Friday, July 23, 2010

Strawberry Ice Cream Brownie Cupcakes

Strawberry Ice Cream Brownie Cupcakes

So, for those who may not know yet, I graduated from medical school last weekend.  This means I’m officially an M.D!!!  How strange is that?!  It’s been a long time coming and boy, does it feel good!  After the graduation ceremony, Ben took on the role of head entertainer and threw me a wonderful graduation party with family and friends.  He refused to let me make any of the food, but I absolutely insisted on making the dessert.  After all, it is my favorite meal of the day!  I considered many options but ended up settling on these ice cream cupcakes because I thought they went well with the laid back cookout we were hosting.  
Now for a moment, let’s all stand in awe of this fantastically awesome dessert.  Brownie + strawberry ice cream + ganache = three of my favorite things ever = AMAZING!!!  Why did I not think of this myself, and why did I not try them sooner?  These are just incredible.  I now have a goal of saving a little bit of every ice cream I make this summer, and then making a huge batch of these with various cake/ice cream/topping combos.  This strawberry chocolate combination is particularly wonderful and this dessert went shooting right up into the ranks of my top favorites.  And, they are a hit with adults and kids alike which is always a plus!
Strawberry Ice Cream Brownie Cupcakes
For the brownies:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/8 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the ice cream:
1 batch strawberry ice cream, slightly softened
For the ganache:
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
(Note: I ended up needing more ganache, and made an extra half batch) 
To garnish:
Fresh strawberry slices
To make the brownie bottoms, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with foil liners.   Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; stir together and set aside.  In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water combine the butter and chocolate.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.  In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla extract.  Whisk to blend.  Stir in the warm chocolate mixture, and then the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter into cupcake liner.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 6-8 minutes.  Leaving the brownies in the cupcake pans, cool on a wire rack to room temperature.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  Top with strawberry ice cream until the cupcake liner is full.  (If the ice cream is freshly made, it is just the right consistency for filling the cupcake liners.)  Return the cupcake pans to the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  
To make the ganache, place the chocolate chips in a small bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Pour the cream evenly over the chocolate, let stand for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth with a rubber spatula.  If the ganache is too thin, allow it to stand at room temperature to cool and become more easily spreadable.  Once the ganache is at the correct temperature, scoop it by the teaspoonful on top of the ice cream cupcakes and spread over the tops.  Garnish with fresh strawberry slices, if desired.
Remove cupcakes from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!
Source: adapted from Joy the Baker 

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