As I posted the other day on my Instagram feed, snow has already fallen on our home in Michigan signaling the beginning of the winter season. Upon waking up and seeing my green grass now a bleak white, I immediately felt the sensation of the holidays come over me and all of my favorite things about the season popped into my head: hot chocolate, warm blankets, fuzzy sweaters, the smell of pine, the smell of fresh baked cookies! I was ready to start savoring them all.
Isn’t it funny how many of our favorite memories are tied to scent? For me, when I imagine something from my childhood, take Christmas for example, I remember the smell of fresh baked sugar cookies with the sweet scent of homemade frosting. You see, my mom (still to this day) bakes up batches and batches of these cookies every year for Christmas and either gives them away to friends and neighbors or sets them out for guests at her holiday parties.
When I was little, I remember sitting at the counter to watch her bake these famous cookies. She would always say “Now don’t you eat these, these are for our guests.”, (terrible words to tell a child) but as soon as she would turn away I would sneak a quick lick of the frosting. I would then sneak a cookie from the tupperware container she stored them in later on during the night and another on my way out the door to school in the morning. By the time my mothers dinner party guests would arrive a few days later, there would be nothing left but a few cookies missing their heads and arms and a couple of leftover crumbs. 🙂
It is always funny to me how many memories can be brought back to life in my head with just a little whiff of a scent. This may be the reason why I love to fill my home with the new holiday line of Febreze scents. Each one of the holiday scents such as Frosted Pine, Apple Tart, Toasted Almond, Vanilla Latte, and Sugared Cranberry reminds me of something.
So today, in honor of the first snowfall of winter and all of my favorite holiday things, I decided to bake up one of my holiday favorite; hot cocoa cupcakes. This cupcake takes two of my favorite things about winter and melts them into one.
Normally for cakes and cupcakes I like to bake from scratch, but today I used a boxed cake mix. So feel free to do whichever you like better. No judgement here.
1 box of milk chocolate cake mix (or homemade)
– plus whatever you need to make the mix (eggs, water, oil)
1 can of milk chocolate frosting (or homemade)
1 dozen regular sized marshmallows
mini marshmallow sprinkles
Begin by preparing your cake mix and filling cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full within a cupcake dish. Bake the cupcakes in the oven per directions on the box or from your recipe. Once the cupcakes are done cooking, remove them from the oven and carefully scoop out the centers.
Replace the center of the cupcake with a full sized marshmallow. If you do this while the cupcakes are still warm then the marshmallow will melt just a tad into the center of the cupcake. You can also place the cupcakes back into the oven for just a quick minute or two to help add to the gooey-ness. <–is that a word? Just be sure to keep an eye on them because the marshmallows will expand in the oven and make a huge mess if you leave them in for too long.