Thursday, March 29, 2012

OreOwls

These owls are the reason things have been so quiet around here lately. I have been doing a lot of thinking the last two weeks. That thinking has been mostly related to work and life here in Alaska. It was a year ago that I applied to be the Executive Director at the Alaska Bird Observatory. I knew it would be a lot of work and job security can be tricky with non-profit organizations as funding sources come and go. The hiring process was slow, which often happens when the hiring committee is a group of busy volunteers. I wasn't actually offered the position until July. I remember that whole time being quite grueling, but the good thing is that I had plenty of time to think about whether it was a good choice. The last two weeks of preparing our annual report and presentation for the annual meeting really brings it all full circle. I am always amazed to see all the great work we have done over the course of a year.
Each year we have a bird-themed cake auction for our annual meeting. Last year I made a hummingbird cake. I have had this owl cupcake recipe in the back of my mind for a while now and luckily stumbled across it again last week. The cupcakes were a hit, eight of them went for $60 at the auction. Of course the recipe actually makes twelve! You know, I had to keep a couple to make sure they were actually good. Which they were. I like how the oreos inside the cake get kind of soft and just blend in with the rest of the cupcake. They are a little challenging to eat with all the stuff on top, but the cuteness factor makes up for it.

OreOwls
adapted from 6 Bittersweets
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped Oreos
24 Oreo cookies for decorating
24 brown plain chocolate M&M's
12 yellow or orange plain chocolate M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup muffin pan. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Whisk in the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain. Gently fold in chopped cookies. Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons corn syrup

Heat heavy cream and chocolate over medium low heat stirring constantly until chocolate has melted. Stir in corn syrup. Let ganache cool for about 10 minutes before assembling cupcakes.

To assemble the cupcakes: You will want to divide 24 of the Oreo cookies in half trying to get all of the cream to come off on one side. I found this to be harder than it sounds. I ended up using a knife and still cracked quite a few Oreos. I actually did this step first and used the ones I messed up for the cookie crumbs that went inside the cupcakes. You will cut 12 of the blank side Oreos in half to make the owl tufts. Place brown M&M's into the inner edge of the white part of each owl eye. First dip your cupcake in the ganache. You can also spread the ganache on, but I find it easier just to dip the top of the cupcake into the ganache. Place eyes just slightly below the center of the cupcake, this will make sure you have enough room for the tufts. Then place the tufts above the eyes. Add a sideways orange or yellow M&M for the nose. Repeat with each cupcake until complete. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

26 comments:

  1. Those are pretty darn cute. I avoid Oreo's at all costs but those owls make me wanna rethink my decision.

    I've been a lurker for about six months, first comment. I love your recipes.

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    1. Thanks Alyse! I debated using Newman's O's, but the name Newman's Owls just didn't have the same ring to it. :)

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    2. What about Joe Joe Hoos? (Trader Joe's Oreo cookie) .. on second thought that could get misread to rhyme.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed these! They look so adorable I want to make them again myself =)

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  3. Oh My .. these are just the cutest .. I passed this on to my sister with a 7 year old who NEEDS to have a woodland party!!!

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  4. These are seriously the cutest cupcakes I've EVER seen. Love them!

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  5. These are sooooooooo cute and adorable!
    I admire your creativity

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  6. I LOVE THESE!! WISH I HAD KIDS AROUND STILL!!

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  7. I love oreos and these owl cupcakes are so cute! I'm not surprised they fetched a high price at auction - well done!!

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  8. I nominated you with a blogger award because your blog is wonderful and creative. For details:http://prairiesummers.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/seven-interesting-things/
    Jen

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  9. These are so wonderful! Perfect for little kids' parties and gatherings. I think I'll whip up a batch next time we have little company...

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  10. OMG! These are absolutely adorable! Your job sounds like a perfect job to me.

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  11. A friend of mine must have been inspired by your post! She made these for a bridal shower for our mutual friend who loves owls. They are adorable!!

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  12. Oh i loooove it!!! Imma make these fo sure <3 thank you for this! :D

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  13. So cute! I just baked the cupcakes and am looking forward to decorating them once they cool. I'll be feeding them to some hungry guys who are currently cutting and stacking wood for us on our property. I found your website through this recipe on Pinterest, I'm sure glad I stumbled upon your blog! I live in Fairbanks and it's always fun to find people here who have some good recipes with local items! I look forward to trying many more of your recipes!

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  14. Need a german translation for it - looks great!

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  15. Claudia B. - Austin, TXJanuary 12, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    My 11 year old daughter made these today. They turned out so cute. We were in the mood for white chocolate buttercream icing so they are 'snow owls'. :)

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  16. I made these for my staff assistant's birthday earlier this week, and they were a huge hit with the whole office!

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    Replies
    1. So glad you liked them. I have made the non-owl version just because they are so good.

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  17. OMG...These are just so freaking cute!!! I'll be sharing the heck out of this post!!! Thanks! =)

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  18. Your owls are darling, Nicole. My niece and nephew are going to love these. Thank you for sharing the how-to =)

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  19. thanks JULIA for this super Idea i'm going to try these for my g grandsons B day should make a big hit he turns 2 this month.only problem was I couldn't get the recipe to copy to my new printer so I had to hand write it.but their mother thought they were cute.

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  20. I tried them last week and they turned out great :) The only thing was that the oreos got a little soft because of the humidity in the frosting. Did that happen to you, too or do you have any tipps to avoid that?

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