flourless chocolate cupcakes

Okay, I admit it: I've been delinquent here. I haven't posted in ages, and now I'm going to give you a picture of some very sad-looking cupcakes. But they taught me a lesson, I promise.

flourless chocolate cupcakes, overbaked

I've been learning, over the course of baking with my oven, that I need to shave a couple of minutes off whatever the suggested cooking time for something is-- despite the fact that my oven thermometer tells me that my oven is at the correct temperature. Clearly the thermometer and the oven are in cahoots and they've decided that I simply do not need any more chocolate.

My new favorite adjective in baking is "flourless," despite the trouble with the last cake and these cupcakes too. The reason is that when you get these things right, they're phenomenal. I made these cupcakes again, three times. You know, to make sure I had the cooking time right. And because I'd eat them so fast it felt there surely couldn't have been a dozen on the tray five minutes ago. My evidence that they're so good? Even though I made them three times beyond that pathetic photo above, I never had the presence of mind to take another picture.

Here's the trick: Check them at six minutes. If you want a molten center, pull them out while the middles are still very shiny and carefully ease them out of the pan after they've cooled for about ten minutes and eat them right then. They will ooze deliciousness all over you. Once the six-minute cupcakes have cooled entirely, the middles will solidify into a slightly fudgy deliciously moist mass.
At seven minutes, the centers of the warm cupcakes will be solid. At eight minutes, they're overdone, but still entirely edible.

Use good chocolate if you have it. It's not entirely necessary, but it's worth it.

You can also make a salted toffee sauce for these, with or without hazelnuts. I made it without hazelnuts and the first time it was too salty, and the second time, i lessened the salt and it was too sweet. I guess I just don't like this toffee. I thought the cupcakes were perfect on their own, but feel free to adorn them if you feel compelled to gild the lily.

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
from The Bizarre Kitchen Incident. She got them from, surprisingly, Nestle.
makes 12 cupcakes

3/4 cup unsalted butter
8oz Nestle Chocolatier bittersweet chocolate (either morsels, or chopped bar form)
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 1 T sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 T AP flour

Preheat oven to 425*. Grease a muffin tin liberally with Crisco.

Place eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment until fluffy and light yellow, about 8 minutes. The mixture will drizzle into the bowl in a slowly-dissolving ribbon when it's been mixed enough.

While the eggs are being mixed: In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the chocolate and stir constantly, until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Switch to the paddle attachment (or, if not using a stand mixer, a sturdy spatula).
Slowly add 1/3 of the chocolate to the egg mixture, stirring slowly. Once the chocolate is incorporated, add the rest of the chocolate and the flour. Mix on low speed until a somewhat thin batter is formed.

Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Gently run a knife around the edge of each muffin and turn out onto a rack to cool for about 5 minutes.

Salted Toffee Hazelnut Sauce

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 t vanilla
1 t kosher salt

Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Over medium heat, stir until the butter and sugar melt.

Continue stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a full boil - 5-7 minutes. Once it reaches a boil, let it boil without stirring for 1 minute.

Remove sauce from the heat and let cool about 10 minutes.

Spoon over cupcakes.

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