Dark Chocolate and Caramelized White Chocolate Cupcakes

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I found a solution to my too-much-chocolate-in-the-pantry problem with these little beauties. I was looking for a recipe that contained white chocolate, when I stumbled on my new favourite food blog, Love and Olive Oil. It is beautiful and creative and makes me feel so completely unworthy. I am envious of people with beautiful food blogs who come up with the most amazing recipes. Like caramelizing white chocolate. I would have never thought to do that. If it weren’t for the internet, I would never make anything other than chocolate chip cookies. Thank goodness for the internet.

I wanted to make something pretty and sweet to bring over to a pregnant friend’s for a hostess present. I think these fit the bill. The caramelized white chocolate is really good. I’ve never been a huge fan of white chocolate – I believe “tooth-achingly sweet” is how it’s described, but the roasting creates a new, more complex flavour. A little bit darker, closer to caramel. The caramelized white chocolate ganache buttercream frosting is pretty much something else. I think I came close to diabetic shock as I continuously tasted this throughout the day. The recipe is work intensive – the chocolate has to be stirred and spread every ten minutes for over an hour – but if you have the time, a very solid, tasty experience.

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Dark Chocolate and Caramelized White Chocolate Cupcakes      

3/4 cup whole milk

1/3 cup canola oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup dark or dutch process cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

8 ounces good quality white chocolate, finely chopped (look for cocoa butter as the first ingredient)

1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in milk mixture. Stir just until smooth (do not overmix).

Pour into liners, filling each with about 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (10 to 12 minutes for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Reduce oven to 225 degrees F. Spread chopped white chocolate onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and stir/smooth with a rubber spatula, spreading it back into an even layer. Bake for another 10 minutes, then stir/smooth again. Continue to bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 60 to 90 minutes or until butterscotch in color. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl.

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Gently warm 1/3 cup cream in a small saucepan or the microwave until about 100-120 degrees F or just warm to the touch. Add to caramelized chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly to room temperature.

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Cut a cone-shaped piece out of the tops of cooled cupcakes, approximately 3/4″ in diameter and set aside. Fill cavities with 1 to 2 teaspoons of white chocolate ganache, or just enough to come within 1/4-inch of the edge. Pinch off bottom pointed ends of cut pieces (baker’s treat!) and then invert and replace on top of each cupcake. You should still have about 1/2 cup of ganache left.

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In a bowl, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup of white chocolate ganache until smooth. Add remaining sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Depending on the temperature of your butter and the room around you, you may need more sugar or heavy cream to achieve the proper consistency. Add sugar/cream as needed and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes, being sure to cover the seams.

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Word of the day:

Eidolon: a phantom, apparition; an ideal

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