The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

The tradition of enjoying the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmastime is another thing the pandemic took from us. I’m not sure when I’ll ever feel safe sitting close to people in a theater for ballets, plays or movies. In the meantime, I can enjoy the music at home and share some Nutcracker inspired treats with you.

The Nutcracker Land of Sweets is a magical theme that has me mesmerized. Gingerbread, candy canes, gumdrops and billowy clouds of pink frosting are what dreams are made of. And that’s exactly what these dreamy cupcakes are made of. The cupcake flavor is a subtle spice cake. The recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart cake recipe I made last summer. The original cake was paired with blackberry jam, but I knew plum jam would be perfect for these cupcakes. I topped them with a mildly sweet, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream.

Part of the fun of making these cupcakes began at the store as I collected the sweets to decorate the cupcakes. Another perk of the job is taste testing the candy. I discovered that purple spice drops are licorice flavored and red spice drops are cinnamon. Who knew?

Print Recipe
The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes
Spice cupcakes filled with plum jam, topped with fluffy pink frosting, gingerbread men and Christmas candy, and dusted with sugar snow
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Instructions
Spice Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 serving muffin pan with disposable baking cups. (I used silver foil liners.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla, one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  5. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with milk. Mix until combined.
  6. Divide batter evenly into wells of prepared muffin pan, filling about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake until light golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes.
  8. Let cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes. Gently transfer cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Core the center of each cupcake, removing a 3/4-inch deep circle. Fill with jam and replace the circle top.
  10. Frost cupcakes with pink Swiss meringue buttercream. Decorate with cookies and candies. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercreamgue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of gently simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixture with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing the butter to fully incorporate each time before adding more.
  5. Switch to paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla, salt and food color. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Spice Cake

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Maple Pecan Brownies

maple pecan brownies

Pecan pie was my mom’s favorite, but she didn’t bake pies, so I always used to bake her one for Thanksgiving. One year, I made a chocolate version. It was delicious, but let’s just say it wasn’t user friendly. It was gooey and hard to serve. Over the years, it eventually morphed into these Maple Pecan Brownies. The brownie version is still delicious, rich and gooey with toasty pecans, but much more user friendly.

I used an 8-inch square baking pan for the batch in the photo because I wanted the brownie squares to be thick. You can also use a 9-inch square pan and you’ll get a few more squares out of it, but they’ll have less height. Keep in mind that the baking time will be shorter for the 9-inch pan because the batter will be spread thinner.

The biggest challenge of this recipe is the baking time. The initial time in the oven is to partially bake the brownies. The top should be set before adding the pecan topping. This will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on your pan and your oven. Mine took 28 minutes. The second baking time is to set the pecan topping. This will take about 20-25 minutes. You will notice that the top will be deep brown and the center will stop jiggling. Another way to test doneness is with a food thermometer. The internal temperature will be about 190ºF. Click here to find an instant read kitchen thermometer.

Enjoying Maple Pecan Brownies with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee is a must. Thinking of it brings back memories. I can practically smell my dad brewing the coffee to go with his brownie.

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Maple Pecan Brownies
Rich, gooey brownies topped with pecan pie filling
Instructions
Brownies
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides an inch or two. Spray parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined.
  3. Stir in eggs and vanilla, one at a time, until well combined.
  4. Stir in cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  5. Stir in flour just until combined.
  6. Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Bake just until top is set, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare pecan topping.
  8. When brownie top is set, remove from oven. Gently pour pecan topping around the outer perimeter of brownies, to avoid making brownies sink in the middle. Evenly distribute the pecan topping over the top gently with a spoon.
  9. Return the brownies to the oven and continue baking until the topping is set, about 20-25 minutes. Brownies will stop jiggling and topping will look deep golden brown. Internal temperature will be about 190ºF. (If your topping starts to brown too much on the edges before the inside is done, apply aluminum foil around the edges as you would with a pie.)
  10. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting, about 2- 2 1/2 hours.
  11. Cut into squares, wiping knife between cuts. Store in a covered container.
Pecan Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together maple syrup, butter, brown sugar, egg, maple extract and salt until well combined.
  2. Stir in pecans until well coated with maple syrup mixture.
  3. Set aside until brownies are partially baked.
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Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Any respectable autumn baking recipe needs to have the three C’s. Cozy. Comforting. And of course, cinnamon! Would pumpkin-spice-anything even exist without the three C’s? I think not! These Apple Spice Cookies understood the assignment. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie.

The apples in this recipe are cooked briefly on the stovetop to bring out the flavor and create the perfect texture. Dropping raw apple chunks into cookie dough or cake batter is never a good idea. If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know that apples release liquid as they’re cooked and that liquid will end up in your baked cookies, creating soggy spots. So definitely don’t skip this step!

These gorgeous, golden brown cookies are perfectly delicious on their own, but extra credit goes to the Brown Butter Icing for taking them over the top!

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Make sure to head over to TikTok to watch the video of these Apple Spice Cookies being created.

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Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Instructions
Cooked Apples
  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon to skillet.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Drain any excess liquid from cooled apples.
Apple Spice Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract, one at a time, until well combined
  5. Stir in reserved flour mixture, just until combined.
  6. Fold cooled apples into cookie dough.
  7. Divide dough into 12 equal golf ball size portions and place three inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 12-13 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Brown Butter Icing
  1. In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Immediately transfer browned butter to a small bowl. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and 1 tablespoon milk. Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  3. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies.
Recipe Notes

NOTE:  If your cookies spread too much when baking, refrigerate dough for 15 minutes, then bake as directed.

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Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves with Caramel Filling

pumpkin spices mini loaves with caramel filling

In early September, I saw someone announce the fall season on social media. In addition to people pointing out that it was too early for the announcement, the word police corrected the person with the word autumn. Since both terms are correct, we can call the season whatever we prefer. I think autumn is a pretty sounding word, so I’ll use it for the rest of this post. Whatever you call it, these Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves are a perfect little celebration of the season. They have just the right amount of pumpkin spices, making them so fragrant that your kitchen will smell like cozy autumn heaven.

pumpkin spices mini loaves with caramel filling

I call them loaves because I originally made them in mini loaf pans. They’re so cute and delicious that I often give them as holiday gifts. This year I decided to try them in ramekins and I loved the results! I used 6-ounce ramekins, but you can use 8-ounce ramekins, any size mini loaf pans, a muffin pan or even a 9-inch loaf pan. Keep in mind that baking times will differ. To find the ramekins I used, click here.

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Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves with Caramel Filling
Mini loaves of tender pumpkin bread with caramel filling and luscious cream cheese frosting
Servings
mini loaves
Ingredients
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings
mini loaves
Ingredients
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
Cream Cheese Frosting
Instructions
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour seven 6-ounce ramekins or six 8-ounce ramekins or any loaf pans of your choice.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
  5. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until combined.
  6. Divide batter evenly into prepared ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. (Mini loaves or muffins bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on size. 9-inch loaf bakes for 40-50 minutes)
  7. Cool completely if serving in ramekins or remove from pans after cooling for 10 minutes. Continue to cool on wire rack.
  8. Make 3/4-inch well in the center of each loaf. Fill with caramel sauce. (For the 9-inch loaf, make multiple holes with a skewer. Fill with caramel.)
  9. Top with cream cheese frosting and pumpkin seeds
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat at medium speed until combined.
  4. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined.
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Raspberry Lemonade Brownies

raspberry lemonade brownies

Here is the lemon brownie enlightenment no one asked for, brought to you by the self proclaimed lemon brownie expert, yours truly! We all know what a lemon bar is. The one we all know and love has a lemon curd filling on a shortbread crust, possibly drizzled with lemon icing. The lemon brownie is a whole different animal. Don’t mistake lemon brownies for lemon cake either. Lemon brownies contain white chocolate which gives them a rich, fudgy texture like their chocolate cousins. Now that we got that straightened out, we can sleep peacefully tonight.

May I just say that my lemon brownie credentials go all the way back to childhood? I grew up with a big lemon tree in my backyard and I constantly experimented with lemons in cooking and baking. I also experimented my way to the perfect lemonade ratio. My younger brother and I made a lemonade pact. He would pick the lemons and I would make lemonade. Our mom never bought soft drinks, so if we wanted refreshments, we had to team up! Decades ago my mom was delighted to see me making a batch of raspberry lemonade for the first time. The raspberry lemonade brownie recipe I’m sharing here has that same sweet-tart flavor we enjoyed back then.

raspberry lemonade brownies

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that there is no electric mixer needed. You can literally execute this recipe with only a wooden spoon to stir it! My other favorite thing is the burst of flavor and color from the fresh raspberries. The icing contains no food coloring. Just three raspberries will give you that luscious shade of pink!

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Raspberry Lemonade Brownies
Course Dessert
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Raspberry Lemonade Bownies
Raspberry Lemonade Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Raspberry Lemonade Bownies
Raspberry Lemonade Icing
Instructions
Raspberry Lemonade Bownies
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium microwaveable bowl, heat white chocolate and butter in the microwave for 20 second intervals until melted. Alternately, melt white chocolate and butter on the stove in a double boiler.
  4. In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate and butter mixture, sugar, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and eggs. Stir until smooth.
  5. Add flour and stir just until combined.
  6. Gently fold in raspberries.
  7. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan. Bake until top is set and edges are light golden brown, about 25-28 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely.
Raspberry Lemonade Icing
  1. In a small bowl, smash raspberries with a fork.
  2. Add powdered sugar, melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Whisk until smooth, adding more lemon juice as necessary.
  3. Spread icing over cooled brownies.
  4. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve with additional raspberries, if desired.
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Happy Jam Tarts

Happy Jam Tarts

We’ve all needed a little cheering up at times, especially this past past year. These cute, happy tarts won’t take your problems away, but they can certainly make you smile, especially if you make them for someone else. They’re super easy to make and they taste better than the ones in the box we ate as kids. You can use store bought pie dough if you want to streamline the process. Any flavor of jam or preserves you have on hand works too!

Feel free to have fun decorating these little cuties. The possibilities are endless. You can use edible glitter, purchased candy eyes or even add mustaches. Happy baking!

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Happy Jam Tarts
Jam-filled tarts with icing
Servings
tarts
Ingredients
Jam Tarts
Icing
Servings
tarts
Ingredients
Jam Tarts
Icing
Instructions
Jam Tarts
  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll pie dough onto lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 6-inch by 4-inch rectangles, re-rolling dough as necessary.
  4. Make egg wash by beating egg together with milk in a small bowl.
  5. Spread 2 tablespoons of jam onto right half of each rectangle to within 1/2-inch of edges. Brush edges with egg wash.
  6. Fold dough in half, left side over right. Seal edges by pressing with a fork
  7. Poke several holes in the top of each tart with a toothpick.
  8. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract and salt together until smooth.
  2. Using a toothpick, add food color a little at a time until desired shade is achieved.
  3. Stir in meringue powder, if using.
  4. Spoon icing onto tarts.
  5. Add sprinkles while icing is wet. When icing has set, add eyes, mouths and bows if desired.
Decorations
  1. For the eyes, make 16 1/8-inch balls of black fondant. Flatten slightly. Adhere with a bit of water.
  2. For the mouths, make 8 1/2-inch long, very thin strips of black fondant. Adhere with a tiny bit of water, using tweezers if necessary.
  3. For the bows, roll out blue fondant to 1/16th-inch thickness. Cut out bows using ***bow cutter. Adhere with a bit of water.
Recipe Notes

*To find Wilton Rose gel food color, click here

**To find meringue powder, click here

***To find bow cutter, click here

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Strawberry Shortcake Crumble Muffins

strawberrry shortcake crumble muffins

Have you noticed the strawberry shortcake crumble topping trend? I recently noticed many people have been sharing various versions of the crumble recipe all over Tiktok. I’ve seen the topping on cake, cupcakes and countless other desserts. Most people seem to make it using strawberry gelatin mix and vanilla pudding mix. The version I’m sharing here uses freeze dried strawberries instead. I’m not opposed to using gelatin mix, I just seriously love the tart, natural flavor of freeze dried strawberries. This topping is irresistible on these tender strawberry muffins.

Since strawberry season is in full swing, I used fresh strawberries for the puree in the muffins. Feel free to use frozen, defrosted strawberries if you cant get fresh ones.

Strawberry shortcake crumble muffins

Print Recipe
Strawberry Shortcake Crumble Muffins
Strawberry muffins topped with strawberry shortcake crumble
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Strawberry Shortcake Crumble Topping
Strawberry Muffins
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Strawberry Shortcake Crumble Topping
Strawberry Muffins
Instructions
Strawberry Shortcake Crumble Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Cut cubed butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or with your fingers until it forms pea size pieces.
  3. Place half of crumble mixture into another medium bowl and combine with freeze dried strawberries. Press together with your fingers to form pea sized pieces.
  4. Gently combine the two bowls of crumble together. Set aside in refrigerator while preparing muffin batter.
Strawberry Muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line the wells of a 12 serving muffin tin with cupcake liners or parchment squares.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and extract. Beat until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients and beat just until combined.
  6. Add buttermilk and strawberry puree and beat just until combined.
  7. Divide batter evenly into wells of prepared muffin tin.
  8. Sprinkle crumble topping evenly over muffins.
  9. Bake at 350º until topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in center is clean, about 18-22 minutes.
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Cherry Blossom Cookies

cherry blossom cookies

Each spring, I look forward to the sight and fragrance of beautiful botanical blooms, especially cherry blossoms. Feeling inspired, I baked some cherry blossom cookies just in time for Mother’s Day. These perfectly pretty, pink cookies are easy to make and fun to decorate. You can sprinkle sparkling sugar on them before baking and call it a day or you can make some pink cherry icing and add sugar pearls or sprinkles. Either way, they look beautiful and taste delicious!

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Cherry Blossom Cookies
Pink cherry flavored sugar cookies with cherry icing
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Cherry Blossom Cookies
Cherry Icing
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Cherry Blossom Cookies
Cherry Icing
Instructions
Cherry Blossom Cookies
  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer on medium speed, until blended.
  2. Add sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and extracts. Beat on medium speed until combined.
  4. Add flour in two additions. Mix on low speed just until combined.
  5. Mix in food color on low speed, a tiny bit at a time, until desired shade is achieved.
  6. Divide dough into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or up to overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 375º.
  8. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8" thickness.
  10. Cut out cookies with 2-inch blossom cutter. ***See note below.
  11. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. (Sprinkle with sparkling sugar if using.)
  12. Bake for 7-9 minutes until bottom edges are lightly browned.
  13. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.
  14. Cool completely then ice with cherry icing, if desired.
  15. Decorate with sugar pearls or sprinkles before icing sets.
Cherry Icing
  1. In a small bowl, whisk first four ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Mix in pink gel food color, a tiny bit at a time, until desired shade is achieved.
Recipe Notes

*Do not use imitation cherry flavoring or extract. Imitation extracts may make your cookies taste medicinal. 

** I used Wilton gel food color in shade rose. Click here to find it. 

*** Use your favorite blossom cookie cutter or click here to view the blossom cutters I used.

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Marshmallow Mudslide Cookies

marshmallow mudslide cookies

Have you ever had mudslide cake? It’s a deliciously messy chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and marshmallows, also known as Mississippi mud cake. I saw one covered in a layer of marshmallow fluff and it made its way into my dreams. I woke up with the inspiration to make a cookie version of the gooey mudslide cake.

I saw a few mudslide cookie recipes out there that used standard size marshmallows and chocolate chips mixed into the cookie dough. If you’ve ever baked with marshmallows, you know that they nearly disappear during the baking process. Chocolate chips melt beautifully into little pools of chocolate, but then harden once cooled to room temperature. I happily volunteered to address these challenges! After some trial and error, I created a satisfying cookie with plenty of gooey marshmallow goodness and a rich fudge filling that stays soft at room temperature. Dreams do come true!

marshmallow mudslide cookies

Print Recipe
Marshmallow Mudslide Cookies
Chocolate fudge-filled cookies topped with toasted marshmallows
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate, cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Fudge filling
Cookies
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate, cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Fudge filling
Cookies
Instructions
Fudge filling
  1. Melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk together in a double boiler or in the **microwave in a medium microwave safe bowl.
  2. Stir in chopped nuts. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Cookies
  1. Heat oven to 350º.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer.
  4. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and mix until well combined.
  6. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  7. Add dry ingredients in two increments, mixing just until combined.
  8. Roll fudge filling into tablespoon sized balls
  9. Roll cookie dough into 1/8 cup balls then flatten into a disc with your fingers and place a ball of fudge filling in the middle of each disc. Wrap the cookie dough around the ball of filling, sealing it completely.
  10. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on large baking sheets.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
  12. Turn on broiler.
  13. Place a marshmallow on top of each cookie.
  14. Broil cookies until marshmallows are toasted. This takes about 1 minute. CAUTION Watch cookies carefully when broiling! They can go from done to burnt in the blink of an eye!
Recipe Notes

*I used Kraft Jet-Puffed S'moreMallows, but if you're unable to find them, use jumbo marshmallows. Cut them in half lengthwise with kitchen shears. Place on cookies cut side down.

**To melt fudge filling in microwave, heat for 30 seconds. Stir, then microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring until melted.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Orange Slices

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Every winter, when blood oranges come back in season, I start keeping an eye out for them at grocery stores and farmers markets. This year was different. I’ve been at home, having my groceries delivered instead perusing the local produce aisles. If you’ve been entrusting strangers to do your shopping like I have, then you know delivery produce selections are hit and miss. So I was elated when a bag of perfectly beautiful, ripe blood oranges landed on my doorstep. This simple joy made my day. There was no choice. I had to make something worthy of the gorgeous red beauties!

I didn’t get enough of gingerbread this holiday season, so I decided to make a gingerbread cupcake recipe that I created a few years ago when I was experimenting with blood oranges. I used blood orange zest in the cupcake batter and brushed the warm cupcakes with the blood orange syrup left over from making the candied oranges. If you don’t make the candied oranges, you can easily make a batch of the syrup* or skip this step altogether. They will still be delicious. I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese icing made with more orange zest and some blood orange juice mixed in. The juice makes the icing turns a soft shade of pink.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Candied blood orange slices are so stunning, that I can’t bring myself to just lay them on top of a dessert. They remind me of stained glass windows. I like to place them on toothpicks so they can stand up in regal style! Many recipes out there will instruct you to boil the orange slices, then let them air dry. This is perfectly fine if you don’t mind floppy candied oranges. For this recipe, boiling the slices, then letting them dry in the oven on low heat will give them enough stiffness to stand up.

If you can’t find blood oranges where you live, here’s a link to get blood oranges shipped to you. This recipe will also work with other types of oranges. You won’t get the deep scarlet color and the flavor will have a bit more tartness, but it will still be beautiful and delicious!

Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray the wells of a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth.
  4. Add brown sugar and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add molasses and beat until combined.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  7. Mix in dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat just until combined.
  8. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling wells 2/3 full. (If you have any remaining batter, prepare an additional muffin tin.)
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan.
  11. Place cupcakes upside down on cooling rack and brush generously with orange simple syrup. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed, until smooth.
  2. Add butter, orange zest and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  4. Add blood orange juice and beat, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Candied Blood Orange Slices
  1. Slice oranges into thin 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a shallow saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add orange slices to saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain oranges, reserving syrup.
  5. Heat oven to 175ºF. Place on a large baking sheet lined with a baking mat in a single layer and bake until orange slices begin to stiffen, about 2 hours.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. If desired, insert toothpicks when slices are cool enough to handle. The slices will continue to stiffen as they cool.
Recipe Notes

*To make orange simple syrup,  combine the juice of one orange with enough water to make 1/2 cup. Combine mixture with the zest of one orange and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and transfer to a glass container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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