Friday, April 9, 2010

Perfume on a cupcake... TASTY!

Today's post is about one of the most unique recipes in The Book. Lavender- Iced Brownie cupcakes may sound weird and even gross, but they weren't either of those things. They were... different. I don't know that I could actually describe it, you'll just have to taste for yourself. It was pretty fun to make, though, let me tell you. Why was it fun? Because I got to crystallize flowers, dye my icing purple, and eat brownie cupcakes. I don't think it gets much better than that! The icing gave me a bit of trouble, not because adding the lavender was difficult, but because Martha didn't put enough milk in the original recipe and that frustrated me because I hate altering recipes the first time I try them.

Brownie Cupcakes
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (one stick) plus 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
3 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lavender Icing
1/3 cup milk (I added 2 teaspoons to this... I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it made a HUGE difference!!)
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender (you can find this at most health food stores)
3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
Violet gel-paste food coloring

Crystallized Flowers
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon water
pesticide-free edible flowers, such as pansies and violas, stems removed
super fine sugar for sprinkling

If anything, make the brownie cupcakes ahead of time. That way, they are cool when you go to make the icing, because you have to use the icing immediately after you make it, or it sets and would be no good.

The greatest ingredients on earth:

chocolate and butter. yummmm...
I'm not kidding when I tell you that my mouth watered so much while making these cupcakes! The ingredients are so yummy. And who doesn't have a little bit of fun melting butter and chocolate in the double boiler? That might have been my favorite part! I'm weird. Get over it. Anyway, these cupcakes were really simple. The most labor intensive part was mixing in the semi warm chocolate mixture.

It doesn't seem to be stressing me out too badly, now does it?
So after you've made the cupcakes and you're waiting for them to cool, you should make your crystallized flowers. They are really simple, and make these cupcakes look extra fancy! I don't know that I would actually eat them... because... it's a flower, people. But they sure look fancy. And if Martha can do it, I can too. Martha says to delicately paint on the egg white mixture with a paintbrush, but that didn't really help, so I just ended up dipping the flowers in to it instead, and that seemed to work out just fine. We didn't have SUPER FINE sugar, so we just used regular sugar. I might look for ultra fine next time I decide to make these cupcakes. It was a little clumpy. But they turned out beautiful in spite of it!

The final step to these cupcakes is the lavender icing. The one element that gives them that unique twist. The icing is really easy to whip up. You would think that you would have to do something very labor intensive and difficult to end up with purple lavender icing, but really you just boil and steep the lavender and add some food coloring! Now, in these pictures, the icing looks blue, but I promise you, they were purple cupcakes!

Look how fancy they are with their cute little flowers!

Maybe I put too much purple in them and that's why they look blue?

The contrast between the dark of the chocolate brownie and the purple of the lavender icing made these little guys very intriguing.

It also made them very tasty! So go ahead, be adventurous and make some of these delightful cupcakes. Share them with your friends. They'll swoon. I promise. ENJOY!!


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