Even though I was pretty sure I knew how to make Salted Caramel, I mean after all isn't it just caramel with salt. I searched the internet for a recipe, stumbling upon what I might say is a pretty kick-ass website by Michael Ruhlman. He was throwing around names like Ming Tsai and some French guy I can't pronounce. I can only image what's it's like to have friends like that. The only celeb peeps I hang out with and chew the fat are Mr. Tidy Bowl and Mrs. Butterworth. (Or is that Ms. since we are being all formal and everything?) Not that I'm pissed or anything, because when I ask my friends, they are quick to reply, "Your recipes totally rock!" (Or does syrup always say that?)
Oh yeah you wanted my cupcake recipe. Sorry I was feeling the effects of all the sugar and caffeine in these cupcakes and lost my train of though. Don't be alarmed, it happens often, just ask my children. They would love nothing more than to share that and a whole myriad of faux-pas of mine. All it takes is for company to come over and the "remember when Mom did" starts to flying (that is when you slip them a $20 and tell them to get lost).
2 cups boiling water
3 teaspoons espresso powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder (Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped and melted
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the water to boiling in the microwave in a heat proof measuring cup. Add the espresso powder to dissolve and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low to combine.
Add melted chocolate, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Slowly pour in the hot coffee liquid and mix until combined.
Pour the batter into a cupcake pan lined with paper liners. I made 24 big ones and some minis, just cause I was feeling cutesy. Fill the wrappers a good 3/4 full. These don't rise too much.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and set aside on a rack to cool. Don't leave the cupcakes too long in the pan or they will get a bit soggy on the bottom from condensation.
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Add the butter to a bowl of a mixer and beat until fluffy, a couple of minutes. Add the powdered sugar, espresso powder and salt and beat on low slowly until starting to incorporate. Add the cream and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, a couple of minutes. Set aside. Buttercream can be left at room temperature if it's not too hot in the house.
Adapted from Michael Ruhlman
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
Pinch Flake Sea Salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Caramel goes really fast, so have everything ready to go.
Place the sugar and water in a small skillet and heat on medium-high heat until the sugar starts to turn an amber color, only takes a couple of minutes. Don't let it go too long or you will have burned caramel.
And if you aren't completely worn out from reading this recipe yet, I'll give you the Macaron recipe. But feel free to rip open a box of vanilla wafers, decorate them with food coloring pens and call it a day. I'm very good at keeping secrets.
4 egg whites from large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces almond flour
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Combine almond flour and powdered sugar in a large bowl and add a little food color if you want. Stir the mixture together and make sure there are no lumps.
Fold the egg whites a little at a time into the almond flour mixture.
Place batter into a piping bag with a 1/4" tip or so and pipe round disks onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Leave a little room between the cookies, because they will spread a bit. Let set up on the cookie sheets for 15 minutes.
Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 10 minutes or so. The cookies need to dry out; when you can lift them off and they aren't sticking to the paper they are done.
For frosting the cupcakes I like to use a disposable bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip. If you have extra frosting leftover, don't worry I know someone who would be happy to dispose of it for you.