As I was browsing around Kroger (is it weird that I browse through a grocery store? haha), I spotted some salted caramel hot chocolate mix. It seems like salted caramel stuff is everywhere now, and immediately I thought about salted caramel hot chocolate cupcakes. So maybe cupcakes aren’t as “hip” as they once were, but whatever I still love them! I couldn’t really find a recipe that was exactly like I was wanting so I took my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and replaced some of the cocoa powder with salted caramel hot chocolate mix. Then I mixed some of the hot cocoa mix into a simple buttercream frosting. OMG, they were sooo good!!! Like seriously, even if you don’t like salted caramel you should try this recipe. They have just a hint of salty mixed in with the caramel. Of course, if you love salted caramel you could garnish each cupcake with some sea salt to really boost the salty flavor. Enjoy!
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
3 tbsp salted caramel hot chocolate mix
3/4 cup hot water
1 tsp instant espresso powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caramel extract
2 tsp white vinegar
6 tbsp canola oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Place chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and hot cocoa mix in medium bowl. Pour hot water over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
3. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
4. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and caramel extract into cooled chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups using a #20 scoop. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly in pans before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
*loosely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Buttercream
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup salted caramel hot chocolate mix
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1. Combine butter in bowl of stand mixer and beat with paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Gradually add hot chocolate mix and powder sugar and beat until combined.
2. Add vanilla and 2 tbsp whipping cream. Beat about a minute or until light and fluffy. Add more whipping cream as needed to reach desired consistency.