This past year's challenges included a personal betrayal, loss of employment, extreme financial strain and a terrifying sickness. As I contemplated these things over the past few days I began to see that in the same way that my dietary restrictions have brought me much physical freedom, the hardships of this last year have brought me much spiritual and emotional freedom. Today, I am more creative, determined, hopeful and confident than at any other time in my life. I am most thankful for the grace that God has given me to not only survive this year, but to be refined through every step of the process.
Birthdays call for a little extra celebration! And birthdays you weren't sure you were going to have....definitely call for celebration. So with my current love for marshmallows and my long running love affair with cardamon and candied citrus peel, I came up with this cupcake. It's full of freshly ground toasted cardamon seeds and bits of honey candied orange peels. Then it's topped off with dollops of homemade vanilla marshmallow creme that are browned with a torch just before serving. It's a perfect creamy, mushy, sticky, caramelized mess. Oh yes, and we mustn't forget the candied orange slice. A little over the top you say? Absolutely.
Feel free to enjoy all of the above or just the cupcake by it self. The marshmallow recipe is also great for s'mores. Either way you are sure to be in dessert heaven.
Cardamon & Candied Orange Peel Cupcakes
With Toasted Marshmallow Creme
For the cupcakes,
3 cups finely ground almond flour (Honeyville is best)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup liquefied coconut oil
20 green cardamon pods
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 Tbls vanilla extract
For the candied orange peel,
1/2 cup filtered water
3/4 cup honey
1 cup dried finely ground coconut
7-8 'Cutie' oranges or small mandarin oranges
For the marshmallow topping,
1/2 cup filtered water (split)
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 Tbls grass fed beef gelatin
Making the orange peel (this is super easy, despite the crazy long instructions)
To make the candied orange peel: (can be made up to 3 days ahead)
Cut one or two of the oranges into thin rounds. You want 8-10 slices. Set them aside
Now, cut the rest of the oranges in half. Then, using a sharp knife, cut out the flesh and the white 'pith'. Work carefully sot that peel stays intact.
Once you're done cleaning out the oranges, cut them into thin strips.
(This next step is needed if you are using oranges with a thick skin. If not, you can get away with skipping this step.) In a large pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the peel and the slices to the pan then reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 30 min, then move on to the next step.
Combine the 1/2 cup water and 3/4 cups honey in a large pan. Bring to the boil using medium high heat. When boiling, carefully place the orange slices and the strips of peel into the honey syrup. Turn the burner down and bring the syrup to a simmer.
Regrind your already fine ground dried coconut in a blender. You want it as powdery as possible. It will be replacing the sugar that is normally used to roll the peel in.
The orange peel will need to simmer for about one hour before it becomes candy like. Continue to cook until the syrup is almost gone and it is super thick and sticky. Remove from heat, roll in the coconut. Allow to dry. It will get firmer the longer it sits.
Making the cupcake
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Smash and open the cardamon pods. Take out all the seeds. If you want to you can pan roast the seeds to get a mellower flavor or use them as is. In a coffee/herb grinder, blend the cardamon seeds, but keep them slightly coarse. (You can also put them in plastic bag and gently crush them with a rolling pin). Alternately, you can use 2 tsp of powdered cardamon but the flavor will not be as good.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients. Then mix together the dry and wet ingredients till well combined.
Line your muffin pan with 10 cupcake liners. Then, pour equal amounts of batter into each liner.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 min or until golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean.
Making the marshmallow
This marshmallow ratio makes a pretty dense marshmallow that holds up to heat pretty well. This way you can get it nice and 'toasty' later on.
In your Kitchen Aid bowl or other large bowl, soak the gelatin in 1/4 cup of filtered water.
While the gelatin is soaking, combine the honey and other 1/4 cup of water in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to boil the mixture over a medium high heat (watch that it doesn't over flow) until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. This takes about 7-8 min.
(Note: Sometimes when there is this small amount of liquid, I have to tilt the pan to get a proper reading.)
It is important to pull it off of the heat when it reaches 240 degrees. Otherwise the sugar syrup will move into the 'hard ball' stage and your marshmallow will be stringy and tough.
When ready, remove from heat, then turn the Kitchen Aide on to low/med. or with the help of someone else you can do this with a regular mixer. Slowly pour the syrup into the prepared gelatin. Turn the mixer to the highest setting and beat the mixture till it doubles in size (about 10 min.) It should be cool when done mixing. Click HERE to watch my marshmallow instructional video.
Working quickly, transfer the marshmallow to a prepared piping bag with an extra large coupler (Tip is optional. The coupler itself works great for piping the marshmallow). You can also just put the marshmallow in a zip lock bag and cut a hole but that won't be as pretty though!
Pipe a dollop onto each cupcake. Wait a second, then add the candied orange wedge (optional, they look really cool without the wedges too.)
When ready to serve, Torch the marshmallow top till they puff a little and caramelize.
Alternately, you can place them under a broiler until they are browned. However, because it is 'surrounding heat', you will need to watch it VERY carefully or you could end up with marshmallow liquid.
Serve right away, while marshmallow is warm and creamy!