Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

(from Cooks Illustrated, “American Classics 2009”)
(makes 12 cupcakes; do not double recipe…make two separate batches if you need more)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz-by weight) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to touch.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl to combine
  4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined; then sift in remaining flour mixture and whisk batter until it is homogeneous and thick.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
  6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
Review: I was sort of hesitant at first to put the whole 1/2 cup of cocoa powder into the mix because of how bitter bakers chocolate can be, so I tasted it after adding it to the eggs (yes I know I could get salmonella, but how else are you going to know if the batter needs some more sugar before you bake it?).  The batter was DELICIOUS; not really a word I throw out there often when it comes to baked goods, I could have licked my utensils clean after I was done!  This recipe doesn't rise much and bakes flat which is great for decorating.  The one down point I do have is that it did take longer to bake than the recipe stated (22 minutes vs the 20 max it states) but it could be due to my elevation and humidity level.  All in all its a great recipe that I'm sure I'll repeat.

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