Dreaming of Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes in Tulum!

Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired

I’m in Tulum right now and I can’t even begin to describe how surreal it is. Mexico, for most of my life, had been this intangible exotic thing that I celebrated subtly with a love for taco trucks and simple margaritas. Now I’m in a city where there’s a mezcal bar every ten feet and the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life are being slung on every corner for about 40 cents a pop. I’ve also learned that swimming pools, lakes and oceans do not hold a CANDLE to cenotes when it comes to a day of swimming.

I’ll do a full recap of the magic that is Tulum in an upcoming post, but I was in a MAJOR baking mood when I woke up today, so this shall be my outlet! And don’t think I didn’t pace up and down the baking aisle of the local supermercado yesterday…the struggle was real.

I made these Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes last year and never shared the recipe! So here it is!

The combo of chocolate, salt and hazelnuts needs no explanation. I added a little coffee to boost the cocoa flavor, and if you wanted to go nuts you could even add a little bourbon!

Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired
Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes - offbeat + inspired

When the baking bug strikes, what do you make first? Mine is always something CHOCOLATE. Share in the comments below! And if you make these, let me know how you like them!! [Also, if you love that little butter warmer with the wooden handle, you can get it here!!]

Salted Cocoa Nutella Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

The Cupcakes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. instant coffee
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable oil (depending on how moist you would like your cupcakes, I recommend experimenting!)
1/4 cup Nutella
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk (you can use regular milk or a fattier non-dairy milk for moister cakes too!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In another medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, instant coffee, vegetable oil and Nutella. Mix until smooth (with an electric mixer or wooden spoon), about 2 minutes. Add the almond milk and mix again until fully combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Avoid over mixing.

Grease, spray or line a 12-cavity cupcake pan and spoon batter into each mold until about 1/3 full. If you’re left with excess batter, distribute it evenly among the cavities.

Bake on the middle rack for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When the cupcakes have come to room temperature, place a sheet of parchment or wax paper under your cooling rack, dunk the top of each cupcake into the Dark Chocolate Nutella Sauce (recipe below), and move back to the rack.

To finish, sprinkle each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt. You can serve these while the sauce is still warm, or you can allow it to set up a bit. If your kitchen is cool enough, these can be left out to set, or you can refrigerate them for 10-15 minutes before serving.

The Sauce

1 oz. good, unsweetened dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Nutella
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. sea salt (set aside for sprinkling)

In a small pot (get the Kobenstyle Butter Dish I used in this post here!) over medium heat, combine the dark chocolate, Nutella and coconut oil. You can use a double boiler for this to prevent scorching, but if you don’t, be sure to watch the mixture closely and stir constantly until it’s almost fully melted, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir to melt the rest of the chocolate.

Allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes and thicken slightly before dipping the cupcakes.

Mocha Sorbet

Mocha Sorbet-6

Warm weather is finally here! (At least it was for a few days until it promptly disappeared from the Chicago area in favor of the more familiar cold, gray days.) But regardless of the current temperature, there’s always a reason for frozen treats – especially ones that combine my two favorite ingredients: coffee and chocolate. I’m not sure there exists a better flavor pairing (but I welcome your ideas in case I’m missing something epic!). They’re a match made in recipe heaven…especially when the chocolate is dark and earthy the coffee bold and rich.

Keep reading!

Boston Cream Pancakes + iPhoneography

Boston Cream Pancakes + iPhoneography - offbeat + inspired

It’s been forever since I last posted, so I’m long overdue for some life updates and serious recipes. I’ll start with a recipe because pancakes. (Life stuff soon though because soo much exciting stuff has been going on!!)

Anyhoo, if you follow me on Steller or Instagram, you may have seen these decadent little things already. If not, I hope you’re in the mood for some intense spring brunching and a recipe that takes pancakes to a WHOLE new level.

Keep reading!

A Fruit & Veggie Hashtag Takeover

A Fruit & Veggie Hashtag Takeover - offbeat + inspired

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram soaking up the visuals like a sponge. My feeds are loaded primarily with food. A few things happen when I stare at beautiful food photography for hours on end — I want to cook, I want to shoot, and I want to eat. The eating thing is usually what happens first. When all I’ve been looking at are rainbow cakes, brownies loaded with candy and every flavor of French macaron known to mankind, I’m most likely to pig out on sugar and butter. Less than ideal, I know…so instead of fighting the urges (and cavities) on will-power alone, I decided it would be wise to follow more health-focused foodie accounts. Not so surprisingly, it became MUCH easier to eat well when I was taking in all that fresh, green goodness instead of just “junk”. The link between what I was looking at and what I was eating was so obvious that when I learned about the campaign Bolthouse Farms was doing to get people hashtagging more health foods and less junk foods, I flipped. Loved it. So let me explain cause it’s SUCH a cool project.

Keep reading!

GF + Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

GF + Vegan Cinnamon Rolls - offbeat + inspired

I love making friends that share my gluten/dairy intolerances. I hate that they have intolerances because of how fun intolerances aren’t (wouldn’t wish them on anybody), but it’s just awesome to be able to feed my crazy ingredient-ly (??) acrobatic recipes to people who will appreciate them for their health benefits as well as their flavors, and say things like, “WHAT?! I don’t have to stop eating ACTUAL cinnamon rolls?!” No, dear friend. No…you don’t!

Keep reading!

Pomegranate, Lime + Ginger Mocktail

Pomegranate + Ginger Mocktail - offbeat + inspired-2

A few weeks ago, I co-hosted a baby shower for a friend. Pre-pregnancy, the guest of honor and I often enjoyed hanging out and talking over a bottle of wine, but considering it was her baby shower (and I’m also pregnant), wine had to take a backseat.

Celebrations like baby showers deserve a festive drink, so I came up with a simple mocktail recipe that can be scaled down for 1 person or made for a crowd. And with Christmas and New Year’s Eve around the corner, I don’t have to settle for sipping a boring beverage when everyone else is toasting with a glass of champagne or a cocktail. I will be celebrating with a tasty mocktail in hand!

Keep reading!

Eggnog “White Russians”

Eggnog "White Russians" - offbeat + inspired

Winter cocktails are my favorite. They’re so cozy and rich! The thought of a cold glass of milk punch or eggnog makes me want to gather all the ugly sweaters I can, make one giant super sweater and climb into it with all my friends while we watch cheesy holiday movies and get warm by the fire. Yes, I’m weird, but you have to admit that sounds pretty amazing.

I’ve never actually crafted my OWN winter cocktail though, so this year I wanted to try a twist on the White Russian. I love the “grown up chocolate milk” aspect of this drink, so I stuck with that and changed it up a little bit by using eggnog instead of cream. It’s such an easy alteration, but the results are SO good. Hangar 1 Vodka with its authentically fresh, clean flavor pulls the whole thing together and gives it a perfect kick.

Keep reading!

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies-6

Ever cook something for the first time and then wonder, “Why in the world haven’t I been making this all along!?” That’s how I feel about shortbread. For some reason, I’ve never made shortbread cookies until this year – but now, I’m completely hooked. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve quickly baked (and eaten) enough of these buttery, sweet, crumbly cookies to make up for all the years they’ve been missing from my kitchen.

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A Jackson Hole Journey + Adventure-Style Cocoa

A Jackson Hole Journey + Adventure-Style Cocoa - offbeat + inspired

One of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring adventures I’ve ever been on happened about 2 months ago in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Before I get into all the details, watch this highlight video! (I am SO excited to share this with you guys…)

How it all came together is kind of surreal, so I’ll try to keep that part brief without leaving anything out. The Jeep brand had been on the hunt for a few social media influencers to bring out to Jackson Hole to experience the mountains and the community, all from behind the wheel of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. Of course they wanted us to get to know the vehicle itself, but the whole thing was supposed to be more about an adventure. One that created memories and stories — the kind we would take with us and share over and over again. So when they initially reached out to me and asked what things I would anticipate doing in a setting like the Grand Tetons, this was me.

In that moment, I dreamed up my ideal visit to Jackson Hole.

Keep reading!

Homemade Butterbeer + A Trip to the Wizarding World

Homemade Butterbeer + A Trip to the Wizarding World - offbeat + inspired

Confession! I was SUPER late to the Harry Potter party. When the movies first came out, I was actually kind of annoyed by all the hype. I refused to see them in theaters and avoided family movie nights once they were out on DVD. I couldn’t even put my finger on why I was so against HP because I had no idea what the story was even about. But after all the buzz died down, I watched the first one…and was hooked.

All of my siblings love Harry Potter, so watching with them was a lot of fun. There’s so much to love about the story, the characters, the entire world they created. Before I digress into all the spiritual and philosophical parallels that really get me going, I’ll skip to the part where I got to visit Universal Orlando’s “Wizarding World of Harry Potter“, and experienced the BUTTERBEER. Cue heavens opening, angels singing…

Keep reading!