Ultimate Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

I enjoy baking.  I enjoy baking anything chocolate.  I saw this recipe and had to give it a try.  I am on an America’s Test Kitchen kick so it is no surprise this is where I found this recipe.  These cupcakes were rich, decadent and delicious.  My only problem was the ganache sunk to the bottom.  If the ganache sets too much (somewhat solid) it will sink to the bottom of the cupcake.  Next time I will leave in the refrigerator 20 instead of 30 minutes.  Other than that they were awesome!  Eric and Martin2 loved them (and so did I).  If you love chocolate you will love these cupcakes!  This recipe was somewhat simple but extremely delicious!

Ultimate Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

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Ingredients

Ganache Filling

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Bar)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Chocolate Cupcakes

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. GANACHE FILLING: Place chocolate, cream, and confectioners’ sugar in medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high power until mixture is warm to touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth; transfer bowl to refrigerator and let stand until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes. (20 minutes would be better)
2. CUPCAKES: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes.(19 minutes, exactly!)  Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
5. FROST: Mound 2 to 3 tablespoons frosting on center of each cupcake. Using small icing spatula or butter knife, spread frosting to edge of cupcake, leaving slight mound in center. ( I made a Chocolate Cream Frosting. Guess where I got the recipe.)

Chocolate Cream Frosting (This frosting is incredibly creamy!)

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Ingredients

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2large egg whites
Pinch table salt
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-Tablespoon pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (Again I used the Ghiaradelli Bittersweet Chocolate)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer; place bowl over pan of simmering water. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Place bowl in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter.) Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds, scraping beater and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

I really enjoy Antipasto.  I saw this recipe and thought it was a great spin to an Antipasto ‘salad’.  It is extremely flavorful and I think you will love it.  As you can tell in my last few posts I am on an America’s Test Kitchen kick.  This is a variation of their recipe.  I changed this one up a little.  Of course, Simple and Delicious!

Antipasto Pasta Salad

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8 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into 1/4-inch strip (I used 4 ounces)
8 ounces sopresatta or salami, halved and cut into 1/4-inch strips (yep, 4 ounces salami)
10 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used 5 Tablespoons red wine, 5 Tablespoons Balsamic)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, 3 Tablespoons Herb flavored Olive Oil)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1jar pepperoncini (12-ounce), drained, (2 tablespoons juice reserved), stemmed, and chopped coarse
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 pound fusilli or campanelle
1 pound white mushrooms, quartered (No mushrooms for this chickie)
1 cup shredded provolone cheese, aged (I cut into 1/4 inch strips, did not shred)
12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and chopped coarse
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1 cup chopped fresh basil (sadly only had a 1/2 cup) 

Directions

1.  Place one paper towel on microwave-safe plate. Arrange pepperoni in single layer on paper towel. Cover with another paper towel and layer salami on towel. Top with another paper towel and microwave on highest power until meat begins to render fat, about 1 minute. Set meat aside. (This worked great in getting rid of fat.)
2.  Whisk 5 tablespoons vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, pepperoncini juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl.  Friday 053113 003
3.  Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, return to pot, and toss with 1/2 cup dressing and remaining vinegar. Adjust seasonings, spread dressed pasta on rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (This helped to cool down the pasta much faster.)
4.  (I totally skipped #4.  No mushrooms for me!) Meanwhile, bring remaining dressing to simmer in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool.
5.  Add meat, provolone, roasted red peppers, chopped pepperoncini, Friday 053113 004basil, and cooled pasta, toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. Salad can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

 

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

I am always looking to find a different pizza dough recipe.  Martin suggested I try to find a thin crust recipe.  I found this one on America’s Test Kitchen.  Everyone really likes this crust so I will be making this one for a few weeks.  I have used all purpose flour, bread flour and 00 flour.  I think they all work great in this recipe.  The next pizza dough I will attempt is a Chicago Crust.  Look for that recipe in the next couple of weeks.   This Thin Crust recipe is super Simple and extremely Delicious!

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

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Ingredients

3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more for work surface
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work service
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Directions

1.  In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes. (The food processor works great mixing this dough.)

2.  Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of work bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled counter top until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.  (I place in a 1 gallon plastic storage bag.)

3.  One hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to second highest position (rack should be about 4 to 5 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Shape each half into smooth, tight ball. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray; let stand for 1 hour.

4.  Coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on well-floured counter top. Using fingertips, gently flatten into 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. Using hands, gently stretch disk into 12-inch round, working along edges and giving disk quarter turns as you stretch. Transfer dough to well-floured peel (I line with parchment paper.  No more sticking to peel for me!)  and stretch into 13-inch round.

5.  Using back of spoon or ladle, spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella. Slide pizza carefully onto stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through. Remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat step 5 to shape, top, and bake second pizza Memorial Monday 052713 006