Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stout Cupcakes

Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Let me just start by saying my family {and boyfriend} absolutely love these!  My family is part Irish, and so for St.Pattys day we like to do a nice Irish meal.  The meal this year was some corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots, done in the slow cooker.  That was all delicious, but the dessert this year definitely stole the spotlight for the night!  My dad found these awesome cupcakes online and we decided to give them a try.  It's safe to say these are definitely staying in the family recipes!  The richness of the chocolate, stout and espresso topped with creamy ganache and crunchy dark chocolate covered pretzels will send you into chocolate heaven!  We even all had two :)

1 (12-ounce) bottle stout (I used espresso stout)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant espresso granules dissolved in two teaspoons warm water
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

12 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate; chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chopped chocolate covered pretzel twists
Fine grain sea salt

How to:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the stout, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and espresso.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the sour cream and mix until combined.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the stout mixture. Batter will be thin.
5. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool completely on wire rack.
1. Place chocolate in a large, heat safe bowl.  Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat until it just begins to boil. DO NOT walk away from the stove. The cream could boil over and you will be with a big mess to clean up.
3. Immediately pour hot cream over chocolate and let it sit for five minutes.
4. Begin stirring the cream with a wooden spoon or whisk starting in the center of the bowl and working your way outward. As you stir, you will see the cream and chocolate come together. Allow your ganache to cool for 15 minutes and stir in vanilla. Let ganache sit at room temperature for another 3-4 minutes before topping cupcakes.
Invert the top of the cupcake into the bowl of cooled ganache, use a spoon or offset spatula to spread evenly. Finish cupcakes with chopped chocolate covered pretzels and a tiny pinch of fine grain sea salt.
{Note: My family let these sit in the fridge for about a half hour before we ate them, and we are storing them in there.  I like the ganache cold and I think it helps preserve the pretzels and prevent them from becoming soggy!}


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