Ring in the New Year with this Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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Happy New Year!

Our New Year’s resolution is to amp up the coolness of our chocolateguru recipes.  As always, we are driven by our own preferences and palettes, but we are always on the look out for a new twist.  A favorite childhood candy bar was the Almond Joy.  Feel like a nut?

Peter Paul Halajian was a candy retailer in the New Haven, Connecticut area in the early 20th century. Along with some other Armenian investors, including Dutch candy manufacturer Jett Schaefer, he formed the Schaefer Candy Manufacturing Company in 1919. The company at first sold various brands of candies, but following sugar and coconut shortages in World War II, they dropped most brands and concentrated their efforts on the Mounds bar. The Almond Joy bar was introduced in 1946 as a replacement for the Dream Bar (created in 1936) that contained diced almonds with the coconut.

Inspired by the Almond Joy candy bar, these cupcakes feature a rich chocolate cake filled with sticky coconut topped with a luscious milk chocolate ganache and almonds.  Thanks to Rose Levy Beranbaum for this recipe from “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes” (Wiley, $39.95, 512 pages).

Not feeling nutty? Go for a Mounds-inspired version. Leave off the almonds and use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Decrease the amount to 16 ounces of chips for the same consistency.

Chocolate Coconut-filled Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the ganache:

1½ cups heavy cream

24 ounces milk chocolate chips

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup boiling water

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons water

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ cups cake flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature

For the filling:

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

One 7-ounce package sweetened coconut

Whole almonds, to decorate

Directions

To make the ganache, in a small saucepan over medium, heat the cream to a rolling boil. Be careful not to let it overflow.

Place the chocolate chips in a medium heat-safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chips. Tap the bowl on the table to settle the chips into the cream. Let sit for 2 minutes. Gently stir the mixture until it is homogenous and the chips are melted. Refrigerate for several hours, stirring occasionally, until quite thick.

Meanwhile, prepare the cupcakes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin tins with paper liners or spritz with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and boiling water. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, 3 tablespoons of water and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. When the cocoa mixture has cooled, add it and the softened butter to the bowl, then beat on low with the paddle attachment until combined.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1½ minutes. Add the egg mixture in 2 additions, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.

Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the filling. In a skillet over low, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the coconut. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 10 minutes, or until the milk starts to hold its own path when a spoon is dragged across the bottom of the pan. Set aside to cool.

To assemble the cupcakes, use a paring knife to cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake. Alternatively, use a melon baller to scoop out a hole. Fill the top of each cupcake with a teaspoonful of the coconut filling. Using a spatula or a piping bag, cover the top of each cupcake with the ganache frosting. Decorate each with a few whole almonds.

Makes 18 cupcakes

photo courtesy of gorrstar.com

 

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