After making pomegranate cupcakes last week I decided I wanted to try using pomegranate juice in my cupcakes again this week but this time in the icing.
At first I was just going to make a plain vanilla cupcake but then this morning I started thinking some nuts added to the batter might be good. I was thinking almonds but there weren't any in the cupboard, what was there were some finely chopped pistachios so I went with them. They add a nice texture & flavor to the cupcakes & certainly make for a pretty presentation sprinkled on top.
For the icing, I wanted to make sure the pomegranate flavor was really there so I decided to cook some of the pomegranate juice down to pomegranate molasses. (Really I wanted to try making pomegranate molasses & it was super simple. I'll use what's left as a glaze for chicken next week.) I think the color of the icing came out really pretty, even Matt commented on how good the cupcakes looked. Still I think the pomegranate flavor could have even been stronger in the icing. If I do this again I'll use more of the molasses & maybe leave out the milk. I wrote the recipe as I made it but play around with it if you want a stronger pomegranate flavor.
Vanilla Pistachio Cupcakes
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c + 1 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
seeds for 1/2 a vanilla bean
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c buttermilk
2 egg whites
2 T pistachios, finely chopped (plus extra for the top of the cupcakes)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 6 muffin tins.
Cream the butter & 1/2 cup of the sugar together until light & fluffy. Beat in the vanilla & vanilla seeds. Add the baking powder, baking soda & 1/4 cup flour, beat until just combined. Beat in half the buttermilk. Beat in 1/4 c flour. Add the last of the buttermilk & finally the last of the flour.
In another bowl beat the egg whites until glossy, stiff peaks are formed. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Once combined fold in the remaining egg whites. Gently fold in the pistachios.
Fill each muffin tin with 1/4 cup batter. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Allow to cool completely on a rack.
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 t pomegranate molasses (see below)
1 t milk
1 1 t pomegranate juice
Stir everything together until smooth. If too thick add a little more pomegranate juice as needed.
Makes 6 cupcakes
(from Simply Recipes)
1 c pomegranate juice
1 T sugar
1/8 t lemon juice
Put all ingredients in a small saucepan & bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until reduced but at least half & thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Let cool before using in icing.