I liked the idea of Halloween as a kid. Spray on hair color? Awesome. Eyeliner kitty-cat whiskers? Yes, please. Freeeeee Caaannnnnddy! Check and check.
But when push came to shove, it turns out that…well…I was kind of a wuss.
It wasn’t the thoughts of ghost and goblins and things that go bump in the night that had me shaking. It was the cold. The COLD.
Maybe you grew up in a place where it didn’t get cold. You could put on your little princess dress and sashay your pretty little self up and down the block bare arms and all. Well, bless your little heart. 😉
In the Midwest, on October 31, it is cold. Always. It might be rainy cold. Or perhaps windy cold. In some not-so-alternate universe there is slim chance it could even be SNOWY cold. I’m sure it’s happened. Or maybe it’s just plain cold.
Any way you slice it, you’re wearing a coat over your princess dress. Halloween costume FAIL.
I’d get around the neighborhood, collect a bit of loot. Then the nose would start to run and the fingers would get icy. It would start to feel like 15 miles up hill both ways to next house as the wind slapped me straight in the face.
Okay. Candy’s cool and all but…I was lucky if I lasted an hour out there. Even the promise of an Snickers or two couldn’t bribe me into toughing it out. I can just hear my 8-year-old self: I’m COOOOOLLLLLDDDD. I wanna go HOOOOMMMMME.
Yo! Wimpy wuss over here! I am not one for being out in the cold. Not much has changed there (says the girl who will be putting on her winter coat here shortly and not take it off until…April.) I’m more suited to stay in my nice warm, cozy house, only open the door when someone knocks, and keep the candy leftovers all to myself. 😉
Good thing I’m all grown up now. Clearly adults get the better deal on Halloween. 😉
Plus, I know another activity that doesn’t involve being out in the cold…baking! I can mark this Halloween by skipping the shivering outside in a skimpy costume and making a cute sweet treat instead.
Ignore the ghoulish glare on my ganache, please and thank you.
These little chocolate bites are fun on the outside and even more fun on the inside. They’re stuffed with delightful marshmallow cream! Think Hostess cupcakes, but better. Much, much better.
Filling and decorating these cupcakes is a little time consuming but the end result is well worth it. Rich chocolate cupcakes, sweet, creamy filling and chocolately ganache. They scare the pants off your standard candy. In addition to the Halloween designs above, I also did the classic seven-loop swirl. So much fun to make and eat!
HALLOWEEN CREAM-FILLED CUPCAKES (Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart Cupcakes)
For the cake:
You can use any chocolate cake you like, but I would avoid one that’s too soft and crumbly. The filling is pretty stiff, and you need a cake that can stand up to it. The following recipe is still moist and delicious but somewhat dense. It worked well! Makes about 24.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- Marshmallow Cream Filling (recipe follows)
- Shiny Chocolate Ganache Glaze (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup orange candy melts, melted
- 1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
- Orange food coloring, if desired
Using a paring knife, cut a small cone out of each cupcake. Reserve the cone (you will use this to plug cupcake after filling). Hollow out each cupcake a bit more, discarding crumbs.
Insert tip of plastic bag into each cavity, and squeeze to fill.
Replace the cones, pressing down lightly. Careful not to let the filling squeeze out!
Shiny Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
The recipe in the book calls for using two ounces of chocolate to 2/3 cup cream to make a smooth, dippable ganache. I tried it with two ounces and it was TOO thin. Ugh. I wasted perfectly good chocolate, dang it! I tried it again with four ounces and it was perfect. I’m using 4 in recipe below.
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Place chocolate medium heatproof bowl. Bring the cream and syrup just to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour mixture over the chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes before slowly whisking the mixture until smooth and combined.
Immediately dip the tops of each cupcake into the ganache, letting the excess drop back into the bowl. Return to wire rack to set slightly.
To decorate: Place melted candy wafers into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip or a squeeze bottle. Pipe desired designs on each cupcake. Store finished cupcakes covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temp before serving.
Note: To make the spiderwebs, pipe rows of circles on each cupcake starting in the center and working your way out. With a toothpick, pull the melted candy out from the center, marbling it slightly with the ganache.