years ago!  I included fresh strawberry slices with the lemon frosting between the cake layers.  This was a welcomed alternative to the yellow-cake-and-plain-buttercream lamb cake at Easter that year.

And here we are as a cupcake!  I shared these with my family again this Easter to rave reviews from my twin almost-three-year-old niece and nephew.  Mikaela was thrilled by the bright pink cake and Ayden stuck a fingertip into the frosting and instantly declared “Yummy!” and requested cupcakes all afternoon.

What a crummy day.  Outside it’s too cold to be spring, too late to be winter.  Everything feels like blah.  It’s discomforting.  And it’s only Tuesday.

So on this day of terrible opposing contrasts, I dwelled upon complimentary pairs.   Warm and cool.  Gooey and clean.  Density and light.  Chocolate and mint.

this!

March 29, 2011

I love when a silly idea is executed with such precision that it achieves new levels of brilliance.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Deviled (Cadbury Creme) Egg!

 

bread pudding

March 20, 2011

I have never made bread pudding before and I can’t recall ever being served bread pudding either.  It’s not the most enticing name, bringing to mind a marriage of croutons and Snack Packs – not exactly a winning combination.  However, when I called my father to tell him I would be crashing my parents’ belated St. Patrick’s Day dinner, the sound of delight in his voice was evident as I let him know a bread pudding would be joining me.

(By the by, when did a straight-forward corned beef and cabbage dinner become so delicious?!  In my childhood, this meal was synonymous with a sour soggy plate of stewed bland colors that my younger brother and I could bear only with the help of French’s mustard racing stripes and plugging our noses to ingest the rest.  My taste buds must be maturing now as I was absolutely enchanted in this year’s meal: the salty vinegar flavours of corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes contrasted wonderfully with the lightly sweet and creamy qualities of buttered soda bread and a Guinness.  I even went back for seconds!)

This recipe comes from what I’ve affectionately known my entire life as the Red and White cookbook.  The book has been a staple of my mother’s collection and I have inherited her mother’s copy of the same cookbook.  It is fabulously informative, divided by tabs into twenty separate sections, with color photos, and simple instructions with suggestions for variations on the recipes.  Best of all – it’s a binder!  A cookbook that lies flat when opened!!

This is a superbly simple recipe that I was able to bang out to completion in under one hour, including cooking time.  And if you were like me, having never enjoyed bread pudding before I’ll let you in on the secret: it’s custardy french toast for dessert!

This recipe yields 6 servings and has an accompanying Whiskey Sauce topping.

Bread Pudding Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups (about 4 slices) dry bread cubes
  • 1/3 cup raisins or other dried fruit

Dry bread.  There is a few way you can do this, either leaving the bread out overnight or toasting the slices.  I have a tiny toaster so I baked the slices for 15 minutes in a 300 degree oven.  Cut (for more fun, rip and tear) bread into cubes.  Place cubes in a baking pan.  (I have a 9″ round pan, but an 8″ round or 8×8 would also work.  Use what you have in your cupboards, most of the time it will be fine unless the dish is inappropriately large or small for the recipe.)

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.

Sprinkle raisins or dried fruit over bread.  The dried berry mix I had on hand has cranberries, cherries, strawberries, and blueberries in it.

Pour egg mixture over all, making sure each bread cube gets sufficiently soggy.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into a bread cube near the center comes out clean.

Whiskey Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 beaten egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.

Stir in sugar, beaten egg yolk, and water.  Over medium-low heat, stir constantly for 5-6 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture boils.  (Serious stress on the constant stirring.  Otherwise, you’re going to have a hard-boiled egg yolk on your hands and that would be gross.)

Remove from heat and stir in whiskey.

Spoon sauce over warm bread pudding and enjoy the messy deliciousness!

I will certainly be revisiting this recipe in the future.  It is easy to make using basic ingredients, producing an uncomplicated dessert that is welcome to adaptations.  I plan to try this out again in the summertime with dried cherries and opting for amaretto or Southern Comfort instead of whiskey in the sauce.

irish car bomb cupcakes

March 13, 2011

A sweet treat pairs nicely with a mixed drink, which is why I enjoy baking with alcohol (there’s also a “one for the recipe and one for me” drinking/cooking game which is quite fun to play).  The amount of alcohol used is negligible and most of it gets baked out, but it lends itself for this perfect seasonal after hours delight.

This week is St. Patrick’s Day.  As my days of drinking an entire bottle of Bailey’s for the holiday are long gone and my desire to Crock-Pot a batch of corned beef and cabbage is nill, I’ve landed upon this fantastic cupcake recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Wonderfully, now you can align the flavors of an Irish Car Bomb with a delicate chocolate cupcake – minus the chugging, and subsequent bodily rejection of a pint of stout with dropshots of whiskey and Irish Cream.

Let’s get started!

This recipe yields 18-24 cupcakes (depending on how you fill the cups).  Preheat the oven to 350.  Line your muffin tin.  Gather your soldiers.

Guinness Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.

Add Guinness and bring to a simmer.

Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Lower heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Whisk until they’re all good friends.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sour cream.

With an electric mixer, beat together until smooth.

Add the Guinness mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.

Add flour mixture and beat briefly until just combined.  Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.

Divide the batter into cups, about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake for about 17 minutes in a 35o degree oven, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, rotating once front to back if your oven cooks unevenly.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.  (Which is a great time to get started on the next step!)

Whiskey Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey (optional)

Break up the chocolate into a heatproof bowl.

Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate.

Let it sit for a minute so it can steam up your lens.

Stir until smooth.  Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined smoothly.

Using an apple corer, remove the centers of the cooled cupcakes.  You don’t want to pop through the bottom, so aim for coring about 2/3 of the way.

Fill the cupcakes.  You could get this goop all up in a piping bag and be fancy about it, but I find two teaspoons are much easier to work with.  (Plus you don’t have that awkward licking-out-the-bag to deal with when you’re cleaning up.)

Look at you, cupcake!

Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 tablespoons Bailey’s (or milk or heavy cream, if opting for a non-alcoholic version)

Place butter in a medium bowl.

With an electric mixer, whip the butter for several minutes until it is very light and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar in very small amounts.  (I like to shake it into the bowl in tablespoon amounts.)  The longer you draw out the sugar/mixer process, the lighter and fluffier your frosting will be.  When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, add the Bailey’s (or milk) and whip it in until combined.  If the frosting looks too thin, just add powdered sugar.

Frost the cupcakes to your liking and enjoy until the last bite!