We love everything sparkly and sweet during the Holiday season. So we decided to add these dee-lightful vanilla cupcakes to our menu this year. Stuffed with a candied pecan (see the recipe for candied pecans below), topped with cream cheese frosting, and dashed with light blue sprinkles, these cupcakes have a surprise in every bite.
Don't let the name fool you either... While these are technically 'vanilla' cupcakes, we added a touch of chocolate to these via chocolate almond milk. After all, a little chocolate makes every day a great day! Enjoy!
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups cake flour, regular (we used Swans Down cake flour)
2 cups brown sugar (we used Domino Pure Cane dark brown sugar)
1 tbsp baking powder (we used Rumford aluminum free)
3/4 tsp salt (we used LO Salt Original)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in to cubes
4 large eggs (we used NestFresh Cage Free Eggs)
1 cup chocolate almond milk (we used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze chocolate)
2 tsp vanilla extract (we used Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line your cupcake pans with Wilton cupcake liners and then set aside.
Fit your electric mixer with a paddle attachment. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the two flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.
Add your cubed butter to your dry ingredients, a little at a time, until just coated.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, and vanilla. With your mixer on medium speed, add your wet ingredients in three parts. Beat until ingredients are incorporated but don't over beat.
Dived batter among cupcake liners evenly, filling each about 2/3 full. Put one candied pecan in the middle of each cupcake (if you have crushed pecan pieces you can sprinkle a few pieces in to each cupcake too), see candied pecan recipe below. This batter should make about 24 cupcakes. We only had one cupcake pan that held 12 cupcakes at a time so we had to bake them in two batches. Bake, rotating pan about half way through, until cake tester inserted in to cupcakes comes out clean. This should take about 20 minutes.
Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting and sprinkling. Serve at room temperature.
CANDIED PEARSON FARM PECANS
New York City is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to be during the Holiday season. You can't walk one city block without smelling the warm, sugary, vanilla scent of roasting candied nuts being sold by street vendors. We wanted to created this same scent in our offices and also incorporate these sweet gems in a unique way into a dessert. These Vanilla Cupcakes with Candied Pecans are what we created to accomplish this and these will surely make it in to our 'new family traditions' menu each Holiday season. We used delicious and fresh Georgia pecans from Pearson Farm in our recipe.
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (we use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Melt butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat.
Add vanilla extract. Add brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon and continuously stir until brown sugar has melted and everything is mixed.
While continuing add in your pecans and toss until pecans are completely coated in liquid mixture.
Remove from heat while continuing to stir. transfer coated pecans to a non-stick baking sheet and let cool. Liquid will harden like candy on to pecans. Break apart and they are ready to serve.
You can eat these plain as a sweet snack or add them to your cupcakes like we did above. Enjoy the sweetness!