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!

Coffee + Maple Spiced Nuts

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In our house, we always have a dish of mixed nuts set out. I guess I figure that if I have that out as a snack, I’ll be less likely to head towards the pantry for a handful of chocolate chips. (Although, truth be told, it doesn’t always work.)

In anticipation of the holidays, I opted to spice (and sweeten) things up a bit. These mixed nuts are sweetened with maple syrup and tossed with a few of my favorite fall spices. Of course, I add coffee to pretty much anything I can, so there’s also a hint of freshly ground coffee that takes the flavor to the next level.

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Visiting Paris has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Seeing Julie & Julia for the first time dug the well a little deeper, but the thing that pushed me over the edge into trip planning mode was moving to Lexington, Kentucky. It’s not a coincidence that two of the three “Lexington Love” posts I’ve done so far have been about French/European-inspired eateries. There’s an atmosphere and an old-world charm built into a French crafted experience that just can’t be matched. Dozens of restaurants in this city have phenomenal food, trendy interior design, friendly hosts and personality that instantly turns first-timers into regulars — but Le Deauville French Bistro at 199 North Limestone makes you believe you’re actually in France.

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I’m a little obsessed with making flavor infused simple syrups (as evidenced by the excessive number of my recipes that include them in some form). The flavor combinations are endless and, in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest and most fun ways to add variety to drinks like iced tea, lemonade, cocktails and of course, coffee.

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Lemon + Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake-3

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Luckily, many breakfast foods are basically cake. Ergo, the most important meal of the day is cake. Flawless logic, right? I’m not quite sure how muffins, pancakes and coffee cake made the cut when it came to deciding which foods were socially acceptable to eat first thing in the morning, but hey, I’m not arguing.

This Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake has all the fixings of a decadent treat, but you can get away with enjoying it any time of day. It’s topped with buttery, sugary crumbles and has a layer of creamy and tart lemon curd. Fresh basil and lemon zest give it a bright pop of flavor that’s perfect for the summer months. It’s also made with whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt, so you can feel even better about eating cake for breakfast.

Keep reading!

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For the longest time, I didn’t consider myself much of a baker – the idea of having to measure turned me off. I generally have more of a “let’s throw in a little of this and a little of that until it tastes good” mentality.

Enter Joy The Baker. Joy has been sharing her kitchen creations for a while, but I just started following her regularly several months ago (what the heck was I waiting for?). Her witty, endearing writing makes you feel like you’re chatting over a cup of coffee and a plate of Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes, while her recipes have the power to induce spontaneous salivation. Coffee Bacon Sandwiches will be happening very soon in my kitchen, and Dark Chocolate, Pistachio + Smoked Sea Salt Cookies inspired my own cupcake version.

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Summer is officially here! That calls for fresh farmers’ market produce, backyard barbecues and, of course, cold drinks. I’ve shared before how to make smooth, full-flavored, cold-brew coffee for drinks like a caramel iced latte or coffee cocktail. While I love that method, it takes about 8-12 hours for the coffee to steep – and let’s face it…sometimes a craving for iced coffee hits when you don’t want to wait that long.

Keep reading!