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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Slight disasters...chocolate cranberry scones and buttermilk cupcakes w/ chocolate p.b. ganache

Sometimes....I am not perfect. I know: this is shocking news for you. But every now and then I bake something that's I mean it tastes good, possibly even great, but the looks aren't there, or something small got messed up. It's painful to realize at the time, but I suppose we make mistakes to learn from them. Here are two recipes that are actually quite good, but for some reason or another, I wasn't 100% happy with them. The chocolate p.b (aka peanut butter) ganache on these cupcakes was pretty awesome. Neither the cake not the topping was too sweet, making this cupcake a lot lighter tasting than it looks. To be honest, these came about from having a bowl of leftover ganache that I didn't know what to do with (other than take a spoon to it and go to town). 

And actually, whether you make these cupcakes or not, definitely remember this buttermilk cake recipe. It's genius, and I use it constantly. The main way I make it is into a 9" cake pan and dotted with fresh berries. Sprinkle some sugar on top of that and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Best cake you've had ever (until you've had the caramel cake I've got a recipe for....)

These scones I don't take responsibility for. I know, those things pictured below don't look like scones. They look like funny pancakes. Mind you, this was in the middle of a shoot, and I had slept a total of 4 hours in the past three days. Hence why I may have added a touch too much liquid, because I was near the point of hallucination. However, they tasted lovely. Because of all the moisture, they were more cakey than scone-like, so if that's how you like your English tea treats, add a 1/4 cup more milk than I recommend. 

However, in my defense I'd just like to say that along with my homemade granola bars, these scone were a hit on set. A big plate of them lasted about halfway through one day. Admittedly, people on set are half asleep and hungry so I might have been able to spread some chocolate syrup on cardboard and they would've been happy, but I'd like to think they enjoyed them because I'm just such a top notch baker. And hey, ignorance is bliss.

Buttermilk Cupcakes w/ Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp buttermilk powder
½ stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
½ cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and buttermilk powder together and set aside. Take butter and whip for several minutes till fluffy. Add sugar and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Add 1/3 flour mixture, then ¼ cup water, then another third of flour mixture, last ¼ cup of water, and last third of flour mixture.

Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners. I found it easier to pour batter into a ziplock bag, snip off end and pipe into the liners. Should make 11 cupcakes.

Place cupcake pan into oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until tops are lightly brown and a toothpick stuck into the middle comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it.  Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. 

1 cup spiced chocolate ganache (recipe below)
½ to ¾ cup good peanut butter
½ cup cold heavy cream

Mix peanut butter with ganache. Place cream into large bowl and whip on high with electric mixer till peaks are stiff. Add ganache/pb mixture to cream in thirds, folding each thoroughly before adding the next. Add a touch of salt at the end (I like my desserts to have a tiny kick of salt in them).

Note: This is the ganache I use for pretty much anything I make with ganache, so save this recipe, it’s very versatile.

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chips)
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant espresso mixed w/ 2 tbsp water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper

Place heavy cream in small pot and turn to medium high. While that’s heating up, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

Bring cream to a boil. Take off heat and pour over chocolate. Let stand for two to three minutes, then stir. Chocolate should be completely melted at this point. If not, pop bowl into microwave for a few seconds. When cream and chocolate are completely melted and mixed together add the rest of the ingredients and combine. 

To make chocolate p.b. ganache, simply add 1/3 to ½ cup of peanut butter (I use natural Woodstock Farms, creamy style) to prepared spiced chocolate ganache and mix. Continue to add peanut butter till you get the ratio of p.b. to chocolate that you like.

Buttermilk Scones w/ Bittersweet Chocolate and Dried Cranberries

2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tbsp powdered buttermilk
4 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp cold butter, cubed
3 tbsp shortening
½ cup cold water
1 egg
¼ cup heavy cream
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
handful of dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and powdered buttermilk in a food processor and process for a few seconds. Add shortening and butter and process till the fats are incorporated and the mixture has the texture of sand.

Dump into large bowl. In another bowl mix the egg and water, whisking to combine. Slowly add egg/water mixture, mixing the dough with your hands. Stop adding when the dough comes together and before it becomes sticky.

Add chocolate and cranberries and fold into dough with spatula. Lightly flour a countertop and place dough on top. Gently shape into a disc about 8 to 10 inches in diameter, and approximately 2.5 inches in thickness. Cut into triangles (depending on the size of scones you want, 8, 12 or 16 would be good).

Place on baking sheet and brush with heavy cream. Sprinkle extra sugar on top.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top, depending on the size of scone you’re making.


  1. gorgeous! also, I'm hungry. think I could make those scones but with blueberries instead?

    <3 you!

  2. Of course! Fresh berries would be great in this. I'd coat them in a touch of flour before tossing them into the batter. You might also want to mix with your hands so as not to break the fruit.

    <3 you too!