Saturday, May 17, 2008

Truffle Filled Almond Cupcakes

With a recipe name like that, why bother coming up with something clever. These cupcakes may not quite be lookers (The frosting can't really spread smoothly) but all my friends agreed that these were potentially the best cupcakes I’ve ever made (the only other competitor is the tiramisu cupcakes). If you are a regular reader of this blog (who am I kidding, I know that at this point I actually only have one or two regular readers), you might remember that a month or so ago I proposed putting ads on this site to finance an almond cake I wanted to make. That didn’t work out, but I decided instead to save a little coin and make a cupcake version instead. I skipped the mascarpone frosting, and instead went straight ganache. The result was delicious. Here is the recipe as I adapted it (I only made 2/3 of the cake called for in the original recipe).

These cupcakes take some effort and some time, especially on the assembly end. I recommend making the ganache and praline the night before you make the cupcakes. That way you can let both sit out over night to come to room temperature. Don’t refrigerate the ganache over night, or it will get too firm.

Truffle Filled Almond Cupcakes

Makes 23 cupcakes

For Cake

1 cup cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp of salt
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 7-oz packages almond paste, crumbled into 1-inch pieces
5 large eggs (I actually used 4 ½ [yes, I used half an egg], but 5 would probably be fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.

2. Cream the butter with the brown sugar. Once thoroughly mixed, add almond paste, once piece at a time. Once all the pieces are mixed in, beat on high speed until fully combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts.

3. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Fill cupcakes liners with ¼ cup of batter each.

4. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.


For Praline (I make a wet caramel, but if you prefer dry, do that)

¾ cup sugar
3 Tbsp water
½ cup oven browned-hazelnuts
½ cup oven-browned almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put nuts on a baking sheet in the oven and roast for 5-10 minutes, shaking occasionally. (I just do it while the caramel is heating to the proper temperature)

2. Mix caramel and water in a heavy bottomed sauce-pan. Heat until the sugar reaches a nice amber color (I measured 300 degrees on my candy thermometer). Mix the nuts into the caramel, and shake gently to mix. Pour out onto a silpat or parchment paper to let cool.

3. Once praline is thoroughly cooled, break it into a few large pieces and put it into a food processor. Pulse until praline is partially powder, and partially small chunks. Set aside


For chocolate-chunk Ganache

2 ¼ cups heavy cream
3-4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs Frangelico
2 Tbs powdered sugar

1. Put two cups of the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few seconds, then begin to stir the chocolate into the cream. At this point it should be pretty thin. Continue adding the chocolate 1 cup at a time, and stirring until it is fully melted. When you add the last cup, the cream should have cooled too much to melt the chocolate completely, and you will be left with small chunks of chocolate in your mixture. Add the Frangelico and mix to combine.

2. Pour the mixture out onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Let the ganache come to room temperature (I left it out over night).

3. Carve 23, teaspoon sized truffles out of the ganache. Use your hands to roll the truffles into balls, and then roll the balls in the praline. When this is done, you should still have between ½ and 2/3 of your ganache left, as well as plenty of praline. Set the truffles and extra praline aside for later.

4. Place the remaining ganache in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the ganache on high speed. As it whips up, it should turn a lighter color. Add the powdered sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of cream and continue beating until well mixed. This will be your frosting.


Assembly

1. Use the cone method to hollow out the cupcakes. Place a praline covered truffle into each cupcake, and place the top back over the hole.

2. Spread the frosting onto the cupcakes. Because of the chocolate chunks in the ganache, the frosting really isn’t pipeable, and won’t really spread on smoothly.

3. Sprinkle the remaining praline over the top of the cupcakes.

2 comments:

Carmen said...

very very good
thanks for your recipe

Tart Reform said...

Wow. Just wow. These look and sound phenomenal. I would need an excuse to make these, but we'll see if I can't find one.