Chocolate & Pink Peppercorn Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao chocolate
3 sticks of butter, room temperature
2-1/4 cups of sugar
8 eggs, room temperature
1-1/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons of ground pink peppercorns
8 ounces of 61% cacao chocolate bars
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of pink peppercorns plus extra for decoration
Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath.
Add sugar and stir, let sit for about 10 minutes.
Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each one.
Mix the try ingredients, and sift them into the mixture. Mix until just blended.
Stir in the ground peppercorns.
Scoop into cupcake papers and bake for 20-24 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Chocolate Ganache: Chop chocolate and place in heat proof bowl
Heat cream and peppercorns on stove over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge.
Pour cream over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute then stir.
Let sit for 15 minutes, then dip and swirl cupcakes in the ganache. Decorate with pink peppercorns.
Pairs Well With
Chocolate and pink peppercorns... I seem to have been seeing a lot of that particular flavor combination lately so I decided to give it a try myself. After hunting for the said exotic coco combo and trying a candy version for myself I discovered that it's actually quite tasty. Pink peppercorns aren't like your average peppercorn, their much lighter in the actual pepper flavor than black pepper and have a slight floral quality to them. Combined with the chocolate it's fun, different, and perky. It's the best I can do to describe it.
I can see how some people might not like it though, it steps away from the Hershey bar comfort zone that most people have snuggled themselves into, and it's an adventurous and challenging taste to be sure. I think you won't know until you try it yourself, but you'll either love love love it or you won't care for it. In this household I liked it, Rob didn't. Eat Beast also ate one, but taste isn't a factor for him when it comes to food.
At work, people seemed to really respond positively to it, with a request or two to make them again. My co-worker Ron e-mailed me, "Very nice, light texture, the pepper adding a surprisingly interesting dimension, and highly desirable, minimalist frosting." My friend Megan noted, "I still think that chocolate and pepper make a great combo - in fact, making it even more chocolaty and more peppery would rock, but I like extreme tastes with those two foods." After which we had a discussion on how to describe the sensation that pepper creates in your mouth. A good question that can only be answered after eating more of these cupcakes.
I placed some ground peppercorns in the cupcakes, steeped them in the cream for the ganache, and crumbled some on to ensure various layers of chocolate and pepper flavor. Probably one of the strangest and most exotic cupcakes I've made to date. I think any culinary dare devils and risk takers out there will well appreciate this cupcake combo. So how adventurous are you?