They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The way to my Valentines heart is through beer and pretzels.
Beer and Pretzel Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Bakers Royal
For the Cupcakes:
1 cup cake flour
1 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup salt
115g unsalted butter, melted warm
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup Guinness Stout
For the Ganache:
30g unsalted butter
a drop of vegetable oil (about 1/8 teaspoon)
200g dark chocolate, chopped
For the Toppings:
Assorted pretzels (I used sticks, twists and chocolate coated)
50g dark chocolate, melted
50g caramel, warmed (Your favourite brand. I used Bonne Maman)
Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper liners.
Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and stir on low speed until combined and no lumps remain. Add the butter, eggs and vanilla and beat on medium for one minute. Add 1/4 cup of the beer and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining 1/4 cup of beer. Beat for a further 30 seconds and divide the batter evenly between the paper liners. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Ganache:
Put the chopped chocolate into a heat proof bowl and set aside.
Put the cream, butter and oil into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir to combine and leave to cool for about 2 hours or until it's a piping consistency.
Assemble the Cupcakes:
Put the frosting into a disposable plastic piping bag. Snip a 1cm hole in the tip and pipe swirls of frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. Arrange pretzels on top and drizzle with melted chocolate and caramel.