"You can even eat the dishes," claims the song "The Candy Man Can" from 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The idea of edible cups, even back then, grabbed my attention—any kid would much prefer to eat her dish instead of clean it afterward, of course!
And now that I'm all grown up, I can finally make my "childhood wishes" come true. From breakfast to dessert, here are eight delicious ways to bake your cups—and eat them, too.
Hash browns are my favorite food in the world, bar none. When I discovered that I could avoid the hassle of shredding potatoes by using Simply Potatoes Hash Browns to make my beloved breakfast side dish, it was quite possibly one of the happiest days of my life.
Well, that day was surpassed when I found Ree Drummond's recipe for baked eggs in hash brown cups.
Ree uses shredded baked potatoes in her recipe, adding about an hour to the cooking time. Simply Potatoes has their own recipe for cheesy hash brown cups with their ready-to-use shredded spuds—but the recipe uses scrambled eggs, not baked. I juxtaposed the two recipes and pre-baked the hashed brown cups before adding the egg.
When I make these again (and I will—oh yes, I will!), I'll spray a second muffin tin with cooking spray and preheat it, and then insert it on top of the one with the hash brown cups. That way, the insides of the cups will get crispy too.
Zucchini season is almost here, and if you're looking for a fun and original way to use up the ubiquitous summer squash, this recipe for meat, tomato, and mozzarella-stuffed zucchini cups from Kalyn's Kitchen will totally fit the bill.
Kalyn uses a mix of ground turkey and beef, but you could make it with all turkey or even leave out the meat and use tofu to keep the dish vegetarian. Hello, Meatless Mondays!
This is quite possibly the easiest and most versatile edible cup of all. Simply take wonton wrappers, pop them into a sprayed muffin tin, bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes, and voilà: gorgeously crisp little cups, eagerly waiting to be filled.
I know tuna tartare with avocado on a wonton crisp is so yesterday's appetizer news for some, but it's still one of my favorite starters. The only drawback is that the wonton inevitably breaks, the tuna falls back on the plate (or down my shirt), and I end up resigning myself to using a fork.
By filling wonton cups with the meaty fish and luscious fruit, as Kathleen of Hapa Nom Nom does with her tuna sashimi and avocado wonton cups, you can have your tuna and eat it neatly, too.
Trying to get your kids to eat eggplant can be a challenging experience at best. But it gets a lot easier if you take the tubular vegetable and turn it into an edible cup.
Because of their mild flavor, eggplant cups present a lot of possibilities: fill the cups with ground beef or shredded chicken for a fun entrée, or jazz up your Thanksgiving sides by making Sandra Lee's eggplant cups with cornbread stuffing.
Most of the recipes for lasagna cups use wonton wrappers for the exterior... but I'm a purist and needed to make mine with actual lasagna noodles. When I saw this video from BuzzFeed Food, I knew I'd found the way.
Based on my hands-on experience, here are some tips that aren't readily apparent in the video above:
- If you're only making 12 lasagna cups, don't cook up the whole package of noodles (unless you want to use the leftovers for more lasagna... or soup).
- About two-thirds of a single lasagna noodle, cut in half lengthwise, is enough to be the "cup" part of the lasagna cup. Use the remaining piece in the inner lasagna layers.
- You will need 24 larger circles (for the middle and top pasta layers) and 12 smaller circles (for the bottom pasta layer) because the muffin cups decrease in size from top to bottom. I used jar lids to cut the cooked lasagna noodles into the right sizes, but if you have the forethought to buy round cookie cutters, that would probably make this recipe much easier.
- Unlike with "regular" lasagna where you put a bit of the sauce down in the bottom of the casserole, you do not want to put any sauce at the bottom of the muffin tins. Your lasagna cups will not hold together well if you do.
- Use the back of a spoon to press down the pasta layers on top of the sauce and ricotta so that your cups don't runneth over.
However, you can just as easily fill them with chicken salad, cream cheese, and smoked salmon, or—if you brushed the pita rounds with a little butter and sprinkled them with sugar—fresh fruit or pie filling.
If your favorite part of an apple pie is the crust, please avert your eyes momentarily... or get over it and try something new.
These apple crunch pie cups from Tina at Just Putzing Around may eliminate the crust that we all know and love, but they still contain that amazing, crispy-sweet streusel crunch that makes apple pie so irresistible in the first place.
While it's true that Pepperidge Farms makes pre-formed puff pastry cups, I prefer to cut my own out of sheets of puff pastry. You can make a pretty scallop-edged circle, or just leave it as a simple square and let whatever filling you deem worthy shine.
The gals at Make and Takes keep it simple and fill their puff pastry cups with fresh blueberries sprinkled with sugar and dotted with butter. It's like summer in a tiny, flaky cup.
Haven't had enough of cups? Well, we've got you covered. Check out some two-bite savory appetizers you can serve at your next dinner party. And if you want to take the next step from cups to bowls, try some edible bowls made out of cookies, Parmesan, and even bacon.
In the end, what you make into an edible bowl, cup, or glass is only limited by your imagination.