Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

As much as I want it to be spring already, we still have a few more weeks until the first official day of spring. And, considering that I live in New England, it’s usually a few more weeks after that. I decided to embrace the last bit of winter that we have left and make these decadent and cozy Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

My inspiration for these cupcakes came from these adorable sparkly snowflake toppers! I have the coolest goddaughter who seriously gets my love of baking and cooking. This past fall for my birthday she scoured Etsy to find unique cupcake toppers for each season. I immediately knew the upcoming year on Lemon & Mocha would have to include four special cupcakes, each showcasing the cute seasonal toppers from my goddaughter.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I was trying to decide what to make for the winter cupcakes I immediately thought of my favorite winter beverage: hot chocolate. The base of these cupcakes is my Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes. I tweaked the recipe this past fall and they truly are the most moist and light cupcakes with a big chocolate flavor. I’ve raved enough about my chocolate cupcakes in the past though so we can move on the frosting, which is what makes these not just chocolate cupcakes, but Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Let me get right to it; this frosting is crazy good. All it took was one bite to know this hot chocolate frosting would be an immediate member of my cake repertoire for years to come. And then I sampled a second, a third and a fourth bite just to be really, really certain.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cocoa powder and marshmallow fluff help give this buttercream frosting that classic hot chocolate taste. There’s less powdered sugar than a traditional buttercream because we are using marshmallow fluff to sweeten the frosting and to make it, well, fluffy! Also because it wouldn’t be a perfect hot chocolate without marshmallows. Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, see note
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee, see note
for the frosting
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Mini marshmallows, for topping
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners so you have enough for 24 cupcakes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.
  4. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and stir until combined. The batter will be extremely liquidy. Divide the batter between the 24 cupcake liners, filling them slightly more than half full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back mostly clean. Alternatively, they are done when you gently press your finger on the center of a cupcake and it lightly springs back. I find mine to be done at exactly 19 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pans for a couple minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting
  1. Beat the butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scrapping down the sides as needed. Add the marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat until combined and fluffy, scrapping down the sides as needed. Pipe the frosting using a pastry bag (see note) and top with the mini marshmallows.
Notes
To make your own buttermilk: pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk, any fat percentage, into the measuring cup until you have 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
If you don’t want to use coffee you can use hot water, but the flavor of the chocolate won’t be as pronounced. You can use decaffeinated coffee if you prefer.
The frosting recipe is written assuming you will be piping a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake. If you would prefer to simply frost with a knife then you can most likely halve the frosting recipe.

 

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

Would you believe me if I told you this recipe got Matt to eat tilapia? Of course you believe me otherwise this would be a pretty bad story if it wasn’t true! While I’m busy going through my cookbooks that I have yet to make anything from I’m also focusing on sharing recipes with you all that I have made and enjoyed from my cookbooks over the years, like Giada’s Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries and Ree Drummond’s Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza. Add to the list Ina Garten’s Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish. Can you tell I’m a Food Network fan?

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m continually trying to find cooked fish recipes that Matt enjoys. Sushi is another story; he can now out-eat me on sashimi! Many years ago I wanted to make us some cooked fish and thought this creamy mustard sauce just might do the trick. It worked! Between the mustard, shallot and capers, the sauce is full of punchy flavors that keep the tilapia from tasting “fishy.”

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

The original recipe from Barefoot Contessa uses crème fraîche to achieve the creamy and slightly sour sauce that pairs so well with the sharp mustard. Crème fraîche is delicious, but it can also be very rich and fattening. Instead, I used my new favorite recipe trick: cauliflower puree! I blended cooked cauliflower florets with plain Greek yogurt to mimic the thickness and creaminess of the crème fraîche. That was combined with the mustard, mustard seeds, shallots and capers for a perfect sauce to be poured over the white fish before baking it.

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although the flavor of the sauce is awesome, the best part is that it keeps the tilapia incredibly flaky and moist. I served this dish alongside the Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes and Matt was a happy camper. Who would have thought one day Matt would happily eat tilapia for dinner?! Thanks, Ina!

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets (about 8 medium-large florets)
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 5 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan large enough to fit the fish fillets with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the water and cauliflower florets to a saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid then puree the cauliflower with the Greek yogurt until smooth. Combine the cauliflower-yogurt puree, mustard, minced shallots, mustard seeds and drained capers in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Place the tilapia fillets on the prepared baking pan. Season with the salt and pepper. Spoon the mustard sauce over the fish completely. Bake until the thickest part of the fish flakes, about 10-15 minutes. When it’s done broil for 1 minute.

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

How is it Monday already? Did this weekend fly by for anyone else? Hopefully I’ll make it a little better with this quick and easy recipe for Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes. Cheese makes everything better, right? Especially when the Parmesan is coating charred green beans and crispy potatoes.

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I love cooking meals in the oven. I know you’re probably thinking, “oh yeah, oven cooking in the winter is great and cozy,” but I mean I love-love it, like even when it’s 80 degrees in the summertime. Oven cooking is just so easy and even though I love cooking I also love easy cooking.

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Plus, the crispy textures and caramelized flavors you get from oven cooking? Delicious!

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I do default to our large toaster oven for most oven meals since it preheats so quickly and doesn’t warm up the kitchen, but I will definitely heat up the kitchen if it means I can just throw everything on a sheet pan and have it come out perfect while I work on other stuff like writing this post. Or watching Netflix – getting through all those shows is important work!

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve never had roasted green beans then you will be instantly hooked. It’s difficult to beat crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside roasted potatoes, but these green beans come close! Simply tossed with some olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper and some fresh grated Parmesan, this roasted sheet pan side dish is easy cooking perfection!

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces baby pee wee potatoes, halved (quartered if larger)
  • 12 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the halved potatoes and green beans with the olive oil to coat then toss with the garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing the green beans and potatoes after 10 minutes. Immediately top with the Parmesan when out of the oven.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral if you purchase something. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Do you cook from cookbooks often? I have a few cookbooks that I’ve made countless recipes from and have shared on here: Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook, The Perfect Scoop, Cook This, Not That! and Pati’s Mexican Table. Then I have a whole bunch of cookbooks that I’ve drooled over the pages of many, many times, but that I have yet, years later, to make any of the recipes. Every year I say that this will be the year I cook from all the cookbooks I’ve never used before, but this year I mean it and I’m already off to a great start! In addition to a few recipes I have picked out for the blog, like these epic Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms, I thought maybe I would be more motivated if I turned over some of the selection power to Matt.

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last month Matt picked a cookbook I haven’t cooked anything from yet along with a recipe from that book and then we cooked it together. It wasn’t for the blog so there was no pressure for it to look good or to be made during daylight hours for photograph reasons. January’s pick was an Eight-Hour Skirt Steak with Balsamic Mushrooms from Sous Vide at Home, which he had gotten me last year. Matt cooked most of the dish himself and it was incredible! This month, Matt picked the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, who is one one of my favorite food bloggers, and we’re going to be making her Farmhouse Cheddar and Angel Hair Frittata next week. Yum – I can’t wait to try it! I’m liking this new monthly tradition, although if any of the recipes become new favorites then I of course will have to re-make them to share with you all!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today I’m sharing these cheesy, garlicky and buttery Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier, which is Ree Drummond’s second cookbook. Button mushroom caps are lightly sautéed in butter before being stuffed with chunks of creamy brie cheese and baking in the oven. The best part is the sautéed parsley, garlic and green onions that get poured overtop the mushrooms.

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

This party appetizer is so simple, but looks really fancy, making it perfect for the holidays or even an Oscar party! According to Ree, “Guests will kiss you and demand to be invited back next time” so make sure you make these mushrooms for company you like!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Are you excited for the Oscars? Matt and I missed all the best picture nominees in theaters except for Black Panther, so we’re going to be streaming some of them this weekend to try to catch up. This article shares where to watch all the best picture nominees if you’re interested. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms
 
Yield: 15-18 mushrooms
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces white button mushrooms, washed and stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions, ends removed and sliced
  • Splash of white wine (optional)
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, cut into bite-size chunks
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter then add the mushroom caps. Toss the mushroom caps in the melted butter. Lightly season with salt and pepper then let sauté for a minute. Remove from the mushrooms from the skillet. Add the parsley, garlic and scallions to the skillet. If you’re using the white wine, add it now. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat.
  3. Place the mushroom caps, stem-side up, in a baking dish. A square baking pan or pie dish works well. Add a chunk of brie to the opening of each mushroom cap then pour the parsley mixture over the top. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Serve them after they’ve cooled slightly.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier.
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m all about the easy desserts these days. You will understand why when you see the March cookies! One of the best quick and no-bake desserts are rice krispie treats. Last February, I posted my Chocolate-Dipped Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats, which are these same treats, but dipped in chocolate and covered in Valentine’s Day sprinkles. I decided that these treats are so crispy, gooey and full of flavor that they deserved their own post.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

I find normal rice krispie treats to be very bland. Good thing these aren’t normal rice krispie treats! If you’ve made my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies then you know how much rich depth of flavor browned butter can add to a baked good and these krispie treats are no exception. If you’ve never browned butter before it’s really simple. You melt butter on the stovetop and then continue to cook the melted butter over medium heat until it becomes golden brown in color, which takes about 4 or so minutes. You will be able to smell it as well; it will smell lightly caramelized and have you swooning. Rice krispie treats require melted butter anyways so it only makes sense to go that one step further and add some flavor to the butter.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

Typically when making rice krispie treats all the marshmallows get melted down, but I’ve left some mini marshmallows unmelted to create extra gooey pockets in the krispie treat. If we’re making a marshmallow treat we might as well go all out, right? Of course, if you really wanted to go extra all out you could take a cue from the Chocolate-Dipped Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats. I’ll take either version, which is saying a lot about the flavor and texture of these Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats since I’m so chocolate obsessed.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you really want to make people’s mouths drop, follow the directions below for the jumbo-sized krispie treats! It makes a thick bakery style krispie treat like the ones pictured here that will have everyone thinking you bought them at your local bakery.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats
 
Yield: 12 regular or 9 jumbo krispie treats
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4¾ cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Directions
  1. Line a 13x9 pan or a 9x9 pan (see note) with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. In a large pot big enough to fit all the cereal, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, making sure to continuously swirl the pan, until the butter is golden brown in color, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat then add 4 cups of the marshmallows, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Add the cereal to the pot and gently stir until coated. Gently stir in the remaining ¾ cup of mini marshmallows. Pour the contents of the pot into the prepared pan and spread evenly. I used a small piece of wax paper to lightly press on the krispie treats in the pan to create an even-ish surface without pressing too hard (you don’t want the krispie treats to be dense). Let cool completely.
  4. Once cooled, remove the foil from the pan and cut the krispie treats with a sharp knife. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Notes
For 12 normal-sized krispie treats use a 13x9 pan. For 9 jumbo-sized krispie treats use a 9x9 pan.
The krispie treats stay for a few days, but they taste best the same day.