Saturday, December 08, 2007

Elizabeth Falkner's Rocky Road Cupcakes

I'm going to a culinary student's birthday party tonight. Under my arm is a copy of Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake. I'm hoping the gift will pay out some sweet dividends, like a batch of Falkner's Rocky Road Cupcakes.

Rocky Road Cupcakes
dark chocolate cupcakes, dark chocolate buttercream frosting, marshmallows, walnuts
makes 12 cupcakes

The basic components of rocky road—chocolate, walnuts, marshmallows—work across different dessert formats, including ice cream, brownies, and these cupcakes. The cupcakes themselves are basic chocolate and, like the buttermilk ones in Lemania Cupcakes (page 173), can be taken in lots of directions. They have wonderfully pure flavors and are already over the top, so I don’t think any filling is necessary.

You can make some components in advance:
Up to 1 week before
– make the marshmallows
A few hours before
– make the cupcakes
– make the frosting
– frost and garnish the cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (about 4 ounces by weight) buttermilk
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70% cacao, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (3 3/4 ounces) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 (3 ounces by weight) large eggs, at room temperature

To Make the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup standard nonstick muffin pan (or two 6-cup pans) with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the salt and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the buttermilk, water, and vanilla and set aside.

Bring a few inches of water to a gentle simmer in a saucepan. Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over (not touching) the simmering water (or use a double boiler). Heat slowly, stirring occasionally, until nearly melted, and then remove the bowl from the heat and whisk until smooth. Add the granulated and brown sugars and stir until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the buttermilk mixture and whisk until smooth.

Add the flour mixture to the chocolate-buttermilk mixture in three additions, beating after each addition just until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin-tin cups; each paper liner will be filled almost to the top.

Bake the cupcakes, rotating the pan after about 10 minutes, for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, gently loosen the cupcakes from the pan, and then let them cool completely in the pan before removing them.

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Buttercream Frosting (page 217)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70% cacao, coarsely chopped (scant 1 cup)

To Make the Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Make the buttercream frosting as directed. Melt the chocolate as you did for the cupcake batter, and then whisk the chocolate into the frosting. You should have a generous 2 cups.

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70% cacao, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons canola oil
6 marshmallows, made with gelatin (page 212) or xanthan gum (page 213), each cut into eight 1/4-inch pieces, or 48 store-bought miniature marshmallows
1/2 to 3/4 cup (2 to 3 ounces) walnut halves or pieces

To Frost and Garnish the Cupcakes
Melt the chocolate as you did for the cupcake batter. Add the canola oil and whisk until smooth. You should have 1/4 cup.

Using an offset or icing spatula, frost the cupcakes and then garnish with the marshmallow pieces and walnuts. Finish each cupcake with a drizzle of chocolate.

Reprinted with permission from Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake by Elizabeth Falkner. Copyright (c) 2007 Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you made any of the recipes from Elizabeth's book? I'm curious as to how difficult they are and if they're worth all the effort.

11:17 PM GMT-5  

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