Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Have you ever wondered down the aisle at your nearest grocery store of choice and noticed an item on the shelf you had to have? I'm not talking about junk food, though an impulse buy of Con Queso (or as my friends call it "cheesy crack") is not unheard of I'm talking about something that can't be consumed straight from the box in front of the TV. On my last trip, a small tub of ricotta called to me. I haven't actually used ricotta in a while and I didn't really have any plans on making lasagna, but I just had to have it, I'd figure out why later.
The answer came two days later when I ran across this recipe and it clicked. Cheese and Chocolate, and not a cheesecake, worthy of not just a fling, but a "relationship". I knew I had to try it. I happened to have everything on hand and it flew together really fast. Now I just need to figure out who to share it with.
Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Ricotta, Rum, and Orange Zest
Adapted from Gourmet via Orangette
1 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbs dark rum
1 tsp finely grated clementine zest
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbs distilled white vinegar (surprising, but it works)
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange-flower water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two 12-well muffin tins with 18 paper liners. You may not need them all, you may need more. I got 19 cupcakes, but the original said 12, so use your own judgment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all ricotta mixture ingredients. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill.
Place a good-sized sieve over a large bowl, and put the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar into the sieve. Shake the sieve to filter the dry ingredients through into the bowl. Whisk to combine them thoroughly.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, egg, vinegar, vanilla, and orange-flower water; then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the large bowl, stirring to just combine. Do not overmix.
Spoon a generous heaping tablespoon of the chocolate batter into each muffin cup. Top the chocolate batter with a rounded tablespoon of the ricotta mixture, followed by another rounded tablespoon of the chocolate batter. The instructions say that there will be enough for 12 cupcakes and too much ricotta, but I ended up with 19 cupcakes and just barely enough ricotta. Swirl each cupcake with a toothpick to marble the batter.
Bake the cupcakes in the middle of the oven until a toothpick or thin knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool them in the pan on a rack; then gently unmold and serve. Or pick the cupcakes out while they're still piping hot like I did and eat with a hot cup of tea. Or if you like your fingers, you can wait till they're cool.