Saturday, May 7, 2016

Peanut Butter and Yummy.

Chocolate and peanut butter...I'm told it's a flavor combination for the ages, like coffee and cigarettes or bacon and every meal ever. I know I'm in the minority, but I am not a fan. I avoid the chocolate and peanut butter flavor combo as much as most people avoid orange juice and toothpaste or Spam and every meal ever. I'm used to being the odd man out on popular favorites when it comes movies and music, but being the (obviously self-appointed) Queen of Desserts, it genuinely bothers me when I can't seem to understand a food, can someone please explain quinoa to me? Is it supposed to taste like cardboard? But when our friends asked for chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting as their third and final flavor of wedding cupcakes, I knew I had a hurdle to overcome. I could eat a PB&J for lunch every day, and I clearly eat chocolate with fervor and zest most people reserve for a  12-ounce Porterhouse, so why not together? To my knowledge as a young child, I never ate so many Reese's peanut butter cups that I hurled or anything, so that wasn't it. I mean, I am the girl who loves Whataburger so much I still eat it after it gave me food poisoning three times (Stick with burgers. Avoid chicken at all costs.), so it's not like that would even contribute to my distaste for PB&C. I swear I'm no hipster, avoiding PB&C because it's "too mainstream." So I went to the grocery store, bought a bag of mini Reese's cups, came home, and stared at them for a solid five minutes while trying to decide if I could somehow trick myself into ingesting one. When I realized that was in no way possible and I was behaving like my dogs do when I try to give them any medication by clenching their jaws shut and refusing to believe they'll ever need to open their mouths again, I bucked up and popped a damn mini Reese's into my mouth. My was forever changed.
What else have I been wrong about?! Is Ryan Gosling actually a good actor? Are cats actually not Satan reincarnate? Is it actually acceptable to swim directly after eating?
Clearly this moment I experienced between woman and Reese's peanut butter cup was life-altering. I realize I was wrong to assume that just because I didn't like PB&C when I was a kid and a teenager that I wouldn't change my mind/tastes someday. Since I steadfastly oppose change and believe that rules were made to be followed, I don't go outside of my comfort zone much in life. You'll never catch me at the end of a bungee jumping experience or eating kale because some things in life are just big old fat NOPES, but I learned my lesson--always give desserts a second chance. And when you do give desserts a second chance, go big, baby. You stuff those chocolate cupcakes with mini Reese's cups and you slather them with large globs of peanut butter buttercream (as delicious as it is redundant). Much like my stepdad has always said, no one's last thought in life is ever going to be, "Boy am I glad I ate that salad today," so make the cupcakes. Eat the cupcakes. Rediscover yourself in the process. Question everything you've ever disliked (while possibly eating a second cupcake). Become better through dessert! I mean, it is way cheaper than a therapist after all.
And no HMO is required!
I've got two schools of thought here: make these from scratch because everything is better that way or don't worry if you want to use box cake, I can help. So, if you want to make super moist cupcakes from scratch that yield 14 cupcakes, gather up:
  • One bag of mini Reese's
  • 3/4 cup room temp butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup room temp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup room temp milk
Preheat the oven to 350 and start by creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. While this is blending, mix together the flour, baking soda and powder, and cocoa in a medium bowl and set aside. Add the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream to the butter, mix, and blend well. Then add in half of the dry mix and half of the milk and blend well. Scrape the bowl and add in the rest of the dry mix and milk. Mix until just incorporated.

Conversely, find a chocolate box cake of your liking and cake jack it by adding an extra egg, sub milk for water, and sub butter for oil and double the amount. Going this route will make probably 24 cupcakes instead of just 14. So if you've got a party on your hands instead of self-grazing on desserts, this may be a wise choice.

In either case, line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers and fill a little less than 2/3 of the way full with the batter:
Like so.
Then unwrap and add one mini Reese's into each cupcake, pressing them down gently just a bit to get to the center of the batter:
Also like so.
Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the sides (not the center where the Reese's cups are) clean. Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
I wanted to eat them all right then and there. I have a lifetime of not eating PB&C to make up for!!!
 As you can see, the cupcakes on the far left in the yellow wrappers look different. This is because I did NOT place a Reese's into these so they puffed up a bit more. I wanted the bride and groom to have plenty of choice to what the final products will be, so these two went to them for sampling. On occasion, I can be a really thoughtful and generous person. But since that day has passed, don't ask me any favors until I'm feeling hospitable again (check back with me in three to five weeks).
I mean, I'm already giving you this wonderful recipe. What more do you need?!
So, my dogs know what the peanut butter jar is. They see the red lid and know it's about to get real. When I started making frosting without giving them any, a coup was forming. I had to stop mid mix and get a spoon out and give them each a little frosting. This is also my advice to you if your dogs have an obsession with peanut butter (thanks, Kong toys). To make a decadent peanut butter buttercream that I honestly think would go great on a sandwich because I have a real problem, you'll need:
  • 1 cup of room temp butter
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (I judge you harshly if it's not Jif)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4 tbs of heavy cream or milk
I know, there's no booze in this frosting. I thought about it, but decided whipped vodka might be too much. I didn't want to sully my newfound bliss with PB&C by getting drunk off my frosting...I've got plenty of time for that later when weddings aren't involved. Cream the butter and peanut butter together until light and fluffy, then add in the vanilla extract, two cups of sugar, and two tablespoons of heavy cream. Blend on low and blend well. Scrape the bowl and add the remaining two cups of sugar and two tablespoons of heavy cream and mixing well.
The drooling you're currently experiencing brought to you by Kate Bakes Cakes.
Once your cupcakes are fully cooled, load up a piping bag and frost away! I chose to create peanut butter clouds using a 1M tip and just gently applying pressure and allowing for ruffled mounds to build. I finished up by adding gold sprinkles because I'm an adult, and I will add sprinkles to whatever I so please. I actually had a decent amount of frosting leftover (would probably work for 24 cupcakes), so I put it in a Tupperware and placed it in the freezer to keep myself from sitting down and eating it all at once. Screw cookie butter, peanut butter buttercream is my new jam.
Can I eat each half in one bite? Gonna find out...
So I'm pretty sure I've made it blatantly clear that these cupcakes are not something you want to miss out on. The Reese's in the center is the perfect addition to moist chocolate cupcakes with subtle richness, and the peanut butter buttercream is what I imagine regular peanut butter tastes like to my dogs which would explain their infatuation with the stuff. So many years I wasted not eating PB&C and turning my nose up at the stuff. Oh, to be so simple to be humbled by a cupcake. Seriously, keep me fed, allow me nine hours to sleep, never play Taylor Swift music around me, and give me dogs to play with...I have but few needs, but now PB&C gets added to the list. Have I found an new addiction? Sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of these cupcakes calling my name from the fridge... 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
"I will ruin you for other cupcakes."

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