Saturday, February 20, 2010

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Is it St. Patrick's Day yet!?!??!?!?! It's taken forever to get here. And to celebrate it, let's make some Irish Car Bomb cupcakes!

I wish wish wish that I was the person who came up with this recipe. But unfortunately I'm not that amazing yet. Thanks go out to Smitten Kitchen for this recipe. I stumbled it when I was on the prowl for beer cupcakes to make for Superbowl XLIV . (Honestly, at this point it would be more shocking if I wasn't baking alcohol into my cupcakes. ) I was really looking for some sort of Saints- or Colts-inspired cupcake, but as soon as I saw this Irish Car Bomb cupcake recipe in front of me, I knew what I had to do.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
recipe makes from Smitten Kitchen, makes 24 cupcakes

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes Ingredients
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
Ganache Filling Ingredients
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional, but why would you make this cupcake without it!)
Baileys Frosting Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 cups confections sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

For the cupcakes:

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.

3) Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

4) Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend.

5) Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.

6) Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way.

7) Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

For the filling:

1) Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl.

2) Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. My preference is to stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Watch carefully if you do this.)

3) Add the butter and whiskey, then stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4) Cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. (You can use a grapefruit knife for easier cutting, but I just used a regular steak knife because it was close by.) You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way.

5) Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip (or a plastic Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off) and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

For the Frosting:

1) Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy.

2) Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Slowly. The frosting may clump up. This is OK.
3) When the frosting is thick, drizzle in the Baileys and whip until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.
4) Ice and decorate the cupcakes.
Yum! I accidentally added more Jameson than the recipe called for. But not to worry, I just continued to whip the ganache together and all was well. If you're looking for a car bomb-like taste, you won't exactly get that. However, the individual flavors are definitely present and they all mesh well together. These are a perfect addition to your St. Patty's Day party!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sauteed Baby Cabbage

Last week, I had an excellent dinner at POD in Philadelphia. One of the sides we enjoyed was Wok Roasted Baby Bok Choy. It was excellent. I don't remember ever having bok choy before and I don't know why. I could have eaten the entire plate, except that I was sharing with coworkers and I needed to remain civilized. I was definitely going to make this recipe at home. Or at least a similar recipe since I don't actually have a wok handy.

Last weekend, I scoured the supermarket for baby bok choy. The first store I descended upon didn't have any, but I had success in the second supermarket. I spotted some baby bok choy (which was confirmed by the twist tie around the produce which clearly read "Baby Bok Choy"). So I proudly purchased my baby bok choy. After I got home, I became increasingly suspicious...

I had been hoodwinked! I admit it. The labeled "Baby Bok Choy" I had purchased was looking less and less like the baby bok choy I remember from Pod. The pictures in the recipe that I was using also seemed to confirm this.

But what else could I do? I had all the ingredients and this head of produce, which I will now refer to as "Baby Cabbage" for lack of a better term. Obviously it's not baby bok choy. So I continued to make my version of this dish.

Sauteed Baby Cabbage
(adapted from the Steamy Kitchen)
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby cabbage (or baby bok choy)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons broth or water
  • salt to taste

1) Trim off the end of the stem.

2) Separate out the leaves, keep the tender center intact and clean under running water. Drain.
3) Place frying pan (or wok) on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger while the oil is still cold.
4) Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil.
5) When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the cabbage leaves.
6) Toss very well to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil.

7) Pour in broth or water. Immediately cover and let cook until wilted. Season with salt.
I like to serve this with a little soy sauce on the side. Soy sauce with wasabi, although purist sushi lovers would gag on the idea of this. If you do serve with soy sauce, go easy on the salt you sprinkle over the cabbage after it's done.

The baby cabbage was pretty good, considering it wasn't the baby bok choy that I originally thought I had purchased. The leaves were soft, but the stems of the cabbage provided a nice crunch. Personally, I would have trimmed off more of the stems if I had thought about it before I started sauteing the vegetable. This just means that I had to take an extra step at the end and trim the stems after cooking. And soy sauce goes with anything. I think I just enjoy salt. This probably falls under the same category as my love of cheese. Don't judge me.