Monday, September 12, 2011

Busy Cooking: Harry Potter Butterbeer Cupcakes

This summer, as part of our Thrill Challenge, my kids had to watch a scary movie.  I was trying to think of something that would scare them, but not enough to cause nightmares and them ending up in my bed every night.  I decided on Harry Potter.  My brother had them over one night to do a double thrill, watch a scary movie and stay up all night.  Unfortunately, no one has made it up all night yet (probably a good thing).  The movie was a hit, and they fell in love with the series.  I am dying to unpack the books because I know they won't be able to put them down and I don't want them to see the other movies without reading the books first.

I came across this recipe last week accidentally on a new blog I found AmyBites, and I HAD to make it for the kids (yeah right).   Whenever I read the Harry Potter books, I always wondered how butterbeer would taste.  These cupcakes sum it up quite nicely if I do say so myself.  My son wanted me to color the icing the colors of Griffindor, but I didn't feel up to it.  I did try to ice them high to be similar to the sorting hat (however, when I make them again, I think I'll hold back a bit, it's quite sweet icing).
Oh, and AmyBites had an even more genius idea, butterbeer cake pops- my kids are going to love those!

Oven:  350'

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring (I omitted because I didn't have it)
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup milk w/ 1/2 tsp white vinegar)
1/2 cup cream soda

Ganache Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
5.5 oz butterscotch chips (1/2 bag)

1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring (again I omitted)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1-2 TBSP heavy cream (or just use extra ganache)

1) Preheat oven and prepare cupcake pans with liners.

2) In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.  In bowl of mixer, with paddle attachment, cream butter.  Add in sugar and brown sugar, cream for about 5 minutes on medium high until light and fluffy.

3) Add eggs to butter mixture- one at a time, be sure to scrape down sides of bowl.  Add in vanilla (and butter flavoring if you are using it).

4) In alternating additions, add the flour, milk, and cream soda.  Lightly mix until combined.  Scrape down sides, give one more quick mix.  Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.

5) Bake in oven 14-17 minutes for minis and 18-22 minutes for large cupcakes OR until stick inserted in center comes out clean.  I made 7 large and 22 minis with this batch.

6) For the ganache, while the cupcakes are baking, heat cream to a simmer in a pot, pour over the chips in a bowl.  Let sit about 2 minutes.  Using hand mixers, beat cream and chips together until smooth.  The mixture will be very runny- you can refrigerate it or freeze it for a while, and it will harden more.  Unfortunately, my impatience didn't serve me well and look what happened when I was trying to pipe the ganache into the centers of the cupcakes:
Next time, I'll make this first and set it in the fridge for 30-45 minutes while I'm making the cupcakes. I feel like it makes a delicious difference to have the cupcakes with this piped into the centers as opposed to without it.

7) After the cupcakes have been filled with ganache, make the icing.  Beat butter in bowl of mixer with paddle attachment.  Add in 1/3 cup ganache.  Add in vanilla (and butter flavoring if you are using), beat in the confectioner's sugar.  Add more ganache or heavy cream to reach desired consistency.
Fill pastry bag with icing and pipe on.  After I piped on the icing, I drizzled on some of the remaining ganache- yum yum!
Don't you just want to curl up with a plate of these on a cool fall day and have a Harry Potter marathon?

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