Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eat In. Red velvet brain cupcakes.

Now that just sounds delicious, doesn't it? Halloween sure is a great excuse to get creative, and the fun doesn't have to stop at your costume. Think about all the fun, creepy-crawly foods and desserts you can think of -- the bloody punch, the grape eyeballs.

But while getting creative, you want to make sure the food tastes good too! I nabbed this recipe from the Food Network's latest star, Anne Thorton of "Dessert First with Anne Thornton." Her show is set to premiere this Sunday, but if you want a taste of what's sure to come, here's her fun take on red velvet cupcakes. Brain-licking good?

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons red food coloring

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red and black food coloring
Special equipment: pastry bag and large round tip

Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and fine sea salt together onto a piece of waxed paper. Mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring in a standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat until well combined. Turn down the mixer speed and slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until totally smooth, about 3 minutes.

Line a standard 12 cupcake tin with the liners (preferably silver). Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with the batter and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Frosting: In a standing mixer, on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Turn down the mixer speed and slowly add the powdered sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy. Add a drop each of red and black food coloring and mix into the frosting to make it a pinkish gray brain color.

Fill the pastry bag half full with the frosting, and pipe out into a squiggly pile on half of each cupcake top, then pipe the frosting in a squiggly pile on the other half of the cupcake top, making 2 brain hemispheres. This recipe gives a whole new meaning to brain food.

Happy Halloween!

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Anne Thornton

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