Nutella-Cointreau Smore Cupcakes
There's nothing like the rich addictive taste of nutella. Sometimes I just want to slather nutella on everything I devour...(like french fries).. it's really not so bad...sweet..salty.. crunchy..nutty..potatoey..mmm. Alright..I'm not offended if I haven't influenced or converted you yet, but if you ever have the opportunity give it a try.
This cupcake recipe came about after making nutella custard for my nutella ice cream. My friend M had a spiffy kitchen aid ice cream maker collecting dust in the corner so I thought why don't we put it to good use. I began to heat the cream and sugar to a boil, added a little vanilla in there too. In a separate bowl I had 4 egg yolks lightly beaten. I took the hot boiling cream mixture and began pouring in a thin steady stream while whisking into the egg yolks..(this process is called tempering)..if you just dump it into the eggs.. well..unless you like scrambled eggs swimming in sugary cream then there you go..but if you don't then don't forget to temper! Pour in about 1/4 of the cream whisking constantly, then pour the eggy mixture back into the pot of cream, bring it back on the heat and stir until it coats the back of a spoon. At this stage I scooped out about 2 extra-large dollops of nutella..it slowly melted and infused into the cream resulting in a creamy, chocolatey mixture..mm. After all the nutella was incorporated evenly, I took it off the heat and allowed it to cool. Meanwhile I already had my ice cream container freezing frozen solid in the freezer. I set the machine up, plugged it in, placed the container on and poured my nutella custared straight in. After that, cover it and press the magic button and begin to watch it churn away.
Since the container can only take so much.. I had a lot leftover and didn't want any of it to go to waste. And since we were on a cupcake bend that was the only thing I could think of making this with! I added 4 heaping tablespoons of flour, melted chocolate/chocolate chips, and maybe another handful of sugar and eyed the batter for cupcake consistency. I baked them at 350 F for 23 minutes.
They came out amazing. Extremely tender inside and the perfect balance of nutty chocolateyness. And even after 3 days they were still moist and tender. It's really the custard bit that allowed the cupcake to stay moist. I'll probably recreate this again with other ingredients and see how it'll turn out. Anyway, a cupcake isn't a cupcake if it isn't dressed up with a delightful frosting. Since I had a bunch of egg whites leftover I decided to make a marshmallow frosting. I heated up the egg whites with sugar in the kitchen aid mixer bowl..Over a bain marie I whisked the whites until it became frothy, white, and about 160 F. I didn't use a thermometer for this, but I just eyed it. After All the sugar is dissolved, quickly attach it to the stand mixer with a whisk attachment and let it whisk at med-high speed for 3 minutes or until it becomes triple the size, glossy and thick. With no piping bag in hand, I took a ziploc bag, filled it with the marshmallow mixture, snipped a corner and began piping the cupcakes. I caramelized the topping with a butane lighter. Or you could put it under the broiler for a minute or so..but watch it carefully, they will burn almost immediately.