Yesterday while I was running, one car honked, one boy whistled, and one boy yelled. This, I don’t understand. During a run is decidedly not when I’m at my cutest. Hairs stick out in interesting directions; I get sweaty; my cheeks get red. (Not flushed and pink. Bright. Red.) Pretty sure I also squint most of the time. Not to mention the fact that I’m so graceful, and so used to catcalls, that I almost tripped after each honk/whistle/yell. So you’ll understand why I was sure I must have had a giant stain on my shirt. I checked. No. Was there a booger on my nose? I checked. No.
I have no explanation for what happened. Except for perhaps those boys knew that if they had followed me home, they would have found these waiting on the counter:
Those are chocolate cupcakes. With cookie dough baked into the middle. With brown sugar-vanilla buttercream frosting. And sprinkles! I had to add sprinkles because they were for my friend Kayla’s birthday, and birthdays demand sprinkles.
I could have just made some chocolate cupcakes. But why make plain old chocolate cupcakes when you can make cupcakes with gooey cookie dough in the middle? I saw similar cupcakes on My Baking Addiction a little while ago, and I knew I had to try something like it. Birthdays are always a good excuse to make cupcakes (not that you ever need an excuse to make cupcakes). First, I needed to choose a chocolate cupcake recipe. I have two favorites: the One-Bowl Chocolate cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and the Cook’s Illustrated Dark Chocolate Cupcake recipe. While both are delicious, I decided on the CI recipe. I remembered the batter for the One-Bowl cupcakes was pretty thin, while the CI cupcake batter is thick and scoop-able. I thought the thick batter would be better for supporting the little balls of heaven known as raw cookie dough. All of that being said…if you’re not a chocolate cake fan, these would also be fantastic with vanilla cupcakes or even brown sugar cupcakes.
Step two was deciding how I wanted the cookie dough part to come out. In a few recipes I read, the cookie dough had eggs in it, and was placed in the cupcakes at room temperature, so that it actually baked a little bit into the cake around it. Others used egg-less cookie dough, shaped into balls and frozen, so that the cookie dough centers remained smooshy and unbaked. I usually wish that I didn’t have to bake cookie dough to begin with, so I decided on the latter version. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and replaced the eggs with milk. Since the CI cupcake recipe only makes 12 cupcakes, I halved the cookie dough recipe. I ended up with some dough leftover, but if I ever complain about having leftover cookie dough (that can be eaten without fear of salmonella), it’s time for all of my baking privileges to be taken away.
Step three…I had to decide on a frosting. There are a few recipes out there that call for making a cookie dough frosting by mixing egg-less cookie dough into your buttercream. This sounded like a little much, even for me. Plus, I wasn’t sure if I would get the pipe-able consistency I wanted for my frosting. I found a recipe for a buttercream from Kevin & Amanda…it was described as tasting just like cookie dough. I can’t say that it tasted exactly like cookie dough…but the brown sugar brought it close! I substituted vegetable shortening for half of the butter…I like the texture that shortening gives frosting, and I feel like it gives me a little more stability when I’m piping.
Anyway, they ended up being yummy. The dough stayed doughy and perfect, and the chocolate flavor of the cupcakes was perfect to complement – but not overwhelm – the cookie dough. And the frosting…well, it’s safe to say I could have eaten it with a spoon. I like a high frosting to cake ratio, so I piled it on high. If you’re planning on spreading the frosting on, or if you’re not as addicted to it as I am, you can probably halve the recipe. (It should technically be enough for 24 cupcakes as I’m posting it…I’m not embarrassed by that fact at all.)
Now. Go forth and bake!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
(Note: If you’re going to double the recipe, it’s best to make 2 separate batches…at least that’s what the note in Cook’s Illustrated said, and I would trust Cook’s Illustrated with my life.)
For cookie dough
1 cup + 1 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBS (= 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 TBS milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (you could get by with regular instead of mini)
8 TBS (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (4 oz.) sour cream
mini chocolate chips if desired, for decorating cupcakes
1. For cookie dough – In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter and sugars until well-blended. Mix in the milk and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips. Scoop dough into 1/2 to 1 TBS sized balls (depending on how much cookie dough you want in your cupcakes) and freeze on a foil-lined baking sheet until solid.
2. For cupcakes – Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position. Line standard-size muffin cup pan with paper liners.
3. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Heat and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
4. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until combined. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Sift about 1/3 of flour mixture over chocolate batter and whisk just until incorporated. Add the sour cream and whisk until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and whisk just until combined. The batter will be thick.
6. Divide batter evenly among 12 cupcake pans. Place 1 cookie dough ball (still frozen) in each muffin cup and press down lightly. If you don’t want any cookie dough to show on the top of the cupcake, you can spread a little batter over the dough…but if you don’t mind, it won’t affect the texture or the baking time to leave a little dough showing.
Bake cupcakes until they spring back with lightly pressed (the cupcake, not the dough), about 18-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack (make sure they’re completely cool before frosting). While they’re cooling…
Brown Sugar-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough to heavily frost 12 cupcakes or normal-person frost 24 cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks (= 3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable shortening (if you don’t like shortening, you can do all butter)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Combine the butter, shortening, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat, starting at a low speed, until smooth.
2. Beat in the salt, milk, and vanilla until combined. Frost cupcakes as desired. Frosting will keep, covered and refrigerated, for a few days.
Recipes adapted from Cook’s Illustrated (cupcakes), America’s Test Kitchen’s Baking Illustrated (cookie dough), and http://www.kevinandamanda.com (frosting)
I’m thinking there are some good variations on this cupcake in the near future…peanut butter cookie dough cupcakes anyone? Snickerdoodle cookie dough? Other ideas? Let me know how they turn out! Thanks for reading, and happy baking!