Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard something about the cupcake craze that’s been sweeping the nation for the last few years. Chances are, if you have a sweet tooth, you’ve even checked out one (or many) of the specialty cupcake shops opening in cities around the country. I’m not sure how you feel about all of this, but I’m definitely a fan. To me, cupcakes are adorable, conveniently wrapped, individual servings of sugary nostalgia.

It used to be that my definition of a cupcake was plain cake topped with plain frosting – and maybe some sprinkles to make it fancy. While that definition still works, the new specialty cupcake shops have upped the ante when it comes to describing the perfect cupcake. Exotic flavors, unusual fillings, and artful decorations are becoming more and more common in the cupcake world.

After having sampled my fair share of gourmet store-bought cupcakes, I have begun to create my own at home. I’ve already told you about my forays into the fancy cupcake world with chocolate peanut butter truffle cupcakes and black bottom cupcakes. I also have a whole file of cupcake recipes just waiting to be baked, but I’m trying to pace myself… you know, so I live long enough to try them all.

Last weekend, in honor of my friend’s birthday, I decided to try one of the more elaborate cupcake recipes in my “to bake” file. I presented my friend with four different options, and let her choose her sugary pleasure. Much to my delight, she chose a recent addition to my list – chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. That’s right. Chocolate Chip. Cookie Dough. Cupcakes. Go ahead and wipe the drool off your keyboard… I’ll wait.

You should not, however, wait to try these cupcakes. Imagine rich, brown sugar-chocolate chip cake. Filled with egg-less (i.e. safe to eat) chocolate chip cookie dough. Topped with cookie dough butter cream frosting and mini chocolate chips. These cupcakes are a cookie dough lover’s dream.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you these cupcakes do take awhile to make. They have several steps, but each of them is pretty simple. If you’re anything like me, you’ll make a huge mess in your kitchen, but it will be worth it when you see the finished cupcakes. They are cute to look at and taste incredible. Hopefully your friends will like them as much as mine did.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Adapted from Annie’s Eats


For the Cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

For the Filling:
4 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 T. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For the Frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3 T. whole milk
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For Decoration:
Mini chocolate chips
Mini chocolate chip cookies (optional)

For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition if needed.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix each addition until just combined. Stir in the vanilla and then fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop an equal amount of batter into each cupcake liner. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and let them cool completely on wire cooling racks.

For the Filling:
In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To Fill the Cupcakes:
Use a small, sharp knife to cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake.

Fill each hole with a small ball of the chilled cookie dough. (You will likely have some cookie dough leftover. Keep it in the fridge and you can munch on it for a few days!)

For the Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Mix in the flour and salt until smooth. Mix in the milk and vanilla until very smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and decorate them with mini chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookies, if desired.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

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