Friday, February 10, 2012

Cherry M+M Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Bean Icing

Two weeks ago, I went to the store and just happened to end up in the Valentine's aisle.  I found cherry M+M's (and raspberry ones too)- have you noticed the weird seasonal varieties of M+M's that are on the rise around your stores too?  It reminds me of the Japan and their weird flavors of Kit Kats (green tea, corn, and potato to name a few).

I decided to buy them.  For some reason, I love buying cherry flavored stuff, but I don't eat cherries.  It was love at first bite. They are good to eat on their own, but add a nice zing to a chocolate cupcake.

Did you know that February is National Cherry Month?  Well, now you do, so go on, make something cherry today.

Source:  Chocolate cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes, icing- my own recipe

Oven: 350

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/8 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cherry M+M's

10 TBSP unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp cherry extract (you can use maraschino cherry juice if you can't find the extract)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3-5 TBSP milk

1) Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare cupcake pans with liners.

2) In small bowl, whisk together hot water and cocoa powder until smooth, set aside.

3) In another small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt- set aside.

4) Melt butter and sugar in saucepan, until combined.  Place in bowl of mixer with paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low until cool, about 4-5 minutes.

5) Add eggs to sugar mixture, one at a time.  Scrape down sides.

6) Add vanilla to sugar mixture.  Then, add chocolate, scrape down sides, mix.

7) With mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture, then half of the sour cream, scrape down sides.  Add the remaining flour mixture and then remaining sour cream.  Scrape down sides, mix once more. Fold in the M+M's.

8) Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full of batter.  Bake 18-22 minutes for large cupcakes, 14-17 minutes for mini cupcakes.  Rotate the pans 180' halfway through cooking.  Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the icing:

1) Cut butter into 1 TBSP sized squares. Place in bowl of mixer and beat.  Add 1 cup confecioner's sugar, mix, make a paste.

2) Add in vanilla bean and cherry extract.

3) Mix in 1 more cup confectioner's sugar, scrape down sides.

4) Add 1 TBSP milk and 1 more cup confectioner's sugar, beat on medium.

5) Add 1 TBSP milk and 1 more cup confectioner's sugar.  Scrape down sides, beat again.  Try the icing, you may need to add 1/2-1 cup more confectioner's sugar for taste, and 1 or 2 more TBSP milk for consistency.  You want it to be thick enough to hold it's shape, but thin and fluffy enough to work with when piping it on top of the cupcakes.  Beat additional 2-3 minutes before using, this will help get it nice and fluffy

6) Pipe icing onto cupcakes, dot tops with a cherry m+m or two.
Happy National Cherry Month!

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