Is it just me, or is there always one special neighbor who brings a plate of perfection to all the holiday gatherings.  They may not be wearing green elf-tights and sportin’ a fuzzy red hat, but they make you want to throw your hands in the air, lean your head back and yelp to the night air (like a Christmas geek) singing a very cheesy (very cool) rendition of “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town.”  It is the neighbor who’s plate makes your husband want to go to the church party. It is the plate that invokes an instant rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from teenage boys. It is the plate that makes mom hide in a closet with its contents and a bottle of eggnog. Okay. She might not take the eggnog.   It isn’t really Christmas until that plate shows up. Am I right? Well…today I’m your neighbor. We’re taking a trip to a wintry-fairyland. Be afraid…or excited. Either way, bring your tinsel toes. 

A few years ago I shared my mother’s Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe.  I come from a long line of red-velvet cake freaks-of-nature  enthusiasts. I have a sister who is now gluten-free and I honestly feel like she needs to be part of the party without feeling like she needs to ask if there is something there she can eat. She also can’t have a lot of higher-impact carbohydrates. So, this year, I’m bringing the evil divine cupcakes-o-glory. Auntie Em loves me for it. These are made with Honeyville Organic Coconut Flour. Have you ever seen this stuff?

It has a really fine texture and is outstanding for baking lower-carb and gluten-free cakes, cookies, and muffins. 

A little goes a long way. It is high in fiber and absorbs a lot of liquid. Generally I use about half as much as I would regular flour in my baking recipes. Unlike almond flour where the use of Xanthan gum is optional, I’ve found that I really need it with the coconut flour to get the texture I want. It is a personal preference. So far, I love it!

Chef Tess’ Gluten-Free Red Velvet Brownie Cupcakes 
with White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

1 cup high quality baking cocoa
1 cup Honeyville Organic Coconut Flour
2 tsp Xanthan gum
1 cup sugar or granular fructose
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 whole eggs (or 1/2 cup Honeyville Powdered Whole Eggs hydrated with 1 cup water)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or double strength vanilla
1T Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion (non-bitter red color and flavor emulsion, optional)
2 cups cool water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 2 standard cupcake pans (2 dozen each) and line with 18 cupcake papers. In a large bowl, combine cocoa, coconut flour, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir well. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Allow to sit 5 minutes. Divide between 18 cupcakes. Bake 350 degrees 25-30 minutes, until they spring back lightly when touched. 
Cool at least 1 hour in pan before removing. Cool completely before frosting. 

1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup white chocolate chips (gluten-free)
3-5 drops Natural Peppermint Oil

Melt white chocolate in a microwave safe container or double boiler until just melted, but not burned. Be careful. It should be lukewarm to the touch. Pour heavy cream and mint into the chocolate and combine well. It should be smooth but feel slightly warm. Transfer mixture to the fridge and chill about 30 minutes. It will be slightly thick. When chilled, transfer to an electric mixer and whip until thick and beautiful, 3-4 minutes. Pile the mousse into a cake decorating bag and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish cupcakes as desired. 

There you go!  Make some amazing cupcakes! Merry Christmas!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess