Living in New Jersey these past few weeks has been an interesting adventure. Thankfully, our family has been indescribably lucky and the extent of the damage we experienced was only a downed tree and power loss for a few days. School/internship has been closed for the past week, plus gas rations, needless to say, we’ve been watching A LOT of movies! Once we all got sick of the Harry Potter-athon (HEY, no judgements; It’s a fall tradition!) we watched among many others, Julie & Julia.
It’s funny, watching that movie brought back memories of wanting to create this very blog in 2009. I instead, and probably more realistically, decided to make a blog detailing my travels through Europe during my study abroad in Madrid (upon further review, I apologize to those who’ve read it then, but let’s just say, it’s definitely a good thing that I had a “practice” blog.) I want to say a thank-you to all my loyal readers from the beginning, as I look back, even to the first typeAbaker post, I feel like I’ve come a long way. I absolutely have learned a lot, and I think I’m still probably figuring it out, so thanks for sticking with me!
So anyways, power is back, I’m watching Julie & Julia, and did I mention I’m reading Julia Child’s “My Life in France”? Yea, I was itching to bake something fun and exciting. (Also, strangely itching to go back to Paris, but that’s beside’s the point.) I’m not sure why I’m so fixated on cupcakes lately, but as I am, it’s no surprise that I found the idea for Almond Joy Cupcakes!
I originally stumbleupon-ed the recipe from A Brunette Baker and fell in love with the idea. Because of all the time on my hands, and desire to spend some quality time with my mixer, I improvised a bit of the recipe.
I searched for a Devil’s Food Cake (cupcake) recipe because of my aversion to box cake mixes, and found Bobby Flay’s listed on the Food Network. He’s not typically one of my go-to’s (like Ina Garten – everything that woman does is perfect) but I decided to give it a go. By all means I don’t want to offend anyone, my aversion isn’t to the idea of using a box cake per-say, but if I want to bake, the best part is putting all parts together from scratch, and it irks me that I can’t do it with a cake mix! That’s just my control freak of a personality shining through, don’t mind her.
I searched high and low and finally found some ‘fun sized’ Almond Joys on clearance from Halloween. I split them in half and popped them in the middle of the cupcake before baking. Unfortunately, they ended up sinking right to the bottom and sticking to the cupcake tin, not sure that I would even bother next time; the cupcakes were GREAT without them.
Once the cupcakes were in the oven, it’s time to get cracking on the JOY part of the Almond Joys. Actually, first – not really cracking because there aren’t eggs in this, and secondly – ALMOND = the almond part, and JOY = the coconut/chocolate part, everyone knows this, it’s a fact! I think it’s fitting to mention here that my sister and I sang the little jingle (for your listening pleasure, and so you can imagine what we sounded like walking down the aisles) throughout the majority of our grocery shopping trip. And the car ride there & back.
I started off using the recipe from the Brunette Baker for the Coconut topping, but ended up amending it quite a bit, so the one I list is the final product from what I ended up using.
⅔ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2+ cup finely shredded coconut
⅔ cup coconut milk
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or paste
½ teaspoon coconut extract
1 Tbsp of corn starch to thicken as needed
Beat your butter first, then add the coconut milk and powdered sugar and combine. Next add the vanilla & coconut extracts and coconut. Stick in the fridge for about 10 minutes to harden then add corn starch as needed. The batter will still be somewhat loose, but after you pipe it on (large round tip), stick the cupcakes in the freezer for 10 minutes while you prepare the chocolate glaze.
At this point, use a double broiler (or a 2-cup measuring cup and a small saucepan) to heat up about 2 cups of dark chocolate morsels/melting chips (12 oz was JUST enough) and 2-3 Tbsp of canola oil to make the glaze. Let it cool about 10 minutes before you dip the cupcakes, then stick them in the fridge to harden up!
I think I’m realizing, cupcakes are best way to enjoy all our favorite sweets! Why else would we come up with recipes that turn girl scout cookies, campfire treats, candy bars, and even thanksgiving dinners into cupcakes!? What’s that you say? You’re doubting the thanksgiving dinner cupcake? My friend send this to me, I kid you not, check out #6. Another benefit to cupcakes? Single serving size, enough said :)
*’My Life in France’ is actually really cute. I listen to audiobooks because I’m awesome like that, and I’m smiling throughout my entire commute, if you were curious.
…Any suggestions for what’s next? :)