I hate throwing out cupcakes. I can almost hear them screaming, “What did I do to deserve this?” as I dump them into the trash bag. Thankfully, my cupcakes rarely get tossed. I’ve got friends and family who are always willing eaters. Yet, sometimes a few cupcakes are too far past their prime to serve. There are also times when a batch of cupcakes isn’t as appetizing as I’d hoped and I’d rather serve tasters a better version.
You can turn old or unwanted cupcakes (even though I’ve just done it, I’m not sure the words “unwanted” and “cupcakes” should ever be used together) into cupcake croutons! Cupcake croutons have the texture of biscotti but they can be made with any cupcake flavors.
I made my cupcake croutons with chocolate cupcakes (to be specific – trial 39 in the Quest for the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake) dusted with brown sugar and cinnamon. The little crunchy cupcake croutons didn’t taste like leftover cupcakes. They were a special dessert all unto themselves – and with so many uses (see below), you may want to bake cupcakes just to turn them into croutons!
“OK,” you wonder, “Now that I have all of these cupcake croutons, how should I use them?”
- Throw them in a bowl and snack on them. One cupcake equals 18 cupcake croutons, so you can go back for seconds and thirds and not feel too guilty about the calories.
- Serve them with mixed berries, as shown above. I loved the combination!
- Float them in your hot chocolate or coffee.
- Serve them in an ice cream sundae.
- Grind them up and use them as crumbs to make a pie crust. Imagine all of the flavor possibilities!
How to Make Cupcake Croutons
There are two ways to make cupcake croutons: in the dehydrator or in the oven. The nice thing about using a dehydrator is the obvious – you don’t have to turn the oven on! Using a dehydrator saves you money and doesn’t heat up your house. You can also set your dehydrator to run overnight without worrying about fire. But, not everyone has a dehydrator. If you don’t have one, you can get the same taste by making the cupcake croutons in your oven. I’ve included instructions for both methods below.
- Unfrosted cupcakes or cupcakes with the icing wiped or cut off (You can use fresh or stale cupcakes; don’t use anything too old for food safety reasons.)
- Brown sugar and spices (I used a brown sugar and cinnamon blend, but you can use whatever spices you like.)
- Cut cupcakes into small crouton size pieces. I got 18 croutons from one cupcake.
- Generously coat each crouton with the sugar and spice mixture.
- Place croutons on Silpat- or parchment-lined cookie sheets or on the trays of a dehydrator.
- If using cookie sheets, bake at 275 F for 50 minutes or until dried out. Flip them halfway through baking to ensure even drying. If using a dehydrator, set it to 115 F and let it run overnight (about 8 hours).
|Croutons on the tray of the dehydrator|
I received the Excalibur Dehydrator shown in the photo above compliments of Excalibur. It’s living in the basement right now because its footprint is way too huge to fit in my kitchen, but it will be making frequent trips upstairs – not only to make more cupcake croutons, but also to make dried fruit, fruit leather, dried veggie snacks, and much more. If you have a dehydrator, I’d love it if you shared some of your favorite dehydrator recipes in the comments!