I have been reading this cookbook, The Flavor Bible. It's inspiring for anyone who takes their cooking or baking skills seriously. My copy is on loan from the library, but I would recommend this one to your home library archives. The author made a point how food is not only for sustenance, because if it were, we would eat the same thing 3 times a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year. Rather, food is about the flavor profiles, which are the taste, mouth feel, aroma & X factor. All of these being great, but I think the X factor stood out the most. It is the stories, the total experience, the nostalgia, which comes to mind after eating a specific food.
We all have these. And quite honestly, it's what makes certain foods disgusting to some, while to another their "last supper." It's no wonder Jesus chose to perform his first miracle at a wedding feast and through the fruit of the vine. He wove the spiritual with the senses, creating this amazing story of his complete love & provision.
So as I was making these souffle chocolate cupcakes yesterday, I didn't have any idea what they would be like. Nor did I realize that they would stir the X factor up. You see, after my oldest was born and people graciously dropped off meals every night, one night someone dropped off a roasted chicken, salad, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies Ice Cream. I personally am a 'every but the..' sort of girl. However, the melding of the brownie chunks, vanilla & raspberry swirled made for quite the addiction.
I have been salivating over these for a while. Not only that, but they are gluten-free, which made me think of my friend Tina. However, Tina loves raspberry & chocolate, so I changed it up a bit. Then, when I bit into one, it took me back to our old apartment with my week old baby and a still, quiet moment, that everything would be okay in my insane, postpartum state. I'm not promising that this will create quite the same X factor for you, but maybe you should make some for yourself and some new mother to create one for her.
Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownie Cupcakes (printable recipe)
This recipe has been adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes, which had a mint topping and used espresso powder instead of the actual espresso I used in mine. You should do as Deb over at Smitten Kitchen says, "eat at once," because the coolness of the Raspberry Cream enhances the dessert.
Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes
6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (86 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tb fresh espresso
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (97 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
White Chocolate Raspberry Cream
2 ounces (56 grams) white chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup (76 grams) frozen raspberries + 1 tsp water
Get the white chocolate cream ready for later: Put the white chocolate in a small bowl. Then, bring the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute to melt the chocolate, then whisk well. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream. Chill until very cold, about two hours.
Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners. Put the butter, chocolate & espresso in a saucepan. Place over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture. Since I used my one Kitchenaid bowl for the whole process, I poured the chocolate-egg yolk contents into another bowl. Clean the bowl & use the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, sugar & salt until medium-firm peaks form. Using a spatula, fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.
Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack. Once they are cool, add the raspberry cream.
Make Raspberry Puree:Over low heat, add the frozen raspberries and 1 tsp water to a small saucepan. Allow the raspberries to slowly melt down into a mush. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Place a sieve above a small bowl, then dump the raspberry contents into the sieve. Take a spatula and begin to push the raspberries through the sieve (you are getting the puree while the sieve will catch the seeds). You will get about 2 Tbs of puree. Set aside to add to your white chocolate cream.
Putting it altogether: Beat white chocolate cream with electric beaters until medium peaks form. Slowly add the raspberry puree. The cream might curdle a bit, but don't over beat. If you find that the cream isn't the right consistency, then put the cream in a pastry bag or plastic sandwich bag and place in fridge for a bit. Cut the end and squeeze out about 1 Tb on top of each cupcake. Eat immediately to gain the full experience of the cold raspberry cream with the delicate crumb of the brownie.