Sunday, January 31, 2010

Irish Car Bombs: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes

We have returned from our third annual ski trip. Three years ago was my first time strapping on skis, and defying everyone’s expectations – I loved it! I made my way through the green circles and enjoyed almost every minute! Last year, skiing in sub-zero temperatures, I accomplished my goal of skiing on the blue squares, and actually completed every blue trail at the resort. My 2010 goal: Black Diamond. I am pleased to report that I can now check that box. Sandwiched between my brother-in-law paving the way ahead of me, and my husband trailing behind me, I made it down a few times without any major spills, and all in one piece. The other skiers on that trail could certainly tell that I didn’t belong in their league, but with a proud grin I was the one pumping my fists at the bottom of the hill!

We had a great time with my sister and brother-in-law, and while we had some good food for most of the weekend, I had undoubtedly the worst pizza in my life last night for dinner. Seriously, how do you mess up pizza? (And I only ordered it after the waitress unwaveringly recommended it!) We made it back home today with time for me to make some warm Cioppino and a post-birthday treat for my husband to take to work tomorrow. Remember the days of bringing cupcakes to school for your birthday? This is the adult version.

While I’ve never had one myself, I’ve seen plenty of Irish Car Bombs enjoyed by others. It’s a drink where Irish whiskey is floated on the top of Irish Cream in a shot class and then dropped directly into a pint glass of stout. The drink is then consumed immediately before the ingredients curdle.

These cupcakes use the ingredients of an Irish Car Bomb, and are extremely delicious! I made these cupcakes last summer and sent them to work with my husband before we consumed them entirely ourselves. There were a huge hit at his office, and I received requests to share the recipe and send more! The Guinness gets baked out, but the Bailey’s and Whiskey do not. If you’re serving for people who cannot/do not consume alcohol, you can omit the Whiskey from the ganache and substitute milk or heavy cream for the Bailey’s. You can simply spread the frosting on the top of the cupcakes, or you can use a star tip with a piping bag to create a fun design. These are rich enough as is, but you can also decorate with colored sugar/sprinkles, or chocolate shavings.

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes
For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

Bailey’s Frosting: (you may want to double this)
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (Kate uses a plastic bag with the corner snipped off)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and ¾ teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to ¾ of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes.

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, SUPER cool! I will have to bookmark this page for when I gorge myself on desserts after the babies finally come.

    (Side note: Gestational diabetes is the devil.)