I dig salty and sweet together. Chocolate covered pretzels? Yup! Chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel cupcakes? Heck yeah! I even made a blondie with pretzels, chocolate chips, potato chips, and toffee once.
So suffice it to say I was intrigued by these potato chip and pecan cupcakes. Sweet and salty and nutty cupcakes, topped with vanilla buttercream, roasted pecans and crushed potato chips, and homemade salted bourbon butterscotch. Um, yeah!
Another appropriate dessert treat for a party with a drink-making-contest component, right? Actually, the bourbon was (optional). I had to go out and buy some bourbon, but considering I don't like it, I bought a little nip. I only needed a half of a teaspoon.
I have to be honest, you don't really taste the potato chips in the cupcake, just the salty goodness from the potato chips. I think next time I might add a few bigger pieces of potato chip to give it more of a potato chip flavor. But surprisingly, the cupcake was delicious -- I say "surprisingly" since I don't really like nuts in my baked goods.
Pecan Potato Chip Cupcakes
From Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup potato chips, crushed finely
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
10 Tbsp (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup chopped pecans
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Butterscotch:
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light, which they recommended)
1/2 tsp corn syrup
1 Tbsp kosher salt (in my opinion, it was WAY too salty....I'd use 1/3 or 1/2 to start....you can always add a little more later)
1/3 heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (I ended up using about 1 1/2 tsp to try to counteract the saltiness)
1/2 tsp bourbon (optional -- I used about 1 tsp in order to try to counteract the saltiness)
1/4 cup potato chips, crushed
1/4 cup roasted pecans, chopped
Start with butterscotch.
Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan, over low to medium heat.
When the butter is melted, immediately dump in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
Increase the heat to medium-high.
Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture near constantly, making sure you get the corners, so there's nothing hiding.
Keep cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes.
Initially the sugar mixture will look like wet sand -- when it starts looking like molten lava and bubbling up, it's ready.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and -- standing back -- slowly pour in all the cream.
Slowly stir with the wooden spoon, making sure all the sugar mix gets incorporated with the cream.
Turn the heat to low and return the pan to the stove.
Switch to a whisk.
Simmer the butterscotch for 8 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Remove from the heat.
Transfer to a heatproof bowl, and stir continuously for 1 minute off the heat.
Add the vanilla and bourbon (if using) and continue to stir until well combined.
When it's cool enough, taste for seasoning, and add more salt, vanilla, or bourbon to taste (I definitely used more vanilla and bourbon -- see above).
Next, make and bake the cupcakes.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line cupcake tins with 24 baking cups (I ended up getting 28 cupcakes).
Put the flour and potato chips in a food processors and process until the chips are finely ground.
Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and baking powder and continue to pulse until well mixed.
Melt the butter in the microwave.
Keep the butter warm -- do not allow it to sit and cool off.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and egg white on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until light and lightly foamy.
Increase the mixer speed to medium-high.
Pour in some of the warm butter to the egg mixture slowly so that the mixture tempers and the eggs do not scramble.
Add the rest of the butter.
Once the butter is added, reduce the speed to medium-low.
With the mixer running, add the milk, vanilla, and salt.
Mix for 1 minute until well combined.
Add the potato chip mixture.
Mix on medium until just combined, 10-20 seconds.
Add the pecans.
Place the bowl in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the batter to hydrate.
Scoop batter into prepared baking cups, filling each 2/3 of the way.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when you touch them.
Remove cupcakes from the oven.
Let cool completely.
Make the vanilla buttercream.
Put the butter (at room temperature), mascarpone, and cream in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Beat on high until fluffy.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.
Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy.
Although the recipe didn't say it, if your icing is too thick, you can add a little cream at a time until it thins out just a little bit.
Add the vanilla and beat well.
Now comes the fun part.....Assemble the cupcakes.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with the tip of your choice with the buttercream.
Pipe icing onto each cupcake,
Sprinkle with roasted pecans and crushed potato chips.
Drizzle with the salted butterscotch.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow them to set up.
Serve and ENJOY!