Monday, October 4, 2010

Oktoberfest and Old Friends

And old high school friend invited me to an Oktoberfest party on Saturday, and was stoked to catch up! I can't believe we've lived here for almost a year and haven't seen Dan and Kelly yet. I didn't take pictures at the party because, well, we barely knew anyone. However, I did photography my contribution to the German-themed dinner: German chocolate cupcakes!

I made these a while ago with my mother- and sister-in-law, but never posted the recipe.  Here is is, courtesy of the culinary genius David Lebovitz:

For the cupcakes

2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup boiling water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1. Preheat the open to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. (I made 20 mini cupcakes and 6 regular cupcakes with this recipe).

2. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate, and stir until melted. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the egg yolks and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Then mix in the vanilla and the melted chocolate.

5. Whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.

6. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the two egg whites until stiff, then fold one-third of them in to the chocolate batter, then the rest. Fold just into there are no streaks of white remaining, but don’t overfold.

7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes, until the batter feels just set in the center. Remove from the oven, then let cool for a few minutes.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

For the German chocolate frosting

3/4 cup 2% or whole milk evaporated milk
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Whisk together the evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, and salt in a medium saucepan.

2. Add the butter, then cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula over medium heat, like a custard, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spatula. Do not let boil.

3. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the chocolate, stirring gently until melted. Then stir in the coconut, pecans, and vanilla. (If using unsweetened coconut, you can add an additional teaspoon of brown sugar if it’s not sweet enough, to your taste.)

4. Let cool to room temperature, then use the frosting to ice the cupcakes, topping the cupcakes with a bit of toasted coconut as a garnish after you ice them, if you wish.

I topped mine with some extra pecans and coconut. These were even better the second time around! I definitely recommend the mini-cupcakes. To me, cupcakes are just vehicles for frosting, and this frosting is amazing. You can heap the minis with extra frosting and still get it in your mouth without making a mess :o)

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