What goes well with cupcakes? Cocktails! A girl’s best friend is diamonds but in baking it’s sweets & cocktails. Nothing kicks cupcakes into high gear like a splash of liqueur. There’s no need to hold out for happy hour with this sumptuous sweet–spoil yourself anytime of the day. As for the leftover liqueur? Play bartender with you friends

Hazelnut Creme Brulee Cupcakes

hazelnut cup

Yield: 24 cupcakes

3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks of butter)     3 eggs

2 1/2 c. flour                               2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt                                      1 3/4 c. sugar

2 T. hazelnut liqueur                 2 t. vanilla

1 c. milk                                         1/2 c. finely chopped, roasted hazelnut( filberts)

1. Recipe Vanilla- Hazelnut Frosting & Caramelized  sugar drizzle.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F . Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, & salt. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar,  continue beating  for 2 minutes stop the machine and scrap the sides. Add eggs one @ a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in liqueur & vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture & milk, ending with the dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the nuts.

3. Spoon the batter into prepared  muffin cups, filling each one three-quarters full. Use the back of the spoon to smooth out the batter.

4. Bake for 15-18 mins., or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on wire racks for 5 mins. Remove cupcakes & cool completely.

Vanilla-Hazelnut Frosting: Add to the mixing bowl 1/3 c. butter on low-speed gradually add  1 c. of confectioners’ sugar, beating well. beat in 2 T. milk, 1 T. Hazelnut liqueur, & 1 t. vanilla. Gradually add 3 c. confectioners’ sugar. Beat in additional milk (3-4 t.) until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Makes 2 cups, You can spread or pipe the frosting onto cupcakes.

Caramelized Sugar Drizzle:  In a large skillet cook 1/3 c. sugar over low heat until sugar starts to melt (don’t let it burn) look for a caramel color, shaking skillet occasionally about 5 minutes. stir with a wooden spoon, remove from heat. Immediately drizzle with sugar mixture over frosted cupcakes & optional sprinkle with fresh or dry nutmeg.                 Happy Baking!