It’s always been about more than just the food, hasn’t it?
Caramel is lovely. Cookies are totally major. But I feel like we’re friends, and that’s what’s been the most amazing part of living in this Internet space for the past few years. You. Your presence. The way you invite me into your kitchen recipe after recipe.
I’ve made an overwhelming amount of friends in people like you. I’ve met you on book tour. We’ve chatted at blog conferences. We blow up Twitter together. In some cases, I’ve stalked your blog, forced my friendship on you, and you were gracious enough to accept.
Because we’re all friends here, I’m ultra excited to bring you a new video series that celebrates these friendships!
It’s called Bonkers Awesome and it’s a part of Ulive.com’s original content. Ulive is part of the Food Network and Cooking Channel family and they’re creating really wonderful online shows. Seriously… they let me make the series I’ve always wanted to make, where I get to learn new things, make friends old and new, and just be generally weird and awkward. I mean…
Here’s a sneak peek at the 14-episode series.
If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few of these behind-the-scenes shots of our video shoots. In reality, the whole series is a behind-the-scenes look into some of my favorite people and new friends.
Matt Bites invites me over to his photo studio and I get to raid his prop room. The ladies of Liddabit Sweet show me how to make Caramel Apples in Brooklyn. I get a peek into the workings of a chocolate factory with Compartes Chocolate. The Pioneer Woman even shows me around the ranch and I eat too much mac and cheese.
Melody from The Sweet and Saucy Shop teaches me how to make a wedding cake. Seriously!? This lady is such an inspiration (and she happens to be the mind behind today’s cupcake recipe). And Alie and Georgia make my cocktail dreams come true.
For the next few months, I’ll bring you a new episode each week. There are two episodes you can already check out, if you’re into binge-watching. In one of them, I visit my favorite bakery in LA. Major.
Next week, you are going to get a total inside look into the incredible studio of Matt Bites. It might blow your mind.. mostly because it blew my mind. We’ve worked really hard on this series over the summer, and our great hope is that you enjoy it, learn a few new things, and feel inspired. This series is the collaborative efforts of Michael Friedman, Hilton Carter, Maia Wagle, Paola Parsons, Jon Melendez, and the wonderful people at Ulive. Thank you forever.
Now it’s time for cupcakes!
It’s high-time we make some candy bar cupcakes! These cupcakes are inspired by an actual wedding cake I made at The Sweet and Saucy Shop with Melody.
As you can see, I’m a caramel enthusiast.
Can you imagine having chocolate and caramel inside your wedding cake? Such a win. I’m getting married mostly for the cake.
These cupcakes begin with a simple brown sugar cupcake base.
The flavors of butter, brown sugar, and vanilla really come through.
While the cupcakes bake, we make the chocolate ganache.
Ganache is totally a secret weapon in the baker’s kitchen. It’s just chocolate melted with warm heavy cream.
The end result is glossy sweet. Ganache will thicken as it cools.
Every good candy bar has a good dose of caramel.
These cupcakes are no exception.
We’re making a super simple caramel sauce. It’s inspired by The Pioneer Woman. Toss it all in a pot and boil a bit.
Creamy amber caramel sauce in seven minutes. It’s almost too good to be true.
Oh! It’s salty too! Just enough salt to offset the sweet.
Cooled cupcakes are topped with chocolate ganache.
Drizzle generously with caramel sauce and sprinkle with coarsely chopped peanuts. It will fee like you’re playing with your food. You’re doing it right.
If you’re feeling extra super awesome and ambitious, you could totally just whip this recipe up into a wedding cake. Right?
Not only did Melody inspire this delicious cupcake recipe, she also helped me tackle my Fear of Fondant. You really must see how this gorgeous cake turned out.
If nothing else, I hope you make a big batch of cupcakes and eat the one with the most caramel sauce.
Bonkers Awesome Candy Bar Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
recipe inspired by Organic and Chic, Alton Brown, and The Pioneer Woman
For the Cupcakes:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Chocolate Ganache:
1 1/2 cups chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
For the Caramel:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To Make the Cupcakes:
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This may take 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. If the batter begins to looks a bit curdled, that’s alright.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the vanilla milk mixture in three batches, starting and ending with the flour. When the batter is almost combined, stop the mixer and finish mixing the batter with a spatula, making sure that any flour bits at the bottom of the bowl are well incorporated.
Divide into the lined cupcake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely before frosting.
To Make the Chocolate Ganache:
Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a low simmer in a small saucepan. The cream should boil, just begin to simmer. Remove from the heat and immediately pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Carefully stir mixture together creating a glossy chocolate. Allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour and the ganache will begin to thicken.
To Make the Caramel Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream, butter and salt. Stir over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes and the caramel will begin to thicken. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before drizzling on cupcakes.
To Assemble Cupcakes:
Spoon ganache over cooled cupcakes. Use a fork to drizzle caramel over the chocolate ganache. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped salted peanuts.