Happy Halloween!

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Last weekend we baked up a storm and invited some friends over to eat it all:

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On the menu—

1) Pumpkin macarons with cinnamon mascarpone filling

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2) Sandwich cat cookies (espresso-chocolate roll cookies with orange-dyed Kahlua buttercream frosting), adapted from The Good Cookie

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3) Peanut caramels

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4) Hazelnut plum tart (from Smitten Kitchen)…apologies for the awful picture. I only had time to snap a picture while it was hot and on the stove, which did not offer great lighting.

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And,

5) Almond pound cake mini-cupcakes with chocolate sour cream frosting

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We also tried making homemade twix. Major fail. The cookie was too crumbly, the caramel too soft, and the chocolate was a mess—both too high percentage chocolate and would not temper. Some evidence of said disaster:

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Lastly, I leave you with a recipe: Almond pound cake mini-cupcakes with chocolate sour cream frosting. Recipe was compiled (barely amended) from the Viking Cooking School and The Artful Cupcake cookbook—

Ingredients for cupcakes:

Vegetable oil spray or mini cupcake paper cups
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

Ingredients for frosting:

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sour cream

Instructions for cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 and spray mini cupcake tray or line with cups (preferred).
  2. Mix eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and almond extracts in a measuring cup with a pouring spout. Set aside.
  3. Sift flour and salt together and set aside.
  4. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer (or hand-held), beat butter at medium-high speed for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, almost white, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add flour and egg mixtures, alternating between the two, starting with 1/4 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the egg mixture, and continuing in these proportions until complete. In between, mix at medium speed. Just mix—do not overmix.
  7. Fill prepared cups to about 3/4 capacity with batter.
  8. Bake about 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven. Cool in pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Instructions for frosting:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate with salt.
  2. Add the sour cream all at once and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Remove bowl from heat. Allow to cool entirely before frosting cupcakes.
  4. To decorate, pour sprinkles in a shallow bowl and swirl frosted cupcake on all sides to cover the top of the cupcake.
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