Saturday, November 26, 2011

Browned Butter Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting (GF)

I hope all of you had a happy Thanksgiving! I'm sharing one of the two desserts I made for Thanksgiving dinner- Sweet Potato Cupcakes filled with cinnamon pastry cream and topped with marshmallow frosting.

It really seems like Christmas came earlier this year- this climate of early festivity has of course been driven by consumerism and marketing by major retail corporations, but personally, I'd rather focus on the seasonal charm of it all. I started listening to Christmas music a couple of weeks ago, so that pretty much shows where I stand on the subject. You see, I know many people who staunchly say that Christmas music should not be played, nor Christmas movies aired or viewed, until after Thanksgiving. I'm usually with them, but this year I was kind of into the fact that I could listen to vintage holiday songs in the midst of miserable Los Angeles traffic earlier in the season.

I am also one of those people that continues to bake with pumpkin and sweet potato through Christmas, so I hope you are too! These turned out pretty tasty- I recommend them for your next holiday get together.

Browned Butter Sweet Potato Cupcakes (Gluten Free) (makes about 22 cupcakes)

1 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup superfine brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks butter, unsalted and browned (see below)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sweet potato puree
1/4 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flours, starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. Line 2 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners (I found that this recipe only made 22 cupcakes, but I tend to fill my cups a bit fuller).

Cut butter into slices and place in small saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until butter turns a light brown shade and smells nutty. Once browned, place butter in a plastic dish and put in fridge or freezer to cool completely.

Once butter is cooled, place in bowl of stand mixer with sugar and cream together for 1-2 minutes. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Once batter is thick and creamy looking, add dry ingredients, in three additions, alternating with water and sweet potato puree. Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

For the Cinnamon Pastry Cream:

2 cups whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs

Place milk, vanilla, cinnamon stick and ground cinnamon in a saucepan and heat to a boil.
While the milk is heating, mix the cornstarch, sugar and salt.
Gradually add the eggs to the dry mixture and mix until smooth.
Slowly add 1/3 of the hot milk while whisking constantly. Then, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or spoon until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
Remove the cinnamon stick.
Pour into a large shallow bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap or parchment to prevent a skin. Cool down a bit before putting in the refrigerator.

For the Marshmallow Frosting:

-2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
-1 7-ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff/Creme
-1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-2 tsp vanilla extract, or 1/2 vanilla bean

Combine butter and marshmallow cream. Add in confectioner's sugar, cream, and vanilla. Mix until fully combined and creamy.

To Assemble:

Core out the center of each cupcake using a small paring knife. Fill a pastry bag with cinnamon pastry cream and pipe into each cupcake. Frost and decorate as desired.

I made homemade marshmallows earlier in the week, so I melted these down and added water instead of using marshmallow cream in the frosting. Homemade marshmallows are like another world compared to the store bought kind- they're like soft, delicately sweet pillows. I even really enjoy the store bought ones, but they really can't compare with these. They're also super easy to make. Check out the recipe on my past Scotchmallow Heart Candies post.

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