Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ferrero Rocher Style Cupcakes

I know cupcakes have been trendy for quite a while, and I can really see why. They are one of the most versatile foods out there. You can add ANYTHING to a cupcake, from green tea to salted caramel to bacon to mango, the ideas are endless. I have beeing trying to come up with a really creative cupcake, and after a few tries, I think I have found a winner, in both taste and originality.

I thought about an episode of Food Network Challenge recently where contestants were asked to make cookies, but they kept throwing extra ingredients at them, and challenge twists. One of those twists was to make a cookie inspired by a classic dessert. I started thinking about desserts and candies that would make a good cupcake, and suddenly it hit me...Nutella. That yummy chocolate hazelnut spread that comes in a jar, the same stuff they put inside Ferrero Rocher candies...this could be tasty.

I found a recipe for a plain chocolate cupcake here. Then I hit the store and got all the little extras I would need to capture the taste and texture.

The candy has several layers. The first is a whole hazelnut, followed by the chocolate hazelnut filling (Nutella). Then there is a crispy shell, covered in chopped hazelnuts, and then chocolate.

I wanted to get the nuts and chocolate, but I also really wanted to get that crispy crunch as well. So, here's how the production went...

Filled the cupcake liners half full of batter.
Placed a couple of pieces of chopped hazelnuts in each cup.
Placed a dollop of about 1/2 teaspoon Nutella on top of the nuts.
Let them cool a bit, and then put a little dollop of Nutella on top (not a lot, it's very rich) and allow it to melt a tad before spreading around.

Now, how to get that crispy crunch...I got to thinking about all the cereal we have in the cupboard, and decided to take some cornflakes and coat them in melted chocolate, and make little crunchy clusters for the top. There was really no way to get the crunch inside the cupcake; it would have just been soggy. So, we have cupcake, nuts, Nutella, cupcake, more Nutella, crunchy cluster.



It was everything I ever hoped it could be, and then some. It was not all that labor intensive to make these, totally worth the effort. This is my sister's favorite candy, so I'm pretty sure these will be her birthday cupcakes.

Crumbly Blackberry Cobbler

So my first few posts won't be that great, because I don't have any pictures of my process, but I have a few great recipes. First off is my blackberry cobbler.

I like my cobbler to have a crumbly, cookie-like crust on top. Some people make something a little more like a cake, which does not appeal to me. After picking about 4 cups of fresh blackberries down by the harbor, I knew it was cobbler time, but I could not find a recipe to suit my needs. So, I made my own. The end result was a perfect mix of sweet and tart, soft and crispy, and hot and cold, thanks to a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is a must.

I'm waiting for the recipe to be approved on, so in the mean time, here it is.

Crumbly Blackberry Cobbler
Serves 12


4 cup fresh blackberries
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup corn flakes, coarsely crushed
1 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold water
1 stick cold butter, divided

Vanilla ice cream, yogurt or whipped cream for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Add cornstarch to cold water and stir until dissolved.
3. Place blackberries in a 3 quart saucepan, and pour starch mixture over. Add sugars and stir to dissolve. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, mix all crust ingredients except butter, then add half of the stick of butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until it is coarse and crumbly. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until mixture just starts to hold together. Adjust water amount as necessary.
5. Place berry mixture into a 9x13 baking dish, and crumble crust all over the top. Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter, and slowly pour all over the top of the cobbler.
6. Place the cobbler in the preheated oven and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, and then turn the oven up to a broil and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
7. Serve with ice cream, yogurt or whipped cream, if desired.

You may need to adjust the sugar depending on the sweetness of your berries. This recipe is tailored to more tart berries.