Novice Baker Adventure #2: Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes

This next recipe I tried because I had a Giada phase. Her foods always looked so good and easy to make. Plus, I loved chocolate and was very curious about "mascarpone" cheese.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes
from Giada De Laurentiis (link to original recipe here)

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 (21-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small bowl combine the walnuts, 1 cup mini chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of the brownie mix. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the remaining brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Stir for 20 seconds until blended.
  4. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan (cupcake liners will be full).
  6. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the cupcakes comes out with moist fudgy crumbs.
  7. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting, about 30 minutes.
For the frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the cheeses together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and spreadable. Refrigerate the frosting until ready to use.
  2. Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes and garnish with the remaining mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature.
My Thoughts:

I loved the taste of the Mascarpone & Cream Cheese blended together. It is yummy yummy yummy. What I didn't like is that the 3 cups of powdered sugar was just too sweet and took away from the yumminess of the two cheeses blended together. I have a feeling the large amount of powdered sugar is to make this a good frosting on top. But, it was too sweet.

The second time I did this recipe, I look down the amount of powdered sugar and loved the frosting. I love the frosting so much, Josh & I sat by the bowl licking the frosting away. But - this had consequences. It was only good when it is cold. On the other hand, I like my cupcakes warm. Therefore, predicament. If I topped the cupcakes and put them in the fridge, I was going to end up with cold/ thawed cupcakes. If I didn't want to put the cupcakes in the fridge, I'd have to frost the cupcakes at the very last minute.

The other thing i haven't mentioned was that I'm not fond of the packaged brownie mix. Although good, it still tasted like packaged mix - a bit generic. Still, it was a good try.

Other things I learned was that I should mix the nuts / chocolate chips in the brownie mix so that they can remain suspended in the air. Yeah! That was a good tip!

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