Monday, December 15, 2014

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes - the Holidays are here!

December is usually a busy baking month for me...I say usually because we are halfway through December and I have only baked ONCE!!! Don't worry, I'll be at it again shortly and will make up for my lack of baking at the beginning of the month. My go-to cupcake recipe during December usually is a Chocolate cupcake with a Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting but I wanted to try something different this year so I made Hot Cocoa cupcakes that I found on pinterest over a year ago. I have to admit I chose this recipe mostly for appearance but everyone raved on the taste too so I can't complain. I think the homemade whipped cream was what won so many over for this cupcake. When you are done, the cupcakes look like little cups of hot cocoa! Many have asked for the recipe so I won't make you wait any longer. 

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes originally from Lick the Bowl Good - makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients for Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup prepared hot cocoa, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Ingredients for Whipped Cream
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mini marshmallows
Mini chocolate chips
Crushed peppermints - I actually used crushed peppermint bark, a delicious topping
18 mini candy canes

Steps for the Cupcakes
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with 18 liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk dry ingredients thoroughly.
3. Add oil, prepared hot cocoa, vanilla and eggs to the dry ingredients.  Whisk until well incorporated and no lumps, stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Evenly divide the batter among the lined cupcake tins.
5. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out cleanI still turn my pan halfway through baking. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Steps for the Whipped Cream
1. Combine heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  Use an electric mixer on medium speed and beat until thick, creamy, and slightly stiff.  You want the whipped cream to be able to stand but you don't want to overbeat but make sure that it isn't still runny.

Assembling the Cupcakes
1. Pipe the whipped cream onto the cooled cupcakes.
2. Garnish with mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, and crushed peppermint.
3. Add a mini candy cane tucked into the side of the cupcake to make the handle of the hot cocoa "mug".
4. You can make ahead and cover and refrigerate but I do recommend saving the mini candy cane until right before you serve the cupcake!  The original recipe blog suggested covering and refrigerating leftovers....but leftover cupcakes are a foreign concept to me!

'Tis the Season
It doesn't take a lot for me to find a reason to bake so the reason I decided to make these adorable cupcakes was that some of my running buddies and I were getting together to run and look at Christmas lights and after we enjoyed Hot Cocoa, cookies, and these hot cocoa cupcakes! I would say they were a hit and we have started an annual tradition! Yes...we may run because we really love food! Below is a picture of us from our Christmas Light Run!

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