Eat & Watch: Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes & the Nutcracker

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing the Nutcracker, a stunning ballet that is perfect for the holidays. In honor of the show, I made Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes in an adorable Nutcracker Cupcake Set (on sale!). I wanted to do a nut recipe for obvious reasons, and these cupcakes (which are more like brownies in a cup) have a great flavor and texture due to the brownie mix and walnuts. Instead of the cream cheese frosting, I made my own chocolate frosting and sprinkled mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and finely chopped walnuts on top.

If you don’t want to brave the cold to see the Nutcracker this season, add the movie-version, Nutcracker (1986), to your list of ‘Christmas Movies to Watch.’ While it might not compare to seeing the show live, you can watch it while wearing your pajamas and stuffing your face with cupcakes. Whether you see the live show or movie, you can’t go wrong!

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Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes

(Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)

Cupcakes:
• 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
• 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
• 1 (21-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge)
• 2 eggs, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup water

Directions:

* Special equipment: 12 paper cupcake liners, a 12-cup muffin pan.
* For the cupcakes: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

1. In a small bowl combine the walnuts, 1 cup mini chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of the brownie mix. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl mix together the remaining brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Stir for 20 seconds until blended.

3. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan (cupcake liners will be full). Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the cupcakes comes out with moist fudgy crumbs.

5. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting:
(Recipe courtesy Cathy Lowe)
• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
• 1 stick butter, softened
• 3 – 4 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Sift sugar and cocoa together into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl combine 1 cup of sugar mixture with butter and 1 tablespoon cream, beating until smooth.
3. Add another cup of sugar and another tablespoon of cream, beating well.
4. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
5. Spread frosting on cupcakes when cool.

Enjoy!

{Photos by Lauren}
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6 thoughts on “Eat & Watch: Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes & the Nutcracker

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