Friday, June 22, 2012

PB + Chocolate = Love

I'm not exactly sure when I fell in love with the wonderfully delicious combination this is peanut butter + chocolate, but we've been going steady for quite some time now.
I have this memory of being about 8 and I was inspired to try Oreos with peanut butter by my swimming instructor - she had said that it was one of her favourite things to eat, and she was my super cool swimming instructor and I wanted to be just like her.

It was at that chocolatey, Oreo-y, peanut buttery moment that peanut butter was forever changed.
It was no longer just something to eat with jam.
It was no longer just the filling to my Ritz Bits crackers.
It was no longer just a banned item from school.
A whole new world of delicious possibilities beyond Reese's had opened up and I was prepared to conquer it.

I should note that my experiment entailed scooping a generous helping of peanut butter onto my Oreo directly from the jar - none of this spreading with a knife business.
It was also carried out with super processed, super delicious, Skippy-style peanut butter - the type of peanut butter I still crave despite knowing that there are scary unpronounceable ingredients in it.

Anyway, I was inspired by Bake It In A Cake, and made these beauties yesterday:

You're probably thinking "What's the big deal? That looks like a normal cupcake to me...".
There's a surprise in that innocent little cake.
A peanut butter cup surprise.
And that's no Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker frosting on top.
That's chocolate peanut butter buttercream.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar *
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
12 frozen peanut butter cups

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
3. Whisk together water, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a large bowl.
4. Whisk dry mixture into wet mixture until combined.
5. Fill each muffin cup until about half full, press a peanut butter cup into the batter, and top cup with batter.
6. Bake for about 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

*I halved the sugar due to the peanut butter cup centre. If you're making regular cupcakes, or like a sweeter cake, use 1 cup of sugar.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Buttercream
Adapted from Australian Women's Weekly

2 ounces (62 grams) butter, room temperature
3/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon cocoa, sifted
1 tablespoon (or to taste) peanut butter

1. Beat butter with an electric mixture until as white as possible.
2. Gradually add about the half icing sugar, beating constantly.
3. Gradually add milk.
4. Gradually add remaining icing sugar and cocoa.
5. Add peanut butter and beat until smooth and easily spreadable.

Once cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with buttercream and enjoy!

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