Monday, June 27, 2011

Are They Made From Real Girl Scouts?

My mother used to be my troop leader way back in the days of Girl Scouts.  Yep.  I was that girl.  I thought I was the coolest girl because my beautiful, tall, [slightly sassy pants] mom was in charge.  It was awesome.  So awesome.  When we graduated from Daisies to Brownies, she made a cardboard "oven" for us to crawl out of at the ceremony.  When there was a regional meeting of all the troops, she taught us democracy by putting it to a vote: go to the meeting or go camping (we ended up seeing a lot of the woods).  My years in the Girl Scouts with mom as my leader was full of crafting, camping, dancing and everything our little geeky hearts could want.  

And cookies.  We kicked butt in the cookie-selling department.  I'm surprised the mob didn't want to get in on that with us. We were hustlers, fa sho.

Back in the day when Blockbuster was the most impressive membership card in a wallet, Mom had the genius idea to set up shop at their entrance.  Forget Home Depot (burly dudes don't buy cookies when what they really want are two-by-fours).  Skip the grocery store (where Oreos are 2 packs for $3.00).  No.  We went for the big equation:  movies + cookies = raking in the dough (ba dum bum).

And we meant business.

Mom (I know you're reading this), this is for you.  I know you're all the way out in South Carolina now, but I promise you I'll make these some day when we're in the same kitchen.  And you'll want to sell them outside whatever video rental store hasn't been closed already.  

"Samoa" Cupcakes
adapted from Bakers Royale

The Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 cup sour cream
1 tspn baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tspn salt
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
1 tbspn vanilla extract

*preheat oven to 350 degrees*
*line one standard muffin pan with cupcake liners*

1. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and baking soda together.  Set aside.  (It's going to turn into a very lovely, frothy mass, full of air bubbles and goodness - !!!)  Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Using your standing mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars on medium speed, until evenly mixed and fluffy.  Add in eggs and beat until combined.  Add in egg yolks and vanilla, beating until combined.  Turn off mixer.
3.  Alternating between the sour cream mixture and the flour mixture, fold each in rotation, beginning with the sour cream and ending with the flour, mixing each until combined.  
4. Using an ice cream scooper (or a spoon and your spatula), fill each liner 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until you can touch the cupcake in the center and it feels pillowy, bouncing back from your touch.  Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

The Salted Dulce de Leche Frosting:

6 tbspns butter, room temperature
1 tbspn vanilla extract
1 can Dulce de Leche (mexican caramel - found at Walmart)
1/2 tspn sea salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (keep it out - you may need more depending on how thick you like your frosting)

1. Place butter, vanilla and the Dulce de Leche in the bowl of your cleaned mixer and beat on high until all whipped and creamed together, about 3-4 minutes.  
2. Turn mixer down to medium-low and add the salt, then the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time.  Scrape the sides of the bowl down often until all powdered sugar has just been blended in, and then crank it back up to medium-high and beat until fluffy.  At this point, you may need to sift more powdered sugar and add it in, 1/4 cup at a time, until you get the right consistency.  It's up to you.  If you've decided to scrap the cupcake thing and go for a a full-on cake version of this, I'd suggest doubling this recipe and adding a touch more powdered sugar.  It's always an experiment, isn't it?

The Toasted Coconut:

3/4 cup sweetened coconut

1. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil.  Spread the coconut evenly over the surface and bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes(ish), tossing with a spatula every 3 minutes to prevent burning.  You may end up doing this for longer if you've doubled the recipe.  Look for that beautiful "Samoa" color for your toasted coconut.  Put in a bowl and set aside.

The Dark Chocolate Drizzle:

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 tspn instant espresso (optional)

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate for 30 seconds (and then 30 seconds after you've stirred it once), until it is drizzling consistency.  Let cool slightly before putting in a piping bag and drizzling over cupcakes.

The Procedure:

1. Pipe frosting on to a cooled cupcake, creating a mound of goodness.  Next, gently roll/press the cupcake into the bowl with the coconut, taking care to cover all the caramel frosting with the flakes.  Then drizzle with dark chocolate and let set. 
2. Bring to a party and wow the guests.  And the band.  And yourself, because these look legit.  Congratulations!

(note:  my apologies for not getting that "final picture" with the chocolate drizzle - I was in a mad hurry to get these suckers done and to the party, and forgot completely.  You'll forgive me, right?)

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