GIANDUIA (CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT) CUPCAKES

Recipe courtesy of Judy's Kitchen (http://judyskitchen.blogspot.com)
Rating:  10 out of 10


INGREDIENTS: 
1 cup Gold Medal bread flour, whisked, then lightly spooned and leveled* 
1/2 tsp. baking soda 
1/4 tsp. Diamond kosher salt 
1/3 cup chopped Ghiradelli 32% cacao Milk Chocolate bar – 4 squares, 1.75 oz.** 
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Penzey’s natural hi-fat
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. hot coffee (
decaf is ok) 
1/2 cup room-temperature nonfat plain Green yogurt, preferably Fage.*** 
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil 
3/4 cup sugar 
2 large eggs, room temperature 
1 tsp. Spices, etc. hazelnut flavoring 
2 Tbsp. Frangelica or generic hazelnut liqueur 
About 1/3 jar Jif Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (or Nutella) to fill cupcakes 
One recipe Gianduia (Chocolate Hazelnut) Buttercream Frosting 
Toasted chopped hazelnuts for garnish 

*Bread flour makes a sturdier cupcake, but you may substitute unbleached all purpose flour if you prefer, for a slightly softer and lighter cupcake. 
**You may substitute 1/3 cup good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, if desired.  
***You may substitute regular sour cream for a richer, softer cupcake.  

Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and a 12-cup mini-muffin tin with paper liners.  Spray inside of liners with nonstick cooking spray, if desired.  Set oven rack to center position.  Heat oven to 325F.  

In medium bowl, sift together flour, soda and salt.  In small bowl, stir together chocolate, cocoa and coffee till smooth.  Set aside to cool.  In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, sugar, eggs, hazelnut flavoring and liqueur till smooth and well combined.  Whisk in cooled coffee/chocolate mixture.  Gently stir in flour mixture using spatula or spoon.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, using a scant tablespoonful for mini tins and about 3 Tbsp. each for standard tins.  Bake standard cupcakes 15-17 minutes, minis 10-12 minutes, or  till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool completely on wire rack.  

Using a cupcake corer, remove center of cupcakes.  (Cored pieces make great snacks with a dab of Jif and frosting.)  Fill each cupcake with  chocolate hazelnut spread.  Frost with Gianduia Buttercream Frosting, or add about 1/2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring and 1 Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur to your favorite chocolate frosting.  Sprinkle some toasted chopped hazelnuts over each cupcake, if desired. 

TIP:  The Cuisipro cupcake corer is available for about $5 online.  I purchased through Amazon.com with other items that were eligible for free shipping and paid no shipping charges.