Sincerely Carolina

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Completely Joyous.

by caroline

For as much baking as I do, you would think this house would have a consistent flow of baked goods.

But, alas, that is not the case.

Between friends and family members who have earned themselves a treat (or five!) and my husband who can toss back three cupcakes in one sitting (and not gain a pound — oh, the injustice!), the yum-factor around here can go rather quickly.

It's a tragedy, really. ;)

So, when I found myself spinning in circles and whining in the kitchen last night because I only had a bag of chocolate chips on hand, I knew this morning meant it was baking time.

And then … I went a bit too far.

But I make no apologies. Because when I saw this recipe for Almond Joy Sheet Cake in the May 2011 issue of EveryDay with Rachael Ray I knew it must be made … and not just any ol' way. (As a side note, there is also a recipe to make this cake as a layer cake.) Instead of making the sheet cake (bo-ring!), I decided to make mini cupcake sandwiches. Why? Because their cute and lovely … and, well, just because.

Here are the details in all of their beautiful glory. Not only will they be perfect for tonight's dessert, but they are right on cue for Day 27 of the Gluten-Free with Rachael Ray Challenge. Notice this morning's green juice in one or two of the photos. Kind of ironic to be sipping greens and making cupcakes, but that's just how this gal rolls.

 

Almond Joy Mini Cupcake Sandwiches

(Print me!)

RR's ingredients The G-Spot Used
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 stick (2 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1.5 oz semisweet chocolate chips (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus a big pinch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus a small pinch
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 + 2 Tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bag (14 oz.) sweetened shredded coconut (4 packed cups)
  • 2 packed cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/6 cup of confectioners' sugar (about 2-1/2 Tablespoons)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour two 12-cup mini muffin pans.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2/3 cup water to a boil (I tried halving this measurement, but the extra water was needed). Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Whisk in the butter and chocolate over low heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 3/4 cups granulated sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. salt. Whisk in the egg, and then the egg white, beating well after each addition.

  3. In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Make a well in the center, pour in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 packed cup of coconut. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cup about 3/4 full, and bake in the lower third of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and onto rack, allowing them to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

  4. While the cupcakes cool, spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until toasted; let cool.

  5. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of cream, the remaining 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar and the remaining small pinch salt and simmer, stirring, over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1-1/2 packed cups coconut. When cool, fold 3/4 cups almonds into the coconut mixture.

  6. Place the cooled cupcakes on a flat working space on a sheet of parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, slice each cupcake horizontally through the middle. Spread a little more than 1 Tablespoon of the coconut mixture between each of the cupcake halves and press together like a sandwich. Repeat process with all cupcakes. Store sandwiches in an airtight container and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  7. Whip the remaining 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons cream with the confectioners’ sugar until stiff (about 3 – 5 minutes). Use a pastry decorator with a "star" tip to place the topping on the cupcakes; if you do not have one, then just use an offset spatula to spread evenly. (Great step-by-step instructions here for using a pastry decorator.) If you are using a pastry decorator, then prepare it by filling the tube with the whipped topping. Squeeze over each cupcake, starting from the outside edge and circle toward the center. If you are using a pastry spatula, then spread topping evenly on each cupcake. Sprinkle the top of cupcakes with the remaining almonds.

 

NOTES: I used gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips in place of the chopped chocolate bar, but you can also purchase a gluten-free semisweet chocolate bar and chop it into pieces. My gluten-free flour measurement is not exactly half of what the recipe calls for because a little more gluten-free flour is required when converting regular recipes to gluten-free recipes. (I used The G-Spot Gluten-Free Flour Blend.) I did not use sweetened coconut because I don't think any extra sugar is needed in this recipe — coconut is wonderful in its pure form! Lastly, I chopped my almonds because I did not have sliced ones on hand, but feel free to use sliced ones instead of chopped.

Note: This recipe is gluten-free. (If you have allergies or food sensitivities, always check specific manufacturer’s products for allergens and/or cross-contamination issues.)

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And as if those lil' guys weren't enough, I am freaking the eff out about the gift (from yours truly to yours truly) that just arrived in the mail:

!!!!!!

I will be completely engulfed in this book tonight which may or may not lead to a weekend bake-a-thon (I'm leaning toward "may").

Gosh, baked goods make me happy.