One of the most iconic cookies is now in a cupcake! I’ve attempted to bake these circus animal cookies in a cupcake before, as whole cookies, and while it totally worked, it wasn’t very exciting. They’re much more fun all chopped up, so you get the hunks of melted frosting and cookies and sprinkles spread throughout the cake like an epic version of funfetti.
Makes about 18 cupcakes.
For the cupcakes you’ll need:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/3 c. whole milk
a couple big handfuls of frosted circus animal cookies (about two cups), chopped into large crumbs
For the buttercream you’ll need:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. milk
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and stir until combined. Then add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Mix for about a minute, until creamy (be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice, to ensure everything is getting worked in). Then add the milk and flour, alternating between the two ingredients (to avoid lumps) until the batter is smooth and everything is well combined.
Use a food processor (or a rolling pin) to grind/smash/chop the animal cookies into large crumbs. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the crumbs for later use, then use a wooden spoon or a spatula to stir the remaining animal cookie crumbs into the batter. Pour the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins, so the tins are about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle a little bit of the remaining crumbs on top of the unbaked cupcakes.
Bake for about 22-25 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and set (it will bounce back when you gently press your finger into a cupcake).
Allow the cupcakes to cool, while you make the buttercream.
For the buttercream, whip up the butter to get it good and creamy. Then add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions (to make sure everything is getting incorporated). Drizzle in some vanilla, mix some more, and give it a taste to make sure you have enough vanilla and sugar. You can also add milk, about a tablespoon at a time, to make the frosting a little more fluffy. Once you have the desired texture and taste, pipe a mound onto all the cupcakes and top with rainbow sprinkles and another circus animal cookie.
My cookbook, Bake It in a Cupcake: 50 Treats With a Surprise Inside, is available now at: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.com!