This is not one of those times. (Maybe I am getting old.)
I have no idea how I came upon these cupcakes, nor do I care at this point. It reminds me of the part of the movie Inception when Leonardo DiCaprio's character is explaining to Ellen Page's character how our minds fill in details that are missing in dreams. We remember the places and the people but aren't sure how we or they arrived there. I'll let you write your own crazy story about how I found this recipe, and I'll just get to the stuff you must remember: chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes!
Sweet mother of pearl. I've made and eaten quite a few of them and still have trouble wrapping my brain around these masterpieces. If your head's still swimming, don't worry -- I've got diagrams for you later in the post :)
They started out like any other cupcakes. Make the batter and bake the cupcakes. Prep the icing. Then the process turned to making the filling -- I've never made filled cupcakes before these. Back to familiarity with the frosting, with a little surprise ingredient, but I'll get to that later, too.
That's the second time I've mentioned something and then said I'd explain later. I'm sorry I'm such a tease. Think of it this way -- there's so much to look forward to, right?
The assembly took a little time but was a perfect activity to occupy one's hands during Thursday night TV. I set up shop at the coffee table and away the cupcakes and I went... on the Sugarland Express (great movie, BTW). Cut, stuff, top, and frost. Just like this:
While the icing was still soft, I sprinkled them with a few more mini morsels for good measure and even nestled a few miniature cookies into the bed of frosted deliciousness.
Full disclosure: I couldn't help but sample each piece along the way, and they certainly delivered when it came to taste. But nothing could've prepared me for the final product. The whole was deeeeeeefinitely greater than the sum of parts.
I mean, look at this cupcake in all of it's glory. To quote my coworker, for whose birthday these were made, "Katy, this is the best thing you have ever made!" At least, I think that's what she said... it was hard to decipher amongst the chewing and mmming.
First, we've got the chocolate chip cake. I'd venture to say it's straddling the fence between cake and muffin because it's just so darn light and not super sweet, which is a good thing considering the next two components.
Up next is the cookie dough filling. Dense, sweet, and exactly like what you'd hope for minus the eggs. The sweetened condensed milk acts as the binder and chilling makes it easy to divide and roll into small portions. I was about to deem this stuff Crack of the Century, but that was until I got a taste of the last part.
Make these for yourself. Please. It doesn't matter how you arrived here or where you're going, but that you have a cupcake in hand for your journey. The rest are unnecessary details you can worry about later :)
One year ago: Mom's disappearing chicken dip
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
(adapted slightly from Annie's Eats)
-makes 12-14 cupcakes, depending on the size of your pan
A few notes: I halved the original recipe because I was making these for a very small crowd. The conversions worked out well, though I ended up with two unfrosted cupcakes that were treated as muffins for breakfast the next day. I definitely could've stretched the frosting, but I like my cupcakes piled high, and I knew Matt would want an unfrosted one. Finally, don't let the lengthy list of ingredients fool you; I've divided them up by part of the cupcake. All of the ingredients are super common pantry items.
For the cupcakes:
1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the filling:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
5 Tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the frosting:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/8 cup (6 Tablespoons) light brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the garnish: (optional)
Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Miniature chocolate chip cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with papers and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture, then the milk and vanilla, then the remaining flour mixture, beating until well mixed and scraping down the sides as needed. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Divide batter among cupcake pan, filling about 2/3 full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling by creaming the butter and sugar. Add flour, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips until well combined. Cover and chill in fridge for at least one hour until ready to use. When ready, divide filling into 12-14 (however many cupcakes you have) equal portions and roll into little balls.
When cupcakes have cooled, cut a cone-shaped piece out of the top of each cupcake. Place one piece of filling into each cupcake divot, pressing down slightly, and top with cupcake cone. You may need to push a little to get them to stick and make the top of the cupcake flat. Repeat with remaining filling and cupcakes.
To make frosting, cream butter and brown sugar. Add confectioner's sugar, flour, salt, milk, and vanilla and beat until fluffy and well combined. Pipe or spread on top of cupcakes. Garnish with mini chocolate chips and small chocolate chip cookies if using. Enjoy this chocolate chip cookie dough bliss!
Storage: Refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days. Eat chilled or allow to come to room temperature for up to an hour.