Friday, February 10, 2006

Ooey gooey cupcakes (in a good way)

When I saw Ina Garten make these on her Food Network show last weekend, I was shocked--not because the recipe only uses one stick of butter (if you've ever seen the Barefoot Contessa, you KNOW she likes her butter and cream), but because it uses an entire can of Hershey's syrup. And not only that, but no other chocolate is used in the recipe. I wouldn't have thought the chichi grocery stores Ina peruses would even carry Hershey's syrup!

Anyway, the cupcakes looked easy to make and the final product looked quite yummy, so I thought I'd give them a try. Love her or hate her, Ina Garten makes a fabulous dessert. Her 'Outrageous Brownies' (elsewhere on this blog) are the best brownies I've ever tasted (and that has been backed up by nearly everyone I've ever served them to) and her recipes for banana muffins and coconut cupcakes (I'll have to post those sometime soon) are similarly extraordinary (though not for the faint of heart).

As expected, the recipe WAS easy as pie to whip up--and the end result were some of the moistest, most delicious chocolate cupcakes I've ever made.

Although I love the ganache frosting, I may try a whipped ganache next time. The cupcakes are very small and flat, and it would nice to perk them up a bit with a "taller" topping. Still, you can't get much simpler than ganache. I say go with whatever trips your trigger :)

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup (recommended: Hershey's)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the ganache:
½ cup heavy cream
8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
Candy sprinkles, miniature chocolate chips, etc. for decoration (optional)

Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners (note: the recipe will make about 18 regular-sized muffins). Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly in the pan.

For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache. Decorate with candy or chocolate chips, if desired.

Note: The yummy photo at the top of this page was taken by baker and photographer extraordinaire Patrick S. (a frequent visitor to the eGullet forums).