2 cups sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces baking chocolate, melted
4 large whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
1 pound semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 package (4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix
For the cupcakes: Preheat the convection oven to 325 degrees F or a standard oven to 350 degrees F.
In large mixer bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy with a heavy duty mixer. Add the melted chocolate and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add half of the flour to the mixer bowl along with 1/2 cup of the half-and-half. Mix until the flour is mixed in, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the rest of flour mixture and the other 1/2 cup half-and-half. Mix until the batter is smooth and all of the flour lumps are gone.
Fill 24 cupcake liners half full and bake for 20 minutes in the convection oven or 28 minutes in the standard oven. The tops of the cupcakes should be lightly browned. Check the cupcakes to make sure no batter sticks to a wooden toothpick when inserted into the cupcake. Cool the cupcakes completely.
For the ganache: Put the chocolate chips, heavy cream and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time, until the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache has the consistency of hot fudge. It will look like a mess at first but as you continue to stir it will start to form a thicker mixture. If the ganache becomes too thick to dip, put it back in the microwave for about 15 seconds and stir again.
For the chocolate whipped mousse filling and topping: In large mixer bowl, beat the heavy cream, half-and-half and pudding mix until light and fluffy using heavy duty mixer. It should have the consistency of whipped cream. Put the filling in a pastry bag or zipper bag with a corner cut off.
To assemble: Make a hole in the middle of each cupcake using a sharp knife. Be sure and leave a small amount of cake in the bottom of the hole. Fill the cupcakes using the filling in the bag. Using the same bag, frost the tops of the cupcakes with the filling. Put in the freezer until the topping mixture is cold and somewhat stiff, about 20 minutes.
Dip each cupcake in ganache and immediately sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and garnish with a piece of chocolate bar. Let the cupcakes sit until the ganache is set. Then serve, or refrigerate until time to serve.
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