July 26, 2011

Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem


It only makes sense to follow up something as healthy and good-for-you as homemade veggie burgers with ... well, something completely the opposite. But after all those veggies you can certainly reward yourself with one or two (or three or four?) of these fun little treats.


And speaking of fun, these were a blast to make! I haven't had this much fun in the kitchen since the hamburger cupcakes. Between the coring (I used a zucchini corer that you can find for dirt cheap at any halal store; an apple corer or plain butter knife would work fine too), filling and swirly-loop design, it was a hoot!
Sure, that last detail probably wasn't necessary at all but let's be honest, we're just trying to recreate a childhood favorite here. 

I know this is gonna sound silly, but these really aren't that rich or decadent. I used my old fall-back chocolate cupcake recipe so the cake was very light and delicate and the cream filling was a homemade marshmallow cream  (super fun to make!)  that was also very light. The richest part of the whole cupcake was probably the ganache topping, which was the perfect compliment to the pillow-y like filling.

All in all, this was very easy to make. Sure, it had a few more steps than a "regular" cupcake would require but believe me, it's definitely worth it.

Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

1 recipe chocolate cupcakes

Marshmallow Frosting
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine frosting ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Use frosting the day it is made.

Ganache Frosting

1/2 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable. 

1. Core your cooled cupcakes, being careful not to poke a hole out the bottom of the cupcakes, Keep the tops of the cupcakes aside (you can trim them a bit). Carefully pipe marshmallow frosting into each one and replace with a "cap".

2. Carefully spread a dollop of ganache on each cupcake. Keep aside until the ganache has slightly hardened and set up a bit.

3. Pipe a swirly design on top using remaining marshmallow frosting (totally optional, but totally fun).

July 9, 2011

Blackbean Burger (Vegetarian)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I'm not a fan of veggies, yadda yadda yadda, I try to eat more, blah blah blah ; you've heard the story a dozen times. And in my defense, I think I've come a long way. But when it comes to the world of vegetarian eating, there's one food I have no problem with: the veggie burger.

I'm head over heels for any meat-alternative burger (veggie, bean, soy, etc.) and spend a bundle on those frozen soy patties .So you could imagine how happy I was to find out I could get about 12 patties from a .79 cent can of black beans! And now you know that in addition to not being wild about vegetables, I'm also a cheapskate. Moving on...

If you've been reading MWK long enough, this may seem like a repeat recipe of a black bean burger I tried out a while ago. But trust me, the difference between these two recipes is like night day. While that one was boring and tasted like mushy black beans (which basically sums up the recipe quite well), this one has body and is jam-packed full of flavor.

The original recipe calls for bulghur (which you may remember from kibbeh or tabouleh) but I didn't have any at the time and opted for cous cous. It definitely worked, though I added almost twice as much as what the original bulhur amount until the mixture came to a consistency that I was happy with.In addition to the mountain of vegetables, this burger actually has some flavor thanks to the BBQ sauce and soy sauce, but feel free to add your favorite spices too (I think Cajun spice would be awesome in this!). I left out the walnuts because I was lazy and it was still great. Definitely give it a try and I'm pretty you won't even miss the meat!

Black Bean Burgers
(adapted from Food Network Magazine)

1/3 cup quick cooking barley (bulghur, or twice as much cooked cous cous)
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 small celery stalk, chopped
salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
5 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1 carrot, finely grated (I just julienned these)
1 cup canned pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (left these out, still came out great!)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoon fresh parsely

1. Prepare burghul (barely, or cous cous, whatever you're using) according to directions, let cool completely.

2. Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery and a pinch of salt and cook until golden, about 12 - 14 minutes. Add garlic, 3 tablespoons of barbecue sauce and the carrot. Cook until the mixture slightly driest out, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and let cool completely ( I rushed it and waited until it was warm, but for safety reasons you should let it cool completely).

3. Add the burghul (or cous cous), beans, breadcrumbs, walnuts, soy sauce, egg whites, parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the food processor. Pulse until finely ground with some chunks ( I pulsed until pretty smooth, that's just my preference). Form into patties 4" wide  and about 1/2" thick. Place onto a wax paper lined baking sheet or tray and refrigerate until firm (1 - 4 hours).

4. At this point, you can freeze whatever you want until later or cook them off right away. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook patties in batching until golden, about 6 minutes on each side. Serve on toasted buns with the remaining barbecue sauce.