Moist and fudgy brownie cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream and homemade chocolate shortbread cookies
- 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (50g) dark cocoa powder**
- 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups (190g – 220g) all purpose flour
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (65g) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (20g) dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 4 cups (480g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (50g) dark cocoa powder
- 3–4 tbsp milk
- 2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- White nonpareil sprinkles
- White star sprinkles (optiona)**
- Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment. The mix in the egg.
- Once smooth, add in the cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix until it forms a dough that’s moldable but not sticky, and it will look like the dough is too dry and won’t come together but just keep mixing until all the flour is absorbed. Take a chunk and press it between your fingers. If it holds together and doesn’t stick, it’s ready. If it’s still too wet, add in another 1/4 cup of flour.
- Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and add the dough to the center. Press it into a disk about 1 inch thick and wrap it up tightly. Chill for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to roughly 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, stamp out the cookies and lay them on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should get about 18 cookies. Chill the cookies in the refrigerator while you make the cupcake batter.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and coat a cupcake tin with nonstick spray. Then cut tiny strips of parchment paper and press them into each cup in a criss cross formation (see picture in post for reference). This will prevent the brownies from sticking and make it much easier to release them from the pan later on.
- In a large heat-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth and melted (it shouldn’t take more than 60 seconds total).
- Allow the mixture to cool as you whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl off to the side.
- Returning to the butter and chocolate, whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and eggs one at a time.
- Once smooth, fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula. Don’t over mix.
- Scoop the batter into the cupcake tin, filling each about half full (using up all the batter). I like to use a large cookie scoop to make this process easier.
- Take the cookies out of the fridge and bake both the cupcakes and cookies at the same time (if your oven isn’t large enough, you can bake the two separately starting with the cupcakes). The cupcakes will bake for 20-25 minutes, and the cookies for about 15 minutes. So pull the cookies, then continue to bake the cupcakes.
- The cookies should be dull on the surface and the cupcakes will be puffed in the center. Allow the two to cool completely before assembling.
- In a large mixing both using a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Then mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, followed by the cocoa powder.
- Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time to loosen up the buttercream, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until it forms a glue-like consistency. It should be slightly thicker than glue, but not as thick as a paste. Add a spoonful of powdered sugar if it’s too thin or 1/2 tbsp of milk if it’s too thick. Keep adding bit by bit until you reach the right consistency.
- Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, or a ziplock bag with a very tiny corner snipped off. Then fill a small but shallow dish with the nonpareil sprinkles.
- Pipe the icing into the cooled shortbread cookies in each phase of the moon. First pipe the outline of the shape, then partially fill it in. Use a spoon or small knife to spread it into an even layer.
- Place the cookie face down into the bowl of sprinkles to completely cover the icing. Apply pressure if needed. Make sure to work on one cookie at a time, so pipe, dunk, and move on to the next. It’s important the icing is still wet so the sprinkles can stick.
- Once the brownies are cooled, remove from the pan (if they stick at all, run a knife around the edges before releasing) and pipe on the buttercream. Press the moon cookie on top, right in the center. Then, add your nonpareil and star sprinkles around the edges. Enjoy!
CHOCOLATE COOKIES – You can make these from scratch or just use Oreos. Split the cookies apart, scrape off the cream filling, and using the flat underside of the cookie to decorate.
DARK COCOA POWDER – I use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder. If you can’t find this, you can also use regular cocoa powder or even dutch processed cocoa powder. Just expect the brownies to not be as dark as shown in the photos here.
STAR SPRINKLES – It’s tedious, but my favorite star sprinkles are by Wilton but they only come in rainbow colors. So I pick all of the white stars out of the bottle of rainbow star sprinkles and use those.
Keywords: brownie cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, halloween desserts