Favorite Cupcake Alert!

I got home kind of late last night and bed looked too comfy to make myself stay up.  I had a fun evening, though!  The recipe for the cookie dough balls will be posted eventually (I’d love to get into homemade ice cream and make homemade cookie dough, but I think I’ll wait until spring).I still don’t really “get” wine but I definitely like some better than others, and i learned which red wines I like all right and which ones I hate and why (it’s all about tannins, yucky yucky tannins).  I tried one that tasted like cherries, that one was pretty good.  I also won as a door prize a beautiful handmade wood cutting board, made by the host of the party.  Hello, new food photo backdrop!

There really isn’t much to say about this recipe other than it’s my absolute favorite, and it’s really easy and fun to make.  The topping of chocolate candy is a way to cover up the fact that I don’t really know how to make frosting, but anything very dark chocolate would work great on top.  Probably nothing too fluffy…I’ll have to learn how to make frosting sometime and will replace the candy once I figure something out.  Definitely open to suggestions on that front.

The mellocreme pumpkins on top are purely decorative and I don’t care if people eat them or not, but I think they’re the best way to convey the message “oh hi, we’re just some pumpkin cupcakes, yup, cupcakes that taste like delicious pumpkin, that’s what we are.”  The Halloween wrappers are highly recommended – I usually only make these cupcakes in October.  They could also be a fun Thanksgiving treat with different decorations.

This was originally a cake recipe and ends up making about 30 cupcakes in total.  Sometimes I make the full 30 and sometimes I make 24 and a small cake in a lightly greased Pyrex dish.  Also, they look like muffins, all foldy and cracky on top, instead of cute, smooth, cupcakey little domes.  Don’t trust them.  One taste and you’ll be all, “oh yeah, that’s CAKE.”

Candy-Topped Pumpkin Cupcakes

Hi! I'm a friendly, lonely cupcake!  Yup, just me here!
Hi! I'm just a friendly cupcake, all by my lonesome! Nobody here but me!

1&1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1&1/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3&1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger (use the powdered kind to keep the cupcakes velvety smooth)

1 12 oz. bag dark chocolate chips (I generally use Hershey’s Special Dark, but you could use any dark chocolate chips or bars)

24-30 mellocreme pumpkins

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars, then mix in the eggs and pumpkin.  Add flour without mixing it in, then add the rest of the ingredients on top.  Mix everything together until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.  Pour into paper-lined cupcake pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a fork inserted in one comes out clean (it’s ok to stick the fork in one of the cracks that will form on top, since you’ll be completely covering that with the candy shell).  Cool completely – refrigerating if necessary is fine, but I don’t know how well these will handle the freezer yet.  Leaving them out overnight with a loose covering of saran wrap is fine, too.

Once the cupcakes are at or below room temperature, melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, stirring constantly.  When the chocolate is melted smooth, use a spoon to carefully coat the tops, spreading it around slightly.  Top each one with a mellocreme pumpkin and place the decorated cupcakes on a baking sheet or several plates – whatever will fit in your fridge.  The chocolate will have re-hardened in about 20 minutes.  Transfer them to a covered container, or cover with plastic wrap for shorter periods of time.

What...oh...we're just two friendly cupcakes...heh...
What...oh...we're just two little cupcakes...heh...that's what we are...

These don’t taste overly “chilled” if served straight from the fridge, and stay consistently moist even after a few days.  I have never needed to freeze any since I have plenty of people to which I give cupcakes, so I don’t know how well they’d stand up to that.  If you needed to freeze them for awhile, it might not be a bad idea to just freeze the cakes plain and then top them when needed.

Greeting, puny human.  BOW to our pumpkiny cupcakitude!
Greetings, puny human. BOW to our pumpkiny cupcakitude!

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