Monday, June 22, 2009

Bread Pudding Cupcakes

I’m not entirely sure whether or not to call these cupcakes. In one sense, they are cupcakes, since they were made in cupcake pans (although they lack liners). On the other hand, it’s really just a bread pudding recipe that I baked in cupcake pans, there’s nothing particularly “cupcakey” about the recipe, other than the pan used. Really, it is a question better left to philosophers. What is important is that these were REALLY good. I brought these bread puddings to a potluck with work folks, and they were very well received, with multiple people asking for the recipe. The original recipe came from an epicurious recipe for Chocolate-Dulce de Leche bread pudding. I made a few modifications though. I used a loaf of challah bread, plus one croissant as the bread for this recipe. The only change I would make is that I would add some Cinnamon, maybe a tablespoon or so.

For the dulce de leche I used the sweetened condensed milk method. Take two cans of sweetened condensed milk; peel the labels and all of the glue off. Place the cans in boiling water, and boil for two hours. Make sure the cans stay covered in water, or they might explode. After two hours, remove the cans and let them cool completely. Make sure to have extra on hand to serve on top of the cakes. I also used 1 cup heavy cream, and ½ cup fat free half-and-half. The original recipe calls for all heavy cream, but I wanted to cut it down just a little.

·         Chocolate and Dulce-de-Leche Bread Pudding Cupcakes

·         Makes 19

·         1 loaf egg bread, plus one croissant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 4 x 5 inches), cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes

·         4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided

·         1 cup heavy whipping cream

·         ½ cup half-half

·         2 cups dulce de leche, divided

·         2 large egg yolks

·         2 tablespoons dark rum

·         1 overripe banana, mashed

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         Pinch of salt

·         1 cup (about 3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips

·         1 cup chopped pecans

·         2 tablespoons sugar

·         Powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bread in large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons melted butter and toss. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and Bake until bread begins to color, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

2. Butter the individual cupcake cups. I used non-stick pans, and it was still important that I butter them

3. Stir whipping cream, half-and-half, and 1 ½ cup dulce de leche in medium saucepan over medium heat until blended and bubbling. Remove from heat.

4. Whisk eggs and yolks in large bowl. Add rum, vanilla, banana and salt; gradually whisk in warm dulce de leche mixture.

5. Stir in bread cubes. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Mix chocolate chips and pecans into the custard mixture. Scoop into cupcake pans, try not to press down on the puddings too hard. Sprinkle the tops of the cupcakes with sugar.

7. Bake pudding until puffed and set in center, about 20 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Use a butter knife to gently cut around the edges of the puddings. For the most part the knife should be able to push the puddings away from the pans, rather than having to cut. Invert the pan onto a cookie sheet, and tap the bottoms of the pans. The puddings should fall out easily.

8. Serve the puddings with the extra dulce de leche.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pineapple Cupcakes

I got the chance to bake again this weekend, and decided I wanted to make something on the summery-fruity side. I thought pineapple cupcakes might be an interesting twist. Some google searches revealed a lot of recipes for pineapple upside down cakes, but not a lot of straightforward pineapple cake recipes. Eventually I found a recipe for pineapple Bundt cake on Genesis of a Cook that I thought looked good, and decided to try it. Instead of going with a traditional frosting, I decided to make a caramel-rum glaze for the cupcakes. The glaze was good, but only really stayed on the tops of the cupcakes for maybe 30 minutes. After that it really just soaked in. These cupcakes were moist and dense, and I thought very tasty. I thought they were best within a day or two of baking,

Pineapple Cupcakes

Makes about 24 cupcakes

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 (16 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour and the baking powder.

2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the cinnamon, salt, eggs and zest, beat until thoroughly combined. Fold in flour. Stir in pineapple and juice.

3. Fill cupcake liners with a ¼ cup measure. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool.

Caramel-Rum Glaze

½ cup(1 stick) unsalted butter 
¼ cup water 
1 cup sugar 
½ cup dark rum

1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the water and sugar, stir until combined, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5-7 minutes, until it just begins to turn a caramel color.

2. Remove from heat. Carefully pour in the rum – be careful, it will steam and bubble.

3. Let the glaze cool until thickened. Spoon over the cupcakes.