Hello everyone :) Before we get started with the first recipe of the year, I wanted to say: Happy New Year! Hoping the new year brings you lots of sweet treats :)
Have you ever been to a street fair or carnival? During the summer, New York City has so many of them each and every weekend. They are a lot of fun. You get to shop at many vendors as well as taste fun foods. I’ve been to so many street fairs that I’ve lost count of just how many. I usually went with a friend and we always shared zeppoles and churros. No matter what, those two street fair foods were our treats before we left.
If you don’t know what a zeppole or a churro is, don’t worry. Both of these treats have a few variations, but essentially they’re deep-fried doughnuts. A zeppole basically is an Italian deep-fried dough ball topped with powdered sugar (a lot of powdered sugar). It is by no means good for you, but I only have it once a year, so its all good ;) Zeppoles taste best while they’re still hot/warm. Churros are a Spanish doughnut. Like their Italian counterpart, they are deep-fried, more so than the zeppole, until they’re crunchy. Once they reach the perfect crunch level, they are sprinkled with sugar (and sometimes cinnamon or a combination of both) and served hot/warm. These crunchy and sweet doughnuts can be dipped in chocolate or dulce de leche. At street fairs or carnivals, however, they’re usually just served with the sugar topping. It makes them easier to eat on the go. There’s an amazing Mexican restaurant (Besito) that gives you churros as a treat before you leave. They are amazing!
If you love cinnamon and sugar, have I got a treat for you. Today’s recipe is a take on the churro in cupcake form.
They were soooo very delicious and easy to make. It was the perfect bite of cinnamon and sugar goodness. I upped the cinnamon for this recipe and used my all-time favorite vanilla (Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Paste). I absolutely love this stuff! I use it in almost all of my recipes in place of vanilla extract or a vanilla bean (which is super-expensive). The only caveat to using this vanilla is that you will see the flecks of the vanilla bean in your baked good (especially if its a light color). I don’t mind it at all and haven’t gotten any complaints either. I always have it in stock in my pantry. You open the bottle and can just smell that vanilla. The scent is so comforting to me.
The churro mini-cupcakes not only had the flecks of vanilla in them; they also had the flecks of cinnamon. It was quite a feast for your eyes). They were sugary-sweet (but not overly so) and had an all-around cinnamon-y flavor. The only thing I may change would be to add something to give them some sort of a crunch. I thought maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar (as suggested by The Novice Chef in her original recipe). But I think it needs something more. Maybe I could try it with crumbled Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Hmm. Any thoughts?
That’s all for now! Happy Baking!!
Here’s the recipe:
Churro Mini-Cupcakes (adapted from The Novice Chef)
Yield: 48-54 mini-cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 (1 stick) cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup 2% milk, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line mini-cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine and mix the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking powder) and set aside.
3. Using your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. They should be light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to combine with each addition. Add vanilla and oil and mix.
4. In three (3) additions, add the dry ingredients mixture and the milk, mixing slightly with each addition. Make sure you start and end with the flour mixture.
5. Using a teaspoon, spoon about 1 teaspoon full of cupcake batter into the mini-cupcake pan. It should be filled about half way.
6. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. The cupcakes will turn slightly golden brown. Cool before frosting.
7. To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese in the stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar (either 1/2 cup or 1 cup at a time), mixing well with each addition.
8. Add cinnamon and then vanilla.
9. Using a star tip, pipe small stars onto each mini-cupcake.