Thursday, January 20, 2011

Food: Moose Tracks Inspired Cupcakes

The Moose Tracks Inspired Cupcake
Andrea and Jenni came over last night to help me with the crazy idea I had to try to convert Moose Tracks ice cream into a cupcake. It didn't turn out quite like I hoped, but the end result was still delicious. So much so, I wish I would have brought one to work so I could be eating it right now.
We started with Love & Olive Oil's Go-To Vanilla Cupcake. I thought the cider vinegar in the milk seemed weird, but her recipes have never let me down before, so I went with it. Since it was an experimental cupcake and going to be filled, I doubled the extract and skipped the bean for cost effectiveness. I also used whole milk instead of soymilk, because that's what I have at home.
I had planned on making a filling out of Peanut Butter & Co.'s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter, but the recipe I used (which called for regular peanut butter, not chocolate) resulted in the peanut butter going from looking like chocolate peanut butter to looking like ground beef. No joke. It was weird, but Andrea and I figured if we ever need to make something look like a taco, we'll know how to do it. So we filled one trial cupcake with it anyway. After I frosted it and Andrea swirled melted chocolate into the frosting, we cut it into thirds and ate it. [For the record, a third of a cupcake is quite a mouthful.] The consensus was that the overall taste was good, but the clay-like, slightly gritty texture of the filling was weird and vaguely unpleasant. Maybe we should have tried the chocolate peanut butter by itself, but I didn't think of it at the time.
So we moved on to Plan B.
We didn't have a Plan B, because I'm always so sure things will just work like I want them to.
So we made up a Plan B. 
The result was mixing the melted Toll House Chocolate Chunks with some Half & Half, resulting in a ganache-like substance that, as ganache should, just tasted like melty chocolate. It would probably horrify any ganache purists (if there is such a thing) since it was made from Chunks (oh no! the stabilizers!) and Half & Half instead of cream and all done in the microwave. But it worked, and tasted good, and that is the material point. So shove it, purists. :-P
We made such a mess with the peanut butter filling we didn't feel like getting out the piping bag and trying to do the half-chocolate, half-vanilla frosting I planned. So I just used an offset spatula and the vanilla buttercream (also, without the bean) from the recipe. [Can I just say that's the best vanilla frosting I've ever had? I could have just eaten that by itself. Okay, I so I did eat some of it... and saved the extra to eat more of later...] Then we finished them with the mini Reese's cups I bought for the occasion and some chocolate shavings so they wouldn't look so lonely up there. The verdict for me was: delicious cupcake, but not very Moose Tracks-y, so if you were going to market them, we'd have to change the name.
I also had to cut one in half to see if it matched the diagram I drew for it the night before (because I am a total geek), and lo and behold, it did! Well, mostly.

The halved cupcake, the the diagram.

This morning I realized they ended up the inverse of the classic Hostess cupcake -- vanilla cake with chocolate filling and vanilla frosting. Had I thought of it last night, we would have left off the Reese's cup, flattened the frosting and piped a little curly line of chocolate across the tops. Oh well. Looks like I'll have to update the diagram for next time. :)

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