Cocoa & Marshmallow Cupcakes

I’m going to pretend like it hasn’t been forever, skip all the rambling and excuses for not blogging, and dive right in. These are worth the wait, I promise:

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My mom always made cocoa in a big pot on the stove while we went sledding in the backyard (we had the perfect sledding hill). I helped her a few times when I was little, and then started making the recipe in a cup for myself almost every morning. We dipped hot buttered toast in it, which was amazing. My sister and I, being total sugar addicts, liked to top it with tons of marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles…and whipped cream and peppermint sticks.

20161022_102722This is a much less sugary approach, trust me. The frosting gave me some trouble the first time around, but I fixed it so that it’ll be perfect for you! I’ve also included the Shepherd recipe for hot cocoa, because you need that in your life.

I’ve been working hard for the past 6 months and moved into my new lab at Sargento! It’s amazing and I love it. Today I had a migraine that is still buzzing, so I stayed home, and I really do miss it. That’s a good sign! I’m also done with my first semester as a Masters student at Washington State University, taking online classes. It’s been fun so far! We’ll catch up more later, because I have SO many good seasonal recipes to share with you this month, including the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had!

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*Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. dark cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
3 T. melted butter
3/4 c. milk
½ c. brewed coffee
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In bowl of electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix on low to blend. Add butter, milk, coffee, egg, and vanilla to the bowl and mix on low until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the liners (fill about 3/4 full, batter will be runny). Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool. After frosting, store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Frosting Ingredients:
*Makes a little extra, but is that so bad?
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
2 large egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. corn starch

Directions:
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 240˚ F on an instant-read thermometer. Meanwhile, using whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form, then reduce speed to low. When temperature of 240˚ F is reached, remove the sugar syrup from heat. Keeping the mixer on low, begin to pour syrup in a slow, steady stream down the edge of mixing bowl until it has been completely incorporated. Once all the syrup has been added, increase speed to high and whip until stiff glossy peaks form, ~6 minutes.  Blend in vanilla and cornstarch and beat for 2 more minutes. Use immediately on cooled cupcakes. Can also be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for 2 weeks. I used a mini blowtorch to brown the frosting, which is super fun but not necessary. You can also put them under a broiler for just a minute while keeping a sharp eye on them!

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