Monday, July 4, 2011

Hi Hat Cupcakes

I have wanted to try my hand at these cupcakes since I first saw them on Bakerella.  But, I was a bit intimidated by them.  I've never been great at getting melted chocolate to dry smoothly onto a baked good.  It frustrates me.  I'm much too Type A to have frumpy looking chocolate, no matter how good it may taste.  But, I decided this was the weekend the hi hat cupcake was going to meet it's match.  Apparently, though, it was just as determined to defeat me.  First, I baked a batch on Friday evening.  I've always had issues with chocolate cupcakes, too, as they tend to droop.  But, the recipe called for chocolate and By George, I was going to make chocolate.  They were ugly, but tasty.  I had them all beautifully frosted and was placing them into the fridge so the icing could firm up when I bumped the cooling rack they were on.  Each and every one of the dozen cupcakes landed frosting side down on the floor.  Every. Single. One.  I cried.  I like to think it's still the post partum hormones that made me cry, but I did actually shed tears.  And that made me angry, too.  Saturday came and I could feel my chance for vengeance.  I woke up thinking about these cupcakes and how to conquer them.  I decided to make the chocolate chip cupcakes from the previous recipe and to forget those wretched looking chocolate ones.  I also (of course) would use cream cheese frosting instead of the Martha Stewart option that involved a candy thermometer and a handmixer (since I don't actually own a handmixer).  So, with my plan in mind, off I went to my CrossFit workout.  The first "move" of our workout was a 400m run.  I made it 200m, twisted my ankle and fell flat on my face.  Truthfully, I thought I had broken my ankle.  It instantly hurt that badly.  I limped back, feeling like an idiot, and had to sit watching everyone else work up a fun sweat.  It's two days later and the swelling is just now subsiding.  But, I managed to make those *&*!^% cupcakes.  With the injured leg propped on a chair that I slid around the kitchen, I pulled it off.  And, I would do it again.  They were absolutely worth it and a huge hit.  Everyone at the cookout we took them to just raved about them.  Now, I'm ready to dip everything I bake into chocolate.

So, that mouth full being said, my changes to the Martha Stewart recipe are reflected below.  Because these weren't milk-free, I couldn't eat one, but my husband said the cream cheese was the way to go.  Again (as I say with nearly every recipe), it cut the sweetness and it's just incredibly easy to make.  Just make sure you stick them in the fridge or freezer to firm up.  Also, because the recipe for the chocolate chip cupcakes makes more than Martha's recipe, the amount of chocolate to dip with called for in the original recipe, was not enough.  I would double it next time and I have reflected that below.

Hi Hat Cupcakes:

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cupcakes:  
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

For the cream cheese frosting:
16 ozs. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
2 lbs. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Dipping Chocolate:
2 bags (24 oz. total) mini semisweet chocolate chips
6 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a standmixer (or by hand).  Slowly add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat together until frosting is creamy and well combined.

Frost the cooled cupcakes using a disposable pastry bag and a pastry tip with a wide round opening.  Place the frosted cupcakes into the freezer so the frosting can firm up while you are melting the chocolate for dipping.

Combine 1 bag of the semisweet chocolate chips with 3 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil.  Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth.  Let chocolate sit for a few minutes so it is not hot and will not melt frosting.  Pour melted chocolate into a smaller, but wide mouthed cup or tumbler (I used a toddler cup).  Dip the cupcakes individually by holding them upside down and submerging into the chocolate.  Place dipped cupcake onto papertowel or baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spoon extra chocolate onto cupcakes as needed (be careful because this part can become messy looking).  Allow dipped cupcakes to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to firm up.  Place them into the refrigerator, if you'd like, to firm up, too, especially if transporting them.  But, do not leave them in the fridge too long or they may sweat when taken out and cause the chocolate and frosting to soften and collapse. 

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