Easter candy comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors, and everyone has his or her own favorite. I’m a huge Peeps fan myself, especially after they’re nice and stale. But the flavors I most associate with Easter are chocolate and coconut; chocolate bunnies (gotta eat the ears first) and chicks and eggs…coconut cake and cream eggs and macaroons. In fact, Easter seems to be the unofficial start of coconut season. Let’s face it, it’s not long after the last jelly bean is gone that we’re whipping up that first piña colada of the summer.
Chocolate and coconut are a classic combination, immortalized forever in the PeterPaul Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars. Although I’ve outgrown most popular candy bars as too sweet, I still love these two. Always chock full of scrumptious moist coconut and covered with just the right amount of milk or dark chocolate, one with the crunchy almonds, the other without, they never fail to satisfy the sweet tooth.
I’ve been pondering for a while now how to transfer this yummy candy combo into a cupcake. Pinterest has a ton of Almond Joy cupcakes, but none that are b.u.i. worthy. So I simply deconstructed the candy bar and created my own cupcake interpretation of the Almond Joy: a rich amaretto chocolate cupcake topped with a coconut rum buttercream, garnished with toasted almonds and coconut. The result is simply amazing. Why not whip up a batch this Easter? They’ll be gone faster than you can say Easter Bunny.
CHOCOLATE AMARETTO CUPCAKES
Makes one dozen cupcakes
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons amaretto
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Add the sugar, oil and Amaretto to the almond milk mixture and beat until foamy.
Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches and beat until no,large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake tins about 3/4 full. Bake 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
MALIBU RUM BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
This frosting has a secret ingredient – marshmallow Fluff! – that makes it just a tad more like the candy bars.
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup marshmallow Fluff
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Cream together butter and Fluff until light and creamy. Add in powdered sugar, rum and salt and mix at low speed until combined, and then at high speed until light and fluffy.
Meanwhile, heat almonds and coconut in a small, non-stick frying pan over medium low heat until just lightly toasted. Remove from heat and combine together in a small bowl.
Frost cupcakes as desired, dipping the tops into the coconut almond mixture to garnish.