Saturday, October 6, 2012

Leftover Halloween Candy Cupcakes

So, when I say take all of your left over Halloween candy and dump it into cake batter, you're thinking over kill, right? Sugar overload? Chocolate coma? Cause you were going to throw all that out, right? You were never going to eat it, right?  Of course not. But you can bake with it. And this means you can have your cake and eat candy too! Brilliant! As it turns out, this is another good use for my family's yearly Monster Munch...left over candy chopped up for gourmet caramel apples and found by my grown children to be a new food group.

I have several versions of cupcakes. All are my favorites, so I couldn't choose. White cake, chocolate, marble, German chocolate, yellow, you name it. It works. Now chose you icing... a chocoholic's dream of fudge and crumbles, pistachio and chocolate sprinkles, caramel, vanilla and chocolate coffee bean ganache with a walnut. Okay, you get the idea. Go crazy with this. Just remember you can only do this ONCE a year, so get the milk ready...and get your sweet on...

You want to take this stuff, unwrap it and chop it. Don't crush it...just chop it up : ). Chop pieces little smaller than you would if you were making a cake.

1 box cake mix of your choice 
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups chopped, mixed Halloween candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. A boxed mix should yield 24 cupcakes. If you only have one pan you will have to bake in batches.

Mix all cake ingredients until fluffy. Add chopped candy and fold in by hand with spatula. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full using a measuring cup. Try to fill all wells with equal amounts of batter to make uniform cupcakes. 

Bake cupcakes for about 21 to 26 minutes, Test with a toothpick. Tops should spring back when done.
Cool cupcakes in freezer.

Now for the frostings:

Best Butter Cream
2 sticks of butter
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cream butter with mixer and add sugar slowly. When sugar is incorporated, add vanilla and slowly add cream. Beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add color or flavoring, if desired. Frost cupcakes when completely cool. Add sprinkles, toppers, etc.

For Chocolate frosting, Decrease sugar by 3/4 cup and add 1 cup coco powder and increase the cream one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.

For mocha frosting, Decrease sugar by 1/4 and add 3 to 4 tablespoons instant coffee, plus 1/3 cup of coco powder.

Caramel Frosting: (Click link for original recipe)

5 large egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup caramel sauce

In a double boiler over simmering water, add egg whites and sugar.  Whisk constantly until mixture is 150 degrees F.

Pour egg whites into the bowl of stand mixer. Whisk on medium speed until double in volume.
Cut butter into pieces and add to mix a piece at a time. Mix until smooth. This may take a while, but be patient. When mixture is smooth,  add salt, vanilla, caramel sauce and continue to mix.

Frost cupcakes.

Pistachio Frosting:

1 small package pistachio flavored instant pudding mix
1/2 cup milk
1 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, shelled and finely chopped, plus additional to garnish cupcake tops or sides.


Mix pudding and milk in medium bowl for about a minute. Fold in whipped topping and nuts.