Happy Halloween! And just look what I’ve got here…h’OWL’oween Cupcakes! Or I guess you could call them OreOwls! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But really, aren’t these Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes adorable!
Almost too cute to eat…but who am I kidding?!! I love cupcakes. So believe me they only got a very short pass before I gobbled them up! Last Halloween I baked up a batch of Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes that were pretty fantastic. Just look at these tiny terrors!
But back to these little owls… They are so easy to make that you could still get a batch done before this evenings festivities. Or maybe you could make them for Thanksgiving. They definitely have an autumn vibe.
I give you a recipe for some very moist and chocolatey Cookies & Cream Cupcakes, but if you’re in a rush you could just make a box mix and fold some crushed Oreo cookies into the batter before baking. The chocolate ganache frosting is super easy to make. I dipped the cupcakes rather than actually frosting them. To be honest, the most difficult part of these cupcakes were trying to separate the cookies so that all of the white frosting cream remained on one cookie. Cutting the frosting-less Oreo to make the owl’s tufts was a bit challenging as well, but a few choice words later and Voila! Owl nirvana achieved! Happy Hauntings!
Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 1 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee granules (optional, to enhance chocolate flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup chopped Oreos
- 28 -32 Oreo cookies for decorating
- 28 – 32 brown, blue or green plain chocolate M&M’s (I used Mega M&M’s but regular sized are fine)
- 14 – 16 yellow or orange white chocolate M&M’s (or plain chocolate M&M’s if you prefer)
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons corn syrup
Prep Work: Count out 28 -32 Oreo cookies. Divide these cookies in half and attempt to keep all of the cream on one of the cookies. Using a small icing spatula helps. If you end up crack a few cookies, don’t despair – you can crumble them even further and use them in the cupcakes. Once you have the cookies successfully separated, cut 14 -16 of the non-icing side Oreos in half to make the owl tufts.
Preheat oven to 350° F and line two 12-cup muffin tins.
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until about 3/4 of the way melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate completely. (If necessary, place the chocolate back in microwave for a few seconds.) Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, instant coffee (if using), baking soda and salt until well combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lukewarm chocolate.
Add the dry ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the crushed Oreo cookies.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until about 3/4 full (I think it’s easiest to use an ice cream scooper with a wire scraper). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops look dry and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
For the frosting: Heat heavy cream and chocolate over medium low heat stirring constantly until chocolate has melted. Stir in corn syrup. Let ganache cool for about 10 minutes before assembling cupcakes.
First complete the owl “ore-eyes” (the Oreo halves with the icing). Place brown, green or blue M&M’s into the inner edge of the white part of each owl eye. Press down gently (if you push too hard you will crack the cookie) to stick M&M to the cream filling. Or if it seems like it doesn’t want to stick, a little bit of ganache to the bottom of the M&M to “glue” it in place.
Now for the cupcakes. Dip each cupcake in the ganache so that the top is frosted. Place eyes just slightly below the center of the cupcake, this will make sure you have enough room for the tufts. Then place the tufts above the eyes. Add a sideways orange or yellow M&M for the nose. Repeat with each cupcake until complete.
*These cupcakes are best on the day that they are made as far as looks go. The Oreo tufts do get moist on the following day and tend to break off easily if you are trying to transport cupcakes.
Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats. (www.leaandjay.com)