Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Cream Cupcakes: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I bet you thought I was going to make chocolate Guinness cupcakes, didn't you? Yeah, no. I've made them too many times. This was a time for something different. Something new. Something that I hadn't done before...

I didn't want to use alcohol again. I figured it was too cliche - you think Irish, you think alcoholics. I can get away with saying that because I'm some percentage take that. In any case, I thought back to my barista days when I worked at Starbucks. We never had Irish Cream flavor, but people always wanted it, so we would mix vanilla and hazelnut, and apparently that makes an Irish cream flavor. This was the approach I decided to take in St. Patrick's Day cupcakes. Afterall, I had to make up for the fact that I pissed off a leprechaun.

I made a test batch using just extracts for getting that Irish cream flavor. I used hazelnut, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee extracts. The chocolate I threw in for fun because I think it makes everything taste great. However, this didn't quite punch you in the face with that Irish cream flavor like I was hoping.

Back to the drawing board. I decided I could try using hazelnut butter to get more of that hazelnut flavor. BAM! That worked like a charm! The only problem, as is typical because it wouldn't be my kitchen if something didn't go wrong while I was baking, was that the hazelnut butter was completely separated. As in, all the oil was sitting on top and all the mushy hazelnut goodness was stuck to the bottom, so I had to stir it. In doing so, I managed to somehow splash the oil all over the place. I was being gentle dammit, I don't know what happened. I think a ninja somehow managed to take the spoon from my hand and splash me with hazelnut oil without me noticing (hence the ninja part).

Here's the kicker: you know nutella? That stuff is nasty. It's way too freaking sweet. It has as much sugar as frosting! Awful. Want to know what's great? Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. It's like nutella, only you don't feel like you're eating frosting. You feel like you're eating something that might actually be good for you. Oh, so what does this have to do with my Irish Cream Cupcakes? Oh, I filled them with it. Yeah, I went there.

So here's the recipe, for those of you wanting to give this a shot:

Makes 12 Cupcakes

2/3 C Almond Milk
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 C Hazelnut Butter
1/3 C Canola Oil
1 tsp Hazelnut Extract
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 tsp Coffee Extract
1 tsp Chocolate Extract
1/3 C Granulated Sugar
1/3 C Stevia in the Raw
1 C All Purpose Flour
1/4 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line muffin tin with cupcake liners (I chose shamrock decorated ones, hehe). Whisk almond milk and apple cider vinegar so it curdles, set aside for a minute or so. Add the remaining wet ingredients and sugar and stevia. Sift in your dry ingredients and mix. Fill liners about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way. Use two teaspoons for the chocolate hazelnut butter - one to scoop it out, the other to push it into the cupcake. You can bury it a little if you want, but it's not necessary. I kind of liked it with it sitting on top a bit once they were all done.

In St. Patty's Day fashion, I decorated each cupcake with edible green glitter and a giant green marzipan shamrock. I hope I made that leprechaun happy now...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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