Have you tried the grey stuff? It’s delicious! If you didn’t know it already, Erica and I both LOVE LOVE LOVE Beauty and the Beast. Any chance we get to bring some of it into our homes, we jump on it; whether it be putting up decor or making the food, we are all in.
So when I saw Disneyland release their recipe for “The Grey Stuff” I knew that I needed it in my life. However, having had it at The Red Rose Tavern in Disneyland, I found it way too sweet. After reading the recipe I realized it was because their “grey” stuff was buttercream… A LOT of buttercream. That just isn’t something I can enjoy, but it gave me an idea to do a mousse instead! This would be lighter, less sweet, and really help make the dish more ME… you know? And Oh. My. Gosh. It turned out better than I expected!
But it is a PROCESS.
If you don’t know, “The Grey Stuff” (at the Red Rose Tavern at least) is a shortbread cookie with a Red Velvet cupcake on top, which has a fresh raspberry in the middle, and then it’s all encased in grey buttercream. I KNOW. It’s three desserts in one. We shared one in the park and were still barely able to finish it.
So I made the three components at home and put them all together into this BEAUTIFUL dessert! In my version, the cookie is a bit bigger, and you can see that the colour is different because I did a cookies and cream mousse without any food dye.
Alright, let’s get into how I made it! I will post all three recipes that I used down below, but you can always use store bought shortbread cookies and cake mix to make it easier. If you go that route, skip straight to the mousse recipe and the assembly section below.
For the Shortbread:
When I was baking my shortbread I wasn’t able to get a hold of my Grandma’s recipe before filming (FYI, this whole process is available on my YouTube), but for you lucky folks here it is in all its glory! (Our Grandma’s shortbread is amazing; she makes thousands of them every winter for a craft fair, and they sell like hotcakes because people know and tell their friends!)
Sift together 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup berry sugar, and 1/2 cup rice flour to make sure there are no lumps and bumps and then place in a food processor and pulse. (If you don’t have berry sugar you can blend regular sugar in a small jar for 20 seconds to break down the granules). To the processor, add 1 cup of butter (slightly softened) along with a few drops of vanilla (Grandma says to add it to a hole in the butter if that makes sense). Blend (with a dough hook if available) until the mixture is somewhat smooth.
Dump everything into a bowl, kneading any unmixed flour into the dough and then divide your dough ball into two. Wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for a few hours. Then bring it back up to a moldable temperature (chilling it helps the flavours to meld better).
Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and then cut out your cookies. In the parks, they use a pretty scalloped edged cutter, but I didn’t have one. In fact, I had no cutters in my house other than for gingerbread men. So I found a small Pyrex bowl and cut around it.
NOTE: whatever cutter you use needs to be large enough to fit the cupcake on top as well as have a bit of space for your mousse. As you can see in the pictures, my cookie was a fair bit larger than the ones in the parks. Use a cupcake liner for scale.
Bake at 340 degrees for about 20 minutes; until the edges just start to turn brown. Once you remove them from the oven let them sit on the pan for an additional 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Grandma’s Tip: If you are baking multiple batches you will want to rotate the pans in the oven. Start one pan on the bottom rack, and after 10 minutes put that pan on the top rack and place a new pan on the bottom. Repeat as needed, taking the top pan out after the last 10 minutes to cool.
For the Cupcakes:
While my cookies were chilling in the fridge I made my cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with liners. Now, since you will not be keeping the cupcakes IN their liners when you assemble I like using some silicone liners. I like to try and cut waste if possible, and these are a great way to do it.
Whisk 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and then set aside. In a separate bowl whisk 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup cold milk, and 1 egg until smooth. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 tablespoon red food colour (I recommend gel colouring if you want really vibrant cupcakes), and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add your wet ingredients into your dry, mix until just combined, and then divide among your prepared liners. Bake for 19-23 minutes depending on your oven (the rule of thumb is to start with less time than you think because you can always add time but you can’t take it away). You want the tops to spring back when you touch them, or for a toothpick to come out clean if inserted. Cool completely.
Once they’ve cooled down use a piping tip (or just a knife) to create a hole for your raspberry. Press the center of the cupcakes down where you cut to not waste any of the goodness and make space for the raspberry to go. Place one clean, fresh raspberry inside.
For the Cookies & Cream Mousse:
I used Tasty’s recipe and it was fantastic, but I will write it out here as I did a couple things a little differently. First off, chill a large bowl in your freezer while you prepare the ingredients.
Grab 16 Oreo’s and separate the cream from the cookie and place it in a bowl. Melt the cream in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (I did 2 mins like they suggested but I have a super-powerful microwave, so it overcooked and wasn’t usable.) You want it to be a runny consistency. Set aside for later.
Crush the cookies either by placing them in a bag and smashing with a rolling pin or just use a food processor. You want them to be quite fine. Set aside for later.
In your chilled bowl add 3 cups of whipping cream (I ended up using my stand mixer because this is a rather large amount) and beat until thick and frothy. Add the melted cookie cream and 1 cup of icing sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in the crushed cookies until combined. Spoon into a piping bag with a piping tip. I like a large star tip, but you can do it with just a hole in the tip as well if you don’t have any tips (you can even use sandwich bags and just cut a hole in the corner if you don’t have piping bags!).
Time to Assemble:
Lay out everything you will need. Put your cookies up on a wire rack to make them easier to move. Then place a small dollop of mousse down in the center to help hold the cupcake in place. Put the cupcake on top and then pipe mousse around the bottom to fill up the space. Continue around until the entire thing is encased in mousse. Top with sprinkles and enjoy!
This recipe makes twelve; they do keep in the fridge for several days, and probably would freeze as well. Take note that the sprinkles will bleed after a couple of days, so if you choose to freeze, and want them to look pretty, maybe hold off on the sprinkles until right before serving.
Have a magical day!
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