These cupcakes are evidence of the fact that I shouldn’t buy Halloween candy until the day before the actual holiday. If there’s candy sitting in the house for weeks, one of two things is going to happen to it: I’m going to find something to bake with it, or I’m going to mindlessly snack on it. Either way, there will be no candy for the kids come Halloween. We stocked up on all kinds of goodies during a Target run a few weeks ago, and have already put quite a dent in the stash. Without question we’ll be back to buy more before the end of the month.
Truthfully, when I grabbed the fun-size Peanut Butter Snickers off the shelf, I knew they wouldn’t last until Halloween. I bought them with the intention of integrating them into these cupcakes, which I’d bookmarked on Annie’s site last year. Though I’m not a huge fan of the original Snickers, this peanut butter version is right up my alley. Chocolate, peanut butter, caramel – how could you not love them?
These cupcakes are the very definition of decadence. You start with a rich chocolate cupcake and fill it with a combination of caramel and chopped up Peanut Butter Snickers. The cupcakes are topped with a sweet caramel buttercream then garnished with more fun-size Peanut Butter Snickers and a drizzle of caramel sauce. As I mentioned, I was inspired by the version on Annie’s site, but I wound up using different recipes for the cupcakes and caramel. I tried the chocolate cupcakes from the Flour cookbook, which domed nicely and had a lot of chocolate flavor but I thought were maybe a tad on the dry side. We’ve already talked about the caramel sauce that I love. I did use the buttercream frosting from Annie’s site, and I thought it was terrific. It had a great consistency for piping and plenty of caramel flavor. I was really pleased with the finished cupcakes, they’re so cute! As you could probably guess, these cupcakes aren’t lacking in sweetness, but for me they were definitely worth the indulgence.
1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 oz (56 g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (30 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (80 g) water
1/2 cup (120 g) milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 14 fun-size Peanut Butter Snickers, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/6 cup caramel sauce
pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Additional fun-size Peanut Butter Snickers for garnish, if desired
To make the cupcakes: Line your cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Stir the chocolate and cocoa powder together in a medium heatproof bowl.
Add the sugar, butter and water to a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Pour this hot mixture over the chocolate-cocoa powder mixture and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the batter is smooth. Add the milk, egg, egg yolk and vanilla to the batter and whisk until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until incorporated. Let the batter rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature (or in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.
Make the caramel sauce using the link above (let it cool so it’s still workable, but not hot enough to melt the ingredients it’s combined with). To fill the cupcakes, first cut a cone from the center of each cupcake using a small paring knife. Combine the fun-size Peanut Butter Snickers with 3-4 tablespoons of the caramel sauce and toss to coat. Divide the filling among the holes cut in each cupcake.
To make the frosting: Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, or until very smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until well incorporated and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla, (cooled) caramel sauce and salt until incorporated. Add the heavy cream and beat on mediun-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake then top with additional fun-size Peanut Butter Snicker for garnish, and drizzle with additional caramel sauce, if desired.