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Chocolate Ganache Filled Cupcakes With Meringue Ghosts

Chocolate Ganache Filled Cupcakes With Meringue Ghosts

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It's almost Halloween! I've always enjoyed dressing up in costume and going to a party or event to celebrate. I think my favorite costume was when I dressed up as a lolita doll (Japanese style). I went all out, including buying those special contact lenses which make your iris look extra large & round. I chose purple ones and I had such a hard time putting them in my eyes! I'd never worn contacts before, and it took me 20 minutes just to put one of them in! It certainly took some getting used to, but I loved the effect it gave my eyes. This year I'm not dressing up (boo!) but I had to make something Halloween-themed to eat. I decided on chocolate cupcakes, filled with chocolate ganache, and finished with whipped ganache and a meringue ghost. Talk about chocolate overload! This is seriously one of the best cupcake recipes I've made, the cupcakes are so rich but not overly sweet, thanks to the ganache. And the meringue ghost makes a cute addition. If you're like me, and don't like coffee, don't worry: you won't taste it at all in this recipe. It just serves to bring out the chocolate flavor more. I used Whittaker's Dark Ghana 72% chocolate. You can either 'paint' the eyes on the ghosts with melted chocolate or by using an edible gel pen. The pen would be the easiest way, but I went with the melted chocolate & a toothpick as it's what I had on hand. I hope you all have a scarily good Halloween! :) 

Yield: 14 cupcakes

Cupcake recipe adapted from Chelsweets.com

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

60g dark chocolate chopped (or 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

1/2 cup heavy cream
175 g (6.2 oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Whipped Chocolate Ganache:

1/2 cup heavy cream
175 g (6.2 oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Meringue ghosts:

150 g caster sugar
75 g egg whites (from about 4 eggs)
Small amount of melted chocolate or an edible gel pen for the eyes

Method:

  1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and place cupcake liners in pans. 
  2. Fill measuring cup with very hot water and stir in the espresso powder. Pour into a medium sized bowl and add the chocolate and cocoa powder. Stir to combine. Set aside for 2 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then stir again so no lumps remain. 
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine. Pour in the chocolate mixture and stir until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, until just incorporated. Then add the oil, vinegar and vanilla and mix until well combined. 
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and let cool on a wire rack. 
  5. Make the meringue ghosts: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, pour in sugar and bake for about 5 minutes at 204 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) until the edges just begin to melt. 
  6. Wipe a large bowl with white vinegar. This will get rid of any grease which can prevent the egg whites from whipping correctly. Pour egg whites into bowl, and beat on low until foamy. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Remove sugar from the oven and start beating the whites on high speed again, adding one big spoonful of sugar at a time. Ensure the whites come back to stiff peaks after each addition of sugar. 
  7. Once all the sugar is added, continue to beat for 5-7 minutes. You should be able to rub a small amount of mixture between your fingers and not feel any grit. The mixture is ready when it forms a smooth, shiny peak on the tip of your finger. 
  8. Decrease oven temperature to 90 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a dab of meringue on all four corners of pan and press the paper down to secure it. Carefully spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag so it is packed tightly and pipe meringue ghosts onto baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes until the meringues can be carefully lifted off parchment paper with bases intact. Let cool completely. Leftover meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 
  9. Make the ganache filling: Place chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat on the stove until it just hits boiling point. (Make sure to watch it, as if it boils over it can cause the ganache to split). Once cream is ready, pour it over the chocolate. Do not stir at this point. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, begin to stir the ganache until it comes together and is shiny & glossy. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Once it has started to thicken, cut a hole in the center of each cupcake, either using a cupcake corer or a sharp knife. Pour ganache into a piping bag or sandwich bag & snip the corner and fill the cupcakes. 
  11. Make the whipped ganache: Place chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl. Heat the cream to just boiling and pour over the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes, then add the vanilla if desired. Stir ganache with a spatula until it comes together. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm all the way through. Whip with a stand mixer or hand held mixer until soft, whipped and slightly lighter in color. 
  12. Spoon whipped ganache into a piping bag with a round tip and pipe onto cupcakes. 
  13. Using melted chocolate & a toothpick, or an edible gel pen, carefully dot the eyes onto each ghost meringue. Top each of the cupcakes with a ghost. Enjoy! 
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