Our Fourth of July celebration went off without a hitch, and I'm pleased to say that the food was a hit, our guests had fun, and the fireworks were gorgeous, as usual! (This is going to go a bit backwards, as you'll see)
Skylar and I had fun with some sparklers once the fireworks show was over
But I swear, no matter how many sparklers I have, I always want more. I think they're so cool! Wait, this is a food and cooking blog... no, I didn't cook on sparklers (though that would be amazing!) Adam and I decided early in the week that we'd make a feast for our friends on the 4th, and if we had lots of leftovers, great for us! So our menu included:
- Chili con Carne y Frijoles with all the fixings
- Grilled hot dogs (97% Fat Free Hebrew National ones)
- Grilled hamburgers
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Chips and guacamole
- Homemade Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
You've all seen the chili before. You've also all seen hot dogs and hamburgers before. I did get some exceptionally beautiful tomatoes to top our burgers.
The marshmallows were by far the best I've made to date!
However, I've never made a macaroni and cheese like I did yesterday, nor have I made the cupcakes I made before, so you'll be privy to both of those recipes. As usual, my cooking took its own form, whereas I followed recipes for the baking excursion. You're going to have to be patient though, since today you're only going to get the cupcake recipe!
My thought process was this: I didn't want a typical red, white, and blue dessert, and I didn't want to do anything with food dye. So, I thought about desserts that were "All American". Apple pie-type cupckakes were a thought at first, but I didn't want to deal with making pie crust in the heat (it was 90*F yesterday!) Then, it hit me. What's more American than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?
I opted to make rich chocolate cupcakes filled with whipped peanut butter filling and a whipped chocolate ganache icing. I use this word cautiously... they were EPIC cupcakes.
Super Rich Peanut Butter-filled Chocolate Cupcakes
with Whipped Ganache Frosting
From Chockylit at CupcakeBlog
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
* 5.4 ounces dark chocolate or 3/4 of a 200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cocao
* 22 tablespoons butter (yes, nearly three sticks of butter!)
* 1-3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
* 6 eggs
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
* 4-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
*1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* pinch of salt
1. Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath.
2. Add sugar and stir, let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
3. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
4. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each
5. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
6. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Peanut Butter Filling
Originally called for 4 oz. cream cheese, but I didn't have any, so I improvised.
* 1-1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
* 1 c. powdered sugar
* 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
* 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Beat the peanut butter and butter together in an electric mixer.
2. Gently stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar until well-combined and the mixture is light in color and fluffy.
3. Set aside
* 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
* 5 ounces semisweet chocolate
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
*1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
* 2 cups powdered sugar
1. Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add butter and vanilla and stir until combined.
5. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
6. Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined.
7. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.
1. Using a paring knife, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake to form a cavity. Reserve the cone-shaped cake.
2. Fill each cavity with the peanut butter filling.
3. Replace the cone on top of the filling.
4. Pipe the whipped ganache on top of each cupcake and decorate as desired.
These decadent cupcakes do need to be refrigerated so they don't spoil, but they HAVE to be brought back to room temperature before eating. While the icing will soften slightly in a few minutes, they're at their best about 15 to 20 minutes outside of the fridge. I did have quite a bit of filling left over, so I'm thinking it'll go in the freezer for future whoopie-pie-making.
Tomorrow will be macaroni and cheese day, but first, the winner of the Wanchai Ferry meal and tea giveaway (not many people entered) was Wei-Wei of Comment #6! Send me an email with your mailing address, and I'll forward it to your benefactor.
Enjoy this hot summer day, wherever you may be!