I know some of you really won’t admit it.  It’s hard these days to admit you like junk food.  With buzz words like organic, low sodium, vegan, telling people you like junk food is like saying you eat small children for breakfast.  Well, don’t worry folks, I’m here to admit it for you.  I like junk food. Umm…period. I also really like butter, but we can cover that some other time.  Now I do like to balance the junk food indulgences with healthy things like wheat germ and flaxseed, but if you give me the option of one of those or a hostess cupcake, I’m taking the cupcake people!

Speaking of hostess, I’m sure most of you remember those snacks from your childhood.   My blessed mother almost always included a little plastic wrapped treat to end my school lunches.  I swear I never ate them first, Mom!  I always save the best for last.  Anyway, I saw these homemade forms of  the hostess cupcake and I knew I had to try them.  Let’s face it, it’s always better to have a treat with a shelf life under 15 years.  These seem like a ton of effort with the cream filling and such, but they really are fast and easy.  So go ahead and fulfill that childhood junk food fantasy.  I promise not to tell anyone!

Hostess Cupcakes
yields 12
adapted from Food Network Magazine

Cupcakes
1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs and 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs and 1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. water
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 c. butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large eggs, lightly beaten

Filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbs. heavy cream
1/2 c. marshmallow creme

Ganache
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Icing
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. milk
1/2 c. powdered sugar
dash vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper liners in muffin tin for about 12 cupcakes.

Cupcakes
Place sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into a large bowl. Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla. Beat the egg lightly and mix into the chocolate mixture. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well.
Pour about 1/4 c. batter into each cupcake liner and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before adding the filling.

Filling
While cupcakes are cooling, make the filling. Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in the marshmallow creme. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ganache
Place the butter and cream in a saucepan on medium heat until boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth and add vanilla.

To Assemble
Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). It’s OK if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache.

Spoon a little ganache on each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing: In a small bowl, whisk the butter, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar until smooth. Add more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a writing tip or a ziploc with the tip cut off. Pipe onto cupcakes the decoration of your choosing!

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