snickers cupcakes

at work, we’ve had candy bowl for a few years now and it’s gone from one co-worker to the next as each left our office.  i have the candy bowl right now and i do my best to keep it full with a variety of chocolate and fruity candy.  fortunately, costco has great deals on variety bags of candy, so it’s not too expensive to keep the bowl well stocked.

having the candy bowl in my office is a great way to get a gauge on what kind of candy people like.  by far, the candy that runs out the quickest and is the most frequently requested is snickers.

so i thought that making a cupcake inspired by a snickers candy bar would be perfect for january birthday treats.  i did some research online and everyone makes their snickers cupcakes a little differently.  some actually bake a fun size snickers into a chocolate cupcake, while others fill their cupcake with pieces of snickers covered in caramel.  some use chocolate frosting and others use caramel frosting.

my version is a chocolate cupcake filled with peanuts and caramel, topped with fluffy peanut butter buttercream, and decorated with a drizzle of caramel sauce and half a snack size snickers.

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twix cupcakes

yes this is real life… i did it.  this is a twix cookie/candy bar turned into a cupcake.  twix has to be one of my absolute favorite chocolate candy bars.  it would either be twix of reese’s.  but today we are going to focus on my love for twix.

as you all know, i make birthday treats for my coworkers every month.  typically whosever birthday it is picks what kind of cupcakes they want to have for birthday treats.  my birthday was this month and our other august birthday said that i could pick what kind of cupcake i made.  how nice!

i had been wanting to try to make a twix cupcake for a long time so this was the perfect opportunity.  i love twix, it’s my birthday, i do what i want.  🙂  i also had some leftover vanilla bean caramel sauce from the caramel apple cheesecake bars i made recently, so it all worked out wonderfully!  this twix cupcake has all of the flavors of a twix bar – it’s a chocolate cupcake with a shortbread cookie crust, topped with vanilla bean caramel swiss meringue frosting, decorated with a piece of twix and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

this cupcake is totally decadent and quite sweet but it is still soooo good.  plus very slight saltiness in the crust and buttercream help balance the sweetness a little bit.  still enjoy this cupcake with a big glass of milk and you are good to go.

yay!  happy birthday to me

and my fellow august birthday!

these twix cupcakes start with the shortbread cookie crust.  i just adapted the shortbread crust i used for the lilikoi (passion fruit) bars i made a couple months ago.  first cream together the butter and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer.

then add the flour and salt.  mix until they are just combined.  the mixture will be a little crumbly.

perfect.

divide the crust among 30 lined cupcake cups.  i ended up using just about 1 tablespoon of dough per a cupcake.

then use a pastry tamper or your fingers to press the mixture into an even layer.

repeat until all of the crusts are formed.

then bake the shortbread cookie crusts for 8-10 minutes.  i freaked out when i took the crusts out at this point because they puffed up in the oven and then deflated when i took them out.  eeeeek!  but then i realized it just created a nice little well for the cake batter so i crossed my fingers, carried on, and hoped for the best.

now make the chocolate cake batter.  i used my all time favorite chocolate cupcake.  it’s the hershey’s perfect chocolatey cake recipe and it is divine.  fill each cupcake cup until it is 3/4 full.

bake the cupcakes for 22-25 minutes and then allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.  oh and i ended up having some extra cake batter so i made 6 crustless cupcakes.  chris was happy because he loves these chocolate cupcakes, no extras (frosting, crust, etc.) needed.

now for the vanilla bean caramel swiss meringue buttercream.  i made caramel swiss meringue buttercream before for the toffee crunch cupcakes.  this version has just a bit more caramel to bump up the caramel flavor.  i also love the little black specks of the vanilla bean.  either one would do.  also, you could just buy some caramel sauce – no judgement here 🙂

start with the swiss meringue buttercream base.

then add the caramel sauce.

mix well and the vanilla bean caramel swiss meringue buttercream is ready.

pipe some buttercream on each cupcake.  i used a large round tip to do this.  then cut up some fun size twix bars…

and top each cupcake with a piece of twix.

but wait!  they look like of plain don’t they?  i think they do.  what will spruce them up a little bit?  i think a nice drizzle of caramel sauce will do the trick.

yup!  much better!

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salted caramel brownies

tammy and i had another awesome cooking and baking day this past weekend.  i absolutely love when we cook and bake together.  everything just works out much better than if i’m doing it by myself.  go team!

usually it takes us forever to figure out what we are going to make but this time it was surprisingly quick.  tammy found these salted caramel brownies and a broccoli cream pesto both from smitten kitchen.  i was so excited when she suggested that we make these brownies because i also saw them on smitten kitchen recently and wanted a reason to make them.  perfecto!

these brownies are beyond decadent – the rich brownie dotted with delicious ooey gooey caramel.  however, i love that it includes a nice amount of salt in both the brownies and caramel to help ease the sweetness.  still, enjoy one with a big glass of milk and you will be in heaven.

the salted caramel brownies start with the salted caramel.  this is probably the easiest caramel i have ever made and i think it will be my go to recipe.  though, you can’t deny the greatness of this salted vanilla bean caramel or this vanilla bean caramel sauce.  still this one makes the perfect amount and comes together super quickly.  first put some sugar in a medium saucepan over medium high heat…

and allow it to melt, stirring occassionally.

until it’s a nice amber color.

remove the pot from the heat and then add the butter.  be careful it will bubble up quite a bit.

stir until the butter is mostly melted and incorporated and then add the cream and salt.

return the pot to the heat and cook for a few more minutes.

now pour the caramel onto a plate that is lined with parchment paper sprayed with a little cooking spray.

beautiful caramel – side note: on my goodness the caramel smelled so so so good!

then put the plate of caramel into the freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up.

while the caramel is cooling, make the brownies.  start by melting unsweetened chocolate and butter in a double boiler.

once the butter and chocolate is melted and combined,

take the bowl off the heat and add the sugar…

and the eggs 1 at a time.  next add the vanilla and sugar.  mix until combined.

finally, add the flour.

the brownie batter is now ready.

once the caramel is set cut it into pieces.  tammy and i most definitely snuck in a few taste tests to make sure the caramel was just right 😉

then stir in the caramel pieces into the brownie batter – but be sure to reserve a few so you can sprinkle them on top.

pour the batter into an 8×8 pan that is lined with parchment paper and sprayed with a little cooking spray.  then top the brownie batter with your reserved caramel pieces.

bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.  you can speed up the cooling process by putting the brownies in the freezer which is exactly what we did because we couldn’t wait to try them out.  the smell of chocolate and caramel was killing us!  we cut the brownies into 16 squares but they could definitely be smaller because the brownies are quite intense.

time to eat!

please hop on over to smitten kitchen for the recipe.

caramel mocha cupcakes

my name is miki and i am addicted to coffee.

i need to have coffee every single morning or i just can’t function for the rest of the day.  it’s pretty sad how reliant i am on it.  it’s actually probably more unhealthy than anything.  oops!  but not only do i need the caffeine from coffee, i also love the taste of coffee.

usually i just have coffee from our office’s keurig machine (or on the weekends i make just plain simple coffee), but sometimes for a treat i will go to the campus starbucks and get a caramel macchiato.  they are my favorite!!!  i love the pairing of caramel and coffee together.  yum!  so this is kind of what inspired this caramel mocha cupcake.  though i don’t drink caramel mochas often i added chocolate because it goes so well with caramel and coffee.  perfecto!

this may be one of my favorite cupcakes.  it’s a chocolate cupcake with espresso swiss meringue buttercream, topped with vanilla bean caramel sauce and fudge sauce.  the espresso swiss meringue buttercream is the best part – it’s super coffee-y, silky, and just like how the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream tasted like strawberry ice cream, this espresso buttercream tastes like coffee ice cream.  i love coffee ice cream!

the espresso swiss meringue buttercream is flavored with instant espresso dissolved in a little bit of water.

then just add the concentrated espresso once the buttercream is just about done.  mix and mix until it’s well combined.  then pipe the espresso swiss meringue buttercream on a batch of chocolate cupcakes.

now comes the vanilla bean caramel sauce.  i actually tried a new way to make caramel sauce that combines the caramel sauce and vanilla bean caramel sauce recipes i’ve used before.  i really like it because it has the additional flavor of the vanilla bean but i didn’t have the issue of it becoming too thick like i did before.  yay!

  

for the recipe for the hot fudge sauce, please visit my hot fudge sauce post.

when your sauces are ready (it’s best to make the sauces ahead of time since they take some time to cool), drizzle them onto each cupcake.  also another good tip is to use squeeze bottles to drizzle the sauces on.  makes it super easy!

  i started with the caramel sauce.

  

then i drizzled on the fudge sauce.  just make sure the fudge sauce isn’t too hot, otherwise it will melt the buttercream.

and the caramel mocha cupcakes are done!

i know the recipe looks long and kind of intimidating.  but if you do it in a few steps, it’s totally do able.  make the sauces the night before, then bake the cupcakes and make the buttercream the next day.  not too bad right?  plus it’s totally worth it once you take a bite of this caramel mocha cupcake 🙂

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toffee crunch cupcakes

when i was younger, my mom used to make this amazing toffee chocolate cake chocolate pudding cool whip dessert.  okay that’s totally a long name cause i don’t really remember what it’s called.  maybe it was heath trifle or something like that?  i’m not sure.  either way though, it was so so yummy.  there were layers of chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, cool whip, and crushed up heath or score bars.  sounds good right?

when i first saw these cupcakes on annie’s eats, i immediately thought of my mom’s dessert and wanted to make a batch.  i adapted the recipe a bit using my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and altered the caramel swiss meringue buttercream to use caramel bits instead of homemade caramel sauce because i was feeling a little lazy and crunched for time.  oops!  still they look just like the annie’s and taste delicious!

this cupcake starts with a chocolate cupcake and then topped with a ring of chocolate ganache covered in toffee bits.  finally it’s frosted with a silky smooth caramel swiss meringue buttercream.  i was a little worried about the toffee bits staying crunchy because annie did mention that it would probably be best to make the cupcakes the same day you plan to serve them because the toffee bits will get soggy.  fortunately, even though i made the cupcakes the night before the toffee stayed sufficiently crunchy by the next day when i brought them in to the office for june birthday treats.  phew!

although quite rich, these toffee crunch cupcakes are absolutely scrumptious!  they got eaten up quickly by my coworkers and there were very few leftovers at the end of the day, which is always a good indication of the success of a cupcake recipe.  hope you try them soon!  you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

first, bake up some chocolate cupcakes.  while they cool, make the ganache by heating up some cream and then pour it into a medium bowl with the chocolate chips.  next add the butter tablespoon, by tablespoon.

  

once the ganache is smooth, it needs to cool a bit before it’s thick enough to be piped onto the cupcake.  so put in the fridge for a bit, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes until it’s thick enough to pipe onto the cucpakes.

  

once it’s nice and thick, put the ganache into the piping bag fitted with a medium sized round tip.  then pipe a ring of ganache on each cupcake.

then dip the top of the cupcake into a bowl of toffee bits making sure to cover the ganache with lots of toffee!

so it looks like this!

repeat until all the cupcakes have a lovely ring of ganache and toffee…

now it’s time for the caramel swiss meringue buttercream – probably my favorite part of the cupcake.  first make the caramel sauce using caramel bits and some heavy cream.  if you can’t find caramel bits, just use some unwrapped caramel squares instead.  you could also make your own if you’re feeling ambitious.  this is my favorite caramel sauce recipe.

  

once the caramel has cooled to room temperature, continue making the buttercream.  for step by step pictures of how to make swiss meringue buttercream, visit this post.  finally, using a piping bag fitted with a closed star tip, pipe the caramel swiss meringue buttercream into the center of the cupcake, filling the ganache ring.

and you’re done!

even though it’s already july…

happy birthday to our june birthdays!!!

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