Sunday, October 2, 2011

Basil, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Cupcakes

It's been a while since I've made a truly impressive dessert, so I was overdue for something overly complex, but completely delicious. Luckily, I have a reliable source for amazing desserts in Desserts for Breakfast (unluckily, her posts always make me want to go bake IMMEDIATELY). Yes, the instructions are long. Yes, it uses a lot of chocolate and eggs. But the results are worth it. So worth it. And as a bonus, it used up the last of the basil from our new weekly vegetable box!

I did make one major change to this recipe. The original calls for making 8 3x2" cakelettes. I decided that cupcakes would be much more manageable and I needed to make a dozen and was hesitant to scale up the recipe. Instead, I made normal cupcakes and ended up with around 18.

One year ago: Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce

Basil, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Cupcakes (from Desserts for Breakfast, originally multiple sources for inspiration)

for cake:
10 Tbspn butter (142g)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed (150g)
6 eggs, separated
12 oz. dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 Tbspn espresso
1 Tbspn vanilla
1/2 tspn salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners. Set aside.
2. In a mixer bowl, beat the butter and light brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the egg yolks one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well between each addition.
4. Beat the melted dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, and salt into the batter until well-combined.
5. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks.
6. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate batter, then fold the remaining egg whites into the batter just until combined. Be careful not to overmix! [I was a bit concerned because the batter didn't seem to be coming together at all and was clumpy, but it was fine.]
7. Divide the batter evenly amongst the prepared pans. Immediately place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the meringue.

for meringue layer:
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 Tbspn cornstarch
2 egg whites
2 Tbspn sugar

1. Combine the dark chocolate, hazelnuts, and cornstarch.
2. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, gradually adding the sugar as you whisk.
3. Fold in the hazelnuts and chocolate mixture to the egg whites, being careful not to deflate the whites too much.
4. Remove the chocolate cupcakes from the oven and spoon the meringue over the chocolate cupcakes.
5. Return the cakes to the oven for ~15-20 minutes until the meringues are set.
6. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

for basil buttercream:
1 cup whole milk
2 large handfuls of basil, roughly shredded
3/4 cup sugar (170g)
1/4 cup AP flour (30g)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter, at room temperature (227g)
green food coloring, optional

1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the milk and the basil. Bring to just a simmer, cover, and let steep for ~30 minutes.
2. Strain the basil from the milk and discard the basil. Set the milk aside.
3. Whisk together the sugar and flour in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in the prepared basil milk and the cream, making sure that there are no clumps.
4. Cook the flour and milk mixture over medium heat until it boils and thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl.
5. Beat with a paddle attachment on high until the flour and milk mixture is completely cool.
6. With the mixer on low, gradually add the butter. Then, increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy. (If the buttercream gets too soft, put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before re-beating.) Briefly beat in a few drops of green food coloring, if desired.
7. Use immediately to frost the cupcakes.

No comments:

Post a Comment