I happened to be walking down the candy aisle in the grocery store when these cupcakes popped into my head. It took me a couple of weeks before I finally decided on how I wanted to make them. (I must have a thing for combining my favorite candy with cupcakes, as you can see from my Good & Plenty cupcakes!) For these little yummy treats, I baked up some chocolate mini cupcakes, frosted them with dark chocolate icing, and topped them with my own dark chocolate nonpareils or “Sno-Caps”. Nestle’s Sno-Caps are so tiny and bite-sized that I thought the cupcakes should be as well.
Here’s how I made them in more detail:
1) Bake a batch of mini cupcakes in a mini muffin pan using cake mix from a box or your favorite chocolate cake recipe. (I used Duncan Hines Devil’s Food flavor because it’s my favorite!) They take only 15 minutes in a 325 degree oven.
2) Let cupcakes sit in muffin pan for 5-10 minutes after baking and then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
*I made 48 mini cupcakes and still had leftover batter. The frosting recipe and instructions for the nonpareils are for 48 mini cupcakes. I just used the rest of the batter to try out my whoopie pie pan and froze the cakes for another time! :)
3) While mini cupcakes are cooling, make your frosting.
In a small but heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with butter, milk, and salt. Stir constantly (so chocolate doesn’t burn) until thick and smooth. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from heat. Add in the vanilla and stir a little to combine. Pour into a mixing bowl, scraping with a spatula to get all the chocolate into the bowl. Add in the powdered sugar. Blend on low speed with mixer to combine, and then beat on higher speed until well combined. The frosting should be thick and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
4) To make your “Sno-Caps” you’ll need:
6 oz. or more of white nonpareils (small, ball-shaped sprinkles, found in baking aisle of grocery store or where they sell cake decorating supplies)
1 – 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet morsels and 1 – 10 oz. bag of bittersweet morsels
2 – 12 oz. bags of semi-sweet morsels
(Depends on how sweet you like your dark chocolate…I used half Ghirardelli Bittersweet morsels and half Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet morsels. I find that the Ghirardelli melts more smoothly, so I recommend that brand if you can get it.)
Disposable decorating bag or a Ziploc bag
Pour half of the chocolate into a microwaveable bowl. (If you are mixing them, pour half the bittersweet and half the semi-sweet into the bowl) Microwave the chocolate on medium power for a minute. Stir morsels. Microwave another minute on medium power. Stir. Microwave on medium power at 30 second intervals now, stirring each time, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Do not over heat and do not use high power! Set bowl aside for a few minutes to cool a bit. While it cools you can make a template for your nonpareils. Using wax paper and a Sharpie marker, trace the circles of your mini muffin pan onto the paper.
Flip wax paper over…and line a rimmed baking sheet with it. (You want your baking sheet to have a rim so the sprinkles won’t spill out, but it should fit in your freezer as well.)
Get your decorating bag or Ziploc bag ready. Fill your bag about 3/4 full with melted chocolate, snip the end, and using a swirl motion fill the circles on your wax paper. I tried to make “mountains” like the Sno-Caps candy but when I added the sprinkles they mostly flattened out anyway.
I only did about 12 at a time. If you make too many at once, your chocolate will start to set up and the nonpareil sprinkles will not stick properly.
Generously sprinkle the nonpareils over your chocolate swirls, covering all the chocolate.
Stick the baking sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes or so, to let the chocolate harden. When they are ready, take the pan out of the freezer, peel off the chocolates, and set aside. Pour the unused sprinkles into a bowl to reuse (using the wax paper like a funnel).
You can either make all of these “Sno-Caps” first, then frost the cupcakes and assemble with the nonpareils, or you can do it in batches like I did. (I made 12 Sno-Caps, frosted and assembled 12 cupcakes, then made the rest in groups of 12 (melting chocolate as needed.)
5) Frost mini cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting…
6) Stick your custom “Sno-Cap” on top and gently press it into place.
I tried to create these as close to the candy as possible. The chocolate candy top adds a nice little touch. But…if you want a short cut, go ahead and just frost the cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting and sprinkle generously with white nonpareils (or turn over and dip them which might be easier and cleaner.) Just don’t let me know you copped out! ;)