Monday, January 31, 2011

Tough Choice Fleur de Sel or Pecan?

Oh, in the perfect world, I could eat as many caramels as I'd like. {ahhhhh....dreaming...dreaming....dreaming...} Then reality sets in and I realize that I really should only eat a few a day to keep the doctor away. So if you were me, which ones would you eat??

 Fleur de Sel?

 Vanilla Caramel w/Texas Pecans & Callebaut Semi Sweet Chocolate??

Care to weigh in??

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cream Cheese Filled Cupcakes v. Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes...

Husband (we'll just call him that) turned a year older and decided that he wanted to change his usual cupcake request of my cream cheese filled vanilla cupcakes to a new one. Essentially, he described the type of cupcake, filling and frosting and thankfully it sounded just like a Boston Cream Pie cupcake! This works out great b/c not only do I have a weakness for Boston Cream Pie so it's kind of like an early birthday cake for me too, but I recently purchased the America's Test Kitchen Best-Ever Magazine that included Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes!!

 The Husband

I will say this about the recipe...although it is time consuming, more so than my usual cream cheese frosting filled cupcakes, they were delicious! Well worth the time and effort & husband was very very happy! 

Boston Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Makes 12 cupcakes

Pastry Cream
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
3 large egg yolks ***I accidentally added 4 yolks***
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
Pinch of salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch **I used 3 b/c I like more oozing cream custard**
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into (2) pieces **I only used 1 - tasted yummy**
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Nonstick cooking spray
1 3/4 cups (83/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for muffin tin
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped ***used semi-sweet Callebaut Chocolate Chips 60%***
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Many of you know that I'm a sustainable, local, organic foods girl. So, with that said, all of my ingredients were organic except the chocolate, corn syrup & corn starch. 

1. For the Pastry Cream: Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 15 seconds. **this took longer, more like a minute, but then I did have the extra yolk...**

2. When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick & glossy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in butter & vanilla. Transfer cream to a bowl, lay plastic wrap pressed against the cream (avoids crusty custard) and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. **I refrigerated about 1 hour and it was cool enough to pipe into cupcakes**

3. For the Cupcakes: Adjust an oven rack to the middle and heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a muffin tin w/nonstick cooking spray, flour generously and tap pan to remove excess flour.

4. With a handheld mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt & sugar on low speed in a large bowl. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time (tedious...I'm impatient so added 1/2 of my butter & then the other half.) and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand. **(next time, I'm SO using my food processor) ** Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until combined. Add the milk, and vanilla, increase the speed to medium & and mix until light and fluffy and no lumps remain about 3 minutes.

5. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full {try not to overfill or scoop out excess if you do ;)}. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the Chocolate Glaze: Cook the cream, corn syrup, chocolate, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool and thicken, about 30 minutes.

7. Insert a paring knife at a 45 degree angle about a 1/8 inch from the rim of each cupcake and cut all the way around, removing a cone of cake. Cut away all but the top 1/4 inch of the cone, leaving only a small disk of cake. **I then took my knife and dug a little extra stuffing out of the cupcake b/c I LOVE cream in these filled cupcakes!** Fill each cupcake with 2 Tbsp pastry cream and top with the disk of cake. **I scooped the cream into a ziploc bag to create a pseudo pastry bag and piped it into the cupcakes...easier, better aim!** Set the cupcakes on a wire rack set over parchment paper. Spoon 2 Tbsp of glaze over each cupcake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.

**Even after digging out more cupcake to make room for the delicious cream, there was just enough cream to fill 12 cupcakes & 8 mini cupcakes. **

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Welcome Welcome Welcome!!

It's here! A place for me to give you a glimpse into my life running my little Etsy shop, The Caramel Jar!

A little about me, I'm a 30 my dreams I'm still 25, but shhhh....who's counting right? I spent my 20's in NYC, one of the greatest cities (in my mind) on earth! I ate my way through almost every borough (sorry Bronx) and honed my cooking skills along the way.

I've dabbled in several professions, but spent the bulk of my time in Nonprofit Management roles at various nonprofits in NYC....Good Times...

Spent a couple years at NYU Wagner completing a graduate degree...YAY!

Then embarked with my husband on a little detour outside of city life, landing me in Danville, PA. {yep, What?? You have never heard of it?? (gasp)} LOL...I'm not surprised, I had never heard of it before I landed here either, but it truly is a bit of a jewel! We're glad we found Danville and are forever grateful for our lovely neighbors and extended community that have embraced our little family & The Caramel Jar!

Next post...husband's birthday cupcakes! Delish!

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