Hi-Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

Inside of a high hat cupcake

I have been eyeing these Hi-hat cupcakes on Pinterest for so long now, that I had to make them sooner than later. They are essentially choclate cupcakes with a frosting and dipped in melted chcolate, like your Mc Swirl in Mc Donalds.They looked daunting. What if the fluffy white meringue on top which gets dipped in the chocolate just melts away? What if the chocolate doesnt hold and starts dripping? What if the entire frosting collapses and settles in a puddle on the cupcake? It would be an epic bake-fail, but curiousity got the better of me and I made these. And beleive it or not, they are super easy! I watched a couple videos about making the frosting and then adapted a Martha Stewart recipe to make mine.

High Hat cupcake

Droolworthy chocolates

Hi-Hat Cupcakes!

What you will need :

For the cupcakes

  •  2 cups maida
  •  ¾ cup cocoa powder
  •  1 tablespoon baking powder
  •  ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •  a pinch of salt
  •  1 and ½ cup castor sugar
  •  2 eggs
  •  8 tablespoon melted butter (I use Amul)
  •  1 cup plain yoghurt
  •  ½ cup warm milk
  •  1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  •  1 and ½ cup chocolate chips

Ingredients for chocolate cupcakes

  1.  Mix the flour + baking powder + baking soda + cocoa powder + salt. Sift it so that it gets aerated and there are no chunks of baking powder or soda.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk butter till pale and add sugar. Mix well.
  3. Then add the eggs, one at a time and whisk into the butter.
  4. Mix in the yoghurt and vanilla.
  5. Now with a rubber spatula fold in the dry ingredients and the milk in two additions. Always start and end with the dry ingredients.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 180C for 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, line a muffin pan with paper liners. Drop the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes till a skewer inserted in the centre comes clean.
  8. Let it cool in the pan and then on a wire grill completely before frosting.

Chocolate chip cupcakes

For the meringue frosting

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 and ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Making meringue

  1. In a large heatproof bowl, mix all the ingredients and whisk with a manual whisk or a hand held blender till it forms soft peaks.
  2. In another vessel, heat water till it simmers.
  3. Put this bowl with egg whites on the vessel over the stove/ gas. Whisk continuously till it forms stiff peaks and the temperature of the egg whites goes upto 70 degrees C on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, keep it whisking on the simmering water for 10 minutes, it reaches about that temperature and then egg whites are safe to be consumed.
  4. Then remove from heat and keep whisking till it cools down considerably and frosting thickens.
  5. Do not stop whisking in the entire process or egg whites will curdle.
  6. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a big round nozzle.

For the chocolate coating

  • 2 cups chopped chocolate
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

How to proceed:

  1. Combine chopped chocolate and oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat it in bursts of 20 seconds, whisking in between, till all chocolate is melted. Alternately, you can heat it over double boiler.
  2. Let it cool to room temperature.
  3. If the chocolate hardens by the time you are ready to dip, heat it in microwave for 30 seconds and it will be liquid.

Chocolate dripping

ASSEMBLY

  1. Now the cupcakes are ready to be frosted and dipped.
  2. Frost a high pile of the meringue frosting on each of the cupcakes. Refrigerate for a couple of minutes before dipping in chocolate.
  3. Keep the melted chocolate in a high wide glass. I used a measuring cup for it.
  4. Now grab each cupcake by its bottom and carefully dip it into the melted chocolate and remove it. Don’t worry, it will stay put. The meringue will not melt, you have my word.
  5. Put it in the fridge and let it sit for half hour before cutting.
  6. You high-hat cupcakes are ready!
Hi hat cupcake with chocolate frosting

Eggless Cupcake with eggless buttercream frosting

Notes :

  • Some recipes call for cream of tartar in the meringue, but I havent used it. It stays well and holds shape even without the cream of tartar.
  • Ensure that the instructions int he recipe are followed well, let the cupcakes cool down before frosting. lt the meringue sit in the fridge for a few minutes before dripping in the chocolate and let the chocolate be at room temperature but still  liquid.
  • In the Mumbai humidity, the chocolate ont he frosting starts to sweat as soon as you take it out of the refrigerator. There is hardly anything that can be done about it though.
  • If you want an eggless chocolate cupcake recipe, see here.
  • If you want an eggless chocolate buttercream frosting see here. Meringue frosting looks prettier because of the black and white combination, but you can use any other stable buttercream too.

Cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Mushroom Turnovers and Oh yes, my trying-to-arrange marriage tales

I have known my husband for the last 12 years. But the first 9 years don’t really count. We took a class together in school, but that was it. We chose different paths, went to different colleges and he was then studying and working in the USA for six years, before he came back and we met.

And in those intervening years a lot happened. I dated a few guys, he must have dated some girls (although he doesn’t talk about it. yet.) , but yes, we were on different paths of life.

And then I cleared my CA exam, was 22 and deemed fit to get married by my parents and other folks around me. Or at least start looking for “suitable guys” so that something “clicks” sooner or later. My attempts at finding a suitable boyfriend to eventually get married to had failed miserably for several reasons. So, naturally my matrimonial ad was placed in some of the arranged marriage groups and related newsletters. I don’t know what it said, but clearly my mom had done a good job at marketing me well, because the whole ritual of meeting guys and their parents and that whole shit started soon enough.

For those of you who are uninitiated about the arranged marriage process in India, let me sum it up for you. Typically, the responsibility of finding a partner for the girl and the guy lies with the family. So as a community activity, people suggest befitting proposals and the families meet, the would-be bride and groom meet too, may be for an hour or so and that’s it. In more advanced cities, the girl and guy meet may be one or two times and boom, a perfect heavenly match is made. Or so they claim.

My mom, the super efficient woman that she is, started working on this project. She made lists, went through matrimonial websites, magazines and generally spread the word around that they are looking for their daughter. She even went ahead and made a fake facebook and orkut (which was very popular then) account and would re-search about the guys before she asked me to have a look at them. Oh man, it was like one organized military operation. And as a result, over a span of two years, my mom and dad evaluated about 200 proposals, spoke to at-least 80 of them and as a fitting climax, I met around 15 of those ‘boys’.

It was hilarious to say the least. I had very little belief in this system of finding a husband, and it just sounded bizarre that I would randomly go and stay with a guy who I have met twice, or say thrice. My savior in this whole situation was my brother, because we would laugh off the whole thing. That kept my sanity intact.

Nevertheless, I had some interesting interactions. Once we went to a guys house, and the whole living room was painted bright red, the chairs, upholstery, carpet, wall hanging, everything right upto the ceiling fan was bright red. Felt like a psychedelic cocaine-induced view of things. On another time, I met a guy alone, in a coffee shop, and in a weird “phoren” accent he started regaling his tales of how many women he had seduced and laid. Urgh. I fled.

We had also met the then Mumbai municipal commissioner’s son, who was as thin as a stick insect. We got to see the palatial home of that bureaucrat, but the guy rejected me for the reason that I had spectacles. He and his father were sent to jail later on when they were convicted in a housing scam. I thanked some celestial power for that most awesome rejection of my life.

One guy, a friend of my friend, was so overwhelmed and out-of-breath the whole time, that he spilled the coffee, accidentally touched my hand and relegated at the shock and finally walked out and forgot to pay the bill. When I politely told him that I don;t think us can work, he e-stalked me for a whole six months after which my friend had to step in and stop it.

I could go on with these tales, but I think it is sufficient for now. My poor mom was getting traumatized by the end of two years, and I was also on the verge of saying yes to a not-that-great-but-okayish guy, which is when my classmate and my future husband rescued me from all of this hoopla. And hence started our love story, our families met, and we got married. 🙂

And P.S: I have known some amazing people having an arranged marriage and it beautifully works for them. So I am not at all against this concept. Just FYI.

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Mushroom Turnovers or Stuffed Mushroom Pies

I got this recipe from a dog-eared book ‘ The Good-Housekeeping’. It’s a very old book I picked up at a flea market, and I don’t think it is in print anymore. But the recipes and illustrations there are excellent.

Mushroom turnovers

What you will need:

  • 120 gm cream cheese , I use Philadelphia
  • 50 gm butter
  • 75 gm all-purpose flour
  • 20 gm cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 100 gm button mushrooms, washed and chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • salt
  • Dried herbs like basil, oregano, thyme

What to do:

  1. To make the dough for the covering, take cream cheese, butter and flour in a bowl and mix well, with an electric beater or knead with hand. Once the dough comes together, (it will still be a sticky dough), place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a plastic sarine wrap or a damp cloth and refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the mushroom filling. Melt butter in a skillet/pan. Saute the onions till they become translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook them for a while till tender and till the water has evaporated away.
  4. Add salt, dried herbs and mix well.
  5. Blend flour and yoghurt together and add it to the mushrooms. Cook for a minute and then take it off heat. Let it cool.
  6. On a generously floured surface, take the dough, cut it into half and refrigerate one half. Roll the other half into a disk, while being careful to not let it stick to the counter-top or the rolling pin. Be very generous with the flouring.
  7. With a bowl or some other circular object, cut the dough disks into 4-5 inch circles.
  8. Carefully place the circles on a baking mat on a baking tray. Spoon in a tbsp of the mushroom mixture.
  9. Line the edges o the dough disk with the egg wash (or some melted butter) and lift it up from one side, align with the other side and press down to seal.
  10. Brush the tops with egg wash, so it gets a beautiful color while baking.
  11. Refrigerate the turnovers till it is just about time to serve and then bake in a pre-heated oven at 230°C for 12 minutes or so, till the turnovers are golden brown from the bottom.
  12. Repeat with the other dough disk and bake.
  13. Serve these buttery , flaky turnovers with some mint chutney or ketchup.

Turnovers in making

Notes :

  1. The original recipe used sour cream, but I easily replaced it with yoghurt.
  2. These turnovers are basically egg-less with some egg wash. You can replace the egg wash with butter and still get the same effect.
  3. The cream-cheese and butter dough is excellent and you can use any type of savory thick filling inside.
  4. These turnovers are best eaten on the same day. They become soggy the next day. But can be refrigerated for 2-3 days before baking and then baked just before serving.

Turnovers with coffee

Rutvika Charegaonkar