Here is my new blog column called “Bait n Switch” where I draw you in with cupcakes and then only talk about ice skating for an hour. From here on out if you see cookies n cream just know that it’s a post about ice skating, cookies n cream is the code word. It’s the beginning of what will probably, by Beijing 2022, be a full blown figure skating blog. I am deeply excited about this career transition, and if you are Nike and would like to sponsor my six-part mini series on Ashley Wagner’s smoldering hot off-ice warm-up looks, the answer is yes. And can I get a team USA podium outfit set.
Here were my top four moments of this weekend’s U.S. championships:
Gold: When Mirai landed her final jump, the triple loop, and did booya arms. 4:35, here, and then at 4:41 you can see her coach in the background jumping up and down and cheering. It was the sight of her gliding onto the olympic team and now I’m crying and completely verklempt.
Silver: When the vocals came in during Adam Rippon’s free program. It’s the most beautiful free program and the long build up to the vocals is so effective. Of course I was very sad when he didn’t skate his best, of course I kept waking up that night wondering is he going to make the olympic team? Now he’s made it and we get to see him skate that program again in Pyeongchang, yay!
Bronze: There’s a little hop that Nathan Chen does after the second quad in his short program that is the best tiny morsel of choreography. It was more pronounced at Skate America (2:09, here) but it’s details like that in his choreography that are the perfectly placed sprinkles on the cake. See also: the exit move out of his first jump. And his overall controlled savageness. And his new vera wang looks!!! This program has everything.
Pewter: Tie between Ashley Wagner’s La la land Dress, Ashley Wagner’s Nike looks, and when Mrs. Maisel won the Golden Globe. What? That wasn’t part of the championships. It was, however, a crucial part in getting over US champs withdrawal.
Oh! And honorable mentions: Jean-Luc Baker and Kaitlin Hawayek’s free program because I love them and they are the future, and also Mariah Bell’s short program because I also love her and she is also the future.
Thank you for listening, now we can talk about these cupcakes. Do you ever think that cookies n cream is a little bit bitter that he was on track to winning gold until funfetti came along out of nowhere and stole everyone’s hearts? I would be. I had completely forgotten about cookies n cream until like two weeks ago when I was sitting on the couch being a blob and brainstorming new recipes to make. Pretty much out of nowhere all of these old memories of eating cookies n cream blizzards from the dairy queen and occasionally making a cookies n cream boxed cake instead of a funfetti boxed cake rushed back to me and made me really happy. And also made me go down a google hole. It turns out that the other Dakota, to the south, has laid claim to inventing it! That’s fun.
Cookies n cream cake is tasty because you get all the good flavor of Oreos but all of the soft texture of cake. It’s like jeggings, you get the good fit of leggings but the nicer look of jeans. It’s not rocket science, you crush up oreos and add them to cake batter. I’m using the same batter as my funfetti cake, which gets even moister and richer thanks to those little pockets of Oreo filling scattered within, and yes I’m using homemade oreos!! It adds one extra step, 30-40 minutes, tops, since the cupcake frosting and Oreo frosting can be combined into the same step, and obviously the cookies are so much better. Which makes the whole thing so much better. But if you really just want to go the store-bought cookie route here, that is fine, adjustments are below for that!
cookies n cream cupcakes
makes 14 cupcakes
for the chocolate cookies:
1 c (128g) all-purpose flour
1/2 c (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
A pinch of kosher salt
1/2 c + 2 tb (141g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tb (75g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar, for dusting
for the frosting:
14 tb (196g) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened
3 c (360g) powdered sugar
a pinch of kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
for the cupcakes:
1 1/4 c (160g) all-purpose flour
2 tb constarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c (150g) sugar
2 large egg whites
2 tb flavorless oil
1/2 tb vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
6 tb (90g) whole milk
sprinkles, for decorating
NOTE: If using store-bought oreos, use 12 cookies in the cupcake batter and 6 in the frosting. and then decrease the frosting ingredient measurements to the following: 1/2 c (113g) butter, 2 oz (56g) cream cheese, 2 1/4 c (270g) powdered sugar, a small pinch salt, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
to make the cookies:
preheat the oven to 325ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla extract. with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until combined. it will still be a bit crumbly. pour the mixture onto a work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together.
lightly dust your surface and the top of the dough with a 1:1 mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. working swiftly and carefully, roll out the dough to 1/4-to-1/2-inch thickness and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds. transfer them to baking sheets, 1 inch apart (using a small offset spatula helps with this step). Re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds.
bake the cookies until the tops are no longer shiny, about 15 minutes. cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
to make the frosting:
in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all of the ingredients together until smooth.
scoop about 1 cup frosting into a piping bag and pipe 8 cookies with a nice big blob. Top those with 8 more cookies and then stick them in the fridge to firm up. Squeeze out any remaining frosting from the piping bag back into your frosting bowl, crush up 8 more cookies to a fine crumb (I do this in a large ziploc bag with a rolling pin) and mix them into the remaining frosting. Set aside remaining chocolate cookies for decorating. And set the frosting aside, covered, at room temperature. You'll need your stand mixer bowl to make the cake batter, so it's easiest to scoop out your frosting really well with a rubber spatula and then there's no need to wash it out, you can just go straight to the cake batter step.
for the cupcakes:
preheat the oven to 350ºf. line two cupcake pans with 14 cupcake liners, spacing them out evenly between the two pans.
in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.
in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. add the oil and the extracts.
with the mixer running on low speed, add the dry mixture and the milk in two or three alternating batches and mix until just barely combined.
retrieve the 8 sandwich cookies from the fridge, chop them coarsely or break them up with your hands, and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter.
distribute the batter among the cupcake cups and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes.
let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Scoop the frosting onto the tops of your cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles and/or remaining chocolate cookies!