Monday, February 14, 2011
My sweet boy is giving out Valentines at school this year for the first time. Considering he's 2 and a half, however, I'm the one who did all the fun stuff: choosing, buying and filling them out. He would have loved to do all the "writing" himself, but I thought it might be nice if his friends knew who those Lightning McQueen cards were from! There are only about 12 kids in his class, which means we ended up with lots of leftovers. While I could have saved them for next year I decided that we'd give them out to neighbors and cousins instead, along with a pretty package of these dark chocolate, Snickers-filled, ganache and coffee-frosting topped cupcakes.
Now that you've read the full description of these treats I think you can understand why I decided to call them Super-Indulgent Valentine's Day Cupcakes. But if there's a day of the year when we're allowed to indulge ourselves it's Valentine's Day, right? Okay, okay. There's also Thanksgiving and Christmas, but those two days are a loooong time away. You have plenty of months in between then and now to work off these chocolate bombs. And besides, if they're this smile-inducing how can you turn them down? (I might be his Mama, but gosh he's a cutie...)
I used a box cake mix for my cupcakes, but you can substitute that for your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. I filled my cupcakes with Snickers minis, but you can substitute your favorite candy: Rolos, Kisses and even chunks of Toblerone would be great. The ganache recipe is from Ina Garten, and the coffee frosting is from America's Test Kitchen. And they are both absolutely fabulous, especially the frosting. I don't even like coffee-flavored desserts, but Brad caught me licking the frosting bowl clean!
A few tips and tricks:
* Put one scoop of batter into your cupcake liner. Drop in the candy, but don't push it to the bottom. Then put another scoop of batter on top. Bake like normal.
* Cool your cupcakes completely before you dip them in ganache.
* The frosting recipe I used is supposed to frost 12 cupcakes, but that's probably if you use a knife. If you pipe the frosting on like I did you're likely to only have enough frosting for 8 cupcakes so be prepared to make more than one recipe. That means you need to set out plenty of butter to come to room temperature or you'll be doing the waiting dance.
* I left a few cupcakes topped only with ganache and sprinkled them while still wet.
* My sprinkles came from the Valentine's Day aisle at Michael's.
* You can find the ganache recipe at Food Network.
* My inspiration for these cupcakes came from Inside BruCrew Life.
Coffee-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Makes enough for about eight cupcakes, piped on
10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
1. Beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.
2. Add sugar and salt and beat on low speed until sugar is moist, about a minute. Scrape down sides and beat at medium speed until fully combined.
3. In a small bowl combine vanilla, cream and instant coffee. Stir until coffee is dissolved.
4. Add wet ingredients to sugar mixture and beat on medium for about 10 seconds. Scrape down sides then increase speed to medium-high and beat about four minutes, until frosting is light and fluffy.
Happy Valentine's Day! Check out these other great ideas:
The Girl Creative
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Mad in Crafts
The DIY Showoff
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