Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating
Let’s start by discussing the cuteness of these cupcakes? Those bats? I mean really. Getting down to Halloween biz is probably my favorite thing to do. The colours, spookiness, cobwebs and let’s not forget the CANDY....oh come on people!
These little cupcakes have been driving me “batty” all year long on Pinterest. I have seen a ton of them on there and really wanted to incorporate them onto my favorite dark chocolate cupcake recipe that is most likely as ancient as I am.
And those candy eyes? I ran around on Friday night to 4 stores to find them. The local bulk food store was sold out. The supermarkets were sold out. Clearly there is a shortage of eyeballs in the city and something needs to be done about this.
It was a long week and I’m running around the city looking for EYEBALLS? Now I know that I have completely lost it.
Lo and behold, I found them at the market that was CLOSEST to my house. I have no idea why I didn’t go there in the first place. Sheesh.
So I gathered all my ingredients, baked up these deliciously dark, rich and espresso spiked cupcakes and then it was time to decorate them.
I had an idea....which wasn't such a good one.
First I called in the troops to help. Okay, maybe not the troops. Just one of the troopers. My husband Steve. Who is very very good with a knife and lately MY camera. Now that's scary.
So here was my idea. I thought hmmmmm, wouldn't it be cool to make spider webs from melted marshmallows? Well? Wouldn't it? Uh no.
Epic Epic and super deduper Epic Fail. I tried to string it all over the cupcakes and this was the result. Those are my hands by the way. I had him shoot this overhead for an "instructional effect", which as you can see wasn't really instructional except for the fact that the real spiderwebs looks better than the marshmallow ones, so we moved on to the bats.
He carefully cut those bat wings, broke a few, ate a few, dropped a few, but in the end I had 24 beautiful wingies to put on these cupcakes. Then it was time to “glue” on the eyes, but first I needed to open the package. Quick question. Why do they make packages IMPOSSIBLE TO OPEN? WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I tried to be calm but ended up wielding a pair of scissors in my hand and had to cut around the edge of the packaging to break it open. This, of course, resulted in flying eyeballs everywhere. Did I need this? No.
Now I had to set the mood. Out came all my Halloween decorations, including my spiderwebs which became a wonderful attraction for the cat. Those webs ended up sticking to everything in sight including her. Not my idea of a fun time.
It was worth it and these cupcakes? Well, my mom said they are the best she’s ever eaten and she knows her stuff.
Oh, and I didn’t stop with these cupcakes. I made another easy Halloween treat that can’t be beat because I had leftover eyeballs that I needed to use in something. Going to share it with you next week. Stay tuned.
1 cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ¾ teaspoon baking powder ½ cup hot milk or boiling water (the milk will give this a really rich texture) ⅓ cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder or regular instant is fine too ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small cubes 2/3 cup sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla 2 x-large eggs
The Dark Chocolate Buttercream 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks (softened) ⅔ cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa 2½ cups icing sugar 1 tbls pure vanilla extract ¼ cup + 2 tbls milk, almond, soy or water (room temperature)
The BATS 12 Oreo cookies – and a bunch more because you are going to break some like we did! 1 tube of white icing for the “glue” – you can make your own but this was way easier to pipe on. Store bought candy eyes
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin or spray a non-stick one very well. (or a 24 mini muffin tin will work too) Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Set aside. In another bowl whisk hot milk or boiling water, cocoa powder and espresso powder together until dissolved. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar until well combined. Add vanilla and egg to the butter/sugar mix and continue to beat until well combined and slightly creamy.
Add the flour mix to the butter mix and beat until well combined (Here’s trick for this treat, quickly mix in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula first, then continue to beat with the stand mixer. That way you don’t have the entire mixture explode all over your counter AND your head like I have done MANY TIMES! Add the chocolate/water mix and continue to beat until well combined. Distribute the batter among muffin tins. I used an ice cream scoop and it was really the best thing ever. (The batter will make 12 regular size cupcakes or 24 minis).
Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. For the Buttercream Icing In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. While the butter is mixing, sift together the powder sugar and cocoa powder. Once the butter is light and fluffy, add the sifted cocoa and sugar with vanilla extract, then with 2-3 tbls of milk at a time. Check for consistency and if needed add in the additional 2 tbls of milk. You want a nice spreadable icing, not too stiff or loose. Place in piping bag if desired and decorate cooled cupcakes.
The BATS To assemble: Twist open cookies and scrape out the white filling Cut or break each cookie in half, these are your two wings (each cookie will give you 4 wings Stick two wings onto each cupcake. Dot a bit of icing onto the back of the candy eyes, stick them on and you’re done!