Monthly Archives: October 2012

Brainchild of Halloween

I feel like I’ve been having the greatest kind of days. You too? Nice.

Each day deviated from the original plans. I met one of my closest friends the other day,with the intention of being all big-girl-like and having a fancy dinner followed by drinks at a swanky new joint. Only thing is we made it to the most cliche old-school dinner place in town (the kind that used to be cool when your mom was your age), cheap manicures, flea markets and a much-deserved foot massage. Oh, and those drinks? Swapped it with bubble tea instead.

And yesterday was meant to be productive, only thing is I spent it watching Harry Potter and baking cupcakes. But it was pretty awesome. And today, the beach was on the agenda, but after a late night of dancing, I think it’s going to be more Harry Potter and eating cupcakes. Probably a horror movie thrown in somewhere all in the spirit of Halloween.

My point is, no matter how you plan things, anticipate the scenarios, draw up a five-year route you’re going to take,it’s really rather amazing to go along with a bit of hope that someone’s got a plan you never thought of, but brings you along anyway. I used to get panicky every time I felt the pressure to come up with something, like I needed to conjure a well-thought of road map, with all my back up plans in place. Plus, the hazard that comes with the work I do requires I think of the worst case scenario in every scenario. But the greatest thing comes when you see that it’s okay to not have a plan, or have a plan different from what people expect you to have. I can deal with different.

I can deal with dancing to the music inside my head. I can deal with laughing at things people don’t find that funny. I can deal with eating ice cream for dinner. I can deal with picnics in the living room. And the best thing is, he can deal with me.

To get started, let’s not make pretty cupcakes. Let’s go all cool and CSI-like. Let’s go with brains.

Brain Cupcakes (Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream)

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes (adapted from The Crabapple Bakery Cookbook)

3 tbsp instant coffee granules
3/4 cup hot water
250g butter, unsalted
300g dark chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups GF flour blend
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder

1) Preheat oven to 160°C. Line three 12-hole cupcake tins with cupcake cases.

2) Dissolve coffee in hot water. Put the butter, chocolate and coffee into a metal bowl, set over a bain marie, and stir gently until butter and chocolate are thoroughly melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and buttermilk until combined. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cocoa together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg mixture and mix until well combined. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until homogenous.

4) Divide evenly between the 28 cupcake cases and bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To Frost:

1) Fit a piping bag with a 6 or 8 mm round piping tip. Fill bag with the buttercream.

2) To get the design, pipe 2 straight lines down the centre of the cupcakefollowed by a repeated swirl on either sides. For the ‘blood’, the consistency of lightly warmed cherry/raspberry jam works well. Ensure the jam has NO seeds.

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Filed under Chocolate, Cupcakes, Events, Frostings, Inspired, Recipes

So, You Want to Touch My Ganache?

I’ve been having a disappointing run with the shops. It’s almost as if the universe is conspiring with my wallet to stop me from buying things. I mean, what’s up with 4 hours of shopping and not buying anything?

I know…failure.

But maybe it’s the universe’s way of saying “don’t give up”.

The late nights, frustrated phone calls, missed gym sessions have clearly taken a toll; as my shopping craving rightfully points out. Let’s throw in the seasonal insomnia,uninspired outfits and constant migraines, and I’m a whine bomb.

Still I persevere, whether it’s for that dress, or maybe just to make my way to December. In this case, even after ‘knowing’ the right way of making ganache, trying this new version has just made it all worth it. Worth the extra steps, worth the unsettled feelings I’ve had towards other ganache recipes and worth taking that chance.

The things worth doing are never easy.

Silky  Chocolate Ganache (adapted from Miette)

10 ounces chocolate, 60% or darker, chopped
2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1) Combine chocolate and powdered sugar in a heatproof bowl

2) In  a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a gentle simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Nest the bowl over a pain of simmering water to create a bain marie. Heat, stirring, until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from heat.

3) Whisk the egg yolks in a small heatproof bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate mixture into the yolks while whisking, to temper them. Pour the tempered mixture back into the pan of chocolate and whisk to combine. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Pour the hot ganache through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean heatproof bowl.

4) Use the ganache immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Ganache does not freeze well.

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