So, imagine a snowstorm as disappointing as the blizzard between Christmas and the New Year was, but in reverse. Like, exceeding expectations instead of disappointing them. The storm you are imagining is today. This time, I would say we have somewhere between 14 and 20 inches of snow, averaging the drifts, with isolated drifts up to 3 feet. When I stepped out the door, I sunk in up to my knee. By the time we had finished shoveling, there was already almost an inch of snow where we started. It was a good snowstorm. Like is expected in this region of the world. Good stuff. Maybe I will get to go snowshoeing before I go back to school.
Anyway, what is the proper thing to do when snowed in on a day like today? Make cupcakes, obviously. Snowman cupcakes. What else? I even have snowman baking cups for them.
But, these are no ordinary snowman cupcakes. They have as their base chocolate and chili cupcakes. I guess I was going for ironic.
Chocolate and Chili Cupcakes
from 500 Cupcakes (and the Cupcake Calendar)
1 cup softened butter
1 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups self rising flour (or 1 1/2 cups regular flour, 3/4 tsp salt and 2 1/4 tsp baking powder)
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line muffin tins with paper baking cups.
Combine all cupcake ingredients except chocolate chips with an electric mixer and beat until smooth.
Spoon the batter into cups and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before removing and putting cupcakes on a rack.
Makes 18 cupcakes.
Except, I sorta cheated. I didn't want to make only spicy cupcakes just in case someone didn't like chili. So, I waited to put the chili powder in until I had mixed all the rest of the ingredients except the chips in. I split the batter at this point into two bowls and then added chili powder to one, and stirred in the chocolate chips last. It seemed to work.
I've decided I'm not the hugest fan of the chocolate and chili combination. My parents like it though. My aunt makes cookies with cayenne pepper and chocolate, and I really like those, but I think these just have a little too much chili flavor, as opposed to straight heat. Maybe I'll try that sometime. Oh well, it's always fun shocking people with new combinations. The hard part now is just remembering which are which. . . . Or maybe that's part of the fun.
It also originally calls for Dutch processed cocoa, which by odd happenstance, we actually had sitting around. Don't ask why.
These were also different from any other cupcakes I have made before. The batter was basically like very light cookie dough. It worked though. And they didn't even taste like baking powder -- which I was afraid of. They did sink in the middle . . . but sunk cupcakes are not really a problem, just fill in the holes with frosting. Who's gonna complain about extra frosting?
Anyway, the snowmen are from What's New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Both What's New, Cupcake? and its predecessor Hello, Cupcake! are my cupcake inspiration. I love them both. I've made cupcakes out of both. And the recipes really work and they aren't THAT hard. A little time consuming, but not that hard.
The snowmen are actually pretty easy.
You just mound white frosting on top, then roll the top in white sanding sugar.
Then, you stick two upside down chocolate chips in for eyes,
A triangular piece cut from an orange slice candy for a nose,
And upside down mini chocolate chips in for the mouth.
Then, cut the top of the cupcake, so you can slip in a piece of a thin chocolate cookie, trimmed to look like a hat and brim.
I'd suggest cutting at a downward angle into the cupcake, so the hats don't point toward the table, which they naturally seem to do. Oh, and wait till you're close to ready to eat them. Otherwise, the cookie will get soggy and sag. :(
Voila. Cute and easy.
The hardest part was actually frosting the brims . . . I had a couple of frosting bag blowouts.
They make me so happy.
In case you didn't believe me about the snow, here's my hat from when I came in from shoveling. It was really really snowy.