Red Licorice Cupcakes

This is a real “cooking with kids” recipe. For the child in all of us. This is similar to a recipe from the show Cupcake Wars…
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
¾ cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
½ cup nondairy creamer
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup cherry cola, slightly warmed

5 pieces of red licorice, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks

Frosting(gilding the lily!):
½ cup (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons nondairy creamer
Red food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 standard muffin cups or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, creamer, oil and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in cola. Pour into prepared muffin pans and bake for about 15 minutes – until springy to touch. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

To prepare filling, combine licorice and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and cool. When cool, whisk in the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly. Cool to room temperature.

Scoop out a small piece from center of each cooled cupcake and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of filling into hole. Cover with frosting.

To prepare frosting, beat together margarine, powdered sugar and creamer until light and fluffy. For a dramatic effect, add the red food coloring. Spread over cupcakes. Ooh and aah!

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