4 Nov

Halloween Collage

Happy Monday!

How was your Halloween?

I hope it was full of lots of treats.

We had a very low-key situation at my house. I made a few little things just for us to enjoy.

I made popcorn balls for the first time and I figured why not go all out?

Go big or go home right?

Unless you’re already home and then, well… never mind.

I added white chocolate and mini m&m’s to them. Big hit. Big.

You should totally do that.

I also made Rice Krispies Treats and added Reese’s Pieces.

Holy yum.

That’s a game changer folks.

I’ll never make plain Krispies Treats again.

Unfortunately Cam was so sick that she couldn’t get off the couch for most of the evening. Once her Advil kicked in and brought her fever down below nuclear she was able to get her costume on but the poor thing never did eat or drink anything that I made.

Thank goodness for teenage boys. They never stop eating.

We only had two trick or treaters this year.

TWO.

I think we had about 1,173 of them last year.

And each of them wanted a piece to take home to their brother or sister or cousin or whoever so we blew through the candy in no time.

This year we had quite a bit left.

I’m assuming you probably have some lying around your house too.

You could totally just eat it as is (I’m a big fan of that method of candy disposal) or you could bake it in a cupcake!

candy cupcakes

I was going to post each of these cupcakes separately.

Then I realized that there was no reason to keep you guys in suspense like that.

That’s just rude.

So the plan was to get this post up the day before Halloween.

Then the little one came down with a raging case of strep and all bets were off.

She’s finally feeling better thanks to several doses of antibiotics and mostly back to her normal self. So I finally had time to finish up this post and get it out on the internets for you.

I just want to mention before we get into stuffing leftover Halloween candy inside of cupcakes, that you could totally apply this idea to cookies, brownies, regular sized cakes, Rice Krispies Treats, pies, homemade ice cream, popcorn balls, pretty much anything.

I’ve stuffed a lot of different kinds of candy (and cookies) into cupcake batter over the years and I can tell you that pretty much any candy (except for hard candy) works.

You can leave the candy whole or chop it up and fold it into your batter.

Fun-sized candy bars, caramels, Nerds, Pop-Rocks, Peanut Butter Cups, York Peppermint Patties, Reese’s Pieces, truffles, mini M&M’s, chocolate covered cherries, Hershey Kisses.

Been there. Done that.

And if I couldn’t stuff the candy inside of the cupcakes, I probably used it in the frosting or as decoration.

Candy that is flat and round, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and York Peppermint Patties work extremely well inside of a cupcake. Their shape ensures that you get candy in every bite!

A perfect example of this are the chocolate mint cupcakes I made for my Son’s 15th birthday.

What you see up there might look like an average, run of the mill cupcake. But looks can be very deceiving. I wish I had a picture to share with you of the inside of this cupcake because if I did, you would see a York Peppermint Pattie baked inside. The cake is chocolate with mint extract added, mint buttercream, and a Junior Mint on top.

My son loves the chocolate/mint combo so to him, this cupcake was perfection.

Alas, another cupcake that I don’t have an inside picture of to show you.

I can promise you that there is a big ‘ol Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup baked inside of it though.

I can also promise you that it was delicious.

This one was chocolate cake (with the peanut butter cup baked inside), peanut butter buttercream, and a mini peanut butter cup on top.

I think I made this one for a random Sunday a few years ago.

That’s more like it!

This cupcake has a chocolate truffle baked inside of vanilla cake. It was topped with chocolate buttercream, and drizzled with chocolate ganache.

You could just as easily add those tiny candy bars and get the same result.

This cupcake was a huge hit at my house.

Notice my official cupcake taster in the background anxiously waiting for me to hurry up and take the picture so she can eat it.

She loves her job. 😉

This was dulce de leche baked inside of a vanilla cake with dulce de leche buttercream on top.

I used dulce de leche straight from the can but you can also use regular caramels if you prefer. Those work just as well. I just like the creaminess and the deeper caramel flavor that you get from the canned stuff.

Wondering exactly how I made all of these yummy cupcakes?

Well get ready because I’m going to tell you.

Okay, now pay attention because here’s where it gets tricky.

Ready?

I filled my cupcake liners about halfway up with cake batter, then I laid the candy on top, and covered it with the rest of the cake batter.

That’s pretty much it.

Small candies like mini M&M’s, Pop-Rocks, and Nerds get mixed into the batter at the last-minute and then spooned into the cupcake liners.

For the dulce de leche cupcakes, I filled the cupcake liners about half of the way full with the batter, added a spoonful of the creamy caramel goodness, and then covered with more batter.

Ironically, the actual cake recipe doesn’t matter too much here. So just use one that you like. Boxed mixes work just as well as those made from scratch.

Just be sure to keep the cake flavor fairly neutral so that it doesn’t compete with the candy. Chocolate, vanilla, yellow cake, and strawberry are all good cake flavors to use.

I usually stick with a simple buttercream recipe and then jazz it up a bit with extracts, peanut butter, Laffy Taffy, caramel or dulce de leche – pretty much whatever I’m feeling at the time.

To make my favorite simple buttercream:

Cream two sticks of room temperature butter using a stand or hand mixer.

You really want the butter to be light and fluffy so beat the heck out of it for at least 2-3 minutes.

Add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar and two tablespoons of heavy cream. Yes, you can add milk but I really like the final texture you get as a result of using heavy cream.

Continue whipping the buttercream until it is light and fluffy.

Add a teaspoon of your favorite extract, any food coloring, and a teeny tiny pinch of salt if you used unsalted butter. Whip until completely incorporated.

If the buttercream seems to wet, add powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and whip until it is the consistency you want. If it is too dry, add milk or cream, a teaspoon at a time, and whip until it is the consistency you want.

Once the cupcakes are frosted, I like to add a little candy to the top of each cupcake. Just to give a little hint as to what might be inside.

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