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Its almost Halloween, the kick off to the holiday season. More importantly to me, its the kick off to the “yummy-homemade-treats-everywhere” season! With that in mind, I try to pace myself. The way to do that is to limit the sugar and fats that I use in the goodies that I make myself for parties and get-togethers. I often hear from friends of mine who have children that they are thankful my treats don’t get their little munchkins running in circles from uncontrollable sugar-highs. (Oh man. Then there are the inevitable crashes from those highs, and those lows are low.)
So with this sweet & spooky holiday upon us many will be attending parties loaded with the inevitable candy corn, chocolates filled with who-knows-what, fruity drinks, and other odd sweets like orange-dyed marshmallows in the shape of pumpkins. (Ugh, I just saw those the other day at the store and they are haunting my dreams. Ick!)
Its bad enough that us adults end up nibbling (or gorging) on what is put out at these parties, but its worse that all those goodies are added on top of the Trick-or-Treat loot the kids bring home. Now, lets be honest, we’re all friends here. We all sneak into their bags… even us Aunties!
My Cookies & Crème Cupcakes are not only super easy to make, but are rich in chocolate flavor while being lower in sugar & fat than the usual “Oreo” cupcakes.
Although they aren’t piled high with icing or buttercream frosting, the thin layer of “crème filling” on top is exquisite if I may say so myself! It tastes exactly like the filling of an Oreo, without the scary science project of ingredients to make it. I also stir a bit of chopped cookie pieces into the batter, so you get a little softened bite of cookie sandwich every once in a while.
So, when the kids are having tons of sugar at school and at home, and the rest of us are indulging on office sweets all week, a lower sugar option is a nice thing to bring to a party or for your co-workers. And as I said, the holidays are coming and I plan to indulge for a solid two months, so these don’t really count!
****These can be made a day ahead and stored in an air tight container overnight in the refrigerator.****
- 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*
Crème 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
Chef’s note*– PLEASE don’t use Oreos! There are so many other, more natural brands out there that taste just as good, and in most cases better. I used 365 Everyday brand from whole foods, but Trader Joes makes awesome vanilla bean cream filled cookie sandwiches, and Newman’s Own has some super chocolaty ones as well.
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 serve a little closer to room temp.