Monday, 16 May 2011

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Coffee and I have a deep and long comradeship. It was one of my favorite Beverages during university days. I could never start my day without having a hot cup of steaming coffee and would have it frequently during exam days when my head would be steaming with pressure! As with coffee is my love for coffee flavored cakes. They are way different from coffee, but I love the hint of coffee flavor that the cake has. I have baked a coffee cake couple of years back, which turned out pretty well, but uses loads of butter and I was unaware of calories and like. I never made that ever since. At times I wish I was still unaware of calories and fat building factors, so that I can use butter free of guilt.

This recipe of Espresso Chocolate Chip Cupcakes comes from one my favorite bloggers- Deeba who blogs at Passionate about baking. I have always admired at her energy and passion when it comes to baking and Blogging. I truly admire her. I love her recipes, her write ups, her photography and herself and I never miss her recipes ever since I discovered her blog. I too have bookmarked loads of recipe from her which I now lost the count! I had bookmarked another recipe for cappuccino cupcakes which just slipped out of my brain until Finla just mentioned it was her favorite cappuccino cupcakes. I should be making that one too sometime soon.

When it comes to the cake, it was just the taste I was looking for; Chocolate, coffee and the buttery base. I just made half the batch and skipped ganache. The cakes were already loaded with chocolate chips and I thought it would leave me with chocolate overdose if I top it up with ganache. But I love ganache and it itched me to add but I skipped it just to cut down a bit of chocolate.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Makes 6-7
Recipe Adapted from Deeba

1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup Caster sugar
1 tbsp Coffee powder or ½ a Tbsp Espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ of a large egg
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
1/3cup - ½ (around 100g) cup dark chocolate chips


1.Preheat oven to 180C. Line 6-7 mold muffin tray.

2. With a fork or a balloon whisk , whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Reserve.

3. Mix coffee powder into the milk and stir until dissolved.

4. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla essence and egg in a mixing bowl.

5. Add the flour mix and milk alternately to the butter mix in three batches and mix well using a wooden spoon until well mixed.

6. Fold in the chocolate chips and spoon into muffin cases upto 2/3 full.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for about a minute before putting the muffins onto a wire rack to cool completely. Top with ganache if desired. You can see Deeba's chocolate Espresso Ganache in the page.

N.B: I have halved the original recipe. Double the recipe if you want 12-14 cupcakes.

Chicken Bread

I couldn’t appreciate the UK weather more; at least for the time being. UK has one of the worst weather histories where it becomes so unpredictable; it rains; wind blows, sun shines, all on the same day! But since past few weeks it has been so sunny almost every day. Even though it got chilly on and off, we had loads of sunshine with a very comfortable temperature. So unlike UK! It’s still May and usually we don’t get lot of sunshine during April- May and would have to wait until July. Long Days and short nights! I am so happy that I can shoot my pictures as late as 8:30 pm now at sun sets around 9 pm which is never possible during winter where the sun sets as early as 3:40pm!

Anyways, chicken bread was something that I have been eyeing for a long time at Fatii Naaz’s place. She is one of my Social Network buddies and I was flabbergasted by the variety of food she makes. I wanted to give this bread a try ever since I saw at her place and I have seen many great reviews from her friends and followers. I found this bread, a hassle free, easy and a fun to make recipe. I really enjoyed making the pleats on the bread and it looked stunning.

When it comes to bread making, I usually proof my yeast before kneading and have always been comfortable doing it that way. But in this recipe I haven’t done any yeast-proofing; instead all dry ingredients are mixed, which includes yeast and then is churned to dough adding wet ingredients. I was a bit sceptical doing it that way, but went ahead with the recipe as mentioned. And it works!

Chicken Bread
Serves 5-6 people

Ingredients for dough:
4 cups Plain Flour (630g)
1 tbsp Yeast
2 tbsp Powder milk
1 tsp Salt
4 tbsp Oil
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Caster sugar
1 1/3 cups Lukewarm water (Can add 1-2 Tablespoon if required)
1egg for egg wash
1 - 1 ½ teaspoons of sesame seeds for sprinkling

Ingredients for chicken filling:
750g Chicken with bone, boiled with ¼ teaspoon turmeric and shredded – around 1 ¾ - 2 cups
1 medium Onion chopped, ½ a cup, 70g
3/4 - 1 tsp Salt or as required
1 tsp Black pepper
2 tbsp Coriander leaves
2 Green chilies chopped
½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
½ of a small green capsicum finely chopped, 1/3 cup
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp Flour
2 tbsp Butter
¾ - 1 cup whole milk

For the dough:

1. In a bowl mix together flour, salt, caster sugar, milk powder and yeast. Mix well using a fork or a wire whisk.

2. Make a well in the centre and add a lightly beaten egg and oil and knead to a medium soft dough with water. Leave to rise for a minimum of 2 hours or until it rises to double the volume. Punch it back and divide the dough into 2 or 4 parts. If you want large loaf, divide to two parts, and if you want medium size loaf, divide to four parts. I divided into 2 parts but I got two massive loaves. I would be making these again, making sure to divide the dough to four parts and making 4 small ones.

For the filling and Assembling:

1. Heat butter in a saucepan. Sauté chopped onion and garlic till soft. Add capsicum and sauté again till it goes soft.

2. Add flour, salt, black pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

3. Take the pan off heat and add milk. Stir well using a wire whisk. Return back to heat and cook until it thickens for around 10 minutes by continuous stirring. Once it is thick, mix in shredded chicken, green chillies, garam masala and coriander leaves. It will be sticky at this point. But once it is cooled down completely, it will be fine.

4. Remove the filling from heat and let it cool down completely.

5. Meanwhile flour the working surface. I use a plastic sheet for this as it is easy to transfer the bread to the sheet for baking with ease. Roll the dough into rectangular shape to a thickness of 6mm – 1cm depending on how thick you like your bread. Place the filling in the centre of the dough, horizontally leaving around 2 ½ inch space on both ends.

6. Snip the edges with scissors or knife and fold each snipped part from each side so that they overlap each other, making beautiful pleats. Tuck the ends tightly. See the Pictorial representation for guidance.

7. Transfer the bread on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. You can also place the rolled dough on the baking sheet, then do the filling and pleating on the sheet if you find harder to transfer the filled bread on to the sheet from teh work surface. Brush the top with 1 beaten egg, sprinkle sesame seeds and leave to rise for about 20 minutes.

8. Bake the bread at 190 degree C for 30 – 35 minutes or until it turns golden all over. Take it out of oven, brush all over with butter, whilst hot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve with roasted or boiled vegetables, Mayonnaise and ketchup.
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