Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Filling, Cream Cheese Frosting and Sea Salt Candied Walnuts

Did you see that title?  Yeah, it’s intense.

I have a little bit of a confession though.  I wasn’t going to blog about these.  Not because they aren’t good.  No, no.  They are the most amazing things ever.  But because I wasn’t happy with the photos.  You see, prior to my full time employment, I had time to bake in the morning and take photos in daylight.  Now that I work all day, baking happens at night (unless it’s the weekend of course).

In case you’re not really into taking pictures… pictures look better when taken in natural light.  Truth. I was even tempted to make these again this morning just so I could take pretty pictures in the sunlight! But in the end, laziness (or health consciousness?) prevailed.

That said, nothing is going to change the fact that these are amazing.

Not even a mediocre pictures.

Next time you have a gathering or just really need something sweet, please make these.  They’re wonderful.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Filling, Cheese Cheese Frosting and Sea Salt Candied Walnuts

1 recipe for your favorite chocolate cupcakes (I like Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake)
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2 sticks of butter, softened
Few cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 sugar
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Bake cupcakes and allow to cool completely.  While they are baking, you can make the caramel filling.  Place sugar in a deep saucepan on medium heat.  Allow the sugar to melt (about 10 minutes), stir occasionally until the sugar is a golden brown color.  Remove from heat and immediately stir in butter.  Once butter is mixed in, stream in cream while you stir.  Stir until all combined and smooth.  Set aside to cool.  You can make this a day in advance if you like. Once the caramel is completely cooled, place into a ziploc bag (or a piping bag, if you’re fancy) and cut off one corner so you can pipe caramel.

Next, make the cream cheese frosting.  Using a stand or hand mixer, blend together cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla.  I say a few cups of powdered sugar because 1. I never measure and 2. you should use as much as is necessary to get the consistency and amount of sweetness you like.  I’m guessing I used about 6 cups?  Once your cream cheese frosting is ready, put it in the fridge to keep firm until you’re ready to use it.

Next prep the cupcakes.  Scoop out some of the cupcakes to make room for the caramel.  I use a small knife just to make a small hole on top then pull out some of the filling.  Pipe some caramel into the hole.  It doesn’t need to be a ton, but let’s be honest a lot is always delicious.

Now you can make the candied nuts.  First, lay out some wax paper so you’ll have somewhere to place the candied nuts.  This really is an essential first step.  Next in a pan, over medium heat, combine the walnuts and sugar, stir occasionally.  After a few minutes, the sugar will start to melt.  Stir to coat all the nuts.  Once they look golden and candy coated, remove from heat, sprinkle with salt, stir again and then spread them on the wax paper.  Be careful.  At this point they will be very hot.  Give them some time to cool, then go through and separate any pieces and stuck together.

Lastly, now you can finish assembling the cupcakes.  Frost them however you like.  My sister and I went through a different types of frosting styles with different tips, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, since it’ll be covered in delicious candied nuts.  So once you’ve frosted them, lay some salted, candied nuts on there.  Refrigerate so everything gets firmed up together.  Then serve!

(Note: This picture will be infinitely funnier if you’ve read this)

You might be wondering why I decided to bake in the middle of the week.  Well, I suppose it’s not that out of character for me, but I had a reason. It’s my favorite brother-in-law’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Tim!!  I think he liked them 🙂

In fact, I think everyone that’s eaten them has liked them.  I’m pretty sure that means I might have to make these again.

There has to be another birthday coming up soon, not that I really need a reason to bake.

Have a great weekend!

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Samoas Bars

You have my permission to drool.



Go ahead. It’s totally expected. Samoas will do that to you, even more so in bar form.

I followed this recipe pretty much exactly.

Samoas Bars

from Crepes of Wrath

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened

1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups shredded coconut
12-oz  chewy caramels

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

20 oz. chocolate chips

Make cookie base. Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Next beat in eggs and vanilla.  Mix in flour and salt until just combined.  The mixture will be pretty crumble.  That’s okay!  Press it into a baking dish (I used a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper and pressed it into about half the pan, but you can probably just use a 9×13).  Bake about 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool.

Next make the topping.  Start by toasting your coconut.  Turn the oven on to 300F and lay coconut on a baking sheet.  Turning occasionally toast about 10 minutes, once golden, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Next melt the caramels in the microwave.  First unwrap the caramels and put them in a large bowl with the milk and 1/4 tsp salt, microwave about 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until evenly melted.  Add the coconut to the melted caramel and stir to combine.  Once combined, spread coconut/caramel topping onto shortbread base.  This is easier if you spray your spatula with pam or grease it.  Allow to cool completely (I refrigerated it a bit).

Remove bars from pan (this is easy to do if you used parchment paper).  On a cutting board, using a large chef knife, carefully cut the bars into the desired shape. Melt chocolate in the microwave (remember to stir every 30 seconds).  Dip cookie base into chocolate (or spread on with a spoon if your bottom is too crumbly), place on fresh wax/parchment paper.

Put the remaining melted chocolate in a ziploc bag and cut off a tip so you get a tiny piping bag.  Pipe lines of chocolate on each one.  Refrigerate a little bit so chocolate hardens then serve!

I suggest you do the same. Then feel free to give them away to a bunch of dentists, like I did. …or just keep them for yourself. Whichever works best.