To Dream Of Caramel

Not baking for a week and a half was terrible!  I started to have withdrawals, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it since we were getting ready to move.  And where did we move you might ask?  Across the street and 4 houses down.  Yep, a little strange I can admit, but we got a better deal on rent, got to stay in the same neighborhood and school district and gained a playroom for the kiddos!  So, for a week, I was moving one room at a time.  Today is our 3rd day in the new house.  I couldn’t hold off baking any longer, I wanted it to feel like home, so I broke out the cupcake liners and made Samoa Cupcakes!  These are super yum, and if you like the Girl Scout cookies, then you will LOVE these!

Samoa Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk

I knew last night I was planning on making these so I went ahead and set my butter out to soften.  I wish I was always that on top of the game.  And then this morning when I got up, I set aside the eggs so they could come to room temperature.  Yep, I am rocking it this morning.  So organized.  Clearly this won’t happen again for a while, I can only be so on top of things before so long.  I blame it on my kiddos.  They have sucked my ability to think clearly. 

And now that you too set your butter out to soften the appropriate amount of time beforehand, place that in your stand mixer along with the sugar and cream together.

Image

Image

From here add in the salt, baking soda, vanilla, and coconut extract and mix until light and fluffy.  Usually about 3-4 minutes.  I had to smack a little hand at this point, since my middle crazy was trying to sneak a lick.  What is it with children wanting a lick of sugar and butter?

Then start adding the eggs in one at a time, beating the mixture in between each addition.

Image

At this point, take the flour and add in the cocoa powder and whisk together in a separate bowl, you are going to incorporate this into the butter mixture alternating with the milk. 

Image

I usually start with the dry ingredients and do it in 3 batches.  You want to make sure not to over mix also so the batter doesn’t get tough so to speak.  I know I mention that a lot, but it makes the difference between a light airy cake and a heavy dense one. 

Image

This is a great easy batter to pull together for any chocolate cupcake or cake recipe.  The coconut extract is not overwhelming and if you aren’t a huge fan of coconut you can omit it. 

Image

Milk chocolate cupcakes, one of my favorites! 

From here, spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about half way. If you put in too much like I did, then they bake up too high. 

Image

So take note that this is too much batter!

Image

Doesn’t look like too much, but apparently that was.  Put them in a 350 degree oven for about 21 min or so.  Rotate then pan halfway through.  Not sure why, I haven’t even done that before, but I am sure it has something to do with baking more evenly? 

Image

See my pretty new oven?  Sorry it is a little blurry, apparently I was shaking with excitement.  It has some great features to it, the one I am the most excited to try is the Proofing one.  If you are not familiar with Proofing, you do it with bread, or cinnamon rolls so they can rise!  IN THE OVEN!  So I don’t have to turn the oven on and set the dough on top of the oven while it rises.  I also have a chicken nugget setting!  My crazies at a lot of nuggets, in spurts.  So this is a great feature. 

While your cupcakes are baking, this is a great time to do 2 things.  One, spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for about 8-10 min. Toasted coconut is one of my favorite things.  I love the texture and the crunch.

Image

So easy and smells delicious!

The other thing you should do while you are waiting for your cupcakes to bake, and this batter will give you about 2 and a half dozen, so plenty of time for this step.  Start working on the frosting.  Take my word for it when I say its better to start this early, or even do this first. 

For the Caramel Frosting:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Drizzle

1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Lets get started on the frosting, or in my case, glaze. 

Image

In a heavy duty sauce pan, place 2 sticks of butter and melt them.  Add in the brown sugar and salt, stirring occasionally and bring to a boil.  Now stir constantly for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar.

Image 

Add in the milk and bring back to a boil and set aside.  I truly wish I had done this first thing, I was under a slight time constraint to get this done, I wanted my guests for the morning to be able to try them before they had to head home.  You are supposed to let this cool to lukewarm before you continue on with the rest of the ingredients.  I always place my mixing bowl in the fridge when I make frosting, I find it works out better when everything is cold.  I waited and waited as long as I could and then decided to proceed. 

Image

From here add the butter and brown sugar mixture to the mixing bowl and add in the powdered sugar.  Now it calls for 4 cups, but I only added in about 2 because really, the caramel was already plenty sweet and I felt 4 cups would be overwhelming. 

Image

Hopefully yours is cooler then mine was.  After you add in the powdered sugar, with the whisk attachment, beat it until it is nice and fluffy.  I could not get it to this point.  I even placed the bowl back in the fridge to try and cool it down a bit.  Just wouldn’t happen for me.  The recipe calls for whole milk, I used heavy whipping cream in the hopes it would “fluff” up for me into something I could pipe from a pastry bag.  Again, NOT happening.  I have made caramel frosting in the past, I should make it ahead of time so everything has time to cool properly.

About now, it should be time to pull the cupcakes out of the oven.

Image

These were amazing!  I loved how light the cupcakes were, and had a very rich chocolate flavor.  I find sometimes when I make from scratch chocolate cake/cupcakes the chocolate taste is not as prevalent as I would like it.  I want to TASTE the chocolate.  These did just that!

And the frosting? Yeah it was more of a glaze.  That did not detract from the flavor combination at all.  I think it was perfect in fact.  Sometimes the cake can be overwhelmed by a mountain of frosting.  And with the cake as light and delicate as this, it was just right. 

Image

Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top for that yummy crunch, and if you so desire drizzle with the melted chocolate chips.  I withheld the drizzle because I was too lazy and really wanted to spend time with my actual guests. 

Image

One of my taste testers! He declared it to be “super, duper YUMMY!” I will take that!

So, when you run out of Samoa Girl Scout cookies, and you don’t have a spare box hidden away, cookie season is months away, make these! 

Here is the original post: http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/04/samoas-cupcakes/  she has a lot of great recipes here. Make em!  Seriously. Your week won’t be complete without them.  You’re welcome.

Love,

your Bestie Baker

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s