Cookies are a sometimes food!

But cupcakes are for everyday!!

So, having handed in my thesis (yay), I finally have time again to indulge in some kitchen experiments. Last week, there was oriental couscous with raisins, cinammon, orange glazed tofu and creamy Sambal Oelek. And today, there were cookie monster cupcakes.

I was inspired by some pictures I saw online last year (I guess I’m behind the hype), but also wanted to try a new cupcake recipe. The first thing that came up googling “cheesecake cupcakes” was Martha Stewart, of all sites. So, I mixed and matched a little bit to come up with a good two dozen little blue monsters. If you wanna give it a try, here’s how:

CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE COOKIEMONSTER CUPCAKES

Batter
Ingredients (makes about 24)
• 600g cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 1/8 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (yoghurt works, too)
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 small eggs, room temperature
• canned whole cranberries

Directions (mine are a little less sophisticated than Martha’s. The original recipe also recommends a sour cream topping which is possibly very tasty, but definitely very boring looking. It does use imperial measurements, though ;))
1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Line the cupcake tins with heavyweight aluminum liners, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. paper liners are fine, too =)

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, soda and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not overmix.

4. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners. Add one or two craberries – they’ll sink on their own.

5. Place on a low oven rack and bake for 15 minutes.
Switch to a higher rack and bake until golden brown.
Now, here’s the deal – if you take them out right away, the cupcakes will most likely sink in a little. Which is fine if you need room for lots of frosting – if you do insist on a bulging, well-rounded monster you may want to try these cupcakes a few times before presenting them. Or use a different batter.

The “skin”
In order to make the fur stick, you need to coat the cupcakes. I used a cream cheese frosting, but sugar icing etc. is fine, too!

Ingredients for the frosting:
• 175g cream cheese, room temperature (do not use the fat reduced kind, it’ll be too sour!)
• 75g butter (soft)
• 120g powdered sugar
• blue food coloring (optional)
• a pinch of salt

Directions
Mix butter and salt. Gradually sift powdered sugar and stir well. Add spoonfuls of cream cheese until smooth. Cool for a bit.
Now, you can just add blue food coloring and top off the cupcakes. But, honestly, monsters have FUR, so let’s give it some:

Fur
Ingredients
• 150g dessicated coconut
• blue food coloring (lots!)

Directions
If you have lots of time, you can grind the coconut a little, but using what you buy is fine, too. Generously add blue food coloring (I used a mix of dry and gel, just try and see whatever works best for you). Dip the frosted cupcakes in the blue coconut.
Some also use blue sprinkles, but I think the coconut looks furrier.

Eyes & Extras
There are lots of ways to make the eyes:
click for another recipe!I saw some recipes featuring little balls of marzipan or white icing with chocolate chips. I used chocolate dragees (think smarties or m&ms) and attached pupils made of teenie drops of molten dark (70%) chocolate.
Additionally, you might want to add miniature cookies (or pieces) – stick them in where the mouth is supposed to be. It looks really great, but I felt it was a bit of an overkill 😉

Enjoy!