Cookie Monster Cupcakes

Can I just say I've been on cuteness overload this weekend?  On Saturday, we met baby E for ourselves!  It was so exciting, and he's adorable.  He slept most of the time we were there (who knew newborns slept so much?!), but I got some baby time.  Hearing myself called auntie L for the first time was enough to make my heart sing!
Then, today we met O the kitty for the first time!  He basically spent the afternoon sleeping on the chair behind my head while I was doing my homework and we watched football.  He was quite a goof of a cat.  (Par for the course with JDR and EM!)
After those two exceeding cutenesses, I'm not sure I can claim that cupcakes added significantly to the cuteness level of my weekend, but they added a little! 
Ever since MMS made cookie monster cupcakes forever ago (forever ago meaning during high school . . . ), I've thought they were adorable.  So when I found a pint-sized container of bright, bright blue sprinkles at our favorite ice cream place's end of the season charity give away, I knew they were destined for cookie monster cupcakes.  
Upon thinking about an occasion for said cupcakes, I decided a little boy's 1st birthday would be perfect for it.  But then I realized that being before baby E was even born, a first birthday was a ways off.  So I went for a plan B: his 0th birthday! 
Now, I've made some decorative cupcakes in my short baking non-career, and I have to say these were actually the easiest I can remember!
I made a new recipe for red velvet cupcakes, and I must say, they reminded me so much of bakery cupcakes.  Yum.  I was originally just going to make 2-3 batches of the red velvet cupcakes for two that I love, but I figured with visitors and lack of sleep, the new mommy and daddy deserved a full batch.  
Then came some cream cheese frosting (LB and JB's favorite), and I dipped the cupcakes into a shallow bowl of blue sprinkles, making sure they covered all the frosting.  
Meanwhile, either bake a batch of small chocolate chip cookies, or buy some premade ones.  Cut each cookie in half.  I baked them myself, but I cheated and bought the dough.
 The eyes are actually really easy!  I got white chocolate melting disks, and simply stuck the flat end of a chocolate chip lightly into some of the leftover frosting, and pressed it onto the flat side of the disk.  Voila, muppet eyes!  
Those get stuck into the top of the cupcake so that they stick up, and the half cookie sticks up at the bottom.  And there's cookie monster!  
Really.  It's that easy. 
The new mommy and daddy dug right in.  They have been officially 0th birthday approved!  NES and I might have had some too while baby E napped.  So much joy.

Cookie Monster Red Velvet Cupcakes
cupcakes/frosting from Sally's Baking Addiction 
Cupcake Inspiration from Recipe by Photo

1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 canola oil
2 eggs, separated
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 white vinegar
approx. 2/3 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup buttermilk

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

At least 1 - 1 1/2 cups blue sprinkles
7 chocolate chip cookies or approx. 1 inch balls of chocolate chip cookie dough
28 white chocolate melting disks
28 chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. There will be 14 cupcakes, so either you'll have two for a second batch, or if you have silicone or foil liners, you can place two onto a small baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour and corn starch until well combined. Add the cocoa, baking soda and salt, and whisk again until combined. Set this mixture aside.

Using a mixer, cream the butter for about a minute, or until smooth and creamy.

Add the sugar and beat for another minute or two, or until creamed together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the oil and beat for about 2 mins more. The butter may not combine smoothly, and this is fine.

Add the two egg yolks, putting aside the whites for later.  Add the vanilla. Beat until mixed, scraping sides occasionally.

Add the vinegat and food coloring until it reaches the desired shade. I used about 2/3 of a 1 oz. bottle.

Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing and adding half the buttermilk in between each addition. Mix until just combined.

Beat the egg whites until thick and foamy, then fold into the batter.

Distribute the batter into the 14 liners, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-21 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center of a cupcake clean.

Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and butter for the frosting with a mixer until smooth and light.

Add the sugar and 1 tbsp of cream. Beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and up to 1 additional tbsp. of cream to reach the desired consistency.

Spread a generous amount of frosting onto each cooled cupcake (reserving a small amount for the eyes).

Dip each cupcake, frosting side down, into a shallow bowl containing a generous layer of the blue sprinkles. Roll to cover all white areas with sprinkles.

Meanwhile, bake (if necessary) 7 small chocolate chip cookies. Allow to cool.  Cut or break each cookie in half.

Take a chocolate chip and dip the flat end into the leftover frosting. Place the frosting end onto the flat side of a white chocolate disk. Continue until there are two eyes for each cupcake.

Place the eyes, sticking up, into the back side of the sprinkled frosting. Place the cookie, cut side down, sticking out of the front half of the frosting. 


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