Monday, August 20, 2012

Delicious Recall #3::Chocolate Italian Wedding Cupcakes

This is another item which has that wonderful trio of flavors that I find hard to resist.  There is one method in this recipe that I will be using more than once.  It is the toasting of the pecans with the coconut.  I always have issues when toasting coconut, having some pieces remain white while others burn.  I am not sure if it is the mixture of the nuts or the measurement that causes the toasting to be more even.

The cupcakes do offer a lot of texture to the bite with having both pecans and coconut in them.  Also, the frosting has an unusual tang to it since it is made with sour cream.  The tang goes well with the dark chocolate..

This particular recipe had some additional suggestions for preparation, so be sure to read the tips at the end. This recipe makes 2 dz cupcakes.

Chocolate Italian Wedding Cakes
adapted from Evil Shenanigans

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1.5 oz unsweetened chocolate (melted & cooled)
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs (yolks separated from whites)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

1 2/3 cup flour
3 tbs dutch processed cocoa
2 tbs crushed cocoa nibs
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet choc chips
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups powdered sugar

For the cupcakes, grease the top edge of the cavities of two 1 dozen cupcake pans.  Line with paper liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth.  Then add the melted chocolate along with the egg yolks.  Stir until all is smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together the five dry ingredients listed after the eggs on the ingredient list. Using a wooden spoon, fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the batter.  Then stir in 1/4 cup of buttermilk.
Repeat that process and add the last 1/3 of the flour mixture, stirring until no dry streaks remain.

Add the cocoa nibs, vanilla, coconut and pecans and mix until evenly distributed.

Pour the egg whites into a medium size bowl and beat with mixer until stiff peaks form.  Fold in 1/2 of the egg whites to the chocolate batter, mixing so no white streaks show.  Repeat that process.

Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake cavities with the batter.  All 24 should be filled equally.  Also make sure that the batter is even so they will bake even. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating pans at the halfway mark.  Doneness is indicated by the cupcake springing back when lightly pressed in the center.  Cool cupcakes in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

As the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.  The oven will be left on 350 for the frosting as well.  Mix the coconut and pecans together.  Then spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove, stir and place pan back in oven for an additional 5 minutes.  The mixture should be a golden brown when done.  Let coconut mixuture cool to room temperature before using.  Take 1/3 cup of the  mixture and set aside.

Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Slice butter into 1/4 inch thickness and place slices on top of the chocolate chips.  Microwave for 30 seconds and stir.  Then microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring after each internal until it is all melted and blended smoothly.  Let cool for 5 minutes before using. Transfer the mixture to a larger bowl.

Stir in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.  Then sift 1 cup of powdered sugar into the chocolate frosting and stir.  Repeat with another cup of the powdered sugar.  There is now 1 cup of powdered sugar left, but you will gradually add and mix it into the frosting until you reach the desired consistency.  Keep in mind that the frosting will thicken upon standing, so gauge the amount of powdered sugar according to preference.  Stir in all but the 1/3 reserved mixture of coconut and pecans.

Put the frosting on the cupcakes, either with a knife or piping method.  Then sprinkle with the reserved coconut/pecan mixture. 

Tips and Notes:
1. since the frosting has coconut and nuts in it,  should you chose to pipe it make sure it is a large tip.
2. In addition to the 1/3 reserved coconut/nut mixture for sprinkling on top, I made another half batch because I found that pressing the cupcake upside down into the topping had better adhesion.
3. you can make this into a cake with two 8 inch round pans, just double the frosting amount.
4. For extra flavor, you can soak the cupcakes lightly with white rum.  2 or 3 tbs should be enough.
              **LAST YEAR: Tequila Sunrise Bars**