Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes

Alright, I'm at it again. Quirky Cupcake has a monthly food event called Cupcake Hero. So every month there's a new theme. This month it's cranberry! Cranberries are actually on my list of fruit that's not too bad. How could I dislike a fruit that the way they figure out the best of the best is by bouncing it?

"At Ocean Spray we take a lot of pride in our cranberries. Only the best make it into our products. But how does one judge a cranberry? Well, we start by judging their color, size and freshness. And, surprisingly enough, by their ability to bounce. That's right. Bounce. You see, an early New Jersey grower, John "Peg-Leg" Webb, first noted this special property of the cranberry. Because of his wooden leg, he couldn't carry his berries down from the loft of his barn where he stored them. Instead, he'd pour them down the steps. He soon noticed that only the firmest and freshest berries bounced down to the bottom; the soft and bruised ones didn't make it. This led to the development of the first cranberry bounce board separator, a device we still use today, to remove damaged or sub-standard berries."

I didn't want to do your standard spice cake type cupcake, and I didn't want to just add dried cranberries to some average cupcake recipe. So I went fancy. The cupcake is chocolate Chambord cake with a cranberry puree filling and frosted with a chocolate ganache. It's rich. It's decadent. It is not the cupcake to eat at 7 o'clock in the morning. The ladies at Catholic Charities who were the happy recipients of a dozen of them gushed. The Brain was annoyed that I left with a dozen and didn't bring them into the office. These are cupcakes that are best served as dessert for dinner with a strong cup of coffee.

Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter room temperature
6 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp Chambord
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. Stir chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, Chambord, and vanilla. Stir in cooled chocolate. Add flour and salt; stir to blend. Using clean dry beater, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Fill cupcakes papers 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. The centers of the cupcakes will fall while cooling.

Cranberry puree filling

1 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp Chambord

Bring cranberries water and sugar to a boil in saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; cook until cranberries burst, about 5 minutes. Transfer to blender; puree. Strain puree into bowl; discard seeds. Mix in Chambord. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight (sauce will thicken some).

Chocolate Ganache

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 Tbsp butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, room temperature
2/3 cup whipping cream

Place chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl. Bring cream to boil in small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture; stir until mixture is melted and smooth.

To Assemble:

Once the cupcakes are cooled, fill a squirt bottle with cranberry puree. Insert tip of squirt bottle into center of cupcake and squeeze in about a teaspoon of puree. Spoon frosting into divot in center of cupcake and let cupcakes sit for 30 minutes to let ganache set.

1 comment:

Zylo said...

Oh, oh you're pure evil. This is just too much to take! I wants them.

Oh yeah. I can't buy fancy chocolate where I'm from either. They have some at Walmart, but the ones I bought on my blog were from my Mom's neck of the woods where they have Whole Foods and World Market.