Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chocolate Almond Cupcakes

Chocolate!  It makes the day go much better.  I woke up yesterday NEEDING something with chocolate in it.  I am more of a chip kind of gal than sweets, but every once in a while my body craves something that is soft and chocolaty.

I thought about making a cake but I find that cakes in my house don't get eaten as well as a cupcake.  I think the cupcake is the perfect treat to grab on-the-go and is a great portion.  Not too much nor too little.

In fact, I used my last cupcake liners..better add them to my list!

The day before, I was eating my favorite coleslaw and I quickly realized I forgot to add the most important ingredient: Cinnamon Sugar Toasted Almonds!  These little  darlings are delicious for salads, snacks AND cupcakes!

I like my food crunchy, this includes cupcakes, cakes, muffins, salads, breads and cookies.   I add nuts to a lot of things.  Thank goodness I am not allergic to many nuts, mostly just walnuts.  I think everyone already knows my love for Peanut I am getting hungry!  LOL

Yesterday I found 3 options in my house: chocolate cake mix, yellow cake mix or a brownie mix.  My eye caught the almond jar and the chocolate cake became my next project.  Chocolate Almond anything ..IS AMAZING in my world.

I used the almonds to create a "crust" on the bottom of my cupcake and it turned out dang yummy!  The nuts added texture but kept the middle of the cake soft and fluffy.  I hope you enjoy my chocolaty treat!

Recipe: Chocolate Almond Cupcakes

1 chocolate cake mix ( I used a GF mix)

2 cups of blanched almonds
1 T. sugar and cinnamon mix
1 T. butter, melted

2 cups of powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter, soft not melted
1 tsp almond extract
1 T. milk

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line the cupcake pans with your favorite cupcake shells.  If making a cake, prepare pans according to the instructions on the box.

To toast the almonds:  I used a cookie tray.  Mixed my cinnamon/sugar mix with the butter and almonds.  Spread the almonds on the tray.  The bake time is 10-15 minutes.  Some ovens cook hotter so watch them after 10 minutes.  I don't like it when they get too dark.

Let the almonds cool for a few minutes.  They will get crunchy.

Make cake mix according to package.  I used a GF mix that required milk.  I substituted almond milk in place of regular milk. I also used 1/2 almond extract and 1/2 vanilla for the vanilla measurement.  This is not necessary, I was just trying to enhance the flavor of almond within my cupcake.

Add the almonds to the bottom of each cupcake.  I made sure the bottom was covered.  Fill your cupcake with batter.  Bake according to directions.  Usually cupcakes cook for 20-24 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from tin and let cool on wire rack.

Make butter cream frosting by combining butter, extract and milk.  With a hand held mixer blend together until smooth.  Carefully mix in powdered sugar with a spoon.  Continue mixing with hand mixer on high for 2 minutes.  If your frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar.  If it is too thick add more milk.

Frost the cupcakes when they are cool enough to not melt the frosting.  Top each cupcake with a few toasted almonds.  ENJOY!

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