No, these are not chocolate cupcakes. Rather, they’re sumptuous vanilla cupcakes laced with a grated dark chocolate-hazelnut bar.
The frosting uses cocoa and the remaining chocolate bar. You should get 18 moist, light and tender standard cupcakes (or 12 cupcakes plus 24 mini cupcakes) if you fill each well about 2/3 full. For best results, measure carefully, use the proper ingredients and follow directions as written.
Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
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1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, whisked then lightly spooned and leveled
1 cup sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cool room temperature, pliable, cut into cubes
1/2 cup whole milk minus 1 Tbsp. + 1/4 cup whole milk minus 1-1/2 tsp., divided use
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. hazelnut flavor (I used Spices, etc., available online)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 (3.5 oz.) bar Ghiradelli Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven, grated, divided use
Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine on stir speed about 30 seconds. Add butter, 1/2 cup milk minus 1 Tbsp., vanilla and hazelnut flavorings. Combine on stir speed, then beat on low 1-1/2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each on low speed till combined. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with spatula. Using stir speed, add remaining 1/4 cup minus 1-1/2 tsp. milk. Beat 1 minute on low speed.
Fill standard cups with 1-1/2 Tbsp. batter, then sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp. grated chocolate bar and top with 1-1/2 Tbsp. batter. This should fill the cups to about 2/3 full. For mini cupcakes, use 2 tsp. batter, 1 tsp. grated chocolate, 2 tsp. batter. Bake standard cupcakes 15-18 minutes and minis 9-11 minutes, or till cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in tins 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool for at least one hour. Yield: 18 standard cupcakes or 12 standard and 24 mini cupcakes
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT FROSTING:
Remaining grated chocolate hazelnut bar
1 cup + 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided use
3 Tbsp. unsweetened natural cocoa
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cool room temperature, pliable
1/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
3-4 Tbsp. whole milk or cream
1 Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelica
1/2 tsp. hazelnut flavor
Microwave remaining chocolate bar in small microwaveable bowl on high in 25-second increments until just melted. Stir, set aside. Sift together into small bowl or onto wax paper 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and cocoa; set aside.
Cream butter and salt on medium speed of electric mixer. Gradually add remaining 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, beating until smooth after each addition. Combine milk (or cream), liqueur and hazelnut flavor in small cup. Alternately add milk mixture and cocoa-sugar mixture to the creamed butter mixture, beating until smooth after each addition. On low speed, beat in the melted chocolate hazelnut bar. Frost cupcakes as desired with this delicious but very rich frosting.