Tuesday, November 5, 2013

M&M frosted cupcakes

Raise your hand if you've got Halloween candy lying around the house.  And by "lying around the house" I mean "desperately stashed in cabinets to get it out of sight."

We don't get trick-or-treaters in our apartment building, but you wouldn't know it from looking at our stash of candy.  Office celebrations and his and hers treat bags from my sweet mother (thanks, Mom!) have kept us sugar-coated for the better part of a week.

A week that also saw the return of the magical migrating candy bowl.  You know how it goes, don't you?

The candy bowl initially occupied the entry way table.  Nothing says "Welcome home!" quite like a piece of chocolate.  Coincidentally, chocolate also says, "So much for that workout!"

We then moved the candy bowl to the dining room table.  When we realized sampling was necessary every time we passed it, which happened more frequently than we expected, the bowl was displaced to the kitchen.

Turns out we're in the kitchen a lot, especially yours truly.  Who knew?  Sampling the foods I'm cooking is already a regular practice, but helping oneself to handful after handful of M&Ms cooking is an easy recipe for a spoiled appetite.

Even from within the deep recesses of our kitchen cabinets, the M&Ms called to me.  "Out of sight, out of mind," said Katy never.

Now, I could tell you how sick of candy I am, but I won't.  I could say I want salads and desperately crave a week of detoxing, but that'd be a lie.

Because I love candy.   And I really love M&Ms!

I just wanted to jazz 'em up a bit.  You know, incorporate the candy into something (other than my mouth) and whip up one heck of a treat.

I briefly considered making M&M cookies because those are about as perfect as cookies can be, but I was feeling something grander.  Bigger.  But not too big.

Classic chocolate cupcakes with M&M infused buttercream were just right!

This isn't just buttercream with whole candies folded into it.  I blended the heck out of M&Ms until they were practically chocolate dust and then mixed it into a classic buttercream made with butter and confectioner's sugar.  Can you guess what it tasted like?

M&Ms in frostable, pipable, schmearable icing form.  Total decadence! 

I started with my favorite recipe for chocolate cupcakes.  Not only are the cupcakes the most moist chocolate variety I've ever had, but they also require only one bowl.  Less dishes = less cleaning = more fun.  Cupcakes so good I could almost eat plain.

But, what's a cupcake without icing?  Especially M&M buttercream. 

It was magical.  And dreamy.  Sweet and chocolatey!  And so delicious that it's a true miracle there was enough of it left to actually frost the cupcakes.

Oh, and don't forget to top off each cupcake with another candy.  M&Ms were meant to be enjoyed, shared, and most definitely out where they can be seen.

One year ago: Avocado, sweet potato and black bean wraps
Three years ago: Orange & balsamic chicken
Four years ago: Apple & pear crisp

M&M Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from Cookies & Cups)
-makes enough for about 15 cupcakes

A few notes: Feel free to use whatever cupcake flavor you like -- yellow, white, or your favorite box mix.  Also, this frosting would be incredible atop brownies 

1/2 batch of these one bowl chocolate cupcakes
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup plain M&Ms, plus more for decorating

In blender or food processor crush M&M candies until they are a coarse dust.  In bowl of stand mixer beat butter until smooth.  Slowly add in powdered sugar and then beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Mix in crushed M&Ms and beat until evenly incorporated.  Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.  Top with M&Ms, if desired.  Enjoy!

Frosting can be made up to 2 days ahead and covered and stored in fridge.  Allow to come to room temperature before frosting or piping.  Frosted cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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