Friday, August 19, 2011

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Bliss

Lately I've been thinking a lot about cupcakes. Maybe that's because Garrison's second birthday is just around the corner and I want to make something special. This week I experimented with chocolate and peanut butter. You can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter, especially when you swirl them on top of a pretty little peanut butter cupcake. The recipe comes from one of my favorite recipe blogs, "Our Best Bites." I added my own twist and decided made them miniature, which is how I prefer my cupcakes. The reason: when they're tiny they don't seem so terrible for you, and because I was taking them to a church dinner and I knew they would stretch a bit further this way.  I had to forgo putting a Reese's Miniatures  in the center since these were so small, but I quartered regular size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and they made a perfect decoration for the top!

Peanut Butter Cup CupcakesRecipe adapted from Our Best Bites

1 white or yellow cake mix.

1 c. sour cream (full-fat or light, but not fat-free)
3 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil

1/8 c. water

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 unwrapped mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (omit if making miniature cupcakes)

Chocolate Frosting:

1/4 cup  butter softened

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 pound powdered sugar
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons of evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the cupcake ingredients and beat with mixer on medium-low speed for 30 seconds and make sure to scrape the bowl. Adjust the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full with batter. Top with an unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (omit this step if you're making miniatures), then fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter. Make sure the Peanut Butter Cups are covered and the cups are about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes (for regular size) or 12-14 minutes for miniature,  or until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

In the mean time, prepare the frosting. For both flavors combine all the ingredients for each  and whip until light and fluffy. You can add extra milk, a little at a time, if needed. Frost the cupcakes with the *swirled frosting.

*Here's a tip on swirling the frosting, if like me, all you have are basic supplies such as a frosting bag and a star tip. If you don't have even these you can improvise with a large Zip Lock baggie and cut a hole in the bottom, but your swirl may not look as pretty.

- Cut off the tip of the bag (about 3/4 inches, depending on the size of the tip you are using) and put in your tip.

- Hang your frosting bag in the inside of a large glass or tumbler and fold over the sides, this will make it easier to fill.

- Spoon in Peanut Butter frosting, pushing it over to one side of the bag, don't sweat imperfection! Spoon in the Chocolate Frosting to the remaining side of the bag.

- Remove bag from cup and lay on its side, push down the frosting into the base and roll the edge down to close. If only one color is in the very base you can pipe out a bit of the frosting until you begin to see it swirl.

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