Cookie butter, Biscoff, Speculoos – three different names for one dangerously addicting spread. For the uninitiated, think cinnamon-spiced shortbread cookies ground into a smooth and creamy paste, like peanut butter. With notes of gingerbread, cinnamon, and caramel, you can’t go wrong with a jar of cookie butter (though you will certainly be tempted to attack it with a spoon!). If you love cookie butter as much as I do, these are your cupcakes – infused with layer upon layer of the wondrous Belgian creation, you’ll have a hard time eating just one.
I spiced up the fluffy vanilla cupcakes with crushed butter almond thin cookies, and couldn’t resist adding a hidden pocket of cookie butter that caramelizes in the oven – you’re welcome! Top these off with a lush cookie butter buttercream, and you’ll find yourself with one satisfying cupcake.
Cookie Butter Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour*
6 butter almond thins (approx 1 ounce), pulsed
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup cookie butter
Cookie Butter Buttercream
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 Tbsp cookie butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp low-fat milk
6 butter almond thins, broken
Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup standard muffin pans with baking cups; coat lightly with nonstick spray. Whisk together cake flour, pulsed almond thins, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, and beat until combined; beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat just until combined. Add yogurt and buttermilk; finish with remaining flour mixture.
Using an electric hand mixer with clean and dry beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, carefully fold egg whites into the cake batter in 2 additions. Divide half the batter evenly between cups; top with 1/2 teaspoon cookie butter. Spoon remaining batter evenly into cups and bake for 18 minutes, until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 2 minutes in pans on a wire rack, then carefully remove from pans and place them on the wire rack to cool completely.
To make buttercream, beat butter and cookie butter in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add milk and beat on medium speed until airy. Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and pipe a spiral onto each cupcake; top with a piece of almond thin. Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
*Make your own cake flour: place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in an empty 1-cup measure, then top up with flour. Sift the mixture several times to evenly distribute the cornstarch.
Yield – 24 cupcakes (serving size: 1 cupcake)
Calories – 225
Carbs – 35