Once again, I have an entry for the 2nd Annual Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup hosted by Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious.
While I was visiting family in Eastern Washington, I got inspiration to make a cupcake in honor of my grandmother, Lula. For as long as I can remember, Grandma has been an avid lover/eater of Almond Roca. She gets at least one can of the nutty confection from family members each year for Christmas, and visitors to her home can almost always find a piece of Almond Roca somewhere in the house (on the kitchen counter, tucked in an end table drawer, sitting on her nightstand...). Also, please note that I live a mere 40 minutes away from the Almond Roca Factory. What’s great about the factory is that you can get little Roca Rejects – mis-wrapped, broken remains of Almond Roca that are still just as good and tasty as the real thing, just not as pretty (and about half the price). Love.
Anyway, I started thinking about what I could pair with Almond Roca, and remembered my mom’s husband, Tom, loves Rocky Road ice cream. It’s his favorite flavor in the entire world.
So, in honor of my Grandma Lula and Papa Tom, I give you...Rocky Roca Ice Cream Cupcakes.
I started out with a basic chocolate cake recipe. (Forgive me, I honestly can’t remember if I used a cake mix or one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. Anything will do, as long as it’s chocolate-y.) For this batch of cupcakes, I used a large muffin tin. I didn’t have the time or patience to make 24 regular-sized cupcakes, so I went for 12 big ones. What I forgot to do, though, was only fill the cupcake tins half-way full, to leave room for the ice cream. Oops. Here’s what they looked like coming out of the oven:
Pretty big, huh?
What do to, what to do. Inspiration struck, and I sliced the cupcakes in half...reserving the tops. Here’s a nice little plate of cupcake tops:
We’ll get to those a little later.
After letting it cool on the counter for 30 minutes or so, I put the tin of cupcake bottoms in the freezer to cool and firm up, and moved on to the ice cream. I used Tillamook ice cream. Tillamook Cheese is a local dairy franchise located in Tillamook, Oregon. Every grocery store here in Seattle sells Tillamook Cheese, and it’s the cheese to get if you want the “good stuff”. In addition to selling cheeses, they also sell ice cream.
Here’s a carton of good ol’ Rocky Road:
Now here’s the important part: Ice Cream Soup! You gotta stir, stir, stir that Rocky Road until it’s a good thick milkshake-consistency. Otherwise you’ll try to spread it over your cupcake bottoms and end up tearing ‘em all to pieces. Not that I speak from experience or anything...just, you know, be careful. Ahem.
Spread a tablespoon or two of ice cream on top of each cupcake bottom, then stick the tins back in the freezer to firm up again.
Don’t forget the Almond Roca!
Unwrap 5 or 6 pieces of candy, stick ‘em in a Ziplock bag, and hammer the heck outta those puppies until they’re little shards of Roca goodness.
Meanwhile, make some chocolate ganache. My chocolate ganache is pretty simple: chocolate + cream. The key to good ganache is to use 3 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. So, I eyeballed a splash of heavy cream into a double boiler pan, then dumped about half a bag of dark chocolate Ghirardelli chocolate chips in there, and let it do its thing and get all melty.
Pull the cupcakes out of the freezer, and act FAST. Drizzle a teaspoon or two of hot ganache onto the cupcake, and top with shards of Roca goodness. Work quickly so the ice cream doesn’t get too melted (if it’s cold enough, the chocolate will harden up once it hits the ice cream). Throw the tin back in the freezer to harden up again. They should look something like this:
I had a bunch of leftover ganache. So I made chocolate-covered bing cherries, chocolate-covered grapes, and chocolate-covered pretzels (Mom’s request). Here’s a shot of the pretzels:
Once the cupcakes were entirely firmed up, I tried to get a few good shots of them, out of the tins. Unfortunately, this was all I managed to get:
Why? Because after a full afternoon of baking (don’t forget I did the Lovelight Lemon-Raspberry Cupcakes in the same day) my nieces finally arrived for some Memorial Day grilling and I was pretty much attacked, and had to give up my cupcakes to hungry kids. Observe:
I heard they were tasty...didn’t get around to actually trying one!
Now, you may be wondering what happened to those cupcake tops I sliced off earlier. Well, there was a little bit of Rocky Road ice cream leftover, and 12 cupcake tops. What do to? Accidental Ice Cream Whoopie Pies, of course! Smear some ice cream in between two cupcake tops, sandwich ‘em together, and stick them in the freezer for a sweet snack.
Here’s a couple shots of them melting in the sun: