I love Girl Scout cookies.  My favorite time of year is when I can throw crumpled five dollar bills at children in return for delightful boxes of diabeetus.  I obviously started this brainstorm thinking of ways to make my own Samoas from scratch.  Should be pretty easy yes?  Shortbread cookie, dip it in chocolate, mix some coconut into caramel, boom.  Samoa.  I’ve been on a crazy cupcake kick lately though, and I am a firm believer in ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.  So yeah, I decided on some chocolate Salted-Caramel mini cupcakes.  And to top it off?  Fluffy coconut buttercream obviously!!

I got the cupcake recipe from the badass Martha Stewart Cupcakes cookbook (it’s amazing, check it out).  I was going to make up the buttercream recipe on the fly, but I found this one on a farm girl dabbles and thought it looked amazing (it was).  These cupcakes were perfect!!!  They were so rich that minis were just the right size; a full one would be too much.  You still may be tempted to eat two though (I was, and I did).

Random Baking Tips From the Monkey:

  • If you don’t have one, I highly suggest getting an oven thermometer.  You can find one for super cheap and it will help you make sure not to under cook or overcook anything.  I picked one up a couple of months ago and found out my oven is off by 20 degrees!  This explains why cooking times in recipes almost never worked out right for me.  Totally, totally worth the $5 I spent on it.
  • I used the large end of a cupcake filling tip to cut the holes in my cupcake tops instead of using a paring knife like Martha suggests.IMG_6424
  • I love to share my treats with friends and co-workers but I always struggled to find the right way to transport cupcakes without accidentally screwing up my frosting job.  When you put in the effort to make it look nice, you should at least TRY to get them where they’re going in one piece.  I go to Michael’s and pick up treat boxes with mini cupcake inserts in them.  It costs about $5 for a pack of 3.  I think it’s worth it to keep everything in place.IMG_6436

Ingredients:

For Cupcakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup warm water

For Filling

1 jar Smucker’s Salted Caramel Sauce

5 Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

For Frosting

1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

3-1/2 c. powdered sugar

pinch of kosher salt

2 T. half and half

2 tsp. coconut extract

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

 

Instructions

For Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners (Marty S says this recipe makes 24 mini cupcakes, but I got closer to 48).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoas, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and the water.  With an electric mixer, on low speed, beat until smooth and combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups.  I like to use a cookie dough scoop to measure out my batter, but this is a runny batter, so I suggest using a spouted spoon to pour it into each liner.  Fill each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool10 minutes; turn out onto racks and let cool completely.  Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature.

To fill, use a paring knife to cut a small cone from the center of each cupcake, about ½ an inch deep.  Discard the extra pieces.  Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons warm caramel sauce into each hollowed out cupcake.  If you want to, use a food processor to chop up 5 Samoas.  Mix this into caramel sauce before filling cupcakes to give your cupcake some crunch.IMG_6428.JPGIMG_6432.JPG

FOR FROSTING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until very fluffy, about 8 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add powdered sugar and salt, and beat on low to incorporate.

Add half and half, coconut extract, and vanilla extract, mixing on low until combined.

Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 to 6 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

TO ASSEMBLE

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip (I used Wilton 1M) with frosting.  Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak.  Check out a youtube video if you’ve never filled a pastry bag or used a decorating tip before.  It will take about 10 minutes to find a tutorial and follow it.  It’s worth the effort because your cupcakes will look amazing and people will be ultra impressed like you invented the adult coloring book.IMG_6439

Garnish each cupcake with a piece of a Samoa.  I chopped a whole box into quarters and stuck a little piece in the top of each cupcake.IMG_6441

Bonus Notes!

I was taking these cupcakes to a party and I knew there would be a child there who is Celiac.  It made me sad to think of the only child at a boring adult party who can’t have a cupcake.  I couldn’t bear the thought.  I grabbed a box of gluten free Devil’s Food cake mix and made a separate batch for her.  I omitted the Samoas entirely from her batch and drizzled caramel sauce on top of the buttercream instead.  She was pleased and, I will admit, gluten free cake is not bad as I expected it to be.  Everyone wins!

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