If you feel like a nut, bake chocolate treats
Associated Press
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If you sometimes feel like a nut, this might be the cupcake for you. Inspired by the Almond Joy candy bar, these cupcakes feature a rich chocolate cake filled with sticky coconut topped with a luscious milk chocolate ganache and almonds.

Not feeling nutty? Go for a Mounds-inspired version. Leave off the almonds and use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Decrease the amount to 16 ounces of chips for the same consistency.

This recipe was adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes (Wiley, 2009):

CHOCOLATE COCONUT-FILLED ALMOND CUPCAKES

Start to finish: 3 hours (45 minutes active)

Makes: 18 cupcakes

For the ganache:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

24 ounces milk chocolate chips

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup boiling water

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons water

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

For the filling:

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

7-ounce package sweetened coconut

Whole almonds, to decorate

To make the ganache, in a small saucepan over medium, heat the cream to a rolling boil. Be careful not to let it overflow.

Place the chocolate chips in a medium heat-safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chips. Tap the bowl on the table to settle the chips into the cream. Let sit for 2 minutes. Gently stir the mixture until it is homogenous and the chips are melted. Refrigerate for several hours, stirring occasionally, until quite thick.

Meanwhile, prepare cupcakes. Heat the oven to 350. Line 18 muffin tins with paper liners or spritz with cooking spray.

In small bowl, mix cocoa powder and boiling water. Set aside to cool.

In small bowl, mix eggs, 3 tablespoons of water and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. When the cocoa mixture has cooled, add it and the softened butter to the bowl, then beat on low with the paddle attachment until combined.

Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 11/2 minutes. Add the egg mixture in 2 additions, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.

Divide batter between prepared muffin tins and bake for 20- 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted at center comes out clean. Move to wire rack to cool.

While cupcakes bake, prepare filling. In skillet over low, combine milk and coconut. Cook, stirring continuously, about 10 minutes or until milk starts to hold its own path when spoon is dragged across bottom of pan. Set aside to cool.

To assemble the cupcakes, use a paring knife to cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake. Alternatively, use a melon baller to scoop out a hole. Fill the top of each cupcake with a teaspoonful of the coconut filling. Using a spatula or a piping bag, cover the top of each cupcake with the ganache frosting. Decorate each with a few whole almonds.

From the Wednesday, January 20, 2010 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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