Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cupcake Break!

I had promised my hubby some baked treats recently and I had a desperate craving for chocolate cake so I had to make some cupcakes.  But not just any cupcakes...Chocolate with a surprise of Cheesecake Filling, topped with Caramelized Walnuts. 

How to create these lovelies:

Make it easy on yourself and buy a box of chocolate cake mix.  Mix it up. 

Cheesecake filling:
1 pkg of light cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract (or both!)

Keep cool, so it stays firm. 

Fill paper-lined muffin cups 1/2 full with the chocolate cake.  Add 1-2 tsp of the cream cheese mix, or more if you want more.  It cooks up cake-like, so don't worry.  Cover the cream cheese with chocolate cake mix until the cups are 3/4 full.  Bake as directed on the box, mine took around 18 mins I think. 

Before, During or After, make the walnuts.

Caramelized Walnuts:
(I made this up as I went, so just trust your candy thermometer!)

1/3 stick of real, unsalted butter
1/4-1/3 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 bag of walnuts (you may have to use more or less, depending how candy-coated you want them)

On med high heat, melt the butter and add the sugar and syrup.  While stirring continuously, heat to 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.  It should be a thick caramel-looking syrup at this point.  Add the walnuts, remove from heat and stir.  Do not let the caramel start smoking, as it will burn extremely quickly at this point.  Dump out on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and let cool.  Once hard, it will break apart easily, so don't worry about big clumps.

--It will also taste delicious, so don't try tasting the caramel before you put the nuts in like I did.  Even though I just saw on the thermometer that is was about 305 degrees, I still had to stick my finger tip on the spoon and burned the sh*# out of it. 

Frost your cupcakes with your favorite chocolate frosting (I used the sugar free version-hey less calories too!) and top with a pile of walnuts.  You will have extra walnuts, but they are a delicious snack by themselves or on ice cream :)

You also will probably have extra cream cheese filling.  I added 3 more eggs to it and the juice of a lime and made mini-key lime custards out of them.  Essentially mini cheesecakes (graham cracker and cinnamon bottoms) but more of a custard taste and feel. 

Who needs the glucose tabs in the background when I can eat one of these?

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