Sunday, February 21, 2010

Salted Caramel Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

I finally made caramel without burning it, and I have the Sweet Savory Life to thank for it! Her step by step pictures and clear instructions paved the way for many more jars of caramel sauce to make its way out of my kitchen.

This recipe is inspired by a lovely cookbook I received for Christmas from Deb, Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. Out of the 175 recipes, this one caught my eye first. The chocolate cake is easy to make (no electric mixer!), rich, and delicious. The recipe calls for frosting, but I found it unnecessary, even overbearing. The caramel may harden a little and/or soak through the cake, so they are best eaten the same day they are filled.

 Salted Caramel Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes about 18 regular cupcakes or 56 mini cupcakes)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 Ener-G eggs
3/4 cup soymilk + 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
3 T vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water
Caramel sauce (substituting soy creamer and 1 T Earth Balance for heavy cream and Earth Balance for butter)
Fleur de sel

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the Ener-G eggs, soymilk and vinegar or lemon juice, oil, vanilla, and water. Beat until smooth and combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

2. Divide the batter evenly among muffin tins. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, for about 10-15 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, turning out onto racks after and cool completely.

3. Make the caramel sauce.

4. Cut a cone shape into each cupcake and fill with cooled caramel sauce. Sprinkle a little Fleur de sel onto the caramel. Press each cupcake cone gently into the caramel and enjoy! 


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jasmine Tea-Infused Hot Chocolate

Corey discovered tea-infused hot chocolate before I did. Without looking at the site (until just now) I was instantly inspired to try it out. Winter brings out the hot chocolate monster in me--warm beverages are a must, but there's nothing like steamed chocolatey goodness to chase the nip of New England cold away.

I've tried making a few varieties (Earl Grey, peach black, chocolate mint oolong), but the jasmine tea is by far my favorite. It's sophisticated, but comforting. You can use this recipe for any tea, just keep the ratio the same. If you have some of those disgusting Bigelow dessert teas (french vanilla, vanilla caramel, etc.) this would be a fabulous way to get rid of them!

In terms of jasmine teas, I highly recommend Mighty Leaf's Jasmine Green Tea. It has an excellent flavor, but can be very expensive. My next choice is Trader Joe's Jasmine Green Tea. 

Jasmine Tea - Infused Hot Chocolate
(makes 1 large 16 oz cup or 2 8 oz cups)

2 bags jasmine tea, steeped in 6 oz hot water
10 oz soy milk
hot chocolate mix (I like Ghirardelli Double Chocolate)
sugar to taste

1. Steep the tea for 2-3 minutes in a large cup. While the tea steeps, heat up the soy milk in a microwave safe bowl or over the stove in a saucepan, but not to boiling. Mix in the hot chocolate to taste, slightly stronger than you would drink it.

2. Discard the tea bags and add the hot chocolate to the cup. Add sugar to taste and enjoy!