I LOVE chocolate cupcakes. And what's even better than using sweet frosting and sprinkles from a canister is slathering on my own favorite decadent toppings.
Warning: These are not healthy recipes -- but hey, it's Valentine's Day weekend! I guarantee you will love these indulgent ideas for your chocolate cupcakes or brownies. They seem fancy, but they're really easy and will get your kids involved in the kitchen:
- S'mores cupcakes - Top them with marshmallow Fluff and crushed graham crackers (besides Valentine's Day, these are also perfect for summer birthday parties, picnics, and camping trips). Kids can squish and pound on the graham crackers in a sandwich bag!
- Nutella and raspberry cupcakes - These might be my fave. Get some chocolate-hazelnut spread like Nutella (in the peanut butter aisle), spread it on, and top with fresh raspberries. Tres chic and addictive.
- Chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes - These are super kid-friendly! Keep it really simple and spread plain old peanut butter right on your cupcakes, or follow your usual butter cream frosting recipe (with butter, confectioners sugar, a bit of milk) and add a cup of peanut butter. Sprinkle on some chopped peanuts or mini chocolate chips. Sooo delish.
- Salted caramel cupcakes - These are very sophisticated, but simple and delightfully sticky. Have you ever had salted caramels? Some fancy candy shops make them, and they are a great sweet-and-salty treat. Try topping your cupcakes with a squirt or spoonful of caramel sauce that's meant for ice cream sundaes, and then add a very minor sprinkling of sea salt or coarse kosher salt. Let the cupcakes sit in the fridge for a bit if you don't want them drippy. Heaven!!
- Mint chip cupcakes - Mint chocolate chip and mint chocolate cookie are two of my favorite ice creams. Make your favorite butter cream frosting and add a dash or two of mint extract (and some green food coloring, if you want the full effect). Sprinkle on chocolate chips or crushed Oreos. These will hold you over until ice cream season!
Here's a recipe for chocolate cupcakes and homemade brownies. (And here's a recipe for gluten-free chocolate cake.)
But, honestly, even if you use a mix from a box, people will be so focused on the tasty toppings that they'll think you bought these bad boys at a professional bakery! My favorite boxed chocolate cake mix is made by Cherrybrook Kitchen. And even though it's dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, low in fat, and found in the health food/organic aisle it (surprisingly) tastes out of this world!
Happy Valentine's Day!