All of us know that there are two cooking/baking modes. There’s the organized, plan-the-menu, write-it-down and go to the market before I cook one, and then there’s the “let me see what’s in the pantry and what I can do with that” one. Today’s baking project was of the second kind. I knew I had chocolate in the pantry, so cupcakes it was. Only half-way did I realize that it was a stupid idea: I gave up chocolate for Lent. Talk about torture, but oh well. The original recipe is from Dorie Greenspan, published in Epicurious. My variation is in the kinds of chocolate used (If you know me, you know I am a darkest of darks chocolate girl). So, for those of you who can eat them,
- 3/4 of a stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375º F
- Butter or spray a 12-slot cupcake mold. The original recipe says to put the cupcake pan on top of a baking pan. I don’t and it makes no difference.
- Melt the 70% chocolate and the butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (known in the Spanish-speaking world as baño María method). Remove from heat. Alternatively, melt in the microwave. I do this and it works fine: About 2 to 3 minutes over 50% power (do not use full power of your chocolate will melt and burn).
- In a large bowl, or in your electric stand mixer bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa (sifting it so it’s not clumpy), baking soda, baking powder and salt. The one tablespoon of baking powder may seem like a lot, but trust me, it’s fine. Mix well.
- In another, smaller bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract.
- Pour the liquid ingredients onto the dry ones, alternating them with the chocolate-butter melted mixture.
- Mix gently. If using an electric mixer, use it in the lowest setting possible. Better to have clumpy mix, than a liquid, over-mixed one.
- Add, and gently stir in, the 60% chocolate.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
- Let them cool slightly (say 10-15 mins) before removing from the pan.
Yield: I never get exactly 12 cupcakes. I usually get about 14, or, in my usual measurement, 12 cupcakes and one of my small heart-shaped Crate&Barrel molds.
Note: Once they are completely cool and ready to serve, I like to sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top of them. I don’t use frosting on these because I think they work well like this and frosting them would make them too sweet.
Photos: One of the chopped chocolate, just because it looks pretty, and one of the finished product, hot off the oven.