I am totally confused, and for those of you that know me beyond this Blog…that may not come as a big surprise, however…I remain confused! Putting aside my own ability to recognize I too have my moments, I am taking a moment to Celebrate the one thing I honestly cannot stand. I cannot stand the Texture, the Flavour, the smell…again the texture. I cannot stand the media hype reflecting on allergies…when in reality while it is fine to protect a small child, once they grow up and venture forth into the arena known as high school…no one will hold their hand anymore…..but I digress! I said we are Celebrating! Celebrating….NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER DAY!
Bakers like Paula Deen, Cooks like Gordon Ramsey …mmmmmmmmmmm…Gordon Ramsey…wait!!! I’m digressing yet again….back to task!….are celebrated for their culinary confections, and today is No different! However, the rest of the World is caught up and we are bombarded with Books, Bake Sales, Photos, Recipes all containing the Celebrated Peanut Butter. Kitchen everywhere, including my own are alive with the smell of roasted peanuts and choclate confections, appeasing the taste buds of those that love it. My children crave the stuff (where, oh where did I go wrong?). Weekly the Grocery list is filled with the request for not only one, not two…but Three different types of peanut butter! One likes creamy, One prefers Chunky, and one lo and behold prefers Extra Creamy (Thanks Kraft!)…and each week they embrace their little jar of giggles, and smile as they request I make this cookie, or that cookie. Waiting patiently while my face grimaces at the mere idea of putting my hand, or long spoon into the jar that will present to me as *shuddering* gross. I’m sorry, I apologize to the wonderful creator of this most nasty treat…lol…but yeah…the whole thing just turns me off. The Love for my children however overrides my desire to flee, as I spread the divinity on whatever treat they have chosen. The fact I have to put my hands IN the batter….oh my Lord…Don’t get me started at the howls of laughter as I pledge them all into the nursing home with me!…I have sat and watch as a friends daughter devoured a jar of peanut butter with nothing more than mere spoon…the look of shock on my face as she looked and said “WHAT!?!?!?!”….*shudder *….NO taste buds….they have to be blind right?
So….today we will Celebrate Peanut Butter, and I will share a recipe that I got a few years ago from my Cooks Illustrated…and then you too can go out and embrace the inner kid in you and make your treat…but…if that one days comes where you look in the jar, and are suddenly turned off by the mere idea of putting your knife into the oily substance staring back at you….It’s not my fault!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
12 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Mini Peanut Butter Cups, for topping if desired
To make the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
Place butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second spurts on 50% power, stirring in between, until the butter and chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, you could do this step in a double boiler.) Set the mixture aside to cool until it is warm to the touch.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl to combine, then add the sugar, vanilla and salt and continue whisking until fully incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the bowl and whisk to combine. Sift one-third of the flour mixture into the bowl and whisk gently to combine. Add the Greek yogurt or sour cream and whisk to combine. Finally, sift the the rest of the flour mixture into the bowl and whisk until everything is well combined. The cupcake batter will be thick.
Place a spoonful of cupcake batter on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Place a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on top of the batter. Cover the peanut butter cups with remaining batter, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the peanut butter butter cream frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy. On low speed, add in powdered sugar. Mix until combined and add the heavy cream. Mix until frosting is fluffy. You can play around with the amounts of powdered sugar and heavy cream to get the exact texture and consistency that you want.
Frost cooled cupcakes with the peanut butter frosting and top each cupcake with a mini peanut butter cup, if desired.