March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Happy St. Paddy's Day everyone!  Usually, I spend most of my time making cookies, but when I saw these cupcakes I knew I had to have them.  Booze + cupcakes?  Yup, count me in.  I brought these into work today and they disappeared in about 10 minutes.  These are some seriously good cupcakes.

You don't get much Guinness flavor in the chocolate cake, but it enhances the chocolate flavor and makes it really, really moist.  Add that to a Jameson's whiskey chocolate ganache and a Bailey's vanilla buttercream and you have cupcake nirvana.

I saw these cupcakes on the Brown Eyed Baker's blog, where she has a great step by step tutorial that you can check out.  See all those little pieces of chocolate cake that are wasted when you cut out the center of the cupcake?  Those would make for some really great cake balls.  Combine them with some of the Bailey's icing, roll them into ~ 1 inch balls and chill.  Then roll them in the Jameson's chocolate ganache and chill again.  Yum.

I made a couple of minor modifications to the recipe, which are reflected in the version below.  There are several steps involved, but trust me, these are worth with it.

To decorate, I colored about 1/4 of the icing green using Wilton leaf green food coloring.  Then, I filled a pastry bag with 1/4 green icing and 3/4 white icing (try to keep the green icing on one side of the bag when you're filling so that you get the "streaked" effect).  I frosted the cupcakes with a 2D tip.  

“Irish Cake Bombs”

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness (or other stout)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine.  In your stand mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream (or yogurt) on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a knife, or the bottom of a large decorating tip, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys slowly until you're happy with the icing consistency (I used about 4 tablespoons).  Increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

March 7, 2011

My First Blog Post!

Hi, my name is Jaclyn and I am “the cookie cutter” (wow, that sounds like the beginning of an AA meeting).  It’s appropriate though, because I am absolutely addicted to decorating cookies.  I started decorating cookies regularly about 6 months ago and have been obsessed ever since.  

I first became interested in decorating cookies a few years ago when I was planning my wedding.  I ordered these adorable "LOVE" cookies as favors for our guests and they were a huge hit for our Philadelphia wedding.  

When it was all over I was left thinking "maybe I could do that..."

Well, my first rolled sugar cookie experience ended with me in tears and a lot of cookie dough in the trash can.  I vowed never to make rolled cookies again and that the $5.50/cookie price was well worth paying someone else to do.  I couldn't seem to bring myself to quit though, so the next day I was back in the kitchen, armed with a different sugar cookie recipe and Tidy Mom’s awesome
cookie rolling technique.  That day ended with a much happier Jaclyn.  The decorating was embarrassingly awful and most of the ghosts had severed arms (I’ve since learned to roll the cookies thicker so they don’t all break!), but hey, people still enjoyed eating them at our Halloween party.  Maybe someday when I’m an amazing decorator, I’ll share my sad first Halloween cookies with you :)

I’m still learning and improving with every cookie that I make.  I’m also inspired by some truly talented cookie decorators and bloggers out there.  Through this blog, I hope to share some cookie decorating techniques that work for me as well as some recipe tips and tricks.  Of course, I'll also be sharing lots of pictures of cookies!  I hope you enjoy reading!



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