Friday, March 4, 2011

Birthday Tradition

The Hubster recently had a birthday, and we have begun a tradition here in Chez Flourpile: I send him to work on his birthday with cupcakes to share with his coworkers.  He likes it, I like doing it, and his coworkers certainly seem to enjoy it, if the absence of leftovers is any indication. 

This year I sifted through cupcake recipes I had seen on various blogs, or in cookbooks or magazines, and found an idea that was just crazy enough to make the Hubster happy: The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Lover Cupcake.  This baby is a devil's food cupcake, with chocolate chip cookie dough frosting, and a chunk of chocolate chip cookie dough in the center.  Here is a mediocre picture of the center of one, minus the frosting:

I got the original idea, and the recipe for the frosting here.  As the original source says, you can make this as homemade as you would like/have time to.  You can do a mix for the cake, premade dough for the center, and there's even a way to make the frosting out of canned frosting.  Since I'm of a baking challenge junky, I made everything from scratch.  I got the recipes for the cake and the cookie dough from America's Test Kitchen "Family Baking Book".  (by the way, the recipe for the cookies is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  it's fantastic.)  The frosting recipe I took from the original source listed above.  I'll give you all of the recipes that I used.

I do have a few notes about these puppies.  First, for the cookie dough, I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips, because that's what I normally have in the house.  They taste great, but they are kind of wide, and since the balls of dough have to be pretty small, I had to make sure that there was at least a chip in each ball.  I wouldn't say go as small as mini chocolate chips,  but if you are buying chips for this, buy some that are a little on the smaller side.  In the frosting, I thought a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips on top would be really cute, but in order to get them to stick I had to sort of press them into the frosting.  Not a big deal, but I think next time I do these, I will mix the mini chips into the frosting before I pipe it on.  Also, I think maybe my frosting could have been a little looser.  It was a little bit hard to pipe on, but not so much that I wanted to add more liquid. 

On to the recipes!!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies
For the cupcakes, you will need one inch balls of dough.  This recipe will make plenty for that, plus about a dozen and a half regular sized cookies.  Make the whole recipe. Keep the left overs in the freezer (scoop them into balls first). You won't be sorry.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
(fp note: i can't leave well enough alone and just put in chocolate chips.  i almost always add whatever extra goodies i have in my pantry, like white chocolate chips, toffee bits, etc.)

  1. Adjust and oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. (fp note: ignore that last sentence if you are making the cookie dough to go in the cupcakes, but pay attention to it if you are just making the cookies on their own.)  Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed. 
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.  Mix in the chips until incorporated.*
  4. Working with the 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the center and still soft and puffy, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
*At this point, if you are using the dough for the cupcakes, roll them into 1-inch balls and set aside for the cupcakes.  I used a melon baller for the scooping, then rolled them in my hands to make them round.  I also made them the night before and just put them in the fridge.  Worked like a charm.

Devil's Food Cupcakes
This makes 3 8-inch rounds, or about 28 cupcakes with the cookie center

Note: For an accurate measurement of boiling water, bring a full kettle of water to a boil, then measure out the desired amount.

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water (see note above)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners (you may need a few more, but I don't know anyone that owns more than 2 standard cupcake pans).  Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk the boiling water, chocolate, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, and instant espresso together until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on a medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until incorporated.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half the chocolate mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining chocolate mixture.  Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.
  4. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined.  

Fill paper-lined cupcake tins about 1/2 full with batter.  Add a ball of cookie dough, and press down slightly.  Add a little bit of cake batter on top.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until the tops are set.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cookie Dough Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar. Sift in flour and salt and mix until combined. Add in milk and vanilla until frosting is smooth.  If you want to, mix in the mini chocolate chips. 

Pipe or spread onto cupcakes, and ENJOY!

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