Saturday, August 30, 2008

Eclairs filled with Frangelica Cream

This month's DB'rs challenge was Pierre Hermes eclairs. Pierre Hermes is probably Frances most famous pasrty chef right now. You may recall me telling you that I have a slight crush on Pierre. He's an amazing chef and I couldn't wait to give his eclair recipe a try. Although I hadn't ever made eclairs before, I have made cream puffs. They are pretty much the same thing.
I was so happy when I saw the challenge this month. Eclairs were my childhood pasrty of choice. Whenever mom let us pick what we wanted from the bakery, I always choose an eclair. All the other pastries looked good but I just loved eclairs too much to choose any thing else. Lusiuos cream and delicate pastry topped with chocolate...divine! These eclairs did not disappoint. I ate one as soon as I took the pictures! Okay two. They're small!
This was a fun challenge. We had to use the cream puff dough and one element had to be chocolate. I choose to flavor my pasrty cream with Frangelica. Then added whipped cream to the pasrty cream to lighten it up a bit. I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for pasrty cream, from her cookbook Baking, From My Home to Yours. She had lots of variations for the pastry cream. I decided to go with the Frangelica and top the eclairs with the chocolate sauce and chopped hazelnuts.
It's long but not difficult so give it a try. Trust me, with every bite you'll thank me (or maybe Pierre Herme!)

Thanks Meeta and Tony for a great challenge! Be sure to check out all the other DB'rs eclairs.
Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs

Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
Printable version of recipe here.

(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.

Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.

Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.

Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.

The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.


The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
Assembling the éclairs:

Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)
Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.

Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles.

The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.
Cream Puff Dough
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

½ cup (125g) whole milk
½ cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.

Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.

Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.

You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
Chocolate Pastry Cream (I substituted Frangelica Pastry Cream)

2 cups (500g) whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75g) sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona Guanaja, melted
2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.
Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.
Chocolate Glaze
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.


If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.
Chocolate Sauce
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 g) water
½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Ominvore's Hundred

This has been floating around the blogshpere for a while now. I've seen it on several blogs lately and decided to see how I scored. It's fun, give it a try and let me know how you scored!

Below is a list of 100 things that every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s how it works:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at (the one who started it) linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare -love carpaccio but haven't tried steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwichall the time!
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart in NY the best! Also in front of Lowes:)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes-raspberry (yuck) peach (ok) and scuppernong, a grape I guess but makes for hideous wine!
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes-look forward to summer just to get these babies!
22. Fresh wild berries—I'm sure I've picked more than the average person for sure!
23. Foie gras- one of my most fav things
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper-friend from Barbados grows them and puts them in everything!
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float-drink of choice as a child. loved me an A&W rootbeer float!
36. Cognac with a fat cigar—drank cognac with a nice Scottish man on my first oversees trip in first cigar though
37. Clotted cream tea-on the breakfast tray every day at the amazing hotel we stayed at in London.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-Oshots:)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat possibly while in Jordan, ate lots of curry. I'm sure some of it was goat. never knew what anything was, just ate:) most of it really good
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu—no I like living!
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel-on sushi
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut-only when the hot now, sign is on!
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle—lived in Germany for a year
57. Dirty gin martini—not a fan
58. Beer above 8% ABVlike I said German for a year!
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips—nasty, not chocolate! mom went thru a health food craze in late 70's and made everything with carob. the thought of it grosses me out!
61. S’moresdon't try to sub the chocolate for carob though!
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin-ate dirt as a kid. does that count?
64. Currywurstgot sick of it after a while in Germany, it's EVERYWHERE!
65. Durian-anything banned from public buildings because of its smell...probably not for me!
66. Frogs’ legs—
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cakeoh yeah every one!
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain—love it!
70. Chitterlings, or andouilletteI live in Alabama. nuff said
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini—not a big fan of caviar though
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill-no, inspite of the fact that I live in AL
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail—love escargot!
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Belliniyes please!
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedictfavorite breakfast food!
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.-yes but it's been a while:(
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse—not that I'm aware of, but it was popular in Germany, so who knows!
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam-GROSS
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa—
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta couldn't imagine life without it:)
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake
I got 64! What's your score?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ironcupcake Challenge: Chili Pepper

I recently stumbled across a new baking event. It involved cupcakes so I was immediately interested. It's based on the Iron Chef premise. Every month your given an ingredient that you have to use in a cupcake. Then you submit your cupcake recipe with a picture. All the cupcakes are posted and everyone is asked to vote for their favorite cupcake. The winner gets all kinds of cool cupcake related prizes. Fun!
So the ingredient this month is chili peppers. You can use any kind of chili pepper, fresh or dried, in your cupcake.
Chocolate and chili combos have become popular as of late, but this was my first attempt at using chili's in a cupcake. I came across this great recipe for a chocolate chili zucchini cake. I decided to turn it into cupcakes. The smokiness of the ancho chili powder and the chocolate taste amazing together. The zucchini makes for a really moist cupcake. I think next time I make these cupcakes, I'll put in even more chili powder. The ancho chili is mildly spicy in this cupcake but the smoky flavor is amazing with the chocolate.
For the frosting I infused chocolate with ancho chili to make a whipped ganache frosting. Just for fun I made a chili from white chocolate to decorate the top of the cupcake.
This was a really fun challenge. I've seen some of the cupcakes that some of the other Ironcupcake baker's have come up with for this challenge. WOW. This is a creative group! Check out all the submissions and vote here! (for me of course!!)

Chocolate Ancho Chili Zucchini Cupcakes
Sweet Heat: spicy desserts(adapted)
Makes 24 cupcakes

2½ cups sifted flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup butter

½ cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon Ancho powder (or more to taste)

½ cup buttermilk

2 cups grated zucchini

6 ounces chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Next, add the vanilla and Ancho chile. Mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Chili Infused Whipped Ganache Frosting
1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 small dried ancho chili

Measure out the heavy cream in a glass microwave safe cup measure. Put in the dried chili and microwave on high for about 1 minute or until the cream comes to a boil. Remove from microwave and allow the chili to steep in the hot cream for several minutes. Remove the chili from the cream and reheat the cream for a few seconds(20-30) in the microwave. Just enough to make sure it's hot enough to melt the cream. Place the chocolate in a mixing bowl and pour over the hot infused cream. Let sit for several minutes allowing the chocolate to melt. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until cool. Whip chocolate in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Whip until the chocolate holds soft peaks.

I topped my cupcakes with a little chocolate sprinkles and some chopped dried ancho chili for a bit of extra flavor.
The chili pepper decoration is made from white chocolate.
Here's what the winner of this challenge gets:
A copy of Hello, Cupcake (I really want that:) A complete line of HEAD  CHEFS from Fiesta Products. Fully “fun”ctional silicone handle kitchen tools with awesome bendable arms and legs! Spoon, Pastry Brush, Spatula, Whisk and Measuring Cup. Adorable! A great apron from Jessie Steele, the Cupcake Courier, the cookbook from Taste of Home and featured prize from ETSY artist Jessie “Cakespy”  Oleson Love love love her stuff!!
Those are some awesome prizes! Vote for me. please:)Voting begins August 31th.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Onion Tarts and the OSS

I have been a long time fan/admirer of the late great Julia Childs. She's an icon here in the U.S. for making french cooking accessible to anyone willing to learn. Julia Child's spent the greater part of her life teaching others to cook, through both her cookbooks and her TV series.
When I was growing up, my mom would get out Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbooks, and read them like they were novels. Of course unlike a novel, when mom pulled out those books we got a pretty amazing meal! Still to this day those tattered books are my mother's go to cookbooks. Almost every time I ask my mom a cooking question, I get a response that starts, "Well Julia says to..." So I guess Julia is responsible for helping me to learn cook as well.
This week we found out that Julia was not only a master chef, but a spy for the OSS as well! Wow she was one amazing woman.

While my husband and I were living in Germany, I fell in love with the onion tarts we had there. We visited the Alsatian region of France several times and Julia Childs recipe for Alsatian Onion Tarts are just like the ones I loved. Now that I know she was a spy, I can't help but wonder if Julia ate these tarts while working on missions for the OSS.

Alsatian Onion Tart

Baking with Julia

1 sheet puff pastry
4 lg onions, diced
1 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp cream
1/4 pound slab bacon (I used sliced bacon)
salt and pepper, to taste

Roll out puff pastry until it is 1/8-inch thick and cut into a 10 to 12-inch circle.
If you want to make indivdual tartlettes, use a 2" round cutter and cut out rolled out pastry.
Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.
In a medium saucepan, combine onions and chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil. reduce heat and cook until onions are very tender - about 25-30 minutes. Drain onions and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Toss onions in cream and a bit of salt and pepper. Spread onions on rolled pastry all the way to the edge. Top with the bacon pressing the pieces down a bit so they flavor the onions. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes for the 10 inch tarts and about 20 min. for the 2 inch tartlettes, until light gold.
Serve immediately.

I had some puff pasrty leftover so I did what Julia suggested andnput a few blueberries on top of the pasrty and baked it until golden brown. Then brushed the tops with apricot jam that I heated and thinned with a little bit of water. A tasty way to use up those pasrty scrapes.

Friday, August 8, 2008

To dunk or not to dunk...

When it comes to cookies, I believe that people fall into two distinct groups: the dunkers and the non-dunkers. My father's side of the family fall into the first catagory. That side of my family is Pennsylvania Dutch. As a small child I remember my grandmother on my dad's side telling me that it was very "Dutchy to dunk". And boy was that true! They are all big dunkers. They dunk way more than just their cookies. Pretty much everything sweet is plunged into some a liquid of some form. My mother, who was raised in California and transplanted to PA when she married my dad, was mystified by this practice.

I learned to dunk at an early. Taught by my grandmother and father, I was an expert dunker by the age of two, or so my mom says. Apparently I wouldn't eat a cookie if I didn't have any milk to dunk it in. I do clearly remember at the age of 4 or 5 of going to spend the day playing at a friends house. Her mom gave us some Oreos for a snack and no milk. I really wanted to eat it but with on milk, I wasn't sure what to do. I must have looked perplexed because my friends mom asked if something was wrong or if I didn't like Oreos. I told her I needed milk to eat my cookies. She told me I took after my father and handed me a glass of milk.

If you are a dunker, you also learn quickly what kinds of cookies can stand up to be dunked. If you're using milk, you can get away with most any cookies. Coffee or hot tea are a bit trickier. You definitely need a good sturdy cookie. Although some cookies are better than others for dunking, your timing is everything. You have to leave the cookie in the milk long enough to soak up some of it up, but not too long. Dunking your cookie too long will have disastrous consequences. The soaked cookie could break off and sink to the bottom of you glass. Or possibly just as your about to bite the cookie, it breaks and falls to the floor, or worse, on your lap. Horror! Now not only have you lost you cookie but your lap is covered in soggy cookie.
You non-dunkers may wonder why we bother. True we could just eat our cookies with our milk. But those of us that fall into the dunker category understand why we do it. It makes the cookie and the dunking beverage of choice, come together in a way they never could alone. It's all about that perfect bite. So to dunk or not to dunk which do you do?

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies
(about 4 dozen)

8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp dark rum or rum extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/3 cups (8 oz bag) Heath Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces(optional)
Preheat oven 375°F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in vanilla extract and rum.

Add flour mixture and mix until flour is just incorporated. Mix in oats chocolate and toffee bits.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto a parchment line cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to cooling rack.

This is a an excellent cookie no matter how you choose to eat your cookies!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fresh Fig Chutney

This year the fig tree at the farm put on a bumper crop of figs. I'm so sad to see them go and wanted to save some to savor later in the year. I opted to make chutney rather than a preserve. Hubs will be home soon (YEAH) and he doesn't care for preserves. I think he'll love this chutney however. It's got a great balance of vinegar and sweet.
I've made several batches of this chutney so far with different variations. To one batch I added half of a seeded diced jalapeno. I really like that little kick the jalapeno gave the chutney.
I also made a batch with cider vinegar to replace the red wine vinegar. It was a bit more tangy than then red wine but really good as well. This is a great base recipe that can be made into many variations.

Fresh Fig Chutney Recipe
Emeril Lagasse, 2003(adapted)

2 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 pound light brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lg Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1/4 lemon, zested
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 pounds firm, slightly underripe fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed and halved
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
In a large saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, onion, apple, ginger, mustard seeds, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, salt, allspice, and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and reduced by 2/3, forming a thick syrup. Add the figs and raisins and cook gently until the figs are very soft and beginning to fall apart and most of the liquid they've given off has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the chutney to a non-reactive container and allow to come to room temperature before serving. The chutney may be made up to 3 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. (Alternately, hot chutney may be ladled into hot sterilized canning jars and processed in a hot-water bath according to manufacturer's directions.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I'm addicted to ya baby

So I guess I'm a bit addicted to food blogs. Okay more than just a bit. I mean who has over 50 Google bookmarks, all for recipes from other blogs?!? Actually all of you amazing food bloggers out there (you know who you are!!), are the cause this addiction. Tempting me with your beautiful photo's and your amazing sounding recipes. How dare you! It's like crack I tell you, as find myself adding yet another bookmark for yet another recipe I can't wait to make. And then all these recipes sit there, bookmarked and waiting, taunting me silently. MAKE ME, MAKE ME, MAKE ME! I want to make you all. Really I do! So many wonderful recipes and so little time...
Oh and not only do I want to make all these wonderful recipes, but now when I cook I spend time thinking about how to make my food so that it photographs well.
I admit it sounds a bit bizarre, possible a little crazy, but reading through other food blogs makes me pretty certain that I may not be alone in this obsession/addiction.
Anyway one of the recipes I'd bookmarked that's been hanging out waiting to be made was a recipe for Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Raspberry Jam Buttercream and Raspberry Truffle. It came from Peabody's blog Culinary Concoctions. I mean the name alone Devils Food Cupcakes... Mmm...Raspberry Jam Buttercream...OMG...AND Raspberry Truffle...Are you kidding me?!? Do those cupcakes sound amazing or what? Of course I immediately bookmarked that recipe. And there it sat, waiting patiently for me to find the time/occasion to actually make them.
Well wait no more! I had several people to make cupcakes for this week and couldn't wait to give this recipe a try.
I have just a word of warning; if you visit Peabody's blog, (and I encourage you to visit) beware, you'll be bookmarking recipes left and right. Don't say you weren't warned!

The chocolate raspberry mixture used for filling the raspberries is a basic ganache. I decided instead of filling the raspberries with the gancahe, that I would swirl the tops of the cupcakes in it and then frost them with the raspberry buttercream.

Devil's Food cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Raspberry Ganache and Raspberry Jam Buttercream

Deeply Dark Devil’s Food Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
11 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour mini cupcake pans.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix to incorporate.
Beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the warm water in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake cupcakes for 13-15 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and remove cupcakes from pan. Let cool on wire rack. When cool, I swirled the tops of each cupcake in the still warm chocolate raspberry ganache. The only other change I made was to add some cream cheese to the buttercream. Just because I like cream cheese icing!

Cake Source: Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle

5 ounce semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4cup seedless raspberry jam

Place chocolate and raspberry jam in a heat proof bowl.
Bring cream to a boil.
Pour cream over chocolate and jam and let sit for about 3 minutes.
Whisk together chocolate mixture. If it is still a little lumpy, put in microwave for a few seconds and whisk again. Dip the top of cupcakes in the chocolate. Be careful to just get the tops or ganache will run down the sides. Put cupcakes in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes or until ganache is set up. Then decorate with the Raspberry Buttercream.

Raspberry Jam Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4oz cream cheese (optional)
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Place butter, cream cheese, and jam in a mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream butter and jam until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time until you reach desired consistency. If frosting gets too thick you can add a little milk to thin it out.

These cupcakes are sooo good. One bookmarked recipe down!