Solution: Cupcakes! Before you freak, I'm not loading cupcakes up with enough green dye to color a desert. That's gross. There's also no way that is good for your body. A little bit of green goes a long way. I figured a few green sugar crystals on top would do nicely. While I was at it, why not make a four leaf clover out of sugar crystals on top of the cupcake?
Frosting: I've had both chocolate and cream cheese varieties. Both are tasty. Since I wanted the clovers to be apparent, I decided to stick with a cream cheese/whipped cream frosting.
Cake: I've had Mel's chocolate stout cake and Bon Appetit's too. I like them both. For this recipe, I adapted Bon Appetit's cake recipe.
Four-Leaf Clover: I initially thought I'd try to make a design using aluminum foil. In my weekly talk with my mamaw, I shared my plan to put a clover on top of the cupcake. She replied that she used to do designs on cupcakes for us kids using wax paper and asked if I was planning to use wax paper. Cue a head slap moment. Wax paper would be much more flexible and slightly translucent. I thanked her and admitted all I'd thought about was aluminum foil. She was pleased to help and I was pleased to have the benefit of her experience.
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes (inspired by Bon Appetit and Mel)
Servings: 10-12 cupcakes
double boiler (optional: can substitute a small pot and a medium sized heat resistant bowl)
2 mixing bowls (3 mixing bowls will make your life easier.)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
7 Tbsp unsalted butter (If you use salted, cut the salt in half.)
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 c. chocolate stout, regular stout, porter, or even chocolate soda
1/3 c. freshly brewed strong coffee
1/2 c. whipping cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (Can use salted, I just prefer less salt in my life.)
2 oz (1/4 bar) of cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
green sugar crystals
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 12 cup muffin tin. (To make this easy on yourself, I suggest Baker's Joy cooking spray.)
2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Melt chocolate in a bowl over the hot water or in a double boiler. After 1 minute, start stirring the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.
3. Stir or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, add butter and the sugar (minus 2 Tbsp of sugar) to the bowl and beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer. Add eggs yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate, then stout and coffee.
5. Add chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and beat for about 30-45 seconds until just mixed together.
6. Clean and dry the beaters. Beat egg whites and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar in a small bowl until stiff peaks are achieved. Fold the eggs whites into the cake batter, 1/3 at a time. Divide the batter into the muffins pan filling each muffin container about 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tester comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack. Then remove them from the pan and cool completely.
8. Frosting: In a small to medium bowl, beat the whipping cream until it has stiff peaks.
9. In a separate medium sized bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until the mixture is smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat slowly at first, then increase speed gradually. Beat until well incorporated.
10. While the cake cools, trace the border of the muffin pan multiple times onto a piece of wax paper. If you can draw well, free hand four leaf clover onto the wax paper. If drawing isn't your gig, print a small four leaf clover from the internet or download my design here. (This is soon to be added. I misplaced the one I used but will find it in the next couple of days.)
11. Cut out the clover carefully. Then cut out the circle from the rest of the wax paper
12. Frost the cupcakes with the frosting you prepared. Then gently sit the wax paper cut out on the iced cupcake. Sprinkle the green sugar crystals into the clover hole. Lift the wax paper off the cupcake carefully and repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
Some people couldn't tell the difference between these and typical chocolate cake. I could taste the difference but I'm not the biggest chocolate cake girl and the change in flavor made the cupcakes more appealing to me. I know, blasphemy. For chocoholics, you could add 1/3 c. of semi sweet chips to the cake mixture. Further, you can substitute milk or chocolate milk for the stout component. The flavor will not be same but they will still be tasty. We had some leftover that were quickly devoured by a few coworkers the next day.
Timing Note: If you choose to make these as part of a cooking night, prepare the cupcakes as you are starting the vegetables. Have someone beat up the frosting while they bake. Let the cupcakes cool while you eat the main meal. As food digests, you'll have plenty of time to ice the cupcakes.
|Hungry for more? Stay tuned for our Irish dessert next week.|