Friday, July 2, 2010

Malt Me In

Not that I need another sweet around here for my palate to become addicted to, but as I mentioned in my last post, moving across the country = using up stuff, like, malted milk powder, cocoa, and sugar, for instance....simply getting rid of it all would be tragic (always looking for excuses to bake something sweet I suppose).

So, I put my best Internet browsing skills together, went surfing, and found a perfect recipe over at Orangette to suit what I was looking for and off to the kitchen I went!....only to be the victim again of another licking-the-bowl-of-residual-chocolate-batter episode. Shucks.

It was too tempting: this recipe makes a fabulous, oh, a very wonderful and satisfying cupcake. I mean it. It's one of the better from-scratch chocolate cake recipes of my whole life. Let me tell you something: many moons ago, I worked as a dessert chef in a very beautiful canyon restaurant and had the (ahem), "unfortunate" task of making chocolate sponge cakes every other day and it taught me, just like this recipe today did, that dissolving chocolate in a hot liquid (i.e.water or coffee) as well as using buttermilk at the end of the recipe yields a very delicate, very soft, spongy and fluffy-type crumb-- nothing even remotely dry about it! I'll be the first to admit that on occasion, there is a need for something dense and heavy, but a moist and delicate chocolate cupcake is hard to beat. One of them went straight into my mouth upon exiting the oven and I just wanted to yell "Take that, Hostess Cupcakes. Take that!". They are that good.

The malted frosting was fun too, the main star of the show, even though I totally goofed it up-it was an embarrassment but just don't make the mistake that I made by adding too much liquid too soon. Unfortunately, I got a bit hasty with the water and ran out of powdered sugar before I could really salvage it. It still had a really great taste though.

If you enjoy malt at all, you should try these out. Fun and different. Rich and decadent.

Happy 4rth to you this weekend. Hope you can get some oohing and awing in at those fireworks! Ciao.

Chocolate Malted Cupcakes
{Adapted from Orangette}

For cupcakes:

1 ounce good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

½ cup hot water

1 cup granulated sugar

¾ cup plus 1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Heaping ½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

Scant ½ tsp salt

1 large egg

¼ cup canola oil

½ cup buttermilk

¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

For frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup malted milk powder, such as Carnation

9 Tbs (1 stick plus 1 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 Tbs boiling water

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 12 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners.

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl with the hot water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and opaque. In another medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine well.

In a large bowl, beat the egg with an electric mixer until it is pale yellow in color, about a minute or two. Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, beating to combine well. Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture, and beat to thoroughly combine. Add the dry ingredients, and beat on medium speed until the batter is just combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl and briefly fold the batter to be certain that all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Good luck trying not to sample and eat all the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for 15 minutes in the pan; then very carefully transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Take heed when removing them from the pans- they do crumble easily.

When the cupcakes are cool, make the frosting. Combine the powdered sugar, cocoa, and malted milk powder with an electric mixer; combine well. Add the butter, and stir well. Scrap down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the water slowly and stir to incorporate until it's all nice and smooth. Frost the cupcakes and serve.

Cover and refrigerate for storage.

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