It’s hard to believe that the time has already arrived to stuff ourselves with turkey and eggnog, revisit the miraculous story of Jesus’s birth, and set out cookies for Santa.
I’ve always been an overachiever, though. Blame it on the firstborn gene, but Santa’s getting more than just Pillsbury slice-and-bakes from me this year. Oh, no. He comes to my house for the gourmet cupcakes.
Piped high with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, saturated with spices, and dotted with chunks of gingerbread cookies, these cupcakes have Christmas written all over them. They leave a dazzling first impression and score compliments from taste-testers of all kinds.
I brought these to work last week, and even I was pretty amazed by how many friends I made in just a few short hours. The cupcakes didn’t last any longer than that, and I’m pretty sure the last few had to be split into thirds by the final bidders.
I’ve always thought of gingerbread as being one of those love-it/hate-it flavors, like eggnog. And peppermint. And lutefisk?
(If you don’t know lutefisk, you’re probably not a card-carrying Scandinavian like I happen to be. Though lefse’s more my style.)
I guess all the traditional Christmas flavors are rather controversial.
I’m not too picky. I’ll eat ’em all.
Surprisingly, though, the gingerbread cupcakes seemed to be a hit all-around! I had strategically added a few vanilla beans to the mix, knowing that some people would probably prefer the toned-down flavor option, but I was interested to find that the gingerbreads disappeared first. I left the building that evening with nothing but a sole cupcake wrapper and bakeware that was practically licked clean.
I guess I underestimated the power of the Christmas spirit. And sugar and spice. Silly me.
As always, I adapted my recipe from Georgetown Cupcake’s. I was slightly horrified to read that the recipe called for a full cup-and-a-half of molasses in the cupcakes, thinking the flavor would be way too overpowering, but it was decidedly just right! I expected to be assaulted by a molasses flavor (one I don’t particularly love, by the way), but there turned out to be a nice balance of molasses, sweetness, and spices–which were also mixed into the batter in unusually large quantities.
I originally had a different vision for these cupcakes, but after searching all over town for a few elusive ingredients, I came across a box of Gingerbread Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies at Target and decided they would be the cupcake inspiration. I crushed a few to throw in the batter, as well as infused some crumbs into the frosting.
The final result was something similar to my Golden Birthday Oreo Cupcakes–cookie flavor crammed into cupcake form without the gritty texture. The cupcakes, unlike the cookies, are very moist and soft, with a creamy whipped frosting that is fluffier than the stiff cookie filling.
By themselves, the cookies were okay, but as the flavor inspiration for these cupcakes, they became even better. They couldn’t have paired better with the cinnamony cream cheese frosting or the spice-filled cake. I think the cookies would taste good as the base to a crust, too!
Maybe next year I’ll get around to my original Christmas cupcake idea, but these certainly did the trick this year! Santa doesn’t know what’s about to hit him. :)
If you need more Christmas treat ideas, my Christmas board on Pinterest is full of seasonal flavors that are sure to satisfy the jolly man in red or any holiday guests.
I wish you all the very merriest of Christmases! Wherever this Christmas finds you, I pray that your life will be filled with joy, love and peace as you celebrate our Savior’s birth.
Merry Christmas, from me to you!
- GINGERBREAD COOKIE CUPCAKES:
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 10 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups molasses
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup crushed gingerbread cheesecake sandwich cookies (I used Market Pantry)
- CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup crushed gingerbread sandwich cookies (I used Market Pantry)
- 12 additional gingerbread sandwich cookies, halved, if desired for garnish
- FOR CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.
- In a small bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices together.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar sugar together for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs one at a time until combined. Add molasses and mix well.
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the water to the batter and mix thoroughly. Repeat with remaining ingredients, scraping bowl as needed.
- Fold crushed cookies into batter until thoroughly mixed.
- Using a cookie scoop, place batter into prepared pans and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool pans completely on a wire rack.
- FOR FROSTING: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat all ingredients on high speed until light and fluffy, at least three minutes. Fold in crushed cookies. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.
- Garnish with half a gingerbread cookie, if desired.
I found the gingerbread sandwich cookies in the snack aisle at Target. If you can't find them, you can omit them completely or substitute Gingerbread Oreos.
Total Fat: 14.9 g
Cholesterol: 62.1 mg
Sodium: 199.4 mg
Potassium: 337.4 mg
Total Carbs: 58.6 g
Dietary Fiber: .7 g
Sugars: 42.7 g
Protein: 3.5 g