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These moist cookie filled cupcakes topped with a mock cream filling frosting are the perfect guilt-free treat to bring to the Halloween Party. They have LESS THAN HALF the CALORIES and FAT when compared to other recipes.With MUCH LESS SUGAR, these won’t be as likely to get the little munchkins running in circles from uncontrollable sugar-highs.
Pace Yourself, The Season of Sweets is Long
It’s almost Halloween, the kickoff to the holiday season. That means it’s also the time of year when we are inundated at home, at parties, and in the office by homemade sugary treats! With that in mind, I try to pace myself. The way to do so is to limit the sugar and fats I use in the goodies I bake to bring to the celebrations and get-togethers. I often hear from friends of mine with children they are thankful my treats don’t lead to their little munchkins running in circles from uncontrollable sugar-highs. (Oh jeez, then there are the unavoidable crashes that follow.)
So, with this sweet & spooky holiday upon us we all will attend parties loaded candy corn, chocolates filled with “who knows what”, fruity drinks, and other food we want to avoid. Some of those include orange-tinted marshmallows in the shape of pumpkins. I saw those the other day at the store and they are haunting my dreams. Ick! It’s bad enough we adults end up nibbling (or gorging) on the junk food put out in front of us, but let us not overlook the Trick-or-Treat loot kids bring home. We all sneak into their bags and overindulge… even Aunties!
An Easy Recipe That Will Impress
My Cookies & Cream Cupcakes are not only extremely easy to make, but rich in chocolate flavor. All this while being lower in sugar & fat than the usual “Oreo” cupcakes.
These delectable cakes aren’t piled high with heavy, fattening buttercream or overly sweet cream cheese frosting. Instead, they’re dressed up with a cookie dotted icing that mimics the “cream filling” of an Oreo. It is exquisite if I may say so myself! Top them with half a cookie and decorating is done!
Please don’t use Oreos! There are many other, more natural brands that taste just as good, and in most cases better. The brand name Oreo contains high-fructose corn syrup, vanillin, and soy lecithin. To learn more about why we should avoid these ingredients click here. I use the 365 Everyday brand from Whole Foods, but Trader Joe’s makes awesome vanilla bean cream filled cookie sandwiches, and Newman’s Own has their own magnificent chocolaty ones. There are lots of options!
So, when the kids are enjoying tons of sugar at school and at home, and we are overdoing it on office sweets, you can be the potluck hero! Bring a lower sugar, fat, and calorie option to the party or for your co-workers as a nice change. The holidays are coming and I plan to indulge for a solid two months. But, these don’t really count!
**MAKE AHEAD: These can be baked and iced a day ahead and stored in an air tight container overnight in the refrigerator. Leave out on the counter for 20 mins to serve at room temp. For a crunchy cookie topper, wait until you are ready to serve to pop them on top.**
Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
Makes 10 “jumbo” cupcakes
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup chocolate cookie sandwiches -4 regular size cookies * See paragraph above about the type of cookies to use*
Cream Filling Frosting:
- 2 oz (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened (still cold though)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, well sifted
- 1 tbsp half & half
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (2) crushed cookie sandwiches * See paragraph above about the type of cookies to use*
Preheat oven at 325˚ and line a cupcake pan with 10 jumbo foil liners.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Add in the sugar, salt, and baking soda. Whisk together and set aside.
- Put the 4 cookies into a small sandwich bag. Using a measuring cup or water glass, gently break up the cookies. You want little bite size, 1/2″or so pieces that will give your cakes some texture. Set those aside.
- Measure out the oil in a a liquids measuring cup and add the vanilla and vinegar to it. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the oil mixture into it. Into the same measuring cup, measure out the cold water. Swish it around a bit to get the remaining oil, and pour into the well. With a whisk, stir until combined. Don’t over mix. (The batter will be much runnier than you may be used to, but don’t worry, you didn’t mess up!)
- You can either gently fold in your crushed cookie pieces into the batter with a spatula, or fill your liners then sprinkle the cups with the pieces. Either way, using your handy dandy ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the foil liners.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when gently pressed with a finger. Allow to cool IN THE PAN for 5 minutes. Then remove from the pan directly to the cooling rack and cool completely.
- In your sandwich bag, crush the last 2 cookies with the measuring cups again. You want these to be finer than the ones you did for your cake. Set them aside.
- On medium speed, beat the butter and powdered sugar together until on the creamy side. It may take a bit to come together, but it will. Don’t worry.
- Add in the half & half and vanilla and beat just to combine. Using a spatula, fold in the crushed cookies by hand.
- Divide among the 10 cupcakes. I use my truffle scoop to do this. Using a small spatula, spread over tops. You can top each cupcakes with a cookie half, but just know that adds calories and sugar.
Refrigerate to store, but leave out on the counter for 20 mins to serve at room temp.