Saturday, July 23, 2011

Espresso Ice Cream Pie

I promised to make dinner for my sister yesterday, but battling the heat proved too much to bake one of her favorite desserts-cupcakes. I asked her for an alternate request and she replied anything that consisted of "coffee." This is what I created for her, it was such a refreshing treat in the 100 F weather!

1 Oreo cookie pie shell (store bought or home-made)

2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Store bought coffee ice cream would work well too

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Set aside the Oreo cookie pie crust.

Start making ice cream by beating the sugar and eggs until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the flour and salt. Set aside.

Bring the milk and espresso to a simmer in a heavy saucepan. If needed, strain any espresso that did not incorporate into the milk.

Slowly beat the hot milk and espresso into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not the let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refridgerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled custard then freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, transfer to the Oreo cookie pie crust. Smooth top. Cover with plastic wrap and place immediately in the freezer.
Note: Ice cream will need at least 2 hours to firm.

Meanwhile, start making the chocolate whipped cream by combining the cream and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixture until soft peaks form (when you lift the beaters, the cream will form points that curl over at the tips). Add cocoa and sugar gradually while continuing to beat until stiff.
Note: If you have the time, chill the mixing bowl and beaters, as cream whips faster in a chilled bowl.

Assemble the last part of the pie by spreading the chocolate whipped cream over the firm espresso ice cream. Pie can be eaten immediately or placed in the freezer for an hour.

To garnish, top with chocolate curls, chocolate covered espresso beans, sifted cocoa powder, warm chocolate ganache or oreo cookies. The possibilities are endless.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes: Version 2

These cupcakes are super moist (secret: boiling water!) and are topped with yummy, sugary vanilla buttercream frosting. A favorite of my sister's, decide for yourself which version of the chocolate cupcake you like best!

Makes approximately 24 cupcakes

Ingredients for cupcakes
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 cup whole milk

Ingredients for frosting
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions for cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder into a large bowl.

In another medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrap edges and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.

Add boiling water to the batter, stir until incorporated. Take care not to over mix. Let the batter sit for five minutes before dividing evenly into prepared tins.

Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway.

Cool cupcakes on the rack completely.

Directions for frosting
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes

Nothing says comfort like chocolate cupcakes. Here is Ina Garten's famous Chocolate Ganache Cupcake recipe with a twist. Adding instant espresso to the batter and frosting adds depth to the chocolate, giving these treats the wow factor!

Ingredients for cake
1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup (recommended: Hershey's)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso granules (add as much or little as you like!)

Ingredients for ganache topping
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules

Line muffin pans with 12 paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and espresso granules and mix until just combined. (Don't overbeat!!!)

Scoop the batter 3/4 full (these cupcakes don't rise much!) into the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes (not a second longer!) Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly in the pan.

For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant espresso in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache. Let set. Eat with a tall glass of cold milk!

Do not refrigerate.