Jun 05 2012

Can’t Sleep; Must Bake

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night to pee and then you can’t get back to sleep? Or worse yet, you do resume your slumber, but it takes so long to come to you that when you finally do fall asleep–and subsequently wake for the day–you feel like crap?

Ever since I’ve had kids, it’s become a regular ritual to wake at some point during the night.Whether it’s to answer the pleas of my son to escort him back to his room after his nocturnal potty breaks, or to coerce my daughter to stay in her bed, there are plenty of reasons other than the call of nature that beckon me from my bed. I can’t remember the last time I slept straight through the night, but I’m willing to bet that it was at least 8 years ago.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

A combination of turning in our cable boxes and the birds rising earlier and earlier to begin their summer song have worked against my ability to fall back asleep. Two days in a row, I awoke at 4:15AM. On the first, I contemplated (for about 10 seconds) going on a bike ride, then wrapped myself back up in the blanket cocoon and focused on sleeping instead. After I emptied my bladder, of course, because I probably would have been blissfully asleep still if not for it. At 7AM, I was achy and grouchy–the extra beauty sleep did me no good.

This morning, I took a different approach, embracing the awakening and attempting to harness it into something productive. On the prior day, I accidentally wished a friend a “Happy Birthday” one day too soon–and after he teased me about it, I joked about making virtual cupcakes for the occasion. I sure as heck wasn’t going to drive to his house! But in the early light of day, I decided that maybe I should make some real cupcakes in his honor, even if he still wouldn’t get to taste a bite of them. So I did.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

The problem is, the mind isn’t all that clear in the wee hours. I checked and double-checked and triple-checked the ingredients lists to be sure I had all that was required, but neglected to read the recipe through. It was only when it was too late that I realized my source had copied her instructions from her source, but did not list all the required ingredients. Or rather, it turns out she decided not to use the cookie dough filling, but still had the instructions for that part included and in my befuddled state, I got a little bit in a panic. I didn’t have enough time or resources to pull off the omitted filling and had to settle for just cupcakes with frosting. It’s no great tragedy–she explained it in her narrative–but my brain was too fuzzy to figure out what happened. Live and learn.

Even without the cookie dough filling, these are fantastic and really do evoke the feeling of scooping cookie dough straight from the bowl, bypassing the oven. It’s too bad my friend won’t get to try one. I’ll eat two in his honor!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • ¾ cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but that’s up to you)
Cookie Dough Frosting
  • ¾ cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1½ cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large pinches of Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup +/- chocolate chips for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar.
  4. Once light and fluffy, beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well incorporated.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the bowl, beating on medium-low the whole time, starting with dry and ending with dry, mixing until just incorporated.
  7. Beat in the vanilla extract and then remove bowl from mixer.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Portion out evenly between the cups with a large cookie scoop.
  10. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool completely before frosting.
Cookie Dough Frosting
  1. Cream the butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the confectioners sugar, on low first then gradually increasing the speed, until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the flour, cinnamon, and salt, until well-incorporated.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla, beating until very light and fluffy.
  5. Spread or pipe onto your cupcakes, saving any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  6. Garnish with chocolate chips.


About the author

Carrie @ poet in the pantry

Carrie is a home baker and amateur photographer who dabbles in writing and poetry.


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  1. Christina @ This Woman Cooks!

    Even though I’ve already had dessert tonight, I could totally eat two of these right now.

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      They have that effect on people. ;)

  2. Leah

    Sounds delic! I think we are entirely opposite as I sleep like a rock… in fact, people tease me about it. I’m actually capable of taking a 3 minute total REM sleep nap on the toilet in the office bathroom and waking completely refreshed.

    On the opposite side, my boyfriend is nearly an insomniac, and a mere pin dropping in the middle of the night can ruin him for days… most of our fights are about sleeping, ha ha. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. brighteyedbaker

    Those nights when you wake up and can’t get back to sleep are the worst. I had one of those the other night and contemplated getting up to make something if I was still awake by about 5, but ended up falling asleep by then. Starting the day with cupcakes, especially cookie dough ones, sounds good to me though!

  4. Shannon

    I think chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes sound amazing and I can’t wait to try this recipe! My problem isn’t waking up too early in the morning, but not being able to get to sleep at night. I can totally see myself making these at 2:00 in the morning . . . Thanks for sharing!

  5. Anna @ hiddenponies

    Haha, my husband has been shocked to wander through my parents’ kitchen after checking on the kids when we were visiting to find my mom calmly making pies at 3:00 in the morning, so I’m pretty sure events like these are in my future! Excellent use of time :)

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      Why sleep when you can be productive? ;)

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