RECIPES: 2for1, Creme Brulee Cupcakes and Dulce De Lece Cake Pops
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt, plus a pinch for the egg whites
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated with yolks and whites in clean, separate bowls
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Brown sugar for sprinkling
4 egg whites
dash of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternately beat in dry ingredients and milk.
Add caramel syrup and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Gently fold whites into batter. Do not over mix.
Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and tops are lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool.
Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm and beginning to thicken slightly. Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles. Mixture should be smooth, creamy and shiny. Chill the buttercream until ready to use.
To assemble cupcakes
Remove center of cupcake using a small sharp paring knife. I make a cone shape with the tip of the cone about the middle of the cupcake. Fill cupcake with buttercream, mounding it on the top (Reserve about a cups-worth for the cake pops). Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Using your grill lighter, gently heat the brown sugar until it sizzles and caramelizes in places and the buttercream around the sugar becomes golden in places. Take your time and be careful.
Dulce De Lece Cake Pops (Makes about a dozen)
Reserved cake pieces from the previous recipe, crumbled up with your hand to a fine "meal"
1/2 -3/4 cup reserved swiss buttercream from previous recipe
2 oz. softened cream cheese
2 Tbsp. butter, well softened
1/2 cup -3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 Tbsp. milk
bamboo sticks, Popsicle sticks or candy sticks from the candy aisle at a craft store
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 KRAFT caramel squares
2-3 Tbsp. canola oil
Decorative sprinkles or caramel drizzle
buttercream, vanilla and milk until all well combined. Using your hands, form about 1 inch balls out of the sticky cake mixture and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Once all the mixture is formed into balls, stick your "sticks" in each center. Freeze for about 30 minutes until firm. You can have them freeze longer if you wish. The colder they are the easier they are to top and keep their shape.
In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips with the caramel and the oil until smooth, stirring occasionally. The oil will keep things smooth and workable. If the chocolate begins seizing add a touch more oil. I found the caramel to keep things a little stiffer so I used a pastry brush to brush on the topping versus dunking the pop in the chocolate, which I could do easier with my chocolate cake pops (which I will post this week for you!) So take your pops out and brush (or dunk and turn) the chocolate until the pop is evenly covered. Place back on the sheet, pop down. The topping will harden quickly because of how cold the pop is, so sprinkle decorations quickly as you go so they stick on the pop. After all pops are covered, place back in the freezer until ready to serve. I have read that these are best stored in the freezer versus the refrigerator. In the refrigerator they tend to "weep" from the condensation.