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.

Brownie Muffins

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So chocolatey your head might explode, these fudgy brownie muffins are like individual pieces of heaven. Chewy, squishy, and decadent, they aren’t as dense as brownies, but they are so rich and creamy that they practically melt in your mouth. And, the glossy, wafer-thin top crust is just as delicious as the fudgy layer underneath.

However horrible or amazing your day, these brownie muffins will make it better.

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Brownie Muffins (makes 12)

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each until completely smooth and combined. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. To the chocolate/butter mixture, stir in sugar, then vanilla.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
5. Mix in the flour and salt.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-23 minutes until a knife inserted in the center will have moist crumbs. (Be careful not to over-bake.)
7. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Or, cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.

*These muffins are best served cold.