The holidays are in full swing here in my household! The Christmas tree went up two days before Thanksgiving & our Elf on the Shelf, aptly named Oatmeal, came to us Thanksgiving eve. It's already been so much fun & the kids are so excited for Christmas. We took the kids to see Santa last weekend. Gabe & Cailin had no problem strutting up there to tell him what they were wishing for.. But Lydia & Evelyn on the other hand, were not impressed. When Lydia was plopped down on his lap, she screamed. Screamed bloody murder. Evelyn wouldn't even get within 20ft of the guy. Ha! That's okay. I think she felt sad that she chickened ou5, so I had to be sure to reassure her that Santa would still know what she was hoping to get for Christmas (which, the by the way, she is hell-bent on a pink vacuum.... Only my child, I swear).
We also go to look at a ridiculous amount of holiday decor that same day-- decorated, lit up trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, vignettes... It was enough to make one overdose on that warm, fuzzy feeling. I'm somewhat of a Christmas snob.. Christmas diva.. The term Christmas nazi has been thrown out there a few times.. What can I say?! I just love Christmas.
& Of course, I get so excited around the holidays.. For the baking! OH THE BAKING. So many things to make & create! I have way too many ideas swimming around in my head that I want to make this season. We'll see how many I actually get around to. ;)
My sister came over last night & wanted to bake-- as per usual. & We wanted to do a holiday themed treat. I was torn between gingerbread cupcakes & something with peppermint. Gingerbread ended up winning for the time being. I paired it with a brown sugar buttercream & dusted them with a little bit of cinnamon. Now, I'm not going to lie. I am actually NOT a gingerbread fan. But these cupcakes. These.. freaking.. cupcakes. Are so incredibly good. I couldn't believe how much I fell in love with the flavor! My mom actually told me it was one of the best cupcakes she has ever had. Now that is a good cupcake, folks. The gingerbread flavor isn't overpowering at all & the brown sugar buttercream is such a perfect match. I will say that I put them in the fridge for the honest sole purpose of sort of... hiding them from the kids. & I just ate one in the company of my glowing Christmas tree & I felt positively full of the Christmas-spirit. I think I like them chilled even better than room temperature!
I dare you to make these & not feel a little bit of Christmas magic. I triple dog dare you.
(recipe adapted from Sugar Duchess)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup hot water
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar. Add the egg & molasses & beat well. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl & add to the creamed mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Add the hot water & beat on low speed until smooth.
3. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full & bake for 20-25min or until toothpicks inserted in the centers come out clean.
Brown Sugar Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar
1. Cream together butter & brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add in vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar. Add heavy cream & beat until fluffy!