Halloween...I think we can all agree that it is a fun night. Watching the excitement on the children's faces or just looking at all of the cute and interesting costumes they are dressed in. Dressing up in a silly or scary costume and receiving lots of candy (emphasis on lots), what is not to love?
Halloween starts for us at a very early age. We dress even little infants up in cute and comfy costumes, maybe a bear, a pumpkin, or a little angel. We go door to door carrying our little bundle of cuteness to family and neighbors' homes. At this stage, they really have no idea what is going on or the significance this holiday will have in their life very soon..lol Then around the age of one or two something changes. Now they can walk. Again, we bring them door to door. They waddle to the door slowly dressed as little princesses, dinosaurs, or super heroes. They still really have no idea what they are doing. We ring the door bell. We tell them to hold out their treat bag and to say, "trick or treat!" My son used to say, "tick teet." My daughter never spoke; she was to shy. They watch as the candy is dropped into their bag and the home owner tells them how cute they look. They waddle away, still not quite sure what is going on. Then at about the third or fourth house, something clicks, and they realize, "these people are giving me candy!" And so the love affair with Halloween begins. Halloween now takes on a new meaning. It ranks right up there with Christmas and birthdays..lol.
Now they spend the rest of the year thinking about that magical night when they can dress up as their favorite princess, superhero, sports player, or musician or maybe even something scary and they will receive a bag full of candy.
Halloween is fun for me too. Every year, I have my family over, and we all go out trick or treating together. The highlight of the evening for the kids is when they come home and trade their favorite candy, "I will give you one Starburst and one Twizzler for two Reese's." Everyone ends up happy with plenty of their favorites.
Of course, we all love to bake various goodies to celebrate the night too, as if we didn't have enough sugar. I found these cupcakes on the Williams-Sonoma website, and they are fantastic. They are devil's food and they are moist and delicious and scrumptiously chocolatey with a decadent chocolate glaze. They quite possibly could be the yummiest chocolate cupcakes I have ever made. The cupcakes and glaze are very easy to prepare, and you can create a spiderweb decoration by just piping circles of an easy-to-make white or orange icing on top of the chocolate glaze and running a toothpick through the white to create the spiderweb look. The only problem I found was that the recipe only makes 12 cupcakes; so if you need more, you will have to double the batch.
To make these cupcakes, in a large bowl sift together 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoons of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoons of salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a large mixer, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened, until fluffy.
Next, add one egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix well. Next, add the flour mixture, alternating with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and 1/4 cup of buttermilk, mixing until just combined. Scrape bowl and mix for another 30 seconds.
Fill cupcake cups 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.
To make the chocolate glaze, in a small sauce pan, heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Just pretend this is heavy cream and corn syrup. It is actually sour cream. I am guilty usually of not reading a recipe through before I make it. So when it came time to make the icing, I had no heavy cream and only 4 ounces of chocolate, instead of the 8 ounces called for in the recipe. I used sour cream and halved it and the corn syrup. It still came out good but it would been better had I read the recipe ahead of time.
Add 8 ounces of chocolate broken into pieces. Let stand for three minutes. Mix until smooth.
When the cupcakes are cool. Spoon about a tablespoon onto each cupcake and spread evenly.
To make the white icing, mix together one cup of confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix until consistency is thick enough to pipe circles onto cupcakes, adding more confectioners' sugar and milk as needed. In the Williams-Sonoma recipe, they add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. If you do decide to use the vanilla, make sure it is clear vanilla or the regular brown vanilla will turn the icing a darker color. I left out the vanilla because I did not have clear vanilla, and there is such a small amount of white icing used on the cupcakes, that you really do not need the added flavor.
Place some of the white icing into a small zip-top bag, and cut a tiny, tiny portion of one corner off. Pipe circles onto the tops of the cupcakes. Using a toothpick, drag the toothpick through the circles to create a spiderweb design.
You can tint the white icing orange to create a Halloween-color theme.
I topped mine with a Pretzel M&M (my favorite). Any M&M will do. Then I used a toothpick and some of the leftover chocolate icing to draw on eyes and legs. I know he is not anatomically correct, but I could not fit eight legs. You can also melt a little chocolate and put it in a zip-top bag just as you did the white icing and use that to make eyes and legs.
My daughter was not crazy about the chocolate icing, so I made this one for her. She liked it so much, after she took a bite, she took a picture of it.
Spider Web Cupcakes Williams-Sonoma
For the cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup buttermilk
For the milk chocolate glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
For the vanilla glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon milk, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the water and buttermilk, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not over beat.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
To make the milk chocolate glaze, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, corn syrup and salt and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; let stand for 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the chocolate glaze to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
To make the vanilla glaze, in a bowl, whisk together the 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, the 1 tablespoon of milk and the vanilla, if using, until smooth; the glaze should be spreadable. If it seems too thick, whisk in additional milk a few drops at a time; if it seems too thin, whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar 1 tsp. at a time. Use immediately. Place the glaze in a zip-tip bag and cut a tiny, tiny piece off one corner, a parchment paper cone, or small pastry bag fitted with a fine writing tip.
Spoon the chocolate glaze over the cupcakes. Using the vanilla glaze, create spider web designs: Pipe concentric circles onto the top of a cupcake. Lightly draw the tip of a wooden skewer, toothpick or paring knife from the center of the cupcake outward to the edge, occasionally alternating the direction, if you wish. For the cleanest look, wipe the tip of the skewer after each draw.
The glazed cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before finishing. Arrange the spiders on or around the cupcakes and serve. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Check out the great Halloween-themed recipe link up at All Through the Year Cheer!