Saturday, March 30, 2013

Robin's Nest Cupcakes

With Easter arriving this weekend, family and friends coming together and kids running around gathering colored eggs, what better reason to add to the sweetness? I'll have to preface this alcohol-free post with a plea from my nieces to be able to return to their coveted post as taste-testers. Not only was this a chance for us to be in the kitchen together but a chance to put our hands in melted chocolate! The bird nests are made of Chinese chow mein noodles covered in chocolate. Unfortunately, the only way to shape them is to use, as Ina Garten says, a cook's best tools: clean hands. Autumn however took this opportunity to sneak chocolate noodles out of the bowl as I was tediously trying to form nests. The flavors this time around are pretty subtle,  simple vanilla cake and two flavors of chocolate were used. But the end product was really more about the presentation, my girls would eat any flavor of cupcake as I'm sure any child would. Easter may have many different meanings to many people but one thing seems to be universal, families coming together and sharing food and love. So I send you love and hope for great food this weekend from our thoroughly destroyed kitchen to yours!

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 2 sticks butter (unsalted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar, adding the eggs and yolks alternately. Once it has been beaten thoroughly add the vanilla and whipping cream. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until it is well combined. This batter is rather thick, but have no fear, I have yet to steer you wrong with a faulty recipe. Just be sure to keep one eye on your batter and one on your niece...raw batter doesn't seem to faze her. Bake them for 20-22 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Allow them to cool completely until you frost them. I used a leftover bag of white chocolate chips, melted them down and tinted them green, then spread them over the tops of the cakes and gave them a healthy dose of green sprinkles. 

Chocolate Robin's Nest

  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 can of Chinese chow mein noodles, check the Asian foods section
  • Clean hands!
After tempering the chocolate in the microwave sparingly add the noodles, making sure to cover each piece until the can is empty. Now comes the fun part, dive right in and attempt to mold a respectable bird nest. Trust me, it is harder than you think and you must work quickly before the chocolate begins to cool. In the end they will have a adorably rustic look to them, add candy eggs to complete the illusion. And your family is sure to be thrilled with your cupcake ingenuity and praise you for straying from the traditional route when it comes to Easter sweets. You could even go the extra mile and bring the cupcakes already frosted and allow the kids to make their own chocolate nests!

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