Cupcakes and Cocoa to Keep You Cozy!
OK, so it looks like winter finally arrived on the East Coast! We had been pretty lucky so far, with not any real cold weather or snow to date, but now it's definitely time to break out our winter coats, scarves, and mittens!
One of our favorite parts of winter is being able to pull on our warm winter sweaters, hunker down inside and bake! There's just something magical about mixing your batter and frosting your cupcakes in a warm, cozy kitchen while the snow is coming down outside.
Here's a great cupcake recipe to make when you want to keep cozy inside during the wintry weather! It goes perfectly with our hot cocoa...both recipes are below! All you need to do is snuggle up on the couch with a great movie -- or your favorite episode of DC Cupcakes ; ) -- and you're all set!
Katherine & Sophie
Georgetown Cupcake Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Ganache
*Makes 18 cupcakes
For the cupcakes
• 1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
For the mint ganache frosting
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup good-quality semisweet chocolate chips
• 2 tsp of pure peppermint extract
1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 baking cups, and a second pan with 6 baking cups.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
2. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
4. Combine the vanilla extract and milk in a large liquid measuring cup.
5. Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one-third of the milk mixture, beating until well incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined.
6. Add the cocoa powder, beating (on low speed) just until incorporated.
7. Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake paper with batter, so that the wells are two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. For the mint ganache: Combine the heavy cream and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with an inch or two of water and place over medium-low heat. Place the bowl over the saucepan and let the mixture melt, stirring until it is shiny and smooth. Add the peppermint extract and mix in.
9. Remove the bowl of chocolate ganache from the saucepan; let it cool slightly. Working with 1 cupcake at a time, carefully dip each cupcake top in the warm ganache, to make sure the cupcake top gets completely coated. Serve and enjoy!!!
Katherine's Chocolate Peppermint Hot Cocoa
*Makes 4 large mugs
1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons of pure peppermint extract
whipped cream to top off mugs (optional)
1. Melt chocolate chips and heavy cream together in a double boiler or in a glass bowl sitting on top of a small saucepan of gently boiling water. Once the chips are completely melted, remove from heat.
2. Heat the whole milk on low heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the melted chocolate chips and heavy cream mixture and stir continuously for 5 minutes until completely incorporated and before the milk comes to a boil. Add the peppermint extract and stir. Pour into four cups and top with whipped cream, if you like!!
Dipping our chocolate cupcakes into mint chocolate ganache -- yum! (Photo by Dayna Smith)