Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Iced Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cupcakes


After six months of pastry school,  working with pulled sugar, wedding cakes, entremet, laminated doughs and the like, it is nice to go back to simple. And while these iced chocolate chip oatmeal cupcakes are simple, they're sweet, moist and packed with flavor. 

When people find out I have a.... healthier than average interested in baked goods, one of the frequent questions I get asked is "What's the difference between cupcakes and muffins?" Seriously, I've had this conversation with friends, coworkers and a particularly memorable one with some family members. There are several answers - cupcakes are frosted while muffins are not, muffins can have fruit and cupcakes generally don't, but probably most importantly, muffins are made with liquid fat - oil or melted butter or margarine, while cupcakes are made with solid fat - butter, margarine, shortening. That is why muffins tend to have a heavier, denser crumb, while cupcakes are lighter and airier.
Of course, what are rules except a list of regulations made to be broken. And break them I did, my making muffins with liquid fat, and then icing them like pretty little cupcakes. Plus adding a chocolate drizzle. Because I was hoping a chocolate drizzle would make up for the rule breaking.
All these complicated rules aside, these were super tasty, with a moist, not-too-sweet cupcake/muffin pairing nicely with the sugary icing. These would work well with half whole wheat flour, or the addition of other mix-ins like nuts or raisins.

Tip of the Day: A whisk is one of my favorite kitchen tools, and it's great for mixing wet ingredients together. But once you add in flour and other thickeners, you're much better off switching to a wooden spoon - otherwise your batter will just get stuck in the center of the whisk.

Recipe: (adapted from How Sweet Eats)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until combined. Add in the vanilla, butter and milk, and keep whisking until smooth. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chocolate chips and stir to combin.
Divide the batter among 24 greased or paper-lined cups. Bake on 350 F for 15-17 minutes, or until test done. Let cool.

Icing:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened  
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Semisweet chocolate

Mix together the butter and sugar, making sure no lumps of sugar remain. Add in the vanilla and milk and stir to combine, until a smooth, glossy mixture forms. Add more sugar for a thicker mixture and more milk for a thinner one. Pour a tablespoon over each cupcake. Let set for 10 minutes.

Melt a handful of semisweet chocolate, then place in a small plastic bag and snip a small whole at the tip, then drizzle over the cupcakes. Let set, and enjoy! 

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