My dear friend Michelle is from the Netherlands and her straightforward Dutchy directness is one of the things I admire most about her. She is due in about 6 weeks and was more anti-baby shower than anyone I’ve ever met, thank God. She was adamantly against anything that involved games, baby pink or frills of any sort. I get it, I’d be the exact same way. And, I have a feeling that most of us visibly gag over the idea tasting baby food or playing diaper detective in a game of “guess the candy bar poo”. We are better than this and all of the Mamas-To-Be deserve more than enduring the humiliation of grown-ass adults spoon-feeding each other applesauce while blindfolded. No thanks.
Skip ahead to recipe for Black and White Animal Cookie Cupcakes
Instead of putting us all through the embarrassment of baby shower games in front of mama and the Dutch Baby in the oven, we opted to treat Michelle to a much deserved day away with a cabana at The Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara. We kept the babyness to a minimum so Michelle could just relax and enjoy her beautiful, glowing self for the day. We were all well aware of her aversion to ruffles and pink on pink, so the baby gifts kept to an unspoken but pretty strict black and white theme, with just a sprinkle of pink for good measure. I’ve often joked with her that she’s going to have a goth baby who only wears black and an emo pout but we all know that little gouda babe will have a smile as wide as a half wheel of cheese.
Out of much respect for the anti-pink clause, I kept the dessert on theme with these Black and White Animal Cookie Cupcakes. They’ve got all the cuteness of the classic frosted animal cookies but with a more refined and posh twist. They start with deep, dark chocolatey cupcakes layered with both Dutch process cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate chips. The frosting is a simple, fluffy vanilla cream cheese frosting that just gets slathered on top instead of intricately piped into a fussy design. The cherry on top of these Black and White Animal Cookie Cupcakes is obviously the handmade, all white frosted animal cookies dipped in white chocolate. Just because these Black and White Animal Cookie Cupcakes aren’t painted in pink, doesn’t mean they are’t as cute as a pigs tail. FYI, you can find all kinds of animal cookie cutters on Amazon.
I couldn’t be more excited for the exemplary expectant parents and cannot wait to meet this stylish little Dutch Baby at the end of July. She’s going to be one hip little darling, just like her hot and sassy mama. And, I look forward to the day when she’s eating solid foods so I can sneak her a few of these Black and White Animal Cookie Cupcakes. Nothing better than being an “aunty” with a bad influence and an endless supply of sugary treats. Sign me up!
All of the cuteness of the classic frosted animal cookies but with a more refined and posh twist, these Black and White Animal Cookie Cupcakes start with deep, dark chocolatey cupcakes. Then get slathered with a simple, fluffy vanilla cream cheese frosting and topped with homemade, all white Frosted Animal Cookies.
- SEE BELOW FOR LINK TO INSTRUCTIONS
- 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teas pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup cake or pastry flour
- 1 teas baking soda
- 1/2 teas salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 1 1/2 sticks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 1 stick
- 1/2 teas fine salt
- 2 teas pure vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
Use original FROSTED ANIMAL COOKIES recipe here http://bakingthegoods.com/2014/02/02/frosted-animal-cookies-recipe/ . To adapt for this recipe, only use white chocolate coating and white sprinkles instead of pink coating and rainbow sprinkles.
*This recipe makes more cookies than needed for the cupcakes, but who doesn't want extra Frosted Animal Cookies around?
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line muffin tin(s) with 18 cupcake liners.
In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the boiling water. Whisk until the cocoa has dissolved into the water. Add the dark chocolate chips and stir until the mixture is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Allow the mix to cool slightly for a couple of minutes and then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times with a rubber spatula.
Reduce the mixer to a low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
With the mixer on low, mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Then another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining chocolate. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the rest of the flour mixture just until the dry ingredients are barely mixed in. Careful not to over-mix.
Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the lined muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.
Bake for 26-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the bake time. The cupcakes are ready when the centers have puffed up slightly and have a springy top. Test by inserting a toothpick in the center of a cupcake, it should come out clean.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven allowing them to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the frosting.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on a medium high speed for about 5-7 minutes, until soft and creamy. Periodically stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the salt and vanilla and mix for an additional minute until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through.
With the mixer on lowest speed, add the sifted powdered sugar in a few additions. Scrape down the bowl and then beat the mix for a couple more minutes until light and smooth. The frosting should be smooth but not runny and slightly stiff so it holds it's shape. If the consistency seems too soft, add more sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Slather the tops of the cupcakes with a couple of tablespoons worth of frosting, using an offset spatula to spread the frosting.
Top with frosted animal cookies and serve!
Chocolate Cupcake recipe adapted from The Best Chocolate Cupcakes recipe in the One Girl Cookies cookbook by Dawn Casale & David Crofton.
Recipe for Frosted Animal Cookies available at http://bakingthegoods.com/2014/02/02/frosted-animal-cookies-recipe/ and adapted from the Williams Sonoma recipe for Animal Cracker Cookies.