Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chocolate-Coconut Gluten Free Cupcakes (kosher for Passover)

Chocolate-Coconut 
Gluten & Dairy Free Cupcakes

Passover continues, we're all surviving, although we're also eating more than our share of sweets. This cupcake, with any luck, will make an appearance on M&L's Cupcakes & Curry Menu.

E, you may complain about Passover dietary restrictions, but you look like you are OK with the cupcakes (and the brownies, and the macaroons, and the chocolate chip cookies....) . 

The batter for this dessert is a bit thicker than the gluten free brownie I have posted. The batter, which is made with six beaten egg whites, rises in the cupcake paper and remains high in the center, unlike many Passover cakes. The dough is sprinkled with grated coconut or ground nuts before baking. 

As is the technique for many Passover cakes, the eggs need to be separated, the whites need to be beaten until stiff and finely ground nuts (almonds or walnuts) are used in place of flour. 

Ingredients: 
7 oz bittersweet chocolate (melted and cooled before using)
6 large eggs (separated)
1/4 tsp (a good pinch) kosher salt
3/4 c granulated sugar
10 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vanilla sugar
2 c finely ground nuts (walnuts or almonds)
1/2 c grated coconut
1/2 c potato starch
1/4 c ground nuts, 1/4c grated coconut for topping


Choreography: 
1. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate. The better the chocolate, the better the final product. There is a LOT of chocolate available for Passover, much of it is not fabulous. If you can, try to buy chocolate from Switzerland, it's a better product. I've used several brands of kosher for Passover chocolate; I commonly use Alprose Swiss baking chocolate, which does not contain lecithin (an emulsifier that affects the quality of the chocolate and is often derived from soy). I weigh the chocolate in a large capacity glass measuring cup and melt it, in that cup, in the microwave, a minute at a time. Between the minute or 90 seconds of heating, mix with a silicone spatula.  Melt the chocolate 3/4 of the way through, the heat of the melting chocolate will continue to heat and melt the remaining chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool before mixing into the batter. 

1a. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. 

2. Beat the egg whites after the chocolate is melted and is left cooling. I beat the egg whites before working with the yolks. The whites are cold, the beaters are clean and I don't need to worry about washing beaters and cross contamination that will affect how stiff the egg whites will whip.  A bit of kosher salt is used at the end of the process to help the beaten whites hold their shape. 
3. The yolks are beaten, in a separate bowl. Take your time during this process. First beat the yolks, add the sugar and beat until the mixture is a gorgeous mellow yellow. Add the oil and continue to beat for several minutes.  The olive oil will turn the mixture a beautiful yellow with a green tinge. I don't worry about adding the oil in a steady stream, I'm not making mayonnaise and for Passover I'm working with a hand-mixer, making the process is a bit clumsy for me.

4. The remaining ingredients (sugar, vanilla sugar, ground nuts, potato starch and coconut) are added one at a time to the yolk mixture. Beat the final mixture for 1-2 minutes.  I find it easier to mix the potato starch with the ground nuts prior to adding to the bowl in order to minimize a cloud of potato starch flying out of the bowl.

5. The (cooled) chocolate is added after the previous ingredients are well blended. 

6. Adding the egg whites is not quite as complicated as it would be for an angel-food cake. I do not mix in a bit of the "heavier" mixture into the beaten whites. I mix about 1/3 of the whites into the dough mixture and mix with the electric mixer at a slow speed. I then add the remaining 2/3 of the beaten whites by hand, turning the mixture with a silicone spatula.  I try to work the dough as little as possible, but the ground nuts and potato starch make this a thick gooey mass and inevitably the mixture will not be as light and airy as a sponge cake. 
7. Spray paper cupcake cups with spray oil and place in the wells of a cupcake/muffin pan. Fill the cups about 1/2 full. Sprinkle with ground coconut and/or ground nuts. 



8. Place the pan in the oven (shelf should be in the center of the oven), lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Check with a tester to make sure the cake is cooked through. 
9. The baked cupcakes will be firm and will not fall. Cool and cover. They store well at room temperature  for a day or two.  Double wrap if you plan to freeze.