Saturday, November 20, 2010

Make Your Own "Hostess Cupcakes"

You remember those, right?  All chocolatey and delicious on the outside.  Gooey and creamy on the inside.  These cupcakes are part of my childhood.  And I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume you've got your own personal experiences with these babies. Cause this is America, after all.  Home of the Fat Kids, Land of the Brave. 
Now, I do my best to avoid impulse gas station cupcakes so cleverly placed at fingertip's reach near the checkout counter.  I really do.  And I tell my kids that they should quickly learn to expect the word 'NO.' to answer their snack requests while standing in line to make a purchase...uh, anywhere.  But, I must admit.  I, myself, have a difficult time blocking these cupcakes from my periferral vision.  Because I never look them in the eye.  I can't.  Its too dangerous. 
But.  The other day, while I was at Walmart, I caved.  I bought two packages of the vile beasts.  That's four cupcakes.  FOUR. 
I was good, though.  I only ate one.  I fed the rest to my family.  Then I decided I needed more.  But I couldn't succomb to the idea of going back for six more cupcakes.  I mean, who eats ten cupcakes in one day?  I told myself, "I do not need fourteen cupcakes." 
So I baked a bunch of them myself. 
And now you can, too.

Start with your favorite chocolate cake recipe or boxed mix.  From that, produce a motherlode of chocolate cupcakes.  My husband loves chocolate cake from a box so I used a devil's food mix and I got this.

Now all you have to do is turn them into the gooey filled, chocolate dipped version.

Here are your necessary (and I mean NECESSARY) supplies. 

sugar, milk, salt, powdered sugar, water, vanilla, and shortening.  Yes.  It says shortening.

I know.  I don't want to eat solid shortening either.  But were making Hostess Cupcakes, remember.  Eat shortening.  Just do it.  You've been doing it your whole life.  Perhaps you were aware of it.  Perhaps not.  Doesn't matter.  This recipe reproduces that creamy filling EXACTLY like you remember it.  You want authentic?  There it is.  Blam.  Shortening.

Mix all ingredients EXCEPT the powdered sugar on high for no less than seven minutes.  This is important.  Less time will produce a lumpy, watery base that you do not want in your cupcakes.

Now add the powdered sugar and beat on high for no less than five minutes.  Again.  IMPORTANT.  Do not skimp on the time. 

You will find a perfectly nostolgic creamy filling in the bottom of your bowl.

Now there are a few ways you could get this filling into your cupcakes.  You could use a pastry bag......... or a fancy tool like mine.

*Sidenote:  Yes, that is three bottles of cheap wine and a jar of bacon grease in the background.  I keep a well stocked kitchen.  But about my tool.

I love this fancy tool.  It makes me feel pampered.  Like a chef.  But try not to be as messy as me. 

I was slightly distracted during this process, as my runts kept asking me for lunch.  I gave them last night's Olive Garden leftovers and told 'em to scram. 

Because I baked my cupcakes in paper liners, I decided to inject the filling through the liner rather than remove it so as to preserve the moisture in the cupcake.  I did this by using the tip of a steak knife to cut a small slit in the bottom of the liner and then inserted my tip through the slit. 

Fill the cupcakes slowly, pulling the tip out gradually as you fill.  This will keep the tops from breaking open because of overfilling. 

Once they're all filled its time to make the ganache.  Heat a double boiler.  Mine's pretty fancy.

Melt some chocolate chips in there and add a couple tablespoons of milk or heavy cream to thin it out.  Remember to stir continuously so you don't burn your chocolate. 

When the ganache is nice and smooth remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. 

Take your filled cupcakes and dip the tops in the ganache, rotating them to be sure you cover the whole thing. 

Now they need to rest.  That ganache needs to set, so clean up your mess and check on your runts to be sure that they're eating their reaheated broccoli. 

After you threaten time-outs all around because no one wants rubbery, microwaved chicken, go add your squiggles.  I had a can of white frosting laying around, so I used that.  I put a couple spoonfuls of frosting into a plastic sandwich bag and snipped off the corner to make a pastry bag.

Start squigglin' 

They won't all be perfect. 

It's OK.


Now go clean up the horrific spaghetti mess that your almost-three-year-old left under the table and send her to time out. 

Don't forget to huff and puff a lot to let her know that this kind of behavior is completley unacceptable and that when she is released from time out in two minutes she will NOT be receiving a cupcake as a result of her poor use of leftovers.
 Really drive it home by speaking loudly and clanging a lot of dishes around and stomping all over the place so that nothing else can be heard from around the corner where the time out bench is located next to the cat's feeding bowls. 
When her two minutes are up and she is ready for the "time out talk," go around the corner to the time out bench and find this.

Now send that almost-three-year-old to her room. 

Creme Filling Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup crisco (Scant)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbls. water
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Beat all ingredients except powdered sugar in an electric mixer on high for seven minutes.  Add powdered sugar and beat on high again for five minutes. 

Chocolate Ganache Recipe
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1-2 tbsp heavy cream or milk

Heat over a double boiler stirring constantly until chocolate is smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before dipping cupcakes into ganache.  Let dipped cupcakes set for 5 minutes before adding squiggles.   

1 comment:

  1. really great tutorial heather, though i have to say that i too often am at the receiving end of such yelling fits, since i tend to make a mess of leftovers, though she'll probably grow out of it =oD.

    great weblog, hope you keep posting