Sunday, July 08, 2012

Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes {with a *cherry* on top}


What's better than a cupcake with a cherry on top?  Answer: a cupcake infused with amaretto...and a cherry soaked in amaretto...then dipped in white chocolate...on top of that cupcake.

Yum. 

 It's funny to think that a couple years ago I didn't even like cherries.  Now I can't get enough of them.  They are delicious, and heart healthy...what more can you ask for? 


I wanted to add a special touch to our family celebration over the 4th of July.  I saw that OXO was having a Cherry Recipe contest and an idea sparked in my mind.  I knew cupcakes would fit the bill for dessert...but I wanted to them to have a unique twist.  Amaretto and cherries combined with chocolate was the perfect solution!  Just looking at these dipped cherries makes my mouth water!  Unfortunately they are all gone now!


I soaked the cherries in amaretto for 3 nights.  Let's just say...these cherries were for adults only!  They definitely soaked up a lot of the amaretto and they had quite the kick!  They were a huge hit at my family's 4th of July party...but we did have to keep the kids away from them... ;) 


I am entering this recipe in the OXO Cherry Recipe Contest.  Boy, I sure could have used the OXO Cherry Pitter for this recipe....hint hint. ;)  If I win, I'll be sure to use the OXO Cherry Pitter next time I make this recipe - it would be so convenient!  

Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes with Amaretto White Chocolate Cherries 
Makes about 30 cupcakes

Ingredients: 

1 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa power
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cupcake liners in their tins.

Whisk cocoa and hot water together until smooth.  In a separate bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside. 

Melt butter in microwave and mix with sugar.  Stir to combine.  On medium-low speed, beat the mixture until it is cool - about 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and until well incorporated.  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.  Add vanilla, amaretto, and then the cocoa mix.  Beat until combined.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in two batches alternating with the sour cream.  Beat until combined.

Divide batter and fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake 16 - 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely before decorating with amaretto buttercream frosting.

Amaretto Buttercream Frosting
6 oz. unsalted butter
6 oz. vegetable shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup amaretto liqueur (can add more or less depending on your taste)

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter & shortening and mix with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Gradually mix in powdered sugar.  Add the amaretto and mix until smooth.  If the frosting is not stiff enough for decorating, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency.  

Amaretto Soaked White Chocolate Cherries
(Makes 40)

40 fresh cherries (without pits are preferable, but cherries with pits are okay…just make sure to warn your guests!)
750 mL bottle of amaretto liqueur
12 ounces white chocolate chips
Vegetable shortening

With a knife, make small ¼-inch cuts into each cherry. Place the cherries into mason jars, filling each jar about ¾ of the way full. Fill each jar with amaretto to just cover the cherries. Close each jar securely, and shake gently for 10 seconds before placing into the refrigerator. Let cherries soak overnight, or for 2-3 nights.

Strain the cherry mixture (make sure to save the leftover amaretto for cocktails.  Waste not, want not!) into a colander.  Using a paper towel, pat each cherry until dry. 

Melt some of the white chocolate chips in the microwave, adding vegetable shortening as needed to help the chocolate stay smooth and prevent clumping. Stir well.

By its stem, dip each cherry into the white chocolate coating. Let excess chocolate drip off before placing the cherries on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate to set for at least 15 minutes before serving. Best when served the same day, but they will keep in the fridge for a few days. 

Enjoy!

...and because I was feeling patriotic...I made a "red, white & blue" cupcake...hope you had a happy 4th!

(Amaretto Soaked White Chocolate Cherries recipe adapted from formal fringe)  

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