Hope your extra-long weekend was full of fireworks, family, friends and fun. Mine certainly was! The Fourth is one of my favorite holidays of the year, and we in America are very blessed to have the freedoms that this country allows. In some ways, Independence Day is just a variation of Thanksgiving…but then again, so are most holidays. We truly have much to be thankful for, no matter what time of year and no matter where life finds us!
Since we celebrate all the time around here and we don’t need any better reason to celebrate than SUMMERTIME…
I made cupcakes!
About time, huh?
One of my trademark treats has been suspiciously and unacceptably absent lately, and I am here to fix that ASAP.
Due to the busyness of summer holidays and my continuing battle with bizarre and yet unidentified health issues, recipes in general have been slower to appear around here, but I’m here this very minute to bribe you all with creamy, crunchy, chocolate Oreo cupcakes so that you’ll keep hanging out with me here.
Is it working?
“Dirt dessert,” as it is known among all the cool kids, is one of those sort of strange but nostalgic recipes that every kid gravitates toward. Not only is it appropriately gruesomely titled, conjuring up images of squishy gummy worms and other creepy crawlies, but it’s pretty delicious, too.
I mean, Oreos? Smooth, creamy chocolate fluff? Colorful sugar-laden ribbons of squishy candy?
Yep, it’s got all of the above, and you can eat it with a spoon. Or a shovel. Out of a pail, perhaps.
Dirt dessert is pretty sweet all around, no matter if you’re a free-spirited kid or a full-grown adult with obligations, responsibilities, and a general presence of uncoolness.
And naturally it’s all better in cupcake form!
Cupcakes. They bring out the cool factor in everyone.
P.S. Is it kind of nuts that this is one of the first times I’ve posted a recipe with chocolate cake batter? I’m borderline addicted to the antioxidant-boosting additive that is c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e, but wanna know a little secret? I’m totally a vanilla girl.
I love me some serious chocolate, but vanilla is tops when we’re talking cake or ice cream. Everything else is fair game…may the best player win!
But these specific chocolate cupcakes are the BEST. So superior that I’ve even been known to eat the batter by spoonful a time or two.
(Or every single time I’ve mixed it up…ahem.)
Fluffy vanilla bean-flecked cupcakes hold a special place in my heart, but these little bricks of chocolate decadence can come pretty close once in awhile. They are SO good. Just sweet enough for me, and totally satisfying to the normal ones out there who enjoy every kind of chocolate cake.
What can I say? Guess I’m one of those boring, responsible adults sometimes.
But not today, folks! Today we are living on the edge with these cocoa-filled, chocolate-frosted, Oreo-draped, over-the top cupcakes, and we are topping it all off with edible worms.
Who’s ready for a little adventure in cupcakes? Happy summertime to all the cool kids and all the adventuresome adult cool-kid wannabes! You’re all pretty great in my book. :)
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup skim milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 8 oz. Cool Whip Free
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup skim milk, at room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 12 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 5 tsp. vanilla (yes, FIVE)
- 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 8 Double Stuf Oreos, crushed
- 48 gummy worms
- OR CUPCAKES:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a bowl, whisk flour with baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine vanilla and milk. Set aside.
- Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time.
- Add a third of the flour mixture until just combined, then add a third of the milk. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Add cocoa powder until just combined.
- Using a cookie scoop, fill prepared liners with chocolate batter, filling each about 3/4 full.
- Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool completely.
- Once cupcakes have cooled, prepare mousse. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips on high for 60 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving and stirring at 15-second intervals or until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. (You can speed up this process by setting the melted chocolate in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. Just make sure it's cool enough not to melt the whipped cream!)
- Place Cool Whip in a large bowl. Whip with a hand mixer on high speed, slowly stirring in cooled melted chocolate until completely blended.
- Remove cupcake centers with an apple corer or small knife. Use a spoon or a piping bag to fill cupcakes with chocolate mousse.
- In a stand mixer, combine milk, butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time, mixing until just blended. Increase speed to high and whip for 3-5 minutes or until frosting is very fluffy. Gradually add melted chocolate, continuing to mix on high speed until well-blended.
- Using an ice cream scoop, mound frosting on each cupcake and immediately roll in crushed Oreos. When you’re ready to serve, top each cupcake with two gummy worms.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.
Don't get too worried about being perfect with the filling - it eventually gets covered up by all the frosting!
Any milk will do in the batter and frosting; I use skim because it's what I always have on hand.
I used Cool Whip Free simply to keep this recipe on the lighter side, but any kind you have is fine - or you can make this even better and whip the cream by hand! Fortunately, most kids won't be too picky, so anything works!