Finally!! This recipe has been a year in the making…
About a year ago I headed into work feeling like a million bucks. I had a sweet new hair cut : a new chocolate brown coif with smart bangs in the front…I felt like I loosely resembled Angelina Jolie in her last movie Salt, well my hair did anyway.
Just when I’d believed I’d conquered all the awkward phases in life, I, by the afternoon, upon returning from the dentist, my teeth clad with braces, I was the spit and image of Ugly Betty…
My mom always said my (crooked) teeth gave me character, and over the next 11 months that followed I was miserable feeling all the bones in my jaw sway and shift. I ducked out of most pictures when someone said to say cheese, or just pursed my lips in what looked usually like a painful grimace.
Originally the estimate of time of how long I’d be feeling like a 5th grader was about 8 months though I secretly crossed my fingers that it might be as short as 6. Not a terribly long time to suffer, though by August, then September, then Thanksgiving and Christmas there was no sign they were coming off even when my dentist seemed surprised at how quick my teeth were moving. When you are 20 something and your jaw is fully formed, not to mention being an avid coffee drinker, not only does it hurt to have braces, but they stain and are just kind of embarassing.
Now a year later I COULDN’T WAIT to get them off!!! My appointment was then pushed back due to the second, third or fourth heavy-duty NYC winter storm…but now FINALLY the braces are gone!! I think difficult experiences make us all a little better off, so FINALLY almost a year later 11 months and a week later I have a white very straight smile.
When you have braces you can’t indulge is candy, not that I am a huge candy person anyway, but i definetly learned my lesson with caramel over they year having pulled and tugged at the wires painfully when I forgot what was on the prohibited menu.
Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c dutch processed cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 c butter milk ( I used 1 c soymilk with 1 tsp vinegar)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 warm water
Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water with an electric mixer on low until smooth.
Divide into cupcake cups and cook at 350 degrees. Martha makes these as mini cupcakes, but I went full size. Yields 18-24 regular size cupcakes.
By the way if you are saying chocolate and Salt? Go to your local Starbuck’s and order a salted caramel hot chocolate. Mmmmmmmm!! They are sooo delicious!! And these cupcakes are much the same.
Salted Caramel Filling
2 1/2 c granulated sugar
2/3 c water
1 tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 c heavy cream
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
Combine Sugar, cornsyrup and water in a sauce pan. Stir and heat on high. Stir until the liquid becomes clear. Once sugar mixture has become clear stop stirring. Use a pastry brush to wash down sides of pan occasional. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan or if you have a larger candy thermometer, make sure to really cover the bottom of the thermometer in the sugar so to ensure an accurate reading and swirl occassionally.
When sugar reaches 360 degrees (be patient it can take a while) remove from heat. The color will begin to caramelize.
Add cream slowly and stir. Mixture will bubble and spatter is you are not careful.
Add salt. If you don’t use caramel shortly after making you will need to re heat to soften.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
3 sticks unslated butter at room temperature
1/2 c confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 c + 2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa
2/3 c boiling water
1 pound good quality semi sweet chocolate
I used callebut chocolate and semiesweet morsels. Melt in a double boiler, or carefully over low heat to melt. Set aside and allow to cool, but not harden.
Combine cocoa and boiling water. Whisk until dissolved. Cocoa will become like a thick mousse. Allow to cool.
Cream butter, confectioners sugar, and salt. Add melted chocolate and beat on low. Add Cocoa mixture until frosting is smooth and combined.
To assemble Dig out a bit of the center of the chocolate cupcakes.
Pour a few teaspoons of caramel into the center. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
Pipe the chocolate frosting on top and devour!