With all the holiday baking going on right now, I find myself longing for those traditional holidays recipes but at the same time love trying out new things. I have dabbled a little with coconut oil in my baking and cooking and decided to give LouAna Pure Coconut Oil a try in some of my holiday recipes. Coconut oil is the latest buzz ingredient with a neutral flavor and aroma which allows for its incredible versatility. It is a natural alternative to butter and other oils, and contains zero trans-fat. While other oils and butter are high in artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and low in HDL cholesterol (known as “good” cholesterol), coconut oil has been proven to actually raise HDL levels in the body.
I decided to try this oil out in two different ways in one recipe – Hazelnut Baci Cupcakes which consist of hazelnut cupcakes topped with Nutella buttercream, chopped hazelnuts and even white chocolate Baci. Side note: Baci is the Italian word for “kisses” and the name for a truffle filled with milk chocolate, hazelnut gianduia, and a whole hazelnut, and coated with dark chocolate. I first experienced these little nuggets while on a trip to Italy with my highschool Italian class. In the U.S. I typically have only been able to find them at stores like Home Goods, and recently stumbled upon the white chocolate variety. I knew instantly that something special had to be made with them.
For these cupcakes, coconut oil was used in place of the canola oil and butter in the batter and even some of the butter in the frosting. The end result was a soft, fluffy cupcake topped with creamy frosting, and admirers that were clueless to the switch. These cupcakes may not be diet friendly, but I am a sucker for cutting out even minimal amounts of guilt from my baking and cooking. When you cannot taste the difference, why not make those little substitutions?
Two years ago: Blizzard Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Three years ago: Buttermilk Pancakes
HAZELNUT BACI CUPCAKES
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup + 2 tsp LouAna coconut oil, divided
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup LouAna coconut oil
1/4 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
3 Tbsp hazelnut coffee creamer
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts
12 white chocolate Baci, unwrapped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners, set aside.
- Spread hazelnuts onto a cookie sheet. Bake for ten minutes.
- Once the hazelnuts are cool enough to touch, roll around in your hands or in a towel to remove the dark brown skins.
- Place the hazelnuts and 2 teaspoons coconut oil in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a thick paste.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil, hazelnut paste and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the milk. Repeat until just incorporated.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Place on cooling rack.
- While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl cream together the butter and coconut oil until smooth. Add Nutella and creamer and mix until combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until incorporated. Beat until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or creamer to reach desired consistency.
- Spread or pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Top with chopped hazelnuts and Baci.
Source: Cupcakes adapted from Cupcake Project. Frosting is The Spiffy Cookie original.
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary product by YC Media. I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.