It's Halloween, you guys!

I absolutely love Halloween. Love, love, love. For many reasons. I love spooky things, I love old Halloween movies. I love haunted houses. I love Halloween parties and getting dressed up in a fun costume. I love pumpkin patches and fall festivals. I love Halloween candy. I love the change in weather. I also love that Halloween begins my favorite time of year: the parade of holidays from Halloween through New Year's. It is such a fun and magical time.

I think this year more than ever we're all looking forward to a little holiday cheer. 2020 has been a tough one. I haven't even really blogged in a while - my mind has been in other places this year.

And Halloween is going to look a little different for everyone this year. No large trick-or-treat outings. No big Halloween parties. No massive haunted house events. But that doesn't mean we can't still make it fun!

As I mentioned earlier, I love old Halloween movies. The old corny slasher flicks. And some of the classics like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Nightmare Before Christmas. Our plans for Halloween this year are to stay home and binge-watch as many fun Halloween movies as possible. And, of course, consume enough sweet treats to go into a sugar coma.

I could make this easy and just get a big back of assorted Halloween candy but you know what would be more fun than that? Baking something.

As I started thinking through what would be a fun Halloween treat to make my mind went back to birthdays when I was in elementary school. Every year for my birthday, my mom made worms n' dirt cupcakes for me to bring to school and share with friends. Every year, I only wanted worms n' dirt cupcakes. No other varietals. It became a tradition.

If you're unfamiliar with worms n' dirt cupcakes, it's basically a chocolate cupcake topped with Oreo cookie crumbles with a gummy worm sticking out. It looks like a worm coming out of the dirt. And it's oh so delicious.

And kinda creepy. Hey, that would make for a good Halloween treat! And what if I added some Halloween candy to the mix?

Which is how I landed on this recipe. This is a chocolate cupcake recipe I've used in other posts repurposed because it's a good basic recipe. The whipped icing is something I've used before as well. I felt a lighter icing would be best here to balance out the heaviness of the candy. We incorporate the classic Oreo crumbles and the gummy worms but I've also added a special surprise to the cupcakes' centers: Halloween candies.

You can choose your favorite type of candy and use the same varietal in all the cupcakes but I preferred to choose a few types and mix it up. That way, every cupcake is a bit of a surprise. For my cupcakes, I used Reese's and Milky Way Midnights - out two favorite Halloween candies.

The nice thing about worms n' dirt cupcakes is if you're not super skilled yet at icing a cupcake, it's OK because the icing work gets covered by the cookie crumbles.

These are great for kids and adults alike. No matter the size of your Halloween celebration this year, these worms n' dirt cupcakes are a great addition.

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~ Ingredients ~

(Makes 12)

Chocolate Candy Cupcakes

1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. sugar
½ c. cocoa powder
2 eggs
¾ c. vegetable oil
½ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
12 pieces of assorted Halloween candy
(I used a mix of Reese's Minis and Milky Way Midnight Minis)

Whipped Cream Icing

2 c. heavy whipping cream
½ c. confectioners sugar
1 package Godiva chocolate pudding mix

Decorations

12 gummy worms
Crumbled Oreo cookies 
(if you don't have access to pre-crumbled Oreos, just buy a pack of regular Oreos, remove the cream and crush the cookies into dust)

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~ Directions ~

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate larger bowl, beat together sugar and eggs. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and beat well. Mix in the cocoa powder. Finally, slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until combined. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. Divide batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Push a piece of Halloween candy or your choice into the center of each cupcake.


Push the piece of candy into the batter until it's completely encased and you can't see the candy.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (you'll need to test toward the side of the cupcake since the gooey candy is inside). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Suggest moving to the refrigerator to cool. Cold cakes are the best for icing.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the icing. In a large bowl, whip together all ingredients until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Once the cupcakes are cooled completely, ice them with a generous amount of icing. The icing job doesn't need to be pretty, as you won't really see it on the finished product.


Carefully dip the top of each cupcake into a bowl filled with the Oreo cookie crumbs. Do this gently so the icing doesn't fall off the cupcake. Roll each cupcake around enough in the crumbs so the icing is covered and the top has a "dirt" look.

To finish off, stick one of the gummy worms into the icing of each cupcake so it looks like the little guy is popping out of the dirt to say "hello."


And there you have it! Some fun, creepy and tasty cupcakes for your Halloween!