Pinterest Inspired Christmas Cupcakes

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As I trolled pinterest during my Christmas break, I came across a lot of adorable cupcake ideas. I decided to make cupcakes for a Christmas gathering this weekend, and got a little carried away decorating them…I baked a basic chocolate cupcake base, and topped it with my favorite vanilla buttercream. I used gel food coloring to color the frosting as needed, and used some some sugar pearls for decoration.

Chocolate Cupcake Base:

  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup canola oil

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sea salt, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Servings: 24 cupcakes

Bake time: 12-15 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Pour hot coffee over chocolate, and let this sit for a minute. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted, then add in the sugar, flour, and oil. Mix until fully combined, then mix in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, baking powder, salt, oil, and vinegar, and mix until incorporated. I mixed by hand, but you can also mix with a hand mixer. Pour batter into lined cupcake pans, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cupcakes are just baked through, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from pans, and let them cool on a wire rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, prepare the vanilla buttercream. Whip the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add the salt and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add cream until desired consistency is reached. Color 1/3 of the frosting red, 1/3 green, and leave the remaining third uncolored.

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Decorate as desired. I used a leaf tip to make the poinsettia cupcakes (red frosting), and a closed star tip to make the roses (plain buttercream), and wreaths (green buttercream).

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Peanut Butter Snickers Cupcakes

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I can always rely on my mom to have a decently stocked candy cupboard at home. Sure enough, when I arrived home for Christmas I was happy to find a giant bag of peanut butter snickers. Of course, my first thought after seeing them was a peanut butter snickers cupcake 😛

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

Garnish:

  • 1 Bag Peanut Butter Snickers
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Chocolate ganache (equal parts heavy cream and chocolate)

Begin by preheating oven to 350ºF. Line 2 regular muffin pans with cupcake liners. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare peanut butter buttercream. Whip the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add additional cream until desired consistency is reached.

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Frost the cupcakes with a swirl using a closed star tip. Drizzle cooled ganache over the top of the frosting, and garnish with crushed peanuts, sea salt, and a chopped piece of peanut butter snickers 😀 Next time I make these, I think I’d also try drizzling some salted caramel over the top.

Nutella Stuffed Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve wanted to make red velvet cookies again for a while now, and I finally got around to this week! The cookies were a part of my white elephant gift, so I wanted to make them extra special. In my mind, that means stuffing them with Nutella 😛 I based my recipe  off a cookie recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Cookie Dough

  • 1 and 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 squirts red gel food coloring
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 jar of nutella

Toss the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat in the brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Once mixed, add the food coloring and beat until combined. Turn the mixer off and pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Beat in more food coloring if you’d like the dough to be redder. On low speed, beat in the chocolate chips. The dough will be sticky. orm cookie dough balls with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough, and flatten the dough in the palm of your hand. Place one teaspoon of chilled Nutella in the middle, and fold the dough back around it, gently into a ball (Nutella cookie stuffing tutorial here).

Cover the balls of cookie dough tightly with aluminum foil, or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour (and up to 4-5 days). Make sure you let the cookie dough sit out at room temperature for about 45 minutes before baking if chilling for more than 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place 9 balls onto each baking sheet. Bake each batch for 10-11 minutes. The cookies may have only spread slightly, and that’s ok.

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Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days. Cookies may be frozen for up to 2 months. Cookie dough may be frozen up to 2 months – thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cookie dough balls may be frozen up to 2 months. Bake for 1-2 extra minutes (do not thaw).

Brown Sugar Reindeer Cookies

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I am constantly falling in love with recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction, including these brown sugar cookies. I decided to frost on some reindeer faces to make them a bit more festive.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 and 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
  • brown frosting, for decoration
  • Red candies (m&ms, red hots, etc.)
  • candy eye balls (or black and white frosting)

Toss together the all dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt) in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together, until no lumps remain. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft, yet thick. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Roll dough out to be about 3/4 of a centimeter thick,  and cut out circles. I used a mason jar lid as my cookie cutter 😛 Bake for about 9 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Add brown frosting antlers, and attach eyes and candy nose using small drops  of frosting.

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Cookies stay soft and fresh for 7 whole days at room temperature. Cookies may be frozen up to 3 months. Rolled cookie dough may be frozen up to three months and baked in their frozen state for 13 minutes.