Friday, February 28, 2014

Oscars Cupcakes

When I was grocery shopping on Wednesday a certain bag of candy jumped into my basket and kept asking me to turn it into something yummy. I'm not really a candy person. Or a chocolate person. But I am VERY MUCH a coconut person. So when I saw these...I had to purchase. 

When I got home, I started thinking about what I could do with them and sneaking them into cupcakes seemed like a good idea. With the Oscars right around the corner, I decided to put the two together and get bakey-crafty. I was kinda over CAKE, however, having just finished off the monstrosity that was MollyB's birthday cake, so I decided to make Brownie cupcakes instead.

Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

Even though these decadent miniature brownies have a Coconut Creme Hershey Kiss baked into the center of them (making for a sweet surprise) you can totally make them without anything in the middle if you prefer. I frosted them with a simple buttercream and made some really fun Oscars themed toppers with stuff I bet you have around your house. I really love how they turned out. A deliciously rich, glittery brownie bite worthy of the red carpet! 

For the brownies you’ll need:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 rounded teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the buttercream you’ll need:
Two sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees (F).

Mix the melted butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt at a high speed until well combined. The batter will seem grainy but should be thick and shiny.
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping sides between each addition.
Beat until batter is thick and creamy.
Add the flour and mix until just combined. 

Fill paper-lined mini cupcake tins with a heaping tablespoon of the brownie batter. Press one Coconut Creme Hershey Kiss into the center, and cover with a little bit more of the batter, so the candy is fully covered (if the little peak of the kiss might be visible, that’s okay).

Bake for about 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the brownie comes out clean. Keep an eye on them, they can overbake and get crunchy fast. You don't want that. You want baked but moist!

Allow to cool when you make the buttercream.

Whip the butter until creamy, then add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until it’s fluffy. Whip in the vanilla and then give it a taste and make sure you don’t need more of anything.

Fill a pastry bag with buttercream, and pipe onto the brownies. Or just slather the stuff on...whatever your preference! (If you’re piping the frosting, you may need to add another stick of butter and cup of powdered sugar to the buttercream recipe to ensure you’ll have enough for all the brownies—piping uses more frosting than just spreading it on.)

Finish with your Oscars cupcake toppers and Enjoy!

Oscars Cupcake Toppers
I don't know about you - but we have several puzzles with missing pieces in our house! I used a few pieces from one of them for this craft. Everything else, I already had in my kitchen or craft supplies.

x-acto knife
old puzzle pieces
glue or metallic paint
gold glitter
black and silver cardstock
hole punch
edges of film strip or old photo negatives
tooth picks

A few hints
  • Try and pick puzzle pieces where the top notch looks close to a head shape. If needed, you can round it out a bit with your x-acto knife.
  • I left the bottom notch on each puzzle piece and used that to stick into the cupcake (Just make sure not to paint or glitter that part!)
  • You don't have to cut the concave arm shape into the piece if you don't want...I just like how it gave it a little more realistic look.
  • The film reels are just two circle punch outs. I used a hole punch to add the mini holes around the silver circle to make it look like a film canister.
  • If you don't have a film strip or old negatives to cut up, you can just wrap a long, skinny strip of black paper around a pencil to make it curl and use instead.
  • I didn't have them on hand, but I think the film reels would look even better if you added a foam pop up sticker or two to the middle to give them a 3D feel. 

I love the movies, don't you?! What is your pick for Best Picture this year? I've seen almost all of them and my two front runners are American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club. There are always surprises though, right?! I kind of like it when a Dark Horse wins. I feel like it's Leo's year to win Best Actor...but Matthew McConaughey was SO CRAMAZING in DBC. Like stupid good. And if my 90's BF Jordan, I mean Jared Leto, doesn't win Best Supporting Actor, then the whole damn thing is rigged. Rayon was the performance of his career, IMO. 

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