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Author Notes: I remember Atticus’s first Halloween so vividly—he was seven months
old, yet we still took him trick or treating, because, honestly, what’s the point of having an adorable baby dressed as a lobster unless you can use him to score free candy. We still make our kids pay us out at least a third of their haul every year because candy is really bad for kids, and the kids shouldn’t be eating it. Matt and I are totally willing to sacrifice our bodies and eat all the candy to protect them.
We’re both incredibly partial to a certain peanuty, nougaty, caramely chocolate bar that we’re not allowed to say out loud, but we thought it would make an amazing cupcake—and what do you know? It did make an amazing cupcake! For legal purposes we couldn’t name it after the mego-globocorporation that inspired it. Fortunately, our superclose friends over at Liddabit Sweets were also inspired by it, making their own candy bar version called The Snacker. So this cupcake isn’t named after Candy Bar X—it’s named after the candy company that makes the tastier knockoff version of Candy Bar X, which gives us three degrees of separation between us and a potential lawsuit.
Reprinted by arrangement with VIKING STUDIO, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © ALLISON AND MATT ROBICELLI, 2013. —AllisonRobicelli
Makes 24 cupcakes
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup scalding hot coffee
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake pans with 24 baking cups.Place the cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and pour the hot coffee over. Mix on low speed until a thick paste forms and the mixture stops steaming, about 1 minute.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium. In a 4 scup measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, canola oil, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and salt, and mix lightly with a fork, ensuring the yolks are broken. Slowly pour into the mixer bowl.
- Stop the mixer, detach the paddle, and scrape the bottom of the bowl well to loosen any caked-on cocoa. Reattach the paddle and turn the mixer to medium, letting it run for 1 minute. Stop the mixer again.
- Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda and add to the batter. Mix on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl and paddle and use the paddle to scrape down the sides of the bowl, ensuring everything is mixed.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared baking cups, filling them two thirds of the way. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
- The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when you touch them. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Let cool completely.
Salted Caramel // Salted Caramel Nougat Cream // Topping
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 recipe French Buttercream
- 1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff Note: Matt says: Why Marshmallow Fluff instead of soft nougat? Because it’s pretty much the same thing. You can make your own Marshmallow Fluff if you want, but really, aren’t you already doing enough? Plus, the most common brand in stor
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup roasted peanuts. chopped
- Classic Ganache (See Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Recipe)
- Salted Caramel: In a small nonreactive saucepan, mix the water, sugar, corn syrup, and cream of tartar. Mix with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand. Bring to a boil. Continue to cook, leaving the pan undisturbed, until the sugar begins to change color. Over heat, begin gently swirling the pan until the mixture becomes a beautiful golden brown. The darker it gets, the more intense the flavor gets—the French like it practically burned. Us? We go somewhere in the middle.
- As soon as your desired color is reached, quickly remove the pan from the heat and Immediately dump in all the cream. This is going to steam and bubble and really just be generally angry, so stand back and don’t keep your face too close to the pan. The cream is going to stop the caramel from cooking any further.
- Add the salt. Using a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, gently stir until well mixed (and again, don’t forget those saucepan corners!). If any lumps develop, return the pan to the burner over low heat and gently stir until dissolved. Pour the cream into a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Assembly: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the salted caramel–nougat buttercream and pipe onto each chocolate cupcake. Sprinkle a generous amount of peanuts on top of each cupcake. Drizzle with the reserved salted caramel and the ganache.
- Half-Assed Corner: Use store-bought caramel sauce.
- Note: Keep Salted Caramel in a jar in the refrigerator -- it lasts forever. Spoon over ice cream, microwave until liquid and thin out with some half-and-half to make a dip for fresh fruit.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!