Sunday, November 9, 2014

Boston Cream Muffins ...ok, ok ... cupcakes


Big Y supermarket has a great muffin section -- big ol' bran muffins, chocolate chocolate-chip muffins, and ... wait for it ... Boston Cream Muffins. Big, giant, Boston Cream Muffins. They're hard to resist. But my wallet and my wastline need me to resist them. So we're implementing the very useful "Make it Yourself" rule -- if you make the food yourself, you will naturally eat more "real" food and portion-control the "not food", because "not food" is super annoying to make yourself. E.g. Apples are real food, and are really easy to "make" -- just pick them up and eat them. Home-made oreos, on the other hand, are kind of a pain to make -- the cookie dough, you gotta cut or roll the cookies really small, bake them and don't burn them, mix the filling, spread the filling, etc. Not hard, it just takes a long time. And while home-made oreos are technically "real food", since they're made with real ingredients, they're not all that good for you. But they're such a pain to make, I'm not going to make them very often. Hence, built-in portion control.

Cue Boston Cream Muffins. Now a quick internet search informed me that there is no such thing as a boston cream muffin, that they are actually cupcakes. And I'll admit, my rule is usually No Frosting = muffin, Frosting = cupcake. So the chocolate topping makes these cupcakes -- fine.

After that, the internet was super disappointing. All the recipes (except Martha) called for Cake Mix from a box, and Instant Vanilla Pudding. If I wanted this to be easy ... I would just buy the muffin from Big Y. So we did some mixing-and-matching.

Cupcakes, from Sally's Baking Addiction

Vanilla Cream Filling, from Martha Stewart

Chocolate Ganache, from Food Network

Side-Note -- since Daylight Savings Time ended last week, any sort of afternoon cooking is now done in the dark. Please excuse the bad lighting.

Vanilla Cream
You may end up needing more than these original measurements (see Finishing below), probably doubled for a 24-cupcake batch.

2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Separate eggs, and set aside whites (yummy breakfast for tomorrow!). Whisk yolks until smooth.

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Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.

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Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

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I love cooking that turns into chemistry totally amazes me. And if high school chemistry had been this yummy, I probably would have done better.

Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl.

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Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

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These were yummy, but they did not come out of the silicone muffin cups easily. Also I reduced the recipe to make only 12 cupcakes, and the batter ended up making 19. So ... not sure what to tell you. These are original measurements, which the original author says makes 16. Maybe they're 16 really BIG cupcakes. I'd say this would make 24 normal-sized cupcakes, which means you'd probably need more cream-filling than the recipe above.

2  1/3 cups (292g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons (180g) unsalted butter, softened too room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature and separated
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) whole milk

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

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Beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes until creamed together fairly well.

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Separate eggs. Add yolks and the vanilla to butter mixture. Beat on medium-high speed until combined.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and milk (alternate adding flour and adding milk 3 times).

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Whisk or beat the egg whites until thick and foamy, about 3 minutes. Fold into cupcake batter.

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Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling 1/2 - 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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Chocolate Ganache
These are the original amounts, which made WAY too much ganache for 19 cupcakes. I'd cut this in half for a normal 24-cupcake batch.

1 cup heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels

Heat cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges.

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Remove from heat, add chocolate morsels to pan, and whisk until smooth.

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Spoon or drizzle glaze over cupcakes, or dunk the tops into the glaze (do this AFTER you put the cream into the cupcakes, below).

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Here's what I did, and here's how it didn't quite work.

Spoon vanilla cream into a frosting bag with a long tip.

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Insert tip into cupcake and squeeze filling into cupcake.

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**Here's what I did wrong. I didn't put ENOUGH filling into each cupcake. I ended up putting 5 or 6 small squeezes into each cupcake, and it either wasn't enough to taste it, or the cream was absorbed into the cake. It really didn't feel like a good mouthful of cream ... that's what she said.

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Next time I think I will actually cut a hunk of cake out of the center of the cupcake and fill it will cream -- that way I can see how much is getting in there.

That being said, they were still pretty good. I mean, it's cake and frosting, and when you pretend it's a muffin, you can have it at 10am with a cup of coffee. That's heaven in my book.

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