Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes (no, that is not a typo)

(Yes, "chocolate" is supposed to appear in there twice)

As I mentioned in my post about heating cores, I have had a lot of baking going on lately, and this Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake was one of the test-runs for cupcakes I wanted to make for Alex's coworkers. Versions of this particular recipe had shown up on several blogs I read, and it sounded amazing, but it was also one of those recipes where it sounded like a lot could go wrong. This meant I couldn't just bring it in to work (my normal go-to for extra desserts... and by "extra," I mean "must-get-out-of-the-house-so-I-don't-eat-800-pounds-of-chocolate-by-myself"), because my co-workers, they are like locusts.

And not very discerning locusts.

They eat EVERYthing.

And they are always very, very nice and complimentary, which makes me FEEL great, but that's bad when you are trying out a new recipe. I need real, unadorned feedback (like "Too much allspice in the carrot cake" -- thanks, Rick, a friend from my 20s-and-30s church group), and I just don't get that with my coworkers.

So I borrowed my aforementioned church group, as we were having a conveniently timed potluck dinner Saturday night. (Also, "20s and 30s" are really very loosely defined parameters for this group. It really should be something more like "we like playing drunk croquet, all ages welcome if you bring wine" group.) They are always honest with me, while also being very nice (for the most part....hi, Bert.... :)

They LOVED these cupcakes. And I loved these cupcakes. And I'm planning them for all things going forward, though they are a little more time-consuming than just plain bake-and-frost cupcakes.

My version for these consisted of three parts: the inner cookie dough filling, the outer chocolate cupcake, and the cookie dough icing. For the two cookie dough bits, I borrowed the recipe from this post at Recipe Girl. I've seen a lot of versions of these and for several reasons (which included being low on flour at the time), I decided hers sounded like the best. (If you're still concerned about my flour situation, don't be -- I overreacted as per usual and stockpiled from Sam's Club with a hefty 10-pound bag. I hate running out of things. Alex says he hates my stockpiling, but he appreciates it when he runs out of Saran wrap and I reveal the bulk pack I've been hoarding.)

I did, however, decide to do a dark chocolate cupcake because I felt like a regular milk chocolate would be too sweet with all the cookie dough going on. [Side note: What I have found about dark chocolate cake is that nobody realizes it's dark chocolate (even those who HATE dark chocolate). They just know it isn't that overwhelming sweet taste that regular chocolate cake can be.] I would link to the recipe here, but it's one I printed out forever ago and I can't find it online and my print-out is at home. So, experiment amongst  yourselves, I would imagine there are all sorts of good dark chocolate recipes out there. Yes, it is a pain to melt the chocolate down instead of just dumping cocoa powder into a bowl, but it is worth it, I promise!

Please also note, both cookie dough parts to this recipe are egg-free, which means you don't have to worry about people dying of raw eggs. This has never been a concern of mine while eating raw steps in baked goods, but I understand others worry about food poisoning and salmonella far more than I do, so egg-free it is. 

So here we go with the cupcakes. First, the filling:

You make up the filling as per the recipe below and then scoop it out into little balls of dough, and then (this is IMPORTANT, do not skip this step!) you must freeze them for 30 minutes. If you don't do this, they will not stay dough-y during the baking, and will get all hard inside. Bleh.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Cookie dough filling : In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to stir together the butter, sugars, milk and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Scoop out dough and place it on a cookie sheet.

Stick them on a cookie sheet and freeze at least 30 minutes. During this time, I have found you can start preheating your oven and begin mixing the cupcake batter. Do NOT think (like me) that you are going to be all efficient and go ahead and make the icing ahead of time as well. I will explain in a minute, but just trust me and hold off on the icing for now.

So! You can go ahead and fill your cupcake liners with batter (I found halfway up worked best), and 30 minutes later, the dough balls come out of the freezer.

 Take each somewhat-frozen cookie dough ball and push it down into the middle of the cupcakes, like so:

This will puff up the batter around the dough balls. Now, if you are using a cupcake recipe that normally bakes up with a flat top (like the one we used for Marie's cupcakes), then you want to cover your little dough thingies with a little bit of batter. My dark chocolate recipe bakes up with a domed top, however, so I didn't worry about it and it will bake up and cover the dough, so it looks just like a regular cupcake.

Also, I don't know if it can be attributed to the frozen dough or to the aluminum liners I used, but the cupcakes took a bit longer than that recipe normally does. So be forewarned. You want to be able to stick your toothpick into the very edge of the cupcake (not the dough center) to check for done-ness. (Not a word. I don't care.)

So, no in-between picture here (I was in a rush and I forgot again), but after I took the cupcakes out of the oven and they were cooled, I then made the icing and put it into a frosting bag with a pretty icing tip.

DO NOT MAKE THE ICING EARLY. The first time I made this recipe, I worried it would get all soft and squishy while waiting for the cupcakes to first bake and then to cool, so I made it and then put it in the fridge. It was rock-hard and I had to let it sit at room temp for FOREVER to get soft enough to smush out (this is the technical term) of the icing tip.

The second time, I made it and left it sitting out, thinking it would stay soft. But even though it was in an icing bag plus a cover on the icing tip, it STILL set up and began to harden, like buttercream left to air-dry. I had to put that version in the microwave a couple of times to get it workable. (Which was a pain because then I had to take the metal icing tip off to put it in there so nothing would light on fire. Safer, but super-annoying.)

ANYWAY. Learn from my mistakes and make the icing right before you need it. It doesn't take very long, I swear, and you will actually make things take longer as you try to figure out how to get it soft enough to smush out (still the technical term) of the icing bag without crippling your hands.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cookie dough frosting: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour, milk and vanilla and continue to mix until all is well combined.

Then, ice your now-cooled cupcakes and garnish with a few more mini chocolate chips.

The center filling will bake slightly around the edges but remain dough-y on the inside, and it is a WONDERFUL taste surprise when you bite in and get the filling.

My friends from the church group were really taken with this recipe.

(Quotes from various group members --
Eric: "It has ruined all future cupcakes for me." 
Charles: "If ever there were proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, it's these cupcakes!" 
And no, that was not all the drunk-croquet talking.)

I recommend you try your hand at these. They are truly amazing. 

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