Friday, June 29, 2012

100% Homemade Mint Chip Ice Cream Cupcakes

My Masterpiece!

For my birthday a few weeks ago, I decided to improve upon my ice-cream making skills and try to create an ice cream cake to share with my friends. As I scoured the internet for tips on how to accomplish this culinary feat, I decided that ice-cream cupcakes would be the easier and more original way to go. I then discovered the Cupcake Project/Scoopalicious 5th annual Ice Cream Cupcake Contest. It was meant to be: I had been wanting to start a blog about trying new things and I'd never made these before, I'd never entered a contest like this before...I had found the perfect motivation to succeed. So I decided to try it.



I started on these bad boys pretty far ahead of time, about a week before I planned to fatten up my friends with them. I knew from experience that making ice cream takes about 2-3 days to get just right because the custard has to be cold before you freeze it, and then after freezing if you want to make the consistency less soft-serve-y, you've got to keep it in the freezer overnight as well. For the ice cream, I followed adapted the mint ice cream recipe from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop (which I highly recommend!).

Ingredients:

1 cup of whole milk
3/4 cup of sugar
2 cups of heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups of packed fresh mint leaves 
5 large egg yolks. 
5 oz of bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Steps: 

1. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, salt. Once you've heated the mixture, add the mint, remove from heat, cover and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint. Make sure to separate your eggs before the next step, putting the egg yolks in a separate bowl big enough to hold the mint mixture. 


2. Remove the mint with a strainer and press down to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.


3. Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top. 

4. Rewarm the infused milk. Whisk together the egg yolks in the separate bow, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scraped the warmed yolk mixture back into the saucepan. 


6. Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. *TIP (If you are unsure whether the custard is fully cooked or if you're paranoid about salmonella like me, try the line test. Draw a line with your finger on the back of your spatula or spoon. When the custard no longer breaks the line, then it's done. Or if you've already won this contest and have a fancy thermometer at your disposal, it should read 170º F [77º C].)


7. Immediately strain the mixture into the cream. Allow to cool slightly, then place in the refrigerator to cool (preferably over night).



8. Before freezing the cooled custard base, be sure to have your chocolate all chopped up. Freeze the mixture according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mine says to put any add-ins (like our chocolate) in during the last few minutes of freezing, so that's what I did. As I mentioned, you may want to leave the ice cream in your freezer overnight to get the right consistency.


After making the ice cream, it was time to bake the cupcakes. I used this recipe from allrecipes.com, but changed the serving size to 12, which left me with some funky measurements. Here's my personalized recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
1-1/2 eggs (!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

Steps: 
1. Preheat oven to 350º F (175ºC). Line a cupcake pan with liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder,  baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside. 




2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 



3. Figure out how to add 1-1/2 eggs to this mix (I just poured half in and save the other half). Then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. 


4. Bake in the preheated oven  until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean (about 15-25 minutes depending on your oven). 


For the frosting, I followed this recipe. I found it was a little sweet and rich for my taste, but it worked with the finished product. If you want it a little less sweet, I would recommend lessening the powdered sugar and upping the cocoa powder. Also, the original recipe makes 3 cups of frosting, way too much for 12 cupcakes, so I cut it in half in my personalized recipe (which still ended up being too much):

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, softened
1-3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk.

Steps:

1. Cream the butter in a medium mixing bowl, then sift the powdered sugar and the cocoa into the butter until it is absorbed.  I tried to do this with an electric mixer, which was a big mistake for an mixer-novice like me. generally not how I do things. Even though I put it on the lowest setting, I ended up making a huge powdery mess.  So, I'm sticking with a fork and arm-power from now on. 


2. Increase arm-speed to maximum and add vanilla extract, salt and milk/cream and beat until it magically becomes frosting. If it needs texture, add sugar or cocoa powder. If it needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time. 


After you're done making the ice cream, cupcakes and the frosting the real fun begins! With the assembly process, I successfully tested out a few techniques. Fellow contestant, TidyMom was a big help as I was trying to figure out this part, but of course, I made the process my own with a few changes here and there. The biggest tip I can give is when working with ice cream, be quick! 

Ingredients:

12 scoops of homemade mint-chip ice cream (about 1/2 pint).
12 cupcakes
Frosting
Unflavored floss
Cupcake pan and foil/paper liners.
Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Steps:

1. Line a cupcake pan with the foil/paper liners.

2. Wrap a piece a floss around the circumference of the cupcake and pull towards the middle to cut each cupcake in half. For the least sloppy experience for your eaters, try to make the top and bottom halves relatively even. 


3. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften a little bit. Place the cupcake bottoms into the liners in the pan. Working as quickly as possible, place one scoop of ice cream onto each cupcake bottom, then cover with cupcake top, pressing down to secure it. You may want to do one cupcake at a time. 



4. Place in freezer for at least two hours.

5. Remove from freezer and frost as quickly as you can! I sacrificed beauty (and photos) for speed at this part, but you may be are probably better at frosting than I am. 

6. Store in freezer until ready to serve (at least 4 hours). When ready to serve, quickly garnish with mint if you'd like. 


The finished product was delicious. I had made the mint chip ice cream before, and –– not to toot my own horn here –– but it's probably the best I've ever had. The fresh mint really has a different, more intense flavor than the mint essence used in most mint ice creams. The cupcakes were rich and very chocolatey, the perfect compliment to the sharpness of mint ice cream. My friends had only good things to say about them, so I think it was a success all around. (Hopefully the judges agree.)


So there you have it. I tried a new recipe and here I am entering an online contest for the first time. Looks like Fueled By New is off to a good start.  

9 comments:

  1. Wow, they look fantastic! I went down the path of 100% home-made, too, with lemon meringue cupcakes. The ice cream had crushed meringue and lemon curd swirled through it. It was my first attempt at ice cream and you have confirmed what I suspected - that the ice cream needs a couple of days to set properly!

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    1. Thanks! Yup, Ice cream is fun to make, but time intensive. Yours looked amazing as well.The meringues are such a creative idea!

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  2. These cupcakes sound amazing! I can't wait to try them. Alas, I don't have an ice cream maker. Looks like I'll be opting for Breyer's mint chocolate chip ice cream. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Breyer's will probably be pretty tasty as well :)

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  3. This looks absolutely delicious! I found you through Cupcake Project, and I love the idea of your blog (and this recipe--though I'd have to opt for store-bought ice cream since I lack equipment). My blog is young, too, and I'd love for you to check it out!
    :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Monica! Your blog is adorable! The zucchini bread you made looked so delicious, I'm totally craving it right now!

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  4. They are adorable! Love all the mint and chococolate!

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  5. wow. it's really a good contribution to us guys not good at icecream, you know i did some cakes before but the taste it's not good, then i quit, so if you
    have interesting, you can load to catier jewellery

    visit my new make up, give me your advice, Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks so much for taking a look at my blog and thanks in advance for taking the time to tell me what you think! Each and every one of your comments is cherished and appreciated!

lots of love,

Briana