Monday, May 17, 2010

Peanut butter cup cupcakes

I have had the idea in my head for a while to make peanut butter cup cupcakes. I saw an article online recently about candy bar cakes and it made me want to make them even more. I was afraid to make them because if they were good, we would be tempted to eat them all, so when my neighbors invited us over for a cookout, it was the perfect excuse to offer to bring dessert, especially since my neighbor's husband and daughter both love peanut butter cups.

WARNING- this makes A LOT of cupcakes, you might want to consider a half batch if you aren't going to a party, mine made 19 big ones and 23 minis).

For the filling: (recipe from Annie's Eats)

3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy)
1 cup confectioner's sugar
4 TBSP butter (at room temp)
1/2 tsp vanilla

For the cupcakes: (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes)

OVEN: 350'

3 cups flour (I only had all purpose- she called for 1 1/2 all purpose, 1 1/2 cake)
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks butter softened)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk
12 peanut butter cups (chopped up)

Frosting (my own recipe):

8 TBSP softened butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2/3 cup Hersey's cocoa powder
6 TBSP milk
2 tsp vanilla

First, blend the filling ingredients together, it is recommended to roll into balls to push into cupcake batter later. I found this messy and tedious, so I scooped the batter up with a small appetizer spoon (kid's size) and pushed it off with a small knife into the cupcake batter, worked great and it was not messy.

Set filling aside, now make cupcake batter. Cream the butter and sugar, I mixed at medium with my kitchenaid until it was nice and creamy. Then, I scraped down the sides of the bowl and started adding the eggs one at a time and kept mixing so that the batter was nice and fluffy. Next, I added the vanilla and scraped the sides again.

In a separate bowl, I mixed together the flour, baking powder, and salt. This is the first time I ever really mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, but I've been reading online about mixing the cake batter and that mixing too long at the end can make the cupcakes dense, so I wanted to do this to see if I noticed a difference. I added 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, let it mix, then added 1/2 the milk, then another 1/3 flour mixture, the rest of the milk, then finally the rest of the flour mixture and I only let it mix on low long enough for everything to be incorporated. Then I added the chopped up peanut butter cups and let them mix in for about 30 seconds.

Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 way (be sure to save some of the batter for covering the tops). Add the peanut butter filling to the top of the batter and press it down gently with the knife. I was using about a 3/4" ball of peanut butter for the big ones, I was just eyeballing it. Then, put a small scoop of batter over the top of the peanut butter to cover it before baking.

Bake approximately 14 minutes for mini cupcakes and 20-22 minutes for large cupcakes.
Let cool, then frost.

To make the frosting, cream the cocoa powder and butter until blended. Slowly add some of the confectioner's sugar and then about 1 TBSP milk, keep alternating between milk and confectioner's sugar until you reach the desired consistency. I like my frosting to be more fluffy than thick and dense, so I add a touch more milk (seriously only like 1 tsp).

These were WICKED good, the peanut butter in the center is totally essential to the goodness. We are going on homeleave soon, which means all I keep thinking about is all the cupcake recipes I want to try while in America with the grocery store full of endless ingredient choices. The other thing it means is a 70lb suitcase full of cupcake making supplies, luckily my husband enjoys the cupcakes too much to bother being annoyed by hauling the suitcase half way around the world.

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