It’s that time of year again when sorority girls start crafting for their “soon to be” littles. We spend hours upon hours on our bedroom floor putting all of the finishing touches on their gifts . Since I’m a junior this year, I do not get a little. However, my little is taking twin littles. I am now the proud “soon to be” grandbig to TWO amazing girls. I can’t wait for them to join our family!
It is a tradition in my sorority to give our littles some type of cookie/cake/candy on one of the nights during our big/little week. Of course, since I am in LOVE with cupcakes, I offered to make my little cupcakes for her to give to her littles. If you couldn’t guess from the title of this post, the cupcakes were decorated to look like owls. Owls are my sorority’s mascot. Precious, I know.
The cupcakes turned out really cute! They were a little dry for my taste, but I think that is because I baked them too long. Also, the recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. I am not a huge fan of almond extract so if I were to make these again I would use 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract and add 1/4 teaspoon more of vanilla extract. If any of you would like to try to make these, they are super easy and I have posted the recipe and a picture below. Enjoy!
Cookies N’ Cream Cupcakes
1 cup soy milk [or regular milk]
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, or more vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped Oreo, Newman-O, or other chocolate cream-filled cookies
(about 8-10 cookies)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 muffin pans (or use 1 pan plus as many free-standing paper souffle cups as needed) with baking liners.
Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK). Gently fold in chopped cookies.
Fill liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
[or use a combination of semisweet and bittersweet]
1-2 tablespoons corn syrup
Combine the chocolate and cream in a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Try to submerge the chocolate as much as possible, but it’s okay to have some above the cream. Microwave the mixture on medium for 1 minute. Stir and heat again in 15-second increments, stirring thoroughly each time, until fully melted. Stir in corn syrup. Let this cool and thicken (in the fridge if needed) before using. If it cools too much, reheat in the microwave at 5-second intervals until it softens to the consistency you want.
Use a small spoon or spatula to smooth chocolate ganache frosting onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes. Place the cream sided cookies, cream side up, on the middle of the cupcakes, making sure that the eyes are oriented the way you want. Push gently to make sure they’ve adhered to the frosting.
To make the ears, attach the cut cream-less cookies to the cupcakes above the “eyes”, textured side facing up and round edges inward. These should hang over the edge of the cupcakes, but be sure to press them into the frosting where possible to make sure they adhere well.
Lastly, press M&M candies [standing them up on their sides] between and slightly below the cookie “eyes” as beaks. Show them off to everyone!