Monday, February 13, 2012

Orange Vanilla bean Cupcakes with Pomegranate Hearts

...whipping up a Valentine's treat
Filling the mini cupcake liners with batter.
(on our new very very favorite placemats:
Puppy Dogs 3D Lenticular Placemats)

Push one or two little chocolate-chip-kiss hidden surprises into the batter of each mini-cupcake. (Because Valentine's day demands chocolate.) A perfect job for kid-sized fingers.

A warm & special delivery of the goods ♡

Here's what you'll need:

a batch of Vanilla bean + orange cupcakes
a batch of buttercream
pomegranate foam (optional)
a touch of pink or red food color (optional)
pomegranate seeds for decoration
chocolate chips

♡Recipes:

Vanilla bean + orange cupcakes
makes 48 mini-cupcakes
*original recipe from Martha Stewart


4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
*aprox. 1/4 C chocolate chips

♥ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Cream butter for about 3 minutes, then slowly add the sugar, vanilla seeds, and orange zest and continue to beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. With mixer running, add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl.

♥ Combine cream, orange juice, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating with cream mixture, ending with flour; beat until just combined. Make sure you are scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.

♥ Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Push one or two little chocolate-chip-kiss surprises into the batter of each mini-cupcake. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted in the centers come out clean, about 25 minutes.

*For the Pomegranate Buttercream we made our meringue buttercream and added Pomegranate foam (recipe below), but this works just as well with a vanilla, lemon or orange flavored buttercream.


Favorite Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
1-1/2 cups sugar
pinch salt
1 lb unsalted butter
1-1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
*1 drop red food color (optional)
*Pomegranate Foam (recipe follows)


♥ In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Blend in the vanilla. Set aside.

♥ In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until the sugar has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes.

♥ Mix on high speed using the whisk attachment, until firm, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.

♥ Reduce the speed to low, and add the creamed butter, about 1/4 cup at a time, to the meringue. Add a tiny drop of red food color. Beat until smooth.
*Don’t worry if the buttercream seems to break down and curdle when the butter is added to the eggs. Just continue to beat it until it smooths back out to a soft, creamy texture.

♥ Mix in the pomegranate foam until blended evenly

Pomegranate Foam
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon sugar (plus more to taste)
3 egg whites

♥ Heat pomegranate juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is boiling. Reduce to a simmer.

♥ Simmer mixture until its reduced by half about 5-8 minutes.

♥ Beat egg whites in the bowl of your electric mixer with the whisk attachment until foamy, about 3 minutes.

♥ Slowly pour the very hot, reduced pomegranate juice into the egg whites while whisking at medium speed.

♥ Continue to beat on medium-high speed until the mixture cools, about 5 to 10 minutes more.



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