Monday, January 18, 2016

Salted Caramel Cashew Macarons

Entertaining these days presents so many opportunities to poison your guests. We really do live in exciting times!

Far be it from me to belittle anyone else's dietary issues. With my pork/shellfish/alcohol refusal and mild lactose intolerance, you'd be hard-pressed to find a guest so annoying. Although my daughter invited a friend with major nut allergies last week. The girls decided to bake cupcakes, which was quite an adrenaline rush with the worry that they would happen upon some bit of macaron batter and send the kid into anaphylaxis.

My point is, YIKES! For whatever reason, feeding people has now become a minefield of allergies, gluten, veganism, kosher, halal, nut-free and organic. Yesterday, I saw something online about a histamine-free diet. So, yay, another avenue to offend someone with my cooking.

This is a long way of saying, that you should definitely tell people that there are cashews in these macarons. Or just make them with almonds. Because cashew allergies are a thing, and poisoning your friends is not cool.

On the plus side, these are gluten-free. They make great apology gifts for a gluten-free coach if you happen to tell your kid to just hang out for ten minutes while the next team practices, but then you show up late to find the coach waiting with your kid.

"I would never leave a kid behind," she says, and you know she's right. Your cheeks burn with shame, and you scurry home to bake it off. Or so I hear!


These macarons are a combination of two recipes I use all the time. The salted caramel is from the amazing Cupcake Jemma, YouTube star and owner of Crumbs and Doilies bakery in London. I tweaked her caramel by taking it several shades darker than the original. Regular salted caramel buttercream sandwiched between sweet macaron shells, was both too pale and too sweet. You have to burn the sugar a bit to get a deeper, more complex flavor. Unfortunately, this can make the leftover sauce too bitter for some palettes. Just make more buttercream - problem solved!

The second recipe is adapted from Bravetart's macaron recipe. Hers is the first one I tried, and the one I came back to after trying all the others. But because we're adding cashew meal, it's absolutely essential to dry the nutmeal in the oven first. Cashews have a very high moisture content, and you need to get rid of some of that water or your macarons will be hollow. Just spread the ground cashews and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet in a low-temperature oven for half an hour, then get on with the recipe. As a bonus, this pre-drying eliminates most of the resting time. And if your store doesn't sell almond or cashew meal, pulse your whole nuts in the processor to chop before drying in the oven. Grind them completely with the powdered sugar before adding to the meringue.

On the subject of macarons... They are very finicky, and you simply must have a scale to make them turn out properly. So, I always give my macaron measurements in weight, rather than by volume.

Salted Caramel Cashew Macarons

Makes about 24 finished macarons, filled with salted caramel buttercream.


Salted Caramel
90g water (6 tablespoons)
200g granulated sugar (1 cup)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or a couple of pinches of kosher salt)

Cashew Macaron Shells
65g blanched almond flour
65g cashew meal
230g powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
144g egg whites
72g granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered egg whites (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Buttercream
113g unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
180g powdered sugar (1-1/2 cups)
150g salted caramel (about 6 tablespoons)
pinch sea/kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the Salted Caramel:
  1. Stir water and sugar in a deep saucepan until just dissolved. Place over low flame for several minutes until it begins to brown, swirling contents of pan, but not stirring.
  2. When caramel takes on a very deep amber color, remove from heat and slowly whisk in cream. This will steam and bubble up, but just keep whisking, and it will come out smooth.
  3. Finish by mixing in salt and vanilla. Decant to a jar, and place in fridge to cool while you make the macarons.
For the Macarons:
  1. Spread almond and cashew meals on a rimmed baking sheet, breaking up any large lumps. Place in 200˚ oven for about half an hour.
  2. Sift nutmeal with powdered sugar and salt, discarding up to a teaspoon of nut chunks too big to fit through the sieve. If you have more than a teaspoon of chunks, run through the processor again to break them up.
  3. In the stand mixer, combine egg whites, sugar and the optional powdered whites. Use the whisk attachment to beat at medium speed (4 on a Kitchen Aid) for 3 minutes. They will not seem especially foamy at that point, but increase the speed to medium-high (7 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip another 3 minutes, then crank the speed to 8 for yet another 3 minutes.
  4. At this point, the meringue should be thick, with a huge mass of it clinging to the whisk itself. Add in the vanilla, and beat for another minute on high.
  5. Add nut mixture all at once, folding until the batter starts to fall off the spatula in ribbons, rather than clumps. (There are a million YouTube videos of proper macaronnage, so watch a few to familiarize yourself with the process.)
  6. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment. Put half of batter in a piping bag with a medium-sized round tip, and pipe 1" circles; I use a template printed from here. Grab the pan and bang it hard on the counter several times, until any "nipples" in the piped macarons settle back in. Rest piped cookies for ten minutes while you preheat the oven to 290˚ regular or 270˚ convection.
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes (each oven is different), until you can put your finger on the cookie and feel no wiggle at all, meaning that the base is cooked through. Let the cookies cool for an additional ten minutes on the baking sheet before matching shells together and filling
For the Buttercream and Assembly:
  1. With the paddle attachment, beat softened butter for two minutes to aerate. Alternate additions of powdered sugar and caramel, beating to incorporate after each.
  2. Beat in salt and lemon juice, then adjust consistency with additional caramel or sugar.
  3. Spoon or pipe buttercream between macaron shells. Store in refrigerator, removing twenty minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cookie Dough Party Cake

My family has long since lost interest in my baking.

Cupcakes again? Whatever... Cake pops? Meh...

Luckily, my neighbors' kids are not yet immune to my charms. A couple of times a week, we hear a knock at the back door. It's my little buddy from across the alley, come to see what's cooking in my kitchen.

Do you get Trick or Treaters in January? I bet not.

My kids know the routine now, even when I'm not at home. They say, "Robby was here. I found eight macarons in the downstairs freezer for him."

Robby has put in a special request for a birthday cake when he turns six tomorrow. So this Cookie Dough Cake is for him. It's nice to be appreciated!

Since it's a birthday cake, I don't have any pictures of the slices. But there are three layers of cookie buttercream between three layers of vanilla cake - use your imagination!

In fact, you can substitute any cake layers you like here. I happened to use the Golden Vanilla Cake recipe from King Arthur Flour, but this cake would be equally fabulous with chocolate layers. It would be absolutely gonzo with chocolate-chip cake, but I couldn't quite bring myself to do it.

Cookie Dough Birthday Cake

Three layers of vanilla cake, filled and topped with cookie dough buttercream, covered in vanilla frosting with a dark chocolate ganache drip, decorated with cookie dough truffles.


Cake Layers
400g granulated sugar (2 cups)
390g all-purpose flour (3-1/4 cups)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
170g unsalted butter, softened (3/4 cups)
283g milk, at room temperature (1-1/4 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Cookie Dough Balls
113g unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
107g brown sugar (1/2 cup)
30g powdered sugar (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g all-purpose flour (2-1/2 cups)
340g sweetened condensed milk (most of a 14oz can)
128g miniature chocolate chips, divided (3/4 cup)

226g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)
225g marshmallow fluff (half of a 1lb container)
170g powdered sugar (1-1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk

125g chopped dark chocolate, 60% (3/4 cup)
55g unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

For the Cake Layers :
(recipe from King Arthur Flour)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy.
  3. Combine the milk and vanilla and add, all at once. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.
  4. With the mixer running at low speed, add 1 egg. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Repeat this procedure with the second egg. Continue adding the eggs, scraping after each addition, until all 4 are added. After the last egg is added, scrape the bowl once more, then beat at medium-high speed for 30 more seconds.
  5. Using baking spray with flour, grease three 7-8" round pans, or two 9" pans. Divide batter evenly between pans, smoothing tops with an offset spatula 
  6. Bake for about 24 minutes, until cake is nicely browned and just beginning to pull away from the edge of the pan. Cool in pans for ten minutes, then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.

For the Cookie Dough Balls:
  1. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then alternate additions of flour and condensed milk, beating until they are all combined. 
  2. Divide batter between two bowls, scraping the mixer bowl well (so you don't have to wash it before making the vanilla frosting). Put one bowl aside for the frosting.
  3. Stir a third of the chocolate chips into the other bowl and place it in the refrigerator. After you've baked and crumb-coated the cake, you will pull out the chilled dough and form it into about thirty 1" balls, which will be double what you need for the cake.

For the frosting:
  1. Beat butter using your mixer's paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about five minutes. 
  2. On medium speed, beat in the marshmallow and vanilla, then the powdered sugar. Finish with enough milk to get it to spreadable consistency. 
  3. Remove 3/4 of frosting (does not have to be exact) to a separate bowl. Put the reserved cookie dough (the bowl without the chips!) into the mixer bowl, and beat on medium speed to combine. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in reserved chips.

  1. Level your three cakes with a long knife, and divide the cookie dough frosting between them. Spread the frosting evenly over top, and stack layer. 
  2. Use the vanilla frosting to smooth any gaps and apply a thin crumb coat to the entire cake. Chill cake in fridge for twenty minutes while you form the cookie dough balls. 
  3. Put the dough balls back in the fridge, and take the cake out to apply a final coat of frosting. Don't get carried away smoothing it out - ganache covers a multitude of sins. 
  4. Microwave the butter and chocolate in thirty-second intervals, stirring between each. When you still have obvious chunks of chocolate, stop heating and stir until they dissolve. Transfer ganache to a pastry bag with a small round tip (or a ziplock bag with a corner snipped, in a pinch). 
  5. Work your way around the edge of the cake, squeezing out individual drips of chocolate as you go. Fill in the top of the cake, smooth with a flat knife, and decorate with cookie dough balls. Allow cake to set in the fridge or freezer before serving.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chanukah Macarons

Whose idea was it to have an eight-day holiday centered around greasy foods?

I already feel ill. And my Instagram feed is starting to fill up with kale soups from fellow members of the tribe who are ready to go on a juice cleanse just four days into this holiday.

Jews around the world mark the festival of Chanukah by eating oily foods like jelly doughnuts, called sufganiyot, and fried potato pancakes, called latkes. If this seems odd to you, you probably spent the weekend driving around with a tree tied to your car roof. I could Jewsplain the whole thing, but basically...

They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat. (Applies to most Jewish holidays.)

But, seriously, who would actually eat a jelly doughnut any other week of the year? What is that red gloop in the middle? What fruit makes jelly that glows in the dark?

I went to the best kosher bakery and got a few of every kind. Even the kids were unenthusiastic.

So, I whipped up these Chanukah macarons and used raspberry jam in the buttercream. See, it's kinda like a jelly doughnut! I happened to have candy melts and molds around, but gelt toppers are super cute.

This "recipe" is more of a concept. Basically, you take your plain macaron shells, top with gelt, and fill with frosting mixed with jam. But, if you were looking for something more specific, I'm happy to oblige.

(But only if you buy a scale. You just can't make macarons without one.)

Chanukah Macarons

Yield: 24 4cm filled macarons


For the Macarons:
72g egg whites
36g granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon powdered egg white (optional)
60g blanched almond meal
115g powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the Filling:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (170g)
8 oz marshmallow fluff (227)
1 cup powdered sugar (120g)
1/4 cup seeded raspberry jam

Optional Decorations:
Candy melts

  1. Beat egg whites, granulated sugar, and powdered whites at medium speed (KitchenAid 4) for three minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (KitchenAid 7) for three more minutes, then up to high (KitchenAid 8) for a final three minutes. Add vanilla and almond extracts and any gel coloring you desire, then beat at top speed for an additional minute.
  2. While eggs are whipping, sieve together almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt. When meringue is ready, fold the dry ingredients into it until the mixture has a texture like lava. You'll know you're there when you can a drop of batter settles back into the mixture within thirty seconds.
  3. Pipe 1.25" rounds, 1" apart on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment. I use this template underneath as a guide. After piping, take the tray and bang it very forcefully on the counter to knock out all the bubbles. Do not skip this step - it is much more important than resting the macarons!
  4. Preheat the oven to 300˚ (280˚ convection). Rest the macarons for about 15 minutes on the counter while you make the buttercream. Bake one tray at a time for about 15 minutes. You will know they are done when you touch one with your finger and it feels solid, rather than wobbly.  
  5. Let the macarons cool in the pan for at least ten minutes before flipping over and filling.
  6. Beat softened butter for three minutes on medium high to aerate. Add in fluff, then powdered sugar. Finish with the jelly, but use your judgement about the quantity - the moisture content of jellies varies widely.
  7. Pipe or spoon frosting between shells. Decorate with gelt or melts, glued on with a dab of melted chocolate chips or melts. Let rest at room temperature for three hours, or overnight in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Puckery Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cake

In November, we make lemon cake.

There aren't many lemon desserts happening around here the rest of the year. I can take or leave lemon, but the kids won't touch it. So the only time my husband gets lemon cake is on his birthday.

I know, Poor Guy, soldiering through eleven months of chocolate cakes, bundts and macarons. It's a hard life.

This recipe is a bit of a mash-up. The cake is adapted from Lomelino's Cakes, by Linda Lomelino. I wanted to punch up the frosting though. And, honestly, how much swiss meringue buttercream can you eat? Am I the only one craving a little variation? So I pulled this recipe for microwave lemon curd off the King Arthur Flour website and used it to flavor a cream cheese buttercream.

The frosting recipe makes enough extra to fill three dozen macarons. If you find the acidity too intense, add more sugar and a splash of milk to maintain the consistency. Knowing that the kids weren't going to eat it, I left ours very tart.

So...a very sour cake for my very sweet guy.

Puckery Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cake

Yield: Three 7-8" layers of vanilla cake with blueberries, frosted with lemon-cream cheese buttercream.



For the Blueberry Cake Layers

2 sticks softened butter (226g)
2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (320g)
2 teaspoons baking powder (7g)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (19g)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream (160g)
2/3 cup milk (150g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
4 large eggs
12 oz bag of frozen blueberries (340g)
three 7-8"-round cake pans
baking spray with flour

For the Lemon Frosting

1/2 cup lemon juice (115g)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
4 tablespoons melted butter (56g)
1 egg
8 oz softened cream cheese (227g)
12 tablespoons softened butter (170g)
4-5 cups powdered sugar (480-600g)
2-3 tablespoons blueberry preserves

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ (325˚ convection).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar for five minutes. While the mixer is doing its thing, whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. In yet another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, vanilla and lemon zest.
  3. Scrape down the mixer bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the dry and wet ingredients, alternating between the two, and beat until the batter is smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  4. Spray the pans thoroughly, and divide the batter between them. Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the pans to ensure even cooking. When the cakes are browned and cooked through, rest in pans for five minutes, then invert onto cooling racks.
  5. While the cakes are baking, get on with the lemon curd. Whisk the lemon juice, granulated sugar, melted butter and egg into a large, glass bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high for one minute, then whisk. Repeat until the curd is thick, about six minutes, then refrigerate until ready to frost the cake.
  6. Using the mixer's whisk attachment, beat the softened butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Mix in the cooled lemon curd until fully incorporated. Add the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, until you achieve the texture and sweetness you prefer.
  7. Crumb coat the cake and give it a good chill to set the frosting. Apply the finish layer of frosting using your preferred method, then use your knife tip to mar the surface in several spots with holes about half an inch wide. Fill the holes with blueberry jam, then use a long knife or other frosting tool to spread the jam just a bit over the cake's surface. Keep going until you are happy with the design, then chill to set.
  8. Decorate with optional macarons, blueberries, or lemon rind.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Oatmeal Nutella Muffins

With only one child home this week, my husband and I have become slacker parents. The younger two are off at camp, leaving only a teenager around for us to ignore. Also, it's too bloody humid to cook any real food after lunch. That's summer in Baltimore, but it does make for gorgeous hydrangeas.

Lucky thing I bought this giant vat of Nutella! The kid can live on Nutella sandwiches for two weeks, right?

When I was a kid at sleepaway camp, my mother relied on my frequent letters to know how I was. Today, camps post a thousand photos a day to their websites. Which is good, because my kids write once a week, at most. But I feel guilty if I don't scrutinize that website minutely for a glimpse of my kids.

There's my daughter at the pool, my son at archery, field trip, dining hall, blahblahblah. I think I'm spending more time looking at the camp websites than talking to the kid who's actually home. Lucky thing the teenager only cares about sports, and getting fed before and after practice. He grunts his thanks, then lopes off to watch whatever sportsball game is on tonight. Not that I'm complaining! As teenagers go, A+, right?


I've been making these muffins a lot. Even with the Nutella, I think these qualify as an acceptable breakfast. Lots of "muffin" recipes are just a plan to eat cake in the morning. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I find it easier to justify frozen pizza for dinner if I feed the boy something nutritious for breakfast.

Bonus: the oatmeal retains moisture, so you can make these muffins the night before without them drying out. Which is good, because the teenager and I are not morning people.

Oatmeal Nutella Muffins
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (150g)
1 cup quick oats (80g)
1/2 cup of sugar, or a little bit less if you prefer (100g)
1 tablespoon baking powder (15g)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup milk (227g)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (56g)
2 eggs
3-4 tablespoons Nutella (57-76g)

adapted from

Preheat oven to 500˚ (475˚ convection). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 12 regular or 9 large paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, oil and eggs. Gently whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overbeat.

Drop the Nutella by tablespoons into the muffin batter. Use a knife to marble the Nutella throughout.

Divide the batter evenly among the liners - an ice cream scoop works best for this. Place in the oven and immediately drop temperature to 400˚ (375˚ convection). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are just starting to brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Peaches and Cream Tart

Today I dropped my son off at sleepaway camp. It's the same camp where I spent seven summers, and my son is already a four-year veteran.

Did he get the best bed in the bunk? Darn right he did!

We pulled up at 7:55, and he dismissed me with a "See ya, Mom," at 9AM. We are not sentimental people.

I do admit to a bout of nostalgia when I drove past Baugher's Orchard and Fruit Market in Westminster, Maryland. My mother and I used to stop there on the way home from the last day of camp. My mom is a wonderful, amazing woman. But she was very strict. I knew that our reunion was special because she actually bought me a scoop of ice cream! I was hardly deprived - it's amazing how much junkfood a doting grandmother can slip to a kid. Still, this was a big deal, and I knew Baugher's had the best ice cream in the world.

Photo Credit:
I called my mom on the way home today. She said, "Did you get a scoop of Baugher's Peach Ice Cream?" As a certified adult, I could have gotten a triple scoop, even at 9:30AM. But now I'm lactose-intolerant. Womp womp! (As an aside, Lactaid is like a condiment on the table at Jewish summer camps. #AshkenaziTummy)

I did pick up some gorgeous stone fruits. Look at these Methley and Shiro plums. Summer humidity in Maryland is a bodily assault, but it does make for some pretty fruit.

I used these ripe peaches to make a Peaches and Cream Tart, adapted loosely from a pie in A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove, by Laura Schenone. This is a really beautiful history of women and cooking, with some great recipes mixed in.

You can use any crust you like. I happen to prefer Dorie Greenspan's Sweet Tart Dough, but use whatever works. Or buy judgement.

Peaches and Cream Tart

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (180g)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (65g)
pinch of kosher salt
1 stick of cold butter (113g)
1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons melted butter (42g)
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
3 tablespoons flour (24g)
pinch of kosher salt
2 eggs
3-4 ripe peaches

9-10" tart pan with removable bottom
baking spray
aluminum foil
rimmed baking sheet 

In the food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt to combine. Cut the butter into chunks, add to the machine, and pulse for ten seconds to incorporate. Add the egg and run the processor for about a minute, until it starts to come together in a lumpy ball. Spray a 9-10" tart pan with baking spray, then press the dough into it. You can use your hands and a measuring cup dipped in flour to distribute the dough evenly up the sides. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then slide it into the freezer for 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375˚ (350˚ convection). When the unbaked shell is completely frozen, spray a piece of foil with baking spray and press it smoothly onto the bottom and up the sides. The foil is holding the dough in place and preventing shrinkage, so make sure that it completely covers the crust. Place the tart pan on a larger rimmed baking sheet to catch any leaks. Bake for 15 minutes, then pull it out for filling and reduce the oven to 300˚ (275˚ convection).

While the crust is baking, whisk together all the ingredients for the custard. Peel and slice the peaches thinly. Remove the foil from the crust and arrange the peach slices in two concentric circles. If you have a red plum, place it cut side up in the center. Gently pour the custard over the peaches

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the filling is just set. Let cool on the counter before hardening in the fridge. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Maltball Cupcakes

Why do English baking recipes never work here in America? Am I the only one who has this problem? Look at these cupcakes.

Don't take it personally, Cupcake Jemma. I'm sure your recipe works perfectly well on your side of the pond.

It's not a metric system problem, since I bake by weight. And it isn't the malted milk powder, since I used imported Horlicks instead of Carnation or Ovaltine.

(Do you know how funny the name Horlicks is to teenage boys? Very)

There has to be some difference in the ingredients. Maybe our "baking soda" is not the right substitute for "bicarbonate of soda?"  Maybe American "Self-Rising Flour" is different from European "Self-Raising Flour?" Maybe I'll just use the European recipes as inspiration and seek out an American version rather than lose my mind trying to duplicate!


This morning my daughter climbed into my bed and asked if we could make cupcakes. I am in the last precious minutes of having a child young enough to climb into my bed. I'll be lucky if she speaks to me at all in two years. And this sweet kid has somehow dodged the Snarky Gene which marks the rest of us as a matched set. Of course, those cupcakes were in the oven half an hour later, clad in the overpriced cupcake liners she loves.

But... no. Sad trombone.

Not to worry. I tweaked an American recipe for malted milk cake that worked perfectly for cupcakes. Thanks, Hungry Rabbit NYC! And I adapted a classic Hershey's frosting recipe for the buttercream.

The buttercream is Malted Chocolate Milk. It is RI-DONK-U-LOUS! Send the children away so you can lick the beaters yourself.

I made some extra frosting and let the kids decorate their own cupcakes. They do love to dump that grit on there.

I topped my own cupcakes with both crushed and whole malt balls. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

And here are the bazillion minis I made for a BBQ this weekend. You know, the little ones have no calories.

Maltball Cupcakes
makes 24 large cupcakes, or about 70 minis

4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk, microwaved for 15 seconds to warm
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups cake flour (210) 
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)
3/4 cup malted milk powder, preferably Horlicks (100g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (230g)
cupcake papers, preferably grease-proof

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted (170g) 
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (85g)
3/4 cup malted milk powder (75g)
6 tablespoons milk
4-5 cups powdered sugar (480-600g)

1 maltball per cupcake
12 additional maltballs, roughly crushed
disposable pastry bag (optional)
open star tip (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚ (325˚ convection) and line your cupcake tins. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Place cake flour, sugar, malt powder and baking powder in the bowl of the stand mixer and run at low speed for thirty seconds to combine. Slowly beat in softened butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal.

Add half the egg mixture, then beat on medium high for one minute to incorporate. Repeat with remaining egg mixture, then divide batter among cupcake tins. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the center looks dry, closer to 10 minutes for mini cupcakes.

On low speed, beat cocoa and malt powder into melted butter. Alternately add the powdered sugar and milk, beating at medium speed until you achieve the appropriate consistency. Don't mind if it seems a little gritty from the malt - that will dissolve as the cupcakes set.

Pipe decorations appropriate to your cupcake size. Sprinkle on crushed maltballs, and top with a whole candy. Store in the fridge if you plan to serve them another day.