In the logical mind of a baker, when one is gifted cute cookies, one does not simply eat them – there is an unspoken sense of duty to maximise their existence by using them as finishing touches to cupcakes only so worthy.
Since the cookies contain chocolate, I went with brownie cupcakes to keep things relevant. I took a classic brownie recipe and made some modifications to attain a brownie cake that falls somewhere in between fudgy and cakey, dense and chocolaty but not overly so such that you can eat them with frosting. To decorate, I used a whipped ganache frosting because of its uncomplicated nature that also delivers on the flavour front – very much like brownies themselves. Chilled, it somewhat has the consistency of the most intense chocolate ice cream eaten straight from the freezer.
A single cupcake is pretty substantial as you can imagine, but one that is worth every calorie.
Brownie Cupcakes with Whipped Ganache Frosting
For the cupcakes:
70 grams unsalted butter, diced
120 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped
60 grams unsweetened chocolate, chopped
150 grams sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
60 grams cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
For the frosting:
200 grams semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
400 ml heavy cream
unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180C. Insert cupcake liners into the cavities of a muffin pan.
Melt the butter and chocolates in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat, stir in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and instant espresso powder. Stir in the cake flour, baking powder and salt just until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts, if using, until evenly distributed.
Divide the batter amongst 10 cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes.
Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let the mixture stand for about a minute. Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Cover and chill overnight, or until the ganache is completely firm.
Start by whisking the ganache on low speed and gradually increase the speed. Whip the ganache until it’s able to hold its shape. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe large swirls of ganache atop the cooled cupcakes. Dust a generous layer of cocoa powder over the cupcakes, if using.
Consume immediately, or refrigerate until ready to do so.
Note: the cupcake recipe is a modification of Dorie Greenspan’s Classic Brownies recipe.