Thursday, March 13, 2014

Girl Scout Cookie themed desserts continue..."Tag Along" Cupcakes

Warning...I might ramble about my random thoughts a bit here, but I will get to the baked goods. 

I was stuck in traffic last night on my way to the Taste of the Nation meeting...have to love DC traffic at the 6 o'clock hour especially with all of the tourists in town right now.  But sitting there I was left thinking about how I can be greatly affected by certain people.  There have just been people in my life that have left me feeling really down about life, but have ultimately left me feeling empowered some no matter what I was going to come out successful with or without them.  

You may wonder where this is coming from, but its because this weekend was supposed to be marathon weekend again, instead though on Saturday I will only be running a half marathon. Circumstances are just different this year.  Charles is in town, which mean I actually have someone to hangout with on Saturday mornings when I am in town.  And instead of not needing to travel for work until April, which was the case last year, I have traveled at least one week a month since January.  (I'm not complaining again, it just is what it is.)

Last year though, I was very much out to prove myself, because of someone else and for myself.  I was going to push myself to train and ultimately run the entire 26.2 miles.  This then made me think about how over the past couple of years I have been out to succeed mainly to take my mind off of troubles.  I did the Grey Market because I knew it would be a challenge and I wanted prove myself as a viable baker...and see what other thought of my new logo.  I baked cupcakes and cake for good friends' wedding last year, because I hoped that outside of my friends, complete strangers would actually like what I baked too.  I think its really important for us to each challenge ourselves in different ways. Whether we challenge ourselves because of someone else or because its something we have been dreaming of.  It is probably going to be hard to step outside of the box, outside of your comfort zone and work hard for something that you may not be 100% sure you can accomplish...but trust me, it's totally worth being a little uncomfortable!

Now down to these cupcakes...The challenge make a cupcake based on the Tag Along Girl Scout Cookie or you may know them as peanut butter patties.  

I thought hard about this, first about whether to make a cake or cupcakes.  I was actually considering making a cake that had an entire shortbread layer at one point to really highlight the shortbread.  What I ended up with were vanilla bean cupcakes, smooth peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache topped with a piece of shortbread.  These cupcakes were seriously delicious...I think I am pouring my love into cupcakes recently...or at least being able to give them my full attention during the baking process.  These were definitely Tag Alongs in cupcake form and worth the time that went into them.  Give them a try sometime and Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter (12 ounces), at room temperature
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups skim milk, at room temperature
One box of shortbread (I used Walkers)

Peanut Butter Frosting: (Recipe from Ina Garten - Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup skim milk
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache: 
4 ounces semisweet
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/16 teaspoon coarse salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-muffin, muffin tins with paper liners and spray only the bottoms with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour with the baking powder and salt.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer or the back of a form, cream together the softened butter and sugar.  Then whisk in the sugar and vanilla seeds until well combined. 

4.  Next, beat in the egg yolks followed by the whole eggs, one at a time until completely incorporated. 

5.  Whisk in the dry ingredients and milk in 3 alternating additions, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl as necessary, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

6.  Pour the cake batter into the prepared muffin liners and bake in the center of the oven for about 14-18 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

8.  Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove them to a rack to let them cool completely. While the cupcakes are cooking prepare the frosting and ganache.

Preparing the frosting:
1.  In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy.  Then mix in one cup powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and heavy cream.  If the frosting is not the desired consistency, mix in a half a cup of powdered sugar at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Preparing the ganache:
1.  Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate, and add salt. Let stand for 10 minutes (don't stir -- doing so will cool the ganache too quickly, making it grainy).

2.  Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify cream and chocolate.

3.  Chocolate will often settle on the bottom or sides of the bowl.  Scrape dish with a rubber spatula to incorporate all of it. Let cool until mostly thickened, and a consistency not to runny but easy to spoon on the cupcakes with our running everywhere.

To assemble the cupcakes, frost the cooled cupcakes with the peanut butter frosting.  The spoon the ganache on top.  The cut the short bread in small enough pieces to just sit on top of the cupcake when gently pushed down, but won't fall off.  Just before serving top with shortbread and serve.  If you put the shortbread on hours before serving, it will lose some of its crunch. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment