Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes for Co-workers

The holidays are upon us!  And what better way to kick them off than with a treat to co-workers?!  Having baked goods around the house is always a little dangerous in our home.  We really don't need to have them lying around as snacks or food to pick at {not very healthy}.  But, what does one do when she loves to bake???  Bring the goodies to work!

Halloween is such a fun time for baked goods.  Sugar cookies, orange color frosting, snickers bars (my favorite), and to add to the list, almond-hazelnut cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting!  Yum.  


I was perusing Martha Stewart's web-site the other day (this is kind of becoming a way to pass the time for me), when I came across this cupcake recipe.  They immediately caught my attention because of their color, and I thought they would be perfect for Halloween.  I had also just purchased this great little cupcake set (see wrappers and toppers above) from Sur la Table and needed to use them before the holiday passed.

On another note - Blake and I are off the spend Halloween on the Washington coast.  He found this great little house to stay in and we're going to go mushroom foraging!!!  That is, if the weather doesn't decide to rain all weekend.  Wish us luck and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

{Recipe} Almond-Hazelnut Cupcakes (from
Yield: Makes 16

   * 1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds, toasted
   * 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
   * 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
   * 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
   * 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
   * 1/4 teaspoon salt
   * 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
   * 1/4 cup granulated sugar
   * 1/2 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
   * 3/4 cup milk
   * 4 large egg whites
   * Dark Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a food processor, pulse together almonds and hazelnuts until finely ground (do not overprocess, or the nuts will turn into a paste). Into a mixing bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the ground nuts.  
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating well after each.
  3. In another mixing bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. In two additions, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  5. Using an offset spatula, spread frosting over each cupcake. Cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and top with caramel-dipped hazelnuts just before serving.

{Recipe} Dark Chocolate Frosting
Makes about 5 cups


   *1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
   * 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
   * 2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
   * 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
   * 1/4 teaspoon salt
   * 1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  1. Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.



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