Monday, March 10, 2008

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Zucchini

So. This is my first post as well as my first entry into the Cupcake Hero contest. I had stumbled upon Laurie's site on March second or third when she presented all the entries for February's Liquor cupcakes. I had to sign up. It wasn't a maybe or if I have time. (Psht, forget about homework and culinary school applications.) I had to do this. And so I sat, patiently waiting for Laurie to announce March's secret ingredient. Marshmallows. Okay. That's... odd. Marshmallows. Cake. Marshmallows. Cake. Huh. All I could think of initially was a s'more cupcake. No, I didn't want to do that. Well, I do.. but I wanted something more creative. I was talking to my friend Chris about it and he suggested rocky road. But no... still not original enough. That was all I could think about, though. Chocolate and marshmallows. Okay, I had to do something with that. Chocolate cake with marshmallow on top? No. Too boring. (Chris then told me how amazing he found it that baking took top ranking in my list of priorities; nevermind I have an essay to write, I have to find a recipe to bake.) I had been itching to make zucchini bread ever since I made those four dozen banana muffins in Culinary Arts class. And that was it. Chocolate zucchini cupcakes with marshmallows and a marshmallow frosting.

First off, I needed a base chocolate zucchini recipe to work from. I found that on Heidi's blog. (Flog? You know.. video blogs are "vlogs." Food blogs.. flogs. I guess that might be too brutal for some people. Not for Molly, though. Ha. Laugh at my joke. Ah... I doubt anybody gets that.) Anyway, I took her recipe and tweaked it to what sounded best to me. Added more zucchini, a bit more cinnamon. Exchanged the cup of chocolate chips for a cup of chopped up miniature marshmallows. And yes, I spent the time quartering every single miniature marshmallow only for them to dissolve into my batter. (Which wound up not making them as gooey as I thought they'd be.. but I still like the name.) What can I say? I have no life at all. Seriously. They did make for a very tender cake, though. I had to force myself to stop eating them. I'm actually hoping I can pawn some off onto the one neighbour that has actually befriended us. Well, and stayed kind. Can't say that about Psycho-Lady. Ah.. I digress. Again. And the marshmallow frosting? I exchanged that for a homemade marshmallow topping which was again changed for just some Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream. Simply because the price for unflavoured gelatin was the same as a container of marshmallow cream. I'm cheap. And last time I made homemade marshmallows.. they came out horribly. I blame Tyler Florence and his recipe. Simply because I can. (I know, I know.. I'll work on my marshmallow making skills. But seriously. That recipe? Never again.)

I thought they were absolutely amazing. They were moist, they were chocolatey, they were zucchiniy. They fixed my tastes. Then came the main critics. My little sisters. When they saw me grating the zucchini, they were wary. When they saw me using cocoa powder, they were interested. When they realised I was mixing the two, they were grossed out. I decided to tell them I was just making chocolate cupcakes; the zucchini was for bread. So at ten o'clock tonight I forced them out of their rooms with the exclamation of, "I'm forcing you to eat chocolate cupcakes!" I handed the older one a cupcake, then gave the younger one the rest. They both had a look of mixed feelings on their face. I was crestfallen. They didn't like them. "You don't like it." That got their attention. Sharlee, the younger one, replied, "I like it. Un-burnt marshmallows are gross, though." So there you have it. The little kids say its good. We're just weird and can't have a marshmallow unless it's completely black. (Our aunt corrupted us.)

Oh, and the zucchini part. I wanted to get in as much zucchini as I could. So I decided to squeeze the liquid out of the zucchini and then measure it. From two large and two small zucchinis I got three cups of zucchini and a half cup of liquid. It was fun watching my dad smell the liquid and then grimace at its "grassy" smell. Heh. Well. Now that I've completely put you off from my blog (flog) because of my inane ramblings, here is the recipe.

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Zucchini

1 cup miniature marshmallows, chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup salted butter, room temperature (You can use unsalted, I just only ever have salted. If you do, though, up the amount of salt to a 1/2 teaspoon.)
3 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
½ cup buttermilk
3 cups grated zucchini squeezed of its juice
2 7-ounce containers of Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream (You can use other kinds or make your own. This is just what's available to me. Also, I only used about one and a half of the containers.)

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Line three cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers.

In a small bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, and marshmallows.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Scrape bowl. Beat in the vanilla, buttermilk, and zucchini on slow.

Add all the dry mixture at once, and start mixing, starting on the lowest setting, gradually getting faster. Spoon batter into cupcake tins, filling about two-thirds full. Place pans each on a separate rack in the oven. Bake for about 21 minutes, rotating every seven minutes.

Remove pans from oven and place a dollop of marshmallow cream onto each cupcake, spreading as evenly as you can. Pop each pan, one at a time, under the broiler set on high for a couple minutes until the tops are golden brown. Alternatively, you can use a simple kitchen hand torch. But I don't have one.

Oh, and one more thing. After trying a cupcake from my third pan, I've come to realise that if you have thin pans make sure you cook them for a bit less time. I have two pans that are a nice thick aluminum and one that is.. well.. thin non-stick. The thin non-stick pan gave off cupcakes that aren't as moist as the others. They're very good.. but yeah. (Yes, I'm admitting that a batch didn't come out good enough. But that's because of the timing issue with the pans. Or at least I'm hoping. I've had problems with that pan before..) Check the times. Or at least have three of the same kind of pans? Heh. XD

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