For the cupcakes I went with my standard chocolate cake mixture, and pressed a couple of the crunchie buttons in before I baked them. I didn't think this really added much, though, so though you can do this if you like, feel free to skip this step.
Hokey pokey is something that I think all children should make (once old enough to understand that hot = burn, of course!) - it's the ultimate in kitchen chemistry.
I love the whole process - from grainy sugar to a golden molten mass to fluffy to chewy (after some cooling) to brittle and hard (after more cooling). It's also pretty cheap to make, so it doesn't matter too much if it gets screwed up. ;-) And let's be honest, there are always kids (big and small!) who are more than happy to eat "failures" anyway!
The main thing to keep in mind if you're making these as cupcakes is that hokey pokey is not such a fan of oxygen, so you're best to keep the hokey pokey covered until you need it and as much as possible once you've made the cupcakes. I covered mine with gladwrap the evening I made it, then smashed it up in the morning, decorated the cupcakes and kept them in my plastic cupcake carrier until morning tea time, when my colleagues devoured them. A bit of air won't hurt but if you leave them out overnight the hokey pokey will probably be a bit gooey (rather than crunchy) by the time you eat them.
For ganache, as ever, bring the cream just to the boil then remove from the heat before adding the chocolate, and have a bowl ready to transfer everything into when the chocolate starts to melt. This keeps the molecular structure of the chocolate intact and means you'll have thicker icing with less chocolate.
If the ganache sets thicker than you'd like (this is quite a firm recipe) hold the bowl over simmering water or zap it in 5 second bursts in the microwave to loosen it up a bit. I just spread mine on the cupcakes with a spatula, then stuck some broken bits of hokey pokey on top. Simple yet so good!
Did your parents let you dabble in the kitchen when you were a kid? What do you remember making?
Crunchie Bar Cupcakes
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp golden syrup
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 180 C. Line 16 muffin pans with cupcake papers.
Cream butter, sugar, golden syrup and eggs together. Add flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix to combine.
Warm milk, vanilla essence and baking soda in a microwave-prrof jug for about 2 minutes, and then gradually beat into the rest of the mix until the batter is smooth (but not longer than you need to).
Spoon the batter into cupcake papers. Bake for 14-18 minutes until they spring back when pressed lightly.
200g chocolate, broken into small pieces
Heat the cream in a saucepan until it is just starting to boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Gently fold the mixture to melt the chocolate.
When the chocolate is half melted transfer into a bowl and continue to fold to melt the chocolate. When smooth stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread.
5 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda
Line a baking tin with buttered baking paper.
Heat sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat until dissolved. Increase heat and bring to the boil, then boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda, stirring until frothy and combined. Tip into lined tin and leave to cool and harden.
Spread ganache onto the cooled cupcakes. Break the hokey pokey into small pieces and press some into the ganache on each cupcake. Store in an airtight container until serving.