I know cupcakes have been trendy for quite a while, and I can really see why. They are one of the most versatile foods out there. You can add ANYTHING to a cupcake, from green tea to salted caramel to bacon to mango, the ideas are endless. I have beeing trying to come up with a really creative cupcake, and after a few tries, I think I have found a winner, in both taste and originality.
I thought about an episode of Food Network Challenge recently where contestants were asked to make cookies, but they kept throwing extra ingredients at them, and challenge twists. One of those twists was to make a cookie inspired by a classic dessert. I started thinking about desserts and candies that would make a good cupcake, and suddenly it hit me...Nutella. That yummy chocolate hazelnut spread that comes in a jar, the same stuff they put inside Ferrero Rocher candies...this could be tasty.
I found a recipe for a plain chocolate cupcake here. Then I hit the store and got all the little extras I would need to capture the taste and texture.
The candy has several layers. The first is a whole hazelnut, followed by the chocolate hazelnut filling (Nutella). Then there is a crispy shell, covered in chopped hazelnuts, and then chocolate.
I wanted to get the nuts and chocolate, but I also really wanted to get that crispy crunch as well. So, here's how the production went...
Filled the cupcake liners half full of batter.
Placed a couple of pieces of chopped hazelnuts in each cup.
Placed a dollop of about 1/2 teaspoon Nutella on top of the nuts.
Let them cool a bit, and then put a little dollop of Nutella on top (not a lot, it's very rich) and allow it to melt a tad before spreading around.
Now, how to get that crispy crunch...I got to thinking about all the cereal we have in the cupboard, and decided to take some cornflakes and coat them in melted chocolate, and make little crunchy clusters for the top. There was really no way to get the crunch inside the cupcake; it would have just been soggy. So, we have cupcake, nuts, Nutella, cupcake, more Nutella, crunchy cluster.
It was everything I ever hoped it could be, and then some. It was not all that labor intensive to make these, totally worth the effort. This is my sister's favorite candy, so I'm pretty sure these will be her birthday cupcakes.