Hot Chocolate Cookie Muffins

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Feeling festive now that every radio sings some sort of merry jingle? Reminiscing about the warm cup of hot chocolate waiting for your return from sledding down the driveway? Remember that attempt to make a good-looking snowman with your mittens clipped to your winter coat?

Almost too cute to eat, these Hot Chocolate Cookie Muffins taste like Christmas! On a cake plate, they look picturesque, and their flavors capture the wintery holiday with sugar cookie bottoms, candy-cane handles, chocolate fudge fillings, and melted marshmallows.

If you decide to make these off-season, or in honor of another holiday, switch the “holiday sprinkles” with a color of your choice. You could also use the loops of pretzels as handles.

Hot Chocolate Cookie Muffins (makes 12)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sprinkles

Fudge Filling:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

You will also need:
12 candy canes (make sure you have more than 12, some may break)
tiny marshmallows
1 Tbsp white chocolate chips (melted)

Make Cookie-Muffin Base:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. With a hand mixer, cream together sugar and butter. Add egg, vanilla, sour cream, salt and baking soda and mix thoroughly.
3. Add flour and mix until smooth and flour is absorbed (texture will be dough-like).
4. Add 2-3 Tbsp sprinkles and mix until just combined.
5. With an ice cream scoop, distribute dough evenly in each muffin cup.
6. Bake for 20 minutes (make sure they don’t get too brown at the end, if they start to brown too much, take them out).
7. Immediately after taking muffin pan out, use a teaspoon measuring spoon to push into the middle of each muffin, creating a space for the fudge filling. (Do not push through the muffin completely).
8. Let cool in the pan 10-15 minutes, then, run a knife along the sides to pop them out.

Make the Fudge Filling:
9. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and condensed milk. Melt by microwaving in 1 minute increments before stirring.
10. Add vanilla and stir until smooth.

Assemble Muffins:
11. Cut the rounded part of off of the candy canes and adhere them to the side of each muffin with melted white chocolate.
12. Fill each cavity with fudge and put several tiny marshmallows on top.

Hot Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

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Tis the season for hot chocolate, so why not muffinize™ a mug, or two. In this recipe, the rich chocolate, peppermint, and toasted marshmallows make the perfect threesome. The buttery-taste is bursting with melting chocolate and the mini marshmallows, along with peppermint chips, add a festive touch.

The chocolatey deliciousness (from a muffin filled with chocolate chips) overpowers the whole wheat flour that sneaks some nutrition into the calorie-laden fun that abounds during the Christmas season.

Serve with hot chocolate and/or popcorn under a cozy blanket while watching Christmas movies.

If you have leftover muffins, pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds, and they’ll taste like they’re right out of the oven.

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Hot Chocolate Peppermint Muffins (makes 18)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping cup dark chocolate chips
½ heaping cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peppermint baking chips

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together white sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Prod 3 mini marshmallows on top of each muffin and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of peppermint chips.
7. Turn the oven temperature down to 350F and place the muffin pans in the oven. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Do not over bake.
8. Allow the muffins to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.