Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes-
This is a great, moist cupcake that is not sweet. I purposefully made it not sweet, since I planned to top it with frosting. But the frosting isn’t too sweet either. There is far less sugar in this recipe- both the cake and the frosting- than an average cupcake.
Makes about 12- size matters! If you are trying to keep your kid or yourself from going overboard on treats/sugar- don’t make mega sized cupcakes. Keep ‘em small.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/3 cup softened unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- chocolate chips- about 1/2 cup
Beat the butter until smooth and cream with sugar. Add buttermilk and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry to the wet ingredients. Fold in chips and bake cupcakes at 350 for 20 minutes or until they spring back lightly when touched. Cool before frosting.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting-
I put this together on the fly, and didn’t really measure. But this is a very forgiving frosting. You can adjust the amounts of whipping cream, butter, and cream cheese to your desired taste and consistency. I used regular cream cheese, but neufchatel (lowfat) would probably be fine. I would suggest NOT using nonfat cream cheese or cream cheese that isn’t all natural (ie with added gums, etc). You can add food coloring to this if you want to color- or flavorings, like peppermint or almond, etc. Emma enjoyed decorating with more chocolate chips.
- heavy whipping cream- about 1 cup
- vanilla- about 2 tsp
- cream cheese- about 4 oz., softened
- softened unsalted butter, about 2-3 Tbsp.
Whip cream- about 1 cup- with about 3-4 tablespoons sugar and 2 tsp vanilla. Whip until fluffy. Set aside. Cream butter- about 2-3 tablespoons- and cream cheese- about 4 oz- together. Fold into whipped cream and whip together.
Skip the mixes. It’s cheaper, and you can control the sugar when you make your own. Splurge on really good cocoa if you want an extra treat. It does make a difference! Again, this “recipe” varies according to taste. Adjust as you like. And I confess, I rarely measure. I’ve been meaning to test measurements for two months and keep forgetting. Have fun taste testing with the kids!
Milk, cocoa, sugar, vanilla
Whole milk makes this decadent, and it still tastes darn good with lowfat or skim milk. For each mug of heated milk, add about 2 generous tsp of cocoa and a scant tsp of sugar. If you like, add a dash of vanilla. Remember- if you are adding whipped cream and/or marshmallows, etc. you can drop the sugar even less because whipped cream and marshmallows will sweeten the cocoa further. Froth the cocoa by whisking or using an immersion blender. If your immersion blender is a pain to clean, please note it will never be the same and you can get basically the same results with a whisk. The new steel immersion blenders are fantastically easy to clean but splatter like crazy. I’ve recently shifted to just whisking. And the kiddos have fun whisking- get a nice kiddo sized whisk!
Wanna get fancy? Stir with a candy cane. Pipe whipped cream on top. You can shove in a ziploc bag with a teeny cut in the corner to pipe out if you don’t have a pastry bag, etc. Sprinkle with shaved dark chocolate, shaved candy cane pieces, chocolate chips, raspberries, colored sugar, etc.
Homemade Whipped Cream-
So fast, easy, and deelish.
- Heavy whipping cream
- vanilla or other flavoring- i.e. peppermint, etc.
You only need a little sugar to sweeten- about a tsp or so per little carton of cream. And add about a tsp of vanilla or other flavorings. Peppermint can be VERY strong and so can other flavorings- so use a little at a time to achieve the flavor you want. Use a whisk if you’d like a workout and want arms as fabulous as Gabriella Boston’s. Or if it’s 7:55 am and you are trying to get out the door for school, plug that whisk attachment in and let ‘er rip! WARNING- don’t overwhip. Or you will have butter. Not a terrible thing- but not so great as topping for your cocoa. Oh- and cream splatters when you whip it- so stand back!
These are fantastic when they are still warm. And you can make them in many flavor combos. Thanks to Sandra Moscosco Mills, the experiment with nutella was successful! I still prefer the fruity ones- cranberry walnut and blueberry lemon. Feel free to experiment with flavor combos- dried fig and rosemary, sharp cheddar and chives, peanut butter and jam, peach ginger- anything is possible. For fruit- dried and/or zest works best. Fresh fruit tends to do weird things to the scones’ texture, because of added water. FYI- Nutella isn’t my preferred brand for hazelnut butter (blasphemy to some people, so my apologies to you). Natural food stores have different brands of chocolate hazelnut butter that are less sweet and with less gunk. Trader Joe’s has a cocoa almond butter, that I bet is pretty tasty for this.
Yields 16 very generous sized scones and about double the amount for mini/kid-sized scones. You can easily cut this in half.
- 3 cups flour – whole wheat white or unbleached white
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 to 1.5 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut in small cubes (I use frozen)- the range depends on how buttery you want your scones to be
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Optional- chocolate chips, nutella, jam, nuts, dried fruit, zest, etc.
- cocoa powder (for nutella/chocolate chip scones)
Preheat oven to 425. Combine flour, baking powder and soda, salt and sugar. Sift. Add in cubed, cold butter and cut in with a pastry cutter. you could also throw the flour mixture in the food processor and quickly whir. I usually do by hand, because it’s fast for me and Emma likes to help cut in the butter. But either works. The mixture should look like course meal. If using a food processor, put the mixture back in a bowl. If you are adding dried fruit/nuts/chips- do it now. It’s easier. Add about 1 cup and toss in to combine. Form a well, and add buttermilk in about about 3 parts. Don’t overmix. It’s easier to combine at the end by hand. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry, add a little more buttermilk.
* READ HERE FOR making nutella or jam scones. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Sub-divide each ball in 2 parts- which will be the bottoms and tops of the scone. Pat out two pieces into 2 circles that are about 1/4 inch thick. It’s helpful to finish up with a rolling pin. Place one disc on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (silpat, a silicone pad for baking, would probably work too) for easy clean up. Spread a layer of nutella or jam- be patient, this can sticky and messy. It works much better with an angled icing spreader (no idea what the technical name is, but they have them at Hill’s Kitchen and any kitchen supply store for about $2). Jam runs more than nutella- so don’t spread jam as close to the edge. Add top layer of dough and pinch sides together like a pie crust. Do the same with the remaining dough ball to create a second scone disc.
* READ HERE FOR making scones with stuff added to the dough. If you forgot to add dried fruit/nuts/chips etc, lightly knead them into the dough now (I frequently do this). Divide the dough into 2 balls. Flatten each ball into a disc that is just under 1/2 inch thick.
* EVERYONE RESUME HERE- Cut each disc in half lengthwise and crosswise to form 4 pie pieces. Halve again to create 8 wedges. Slightly separate each wedge. In a small bowl, mix a small amount of cream (better) or milk, (about 4 TB) with about a tsp or 2 of sugar and a splash of vanilla. For nutella or chocolate chip scones, add cocoa that equals about double the amount of sugar- it should be a slightly liquidy paste. For other scones- add slightly more sugar to make the cream a liquidy paste. For blueberry lemon scones, I add fresh squeezed lemon juice to replace about 1.5 parts of the glaze and some lemon zest. You can also put zest in the scone mix.
Bake scones for about 9-11 minutes. Then brush with the glaze. bake another 10-12 minutes until golden brown and done. Cool for about 6-8 minutes so you don’t burn your mouth!