Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cupcakes and More

A few months ago, I purchased Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook. It finally cried out to me and last week I made TWO kinds of cupcakes. I made the Pumpkin Brown-Butter cupcakes for Bible study on Thursday, (yes, I am a week behind again). These cupcakes didn't last a day! A few days later I made the Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes. We were invited to dinner and asked to bring dessert. I made only half a batch (15 cupcakes). These were easy and very, very good.

Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes-

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for tins
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 3250 . Brush 15 muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediments behind; let cool.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
3. Divide batter evenly among buttered/floured cups, filling each about ¾ full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
4. To finish, dip top of each cupcake in brown-butter icing, then turn over quickly and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Brown-Butter Icing

½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

42 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 2750. Line 30 standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place one whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowls as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand. Divide batter evenly among the cookie filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

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