One of the most decadent cupcake recipes I’ve made to date involves cookie dough. A lot of it. We’re talking unhealthy, practically-illegal amounts of cookie dough. If cookie dough was a controlled substance, these would be black market cupcakes.
It was initially issued as a challenge by some of Jason’s friends. “What kind of cupcakes should I make next time?” I asked. “Can you make… cookie dough?” They asked, faces eager.
Hmm… I’d never heard of it before, but it didn’t mean it couldn’t be done. A quick phone search revealed that many people have tried before, such as with frozen balls of cookie dough stuffed inside the cupcakes, so the dough remains, well, doughy, even while the cupcakes bake.
I experimented with a couple different options, but found I ultimately didn’t like this approach. Even frozen, it has a tendency to bake too much inside the cupcakes, resulting in a less satisfying result. Personally, I prefer to stuff the cupcakes with cookie dough post-baking.
“But what about raw eggs?” You might be asking. Aha! That is where the genius of Joy the Baker’s egg-less, safe to eat cookie dough comes in. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been eating (and loving) raw cookie dough and cake batter since I was a kid, and not one case of salmonella yet. But when it comes to feeding friends and family, I prefer to err on the safe side (as well as the side that makes everyone comfortable and happy.) So, egg-free cookie dough it was.
These cupcakes start with my very favorite standard vanilla cake. Using a good basic vanilla cake recipe is key. Once they’re baked and cooled, the innards get scooped out with a spoon or a cupcake corer (yes, it’s a thing, and yes, I own one.) Softened cookie dough is pressed inside to fill up the hole. Then they get brushed with a brown sugar caramel, because that’s just how I like to roll. Finally, they’re topped with cookie dough flavored frosting (a glorious thing, if there ever was one), and, if you dare, more cookie dough and mini chocolate chips. (I also like to get Trader Joe’s mini chocolate chip cookies as a topper.)
These are not the most light cupcakes in the world, and I mean that literally. They are dense – the frosting is dense, and the cookie dough most certainly is dense. They are also some of the most delicious and popular ones I’ve made to date. So, here’s what you need to do!
- First, make the cookie dough. I like to use mini chocolate chips in these, no nuts, and yogurt as the binding agent (not apple sauce or peanut butter, which are her other two suggestions.)
- Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, form 16 (or however many cupcakes you're making) cookie dough balls. These can stay soft since you'll be stuffing them in the cupcakes anyway.
- Form any remaining cookie dough into balls with the cookie dough scoop as well. These will get frozen and can be used as a topping for some of the cupcakes, if desired. Or, if you have leftovers, you can eat it with a spoon. Don't worry, I won't judge.
- Make a batch of cupcakes and let them cool on a rack.
- While the cupcakes are baking and/or cooling, make the brown sugar caramel and let it cool slightly.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, core them from the top using the cupcake corer, discarding (or eating) the centers.
- Stuff each cupcake with one of the softened cookie dough balls.
- Brush each cupcake with the brown sugar caramel.
- Frost with the cookie dough frosting.
- Sprinkle with additional mini chocolate chips, top with a mini chocolate chip cookie, and/or top with a frozen cookie dough ball. Or just leave them naked - sometimes, simplicity can be a beautiful thing!
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
- A pinch of salt
- Melt butter on the stovetop
- Whisk in brown sugar, vanilla paste, and salt until fully dissolved.
- Without stirring (but occasionally swirling the pan), bring to a simmer on low-medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken slightly.
- Remove from the heat.
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
- In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, paddle the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add vanilla paste, then mix to combine.
- Add the powdered sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Beat in the flour, salt, and baking powder until the frosting is smooth and consistent.
- Test the frosting to make sure it's smooth and pipeable, but crusts. If it's too thick, add some milk or heavy cream a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar a half cup at a time until it reaches the right thickness.
- Sometimes the brown sugar can clog even large frosting tips if there are clumps. If your frosting tip gets clogged, unscrew and rinse it out with some hot water. Dry it off, reattach, and you're good to go!