SPICE CUPCAKES WITH MACADAMIA NUTS AND WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM

SPICE CUPCAKES WITH MACADAMIA NUTS AND WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Spice Cupcakes:
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, toasted*
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground mace**
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
Grated peel from 1 lemon
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 oz. White chocolate finely chopped
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners? sugar

*To toast macadamia nuts, spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully and stirring once or twice so nuts do not burn. Cool completely before using.
**Mace is the bright red membrane that covers the nutmeg seed, therefore giving this spice the taste and smell of a pungent version of nutmeg. It is sold ground and, less frequently, whole (in which case it is called a ?blade?).

Make Cupcakes:

  1. Position oven rack in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease muffin cups and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour; tapping out excess.
  2. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup nuts and reserve for garnishing cupcakes. Place remaining nuts in food processor bowl fitted with metal chopping blade. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and mace. Pulse until nuts are finely ground, then transfer to small bowl; set aside. Wipe bowl clean, but do not wash.
  3. Place brown sugar, ginger and lemon peel in food processor bowl fitted with metal chopping blade. Process until ginger is finely minced and sugar is infused with ginger and lemon. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
  4. In small bowl, whisk together egg and yolk; set aside. In separate small bowl, whisk together sour cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; set aside.
  5. In medium bowl beat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar mixture with electric mixer at medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add egg mixture in 2 additions, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce to low speed and add half flour mixture until just blended. Add sour cream mixture. Stir in remaining flour mixture.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake cupcakes for 22 to 24 minutes, or until tops of cupcakes are golden brown and set and tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Make Frosting:

  1. Place chocolate in microwavable bowl, and heat on HIGH for 1 minute. Let stand 1 minute. Stir until smooth.
  2. In medium bowl beat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and melted chocolate with electric mixer at medium speed mixing just until smooth. Add lemon juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low. Slowly add confectioners? sugar. Beat until blended. Increase speed to high and beat for 30 seconds.

Assemble Cupcakes:
Scrape frosting into a pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe large rosettes on top of each cupcake. Garnish with reserved macadamia nuts. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set frosting. Serve at room temperature.