Makes 12 Cupcakes
Eggnog lends its festive flavor to both the cupcakes and the frosting in this decadent dessert.
• 1 cup + 2 tablespoons un- bleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons ground toasted hazelnuts (see notes below)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalt- ed butter, softened
• 1 cup dark brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup egg nog
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract For the Nutella But- tercream Frosting:
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) un-salted butter, softened • 1/4 cup Nutella
• 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
• 1 tablespoon egg nog Optional garnish:
• 12 whole hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line a standard-sized muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and stir well to be sure the dry ingredients are evenly combined.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars.
Pour in the egg nog and vanilla extract, and mix until they are combined with the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is just incorporated into the batter.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until they have been incorporated fully into the batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to transfer the batter to the cupcake liners, and fill each of the liners almost to the top.
Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes.
Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a cooling rack until they are cool enough to be handled.
Transfer the cupcakes to the cooling rack, and allow them to cool completely before frosting them.
For the Buttercream:
In a large mixing bowl, using a stand mixer or hand mixer to blend the ingredients, combine the butter, Nutella, confectioner’s sugar and egg nog and beat at medium-high speed until you have a light, fluffy, creamed frosting. This should take 3 to 5 minutes.
Use a pastry bag or an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes.
To toast hazelnuts, place them on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350°F until they are lightly browned and their skins are starting to peel off, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the nuts to sit until they are cool to the touch, then place them between two clean kitchen towels or paper towels and rub to remove their skins. In a food processor, grind the toasted hazelnuts until they’ve reached a coarse texture, like tiny pebbles. One-half cup of whole hazelnuts yields 1/2 cup plus 2 scant tablespoons of ground hazelnuts.