Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes (Red Velvet Style)


You guys might recognize these cupcakes. These perfect-for-Valentine's-Day cupcakes are indeed the same cupcakes that gave me fits. The first run was a disaster, this particular batch slid off the cooling rack, and I lost my cool multiple times. Anyone out there who thinks food blogging is glamorous because of all the pretty pictures, beware. There's a multitude of hair-pulling, slipper-throwing, fist-shaking, and oh-so-ugly pictures that come with the territory.

And there was plenty of all that during the making of these cupcakes.




My initial concept of these being a chocolate cupcake changed dramatically after the first batch. The red velvet crumbs from the Oreos just didn't stand up to the cupcake batter, and they got lost in there. The flavor was overwhelmed too. After the chocolate disaster, I changed my whole idea of the cupcake. Instead of Red Velvet Oreo Cupcakes, I decided to make a Cookies & Cream Cupcake- with Red Velvet Oreos. Boom! This idea was a winner.

Let's go over the basics of the recipe real quick-


I like room temperature ingredients for baking. I notice better rising, a more tender texture, and just an all-around better cupcake with warmed or softened ingredients. On days I plan on baking, I simply sit my ingredients out before I have my coffee. This gives the butter, eggs, and/or milk plenty of time to come to room temperature. 

If you don't have a couple of hours to sit the ingredients out, here's a couple of my tips-

•For eggs, place them in a glass of warm water for 1-2 minutes. Remove eggs from water and sit aside. They should be room temp after sitting in the warm water.

•For butter, I microwave in 10 second increments. After the first 10 seconds, press a fingertip in the butter. If an indentation is left, the butter is soft enough. If not, microwave for another 10 seconds. I find 20 seconds is always long enough for 1 stick of butter. In fact, sometimes 20 seconds is too long, and 15 seconds is the preferred amount of time. If you microwave your butter to soften it, I advise babysitting it very carefully. 

•Milk is kind of tricky. I usually put it in a glass and then place that glass in a large bowl or container of warm water. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes, and then remove glass from bowl. Sit aside until ready to use.

I've found that letting the products sit on the counter is always the best way to go, but in a pinch, I use my other shortcut techniques. 


You'll need Red Velvet Oreo's. You'll only need 1 package, but boy am I glad I bought 2 after destroying the first batch of cupcakes!


An Oreo cookie (the side that "takes" the cream) makes up the bottom of the cupcake. It's like a little crust. Plus, it looks just adorable. What to do with the other half of the Oreo? The one with no cream?


Smash it. These cookies will be added to the cake and frosting. Now, if you are going to frost by hand, you can leave your cookie crumbs this big. But (and this is a BIG but) if you are going to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, you must process your crumbs much smaller than this. You'll need a very fine crumb to keep the cookies from clogging your pastry bag. Just a word of warning. 


The cupcake batter is a thick one. This batter doesn't rise a ton, so you can go ahead and fill those muffin cups up to the top!


No overspill.


The frosting must be handled delicately. If you over-mix, you will have pink frosting. Not a bad thing for Valentine's Day, but not the look I wanted. I took a spatula and very carefully added the crumbs by folding them into the frosting. I only moved the spoon through the frosting 2-3 times. I really wanted white frosting dotted with red crumbs, and I'm pretty happy with the effect I achieved. 



I mean, how could you not? Yum!

I will add, these cupcakes are completely 100% kid-approved. My niece ate 5 when I took these to my sister-in-law's. The hubby and I just kept watching her go back to the kitchen and get more. I did feel bad, as we are the aunt and uncle who get to climb in our car and go home vs the adults who stay with the kids and outlast the sugar rush. Whoops.

Oh, and these were the cupcakes I dropped all over my work station. I'd say I cleaned them up pretty well!


And I'll say this- kids do not care if you had to re-smooth the frosting. They do not care one bit.



If you love Oreo's, you'll love these cupcakes!

One more tip- I found these cupcakes to be best on the 2nd day. On the first day, the cookie at the bottom and the cookie garnish on top are kind of crunchy. I didn't really like the crunchiness, it was a little too much. Something happens overnight to these cupcakes, though. They meld into one creature, and it is delicious!! I put them in an airtight container overnight to ensure the moisture stayed in, and this is one of those rare times moisture does something good for baked goods. So, if you are making these for an event or party, I recommend making them the day before. 




Yeah, there's a lot of pictures, but I couldn't resist :-) They were just so pretty!

I hope you try these for Valentine's Day. If your Valentine's Day involves kids in any way, they will love you forever with these cupcakes!

Have a great day everyone!



Ingredients (makes ~15 cupcakes):

1 package Red Velvet Oreos (for crust, cake, frosting, and garnishing)

Cupcakes-
15 Red Velvet Oreos, halved
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarse Red Velvet Oreo crumbs

Frosting-
5 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fine Red Velvet Oreo Crumbs

~15 Red Velvet Oreos, quartered (for garnishment)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a cupcake pan with liners, set aside.
2. Make the cakes- Place one half of Oreo (the half with the cream) face side up at bottom of cupcake liners. Place remaining half of Oreo's in a food processor, and pulse until crumbs are coarse. Set crumbs aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk to combine, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter and sugar. Stir until no lumps remain. Add the egg whites, stir to mix. Mix in the Greek yogurt and the milk. Mix in the vanilla extract. Pour coarse Oreo crumbs onto batter. Using a wide spatula, fold the batter 2-3 times, until the crumbs are dispersed into the batter. Don't over-mix though, or your cupcakes with will be pink. Fill muffin pan cups to the top. Bake cupcakes in preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
3. Make the frosting- In a small sauce pan, combine flour and milk over medium heat. Continuously stir until mixture becomes thick like brownie batter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool completely (I like to make this flour mixture when the cupcakes are baking. That allows this mixture to cool as the cupcakes are cooling. After an hour or so, everything is ready to move to the next step). Once the flour mixture is cool, combine butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Beat until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour mixture, turn the stand mixer to high, and beat the butter-flour mixture until soft and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from stand mixer. Add 1/2 cup fine Oreo crumbs to the bowl (pulse 7-8 full cookies in the food processor until fine). Take a spatula, and fold the crumbs into the frosting with 2-3 stirs. Again, over-sitrring here will result in pink frosting.  Frost cupcakes by hand, or place frosting in a pastry bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. 
4. Garnish the top of each cupcake with 2-3 quartered cookies. Store cupcakes in an airtight container overnight for best results.



Looking for other treats perfect for Valentine's Day? Try these!







2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. They are pretty darn good! Plus, with as many Oreo flavors as there are out there, you could try them with any flavor. More experimenting for me :-)

      Have a great weekend Pam!

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