Eggnog Cupcakes

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I hear that eggnog is an acquired taste.  You either love it or you are not a fan.  Well, I think I was born loving it because once it pops in stores I get really excited and immediately rush to load it into my shopping cart.  I only recently discovered that it is originally intended to be an alcoholic beverage with brandy or bourbon.  Well I really love those things, so can you imagine my excitement increased twenty fold?  Yep.  That sometimes happens.

From September until about a week ago I have been beyond stressed as I prepare applications for graduate school.  Obviously I am a big nerd and have to go back.  Once I submitted my final application I was in desperate need of an amazing baking project.  Well, since it is the holiday season and it just so happened to be a friend’s birthday, I decided nothing sounded better than making cupcakes.  That is where the eggnog comes in.

I’m becoming known around these parts for providing fun holiday cupcakes for parties and I did not want to miss my opportunity here.  But this might be my favorite baking adventure.  Holiday + a boozy treat = my own version of heaven.  I have two whole bags of fresh cranberries from a forgotten cranberry sauce recipe so decided to throw those in too.  Now what can complete this Holiday beverage in snack form?  If you said rum, we are best friends for life.  My other best friend, the Belizean rum which I will never get sick of, makes a prominent appearance, in frosting form.  Not just any frosting.  Meringue Buttercream Frosting.  Not of that American butter-powdered sugar fluff.  We are talking serious egg white, needing a candy thermometer frosting.  So much better.  I don’t see how I can ever go back.

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The verdict: “These taste like Christmas.”  Actual words spoken by a taste tester.  Christmas Actually is all around.

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love from me to you

Eggnog Cupcakes
*adapted from Williams-Sonoma
makes 15-18 cupcakes
Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole cranberries, diced
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup eggnog

 Directions:

  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, then beat in the vanilla.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, salt,  alternating with the eggnog in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.  Fold in in cranberries, with a rubber spatula.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  They should spring back when touched.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour, before frosting.


Rum-Nutmeg Buttercream Frosting
*adapted from Bakers Royale
Makes approximately 3 1/2 cups
Ingredients

  • 5 large egg whites (or ½ cup)
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, sliced and softened
  • 2 tbsp. dark spiced rum
  • ¾ tbsp. nutmeg


Instructions:

  • Combine egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and place it over (not on) simmering water. Heat mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.
  • Transfer mixer bowl to stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools, doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 15 minutes.
  • Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first—this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
  • Add rum and nutmeg, mix to combine.
  • Scoop into piping bag and pipe cupcakes with any design!
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