Happy Chocolate Monday everyone! We’ve only got a few weeks left in the year and now is the time for eggnog. How better to celebrate Chocolate Monday than combining luscious chocolate cupcakes with a fluffy eggnog frosting. YUM!
These chocolate cupcakes hold a surprise inside … a pool of melted chocolate just waiting to ooze out when you bite into them! Make sure you pass the napkins and warn your guests if they are eating these while still warm or they may wind up with it dribbling down their chins.
Eggnog is an incredibly versatile ingredient that we tend to overlook with the exception of drinking it with a sprinkling of nutmeg on top and a generous splash of brandy or other liquor. But it can be used in any recipe that calls for milk or half-and-half. I like to substitute it for a small portion of milk in regular recipes and let my friends guess what the secret ingredient is. When it is subtle, it tastes great but you can’t quite figure out what it is.
As far back as the 1600’s eggnog has been used as a beverage to toast one’s health. In Europe it was traditionally served with wine, but once it hit America’s shores, the prevalence of rum made that the preferred addition. In those days rum was called Grog and the combination of egg and grog became eggnog.
Today with the concerns about food safety, I would recommend that you buy eggnog from the grocery store. If you insist on making it from scratch, make sure you use pasteurized eggs or cook the mixture to 160°F in order to kill all bacteria. If you have a ratio of 2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 cup liquid (such as milk) to each egg white, the mixture can be cooked to a safe temperature without scrambling the eggs. And always serve your eggnog ice cold. If you want to have it out on a buffet, make sure that it is sitting in an ice bath.
The minute you add the liquid and acid (sour cream and chocolate) to the baking soda, it begins producing carbon dioxide, which helps raise the batter. Make sure that you whip it all together and immediately get it into the baking pan and oven. You don’t want the bulk of the leavening power to be lost because you stopped to answer the phone. As soon as the liquid hits the dry ingredients, work fast. You will be rewarded with taller, lighter cupcakes that will have people marveling.
I propose that instead of raising a glass of eggnog, instead you “toast” each other with these cupcakes and take the art of toasting to a new level!
Happy Chocolate Monday!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Using a ladle or ice cream scoop will make filling the cupcake tins a snap and less messy than using a measuring cup, like most of us do.
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 4 oz milk or semisweet chocolate, cut into thick chunks
- Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter, spray with vegetable spray, or line 12 large muffin cups with paper cups.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters, on medium speed, beat the butter until softened. Gradually add the sugar, turn the speed to high and continue to beat until fluffy, several minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and orange zest. Beat until well incorporated. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat in. Then beat in 1/2 of the sour cream. Continue adding the flour and sour cream alternately, ending with the flour.
- Fill each muffin cup about halfway up. Place a few pieces of the chocolate in the center of each cup. Fill with the remaining batter, almost to the top of each cup.
- Bake 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Set the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes and then remove the cupcakes, placing them on the rack to finish cooling. Can be made several hours ahead to this point.
- You can dust the tops with a little powdered sugar, sprinkle with very finely chopped orange zest, or top with the following chocolate frosting.
- 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 cups Confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 6 to 7 tbsp eggnog, or as needed
- 3 to 4 drops eggnog flavoring, optional
- Sparkling White Sugar (from King Arthur), white edible glitter, or sprinkles, optional
- Place the butter in a small bowl with the white chocolate and beat until creamy. Add the sugar, salt, and eggnog, beating on low until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Taste and add eggnog flavoring if desired.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle tops with the sugar if desired.