Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Muchas Leches Cupcakes

I'm sorry for the delay in posting up this recipe, but I've been busy with other things.   

This is what I'm currently baking in my oven.  He'll be perfectly baked and sprinkled with lots of love by the time February comes around.  :) 

I had complications during the first trimester so now that I'm further along and know for sure baby DLT is healthy, I wanted to share the happy news with all of you.  

So now its back to the REAL baking business (lol).  These cupcakes are kind of high maintenance and required particular ingredients I had never shopped for.  Luckily for me, the bf is a buyer for Whole Foods so he's able to tell me what they carry in their stores (yet another reason why I love him!  <3)  

I was originally going to make tres leches cupcakes but I stumbled upon this recipe on Annie's Eats.   I can always count on her to post up a yummy recipe so I knew this was a winner.  I must warn you however, that as the cupcakes bake, they do shrink a bit so I'll try baking them in a bigger muffin pan next time.  Enjoy!  

Muchas Leches Cupcakes 

For the cupcakes:
2 cups (8 oz.) blanched almonds
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
7 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
For the soaking liquid:
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. dulce de leche
¼ cup cream of coconut
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup evaporated milk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the sugared almonds:
2 large egg whites
2 cups slivered almonds
½ cup sugar

For the frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
Splash of vanilla extract

Fresh berries, for garnish (optional)
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.  Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor with ¼ cup of sugar and the cinnamon.  Process until finely ground.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Transfer the beaten egg whites to a different bowl and set aside.  Wipe out the mixer bowl.  In the now-empty mixer bowl, combine the egg yolks and the remaining ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Fold in the flour and the baking powder with a spatula.  Fold in the ground almond mixture.  Mix in a third of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter.  Fold in the remainder of the egg whites until evenly incorporated and no streaks remain.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth with a spatula.  Bake approximately 13-15, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the soaking liquid, combine the whipping cream, dulce de leche, cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla in a bowl or liquid measuring cup.  Whisk together until smooth.

To make the sugared almonds, place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whip on high speed until frothy.  Stir in the almonds and sugar until evenly incorporated.  Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.  Bake at 325˚ F until golden brown and crisp, approximately 20 minutes (let cool a minute or two before touching).  Allow to cool and then break apart into small chunks.
To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Blend in the vanilla.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with the whipping cream and top off with sugared almonds and berries (optional).

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