Friday, July 21, 2006

Swiss Orange Chip Cupcakes

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I was counting the number of times I’ve visited Swensen’s Ice Cream shop in my lifetime. I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty confident that I visited 3 or 4 times a year since I was 5 years old. I’m currently in my 30s, so that would add up to around 100 visits. Yes, one hundred. Goodness, that does seem like a lot, doesn’t it?

I grew up in the Nob Hill / Russian Hill area of SF and the Swensen’s was our local ice cream shop. Occasionally, my father would take us there for an after school treat. My cousins and I would run up the hill for a summery indulgence. I would stop there on the way home from playing tennis at Alice Marble. And there was time my high school best friend NL and I gave our other best friend NT a successful makeover and we had celebratory cones. My then-boyfriend-now-husband and I would share a scoop back when we were first dating. Now that we're married, we each get our own scoop.

The original shop on the corner of Hyde and Union is the only Swensen’s that makes all their scooped ice cream on the premises. They sell pre-packed half gallon tubs which have been shipped from the main ice cream production facility, but the more expensive hand-packed is definitely the way to go. A noticeable difference in quality makes the splurge worthwhile.

My favorite Swensen’s flavor is Swiss orange chip. A dark chocolate ice cream infused with essence of orange and mini chocolate chips. And for the record, I have absolutely no idea why it’s "Swiss". Perhaps it’s a nod to the chocolate they first used back in the day? Another curiosity is the Swiss orange chip ice cream never freezes completely hard. Always softer than the other ice cream flavors, it melts much more quickly. I’ve always speculated that it had something to do with the orange oil but my suspicions have never been confirmed (nor have they been denied). Conspiracy theory aside, I’ve always wanted to recreate those delicious flavors in a cake. So here is my Swiss orange chip cupcake. Enjoy!

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Swiss Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
(makes 15 cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp grated orange zest
2 extra-large eggs, at room temp.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 oz buttermilk, at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients. Combine orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla extract in a small Pyrex measuring cup. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the orange zest. Then add the eggs, 1 at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Mix in half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with flour, buttermilk, and flour. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Fill 15 lined muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool cupcakes in the muffin pans for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely.

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Chocolate Glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

Combine chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until well combined about 2-3 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Glaze your cooled cupcakes.


jenjen said...

I love food that brings you back to a memory of childhood. These cupcakes look so good. I love the photo of the cupcake cut in half.

Anita said...

The strawberry at Swenson's is my favorite strawberry ever! I know that Swenson's you're talking about, I'm so glad they are still around. I have never tried Swiss Orange Chip, but I think I will have to now!

gattina said...

I just like how this name sounds! This recipe looks lovely, seems to have a very good balance of richness and tang!
I don't think Swenson has any store in my area... visited quite a few times when I lived in Asia though.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Swenson's before, but I'll have to check it out the next time I'm in SF. The cupcakes look great, especially that chocolate glaze. Mmmm!

Alice Q said...

That was my absolute favorite flavor - sticky chewy chocolate was a close second (I don't know how they did it, but it really was sticky and chewy) The cupcakes look great!

Anonymous said...

Swenson's Swiss Orange Chip was our most favorite ice cream ever! Is there any way to buy it now? (Other than going to San Francisco?)
Pam and Rick

Mary said...

I'm not sure if swiss orange chip (or other Swensen flavors) are available outside of the Swenson retail shops. It's strange that no other company has a flavor even remotely similar to swiss orange chip. In any case, I hope you find some close to you.

Ellie said...

These are adorable! Have you heard about the cupcake event being run at cupcake bakeshop? I think this would be wonderful as part of that round-up :)

nichole patterson said...

How funny that I was googling "swiss orange chip" and came across a kindred spirit that also has childhood memories of this flavor. I've been telling my husband about it for years. The Swensons in my home town Chico closed about twelve years ago, so I haven't had it since. I'll have to visit SF for my fix!

Anonymous said...

Growing up my parents owned a Swenson's Ice Cream Restaurant. Swiss Orange Chip was my favorite flavor (my mom is also crazy about it).

eds said...

I love SF, I love la Swiss so thank you very much for your receipt.
From Spain, BCN.

eds said...

I love SF, I love Swiss so thank you very much for your receipt. From Spain, BCN.

Susanna Porter said...

One of my favorite flavors too. I used to work at Swensen's while in high school. I still miss their ice cream. These cupcakes look delicious. I definitely want to try them!