Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Glaze

 

I am bringing these to a coookout tomorrow night.  They look and smell delicious–my only complaint is the recipe only makes 12!  I wish I had realized this before I began baking because 12 turns into 11 mighty quickly with a husband in the house.  He “tested” one pre-glaze and said it was good–nice and peanutbuttery.  I hope the glaze holds up until tomorrow, as it is warm out.  I may even toss them in the fridge! Even if it does melt a bit, the combination of PB and chocolate (melted or not) is a classic that few don’t appreciate! 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

  •  1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter (recipe calls for unsalted, I used salted)
  • 3/4 cups smooth peanut butter at room temp.
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl on medium speed beat butter, peaut butter, and brown sugar until smooth–about 1 minute.  Mix in the egg.  Add the vanilla and beat for another minute.  On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts and the milk in 2 parts.  Start and finish with the flour mixture.  Make sure the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth.  It will stay the color of peanut butter as below. 

Line 12 muffin tin cups with liners.  I used foil liners because I like the look of them.  Fill each liner with about 1/4 cup of batter.  I use an ice cream scoop (I got this idea from Ina Garten).  It makes distributing the batter easier and you are more likely to distribute evenly. I also find it helpful to place the muffin tin on top of a cookie sheet before placing in the oven.   

Bake about 22-27 minutes.  The tops will be firm, light brown, and there are a few small cracks on the top.  As usual, a toothpick inserted to the middle should come out clean. 

 

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan set upon a wire rack.  Then remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. 

 Milk Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter (recipe calls for unsalted, I used salted)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan heat the cream and better over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter melts.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat add the milk chocolate chips and let sit in the cream for about 30 seconds.  Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth and all chocolate chips have melted. 

Using a small spatula, spread 1 tablespoon of the glaze over the top of each cupcake.  (Make sure cupcakes are completely cooled or the glaze will simply melt and drip off!)

The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temp for up to three days.

Adapted from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans. Chronicle Books.

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Root Beer Iced Vanilla Cake

My dad loooooves root beer, so for his birthday I wanted to honor his favorite treat.  In addition to serving A&W root beer floats, I decided to make a root beer iced cake.  I confess I used a boxed mix for the vanilla cake because I wanted to spend more time on the decorating, and I was short on time as it was.  So I baked a double vanilla sheet cake and spent the rest of my energy on the decorating!  Little did I know how much energy it would take!  In the end it was all worth it and my dad loooooved his root beer iced cake.  (As did everyone else at the dinner party!)

Root beer Icing (the recipe actually calls it frosting, but I found the consistency to be much more like icing):

  • 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons root beer

Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar to butter until well mixed.  Add the vanilla and root beer.  Add more root beer or confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired spreading consistency.

I made the mistake of adding too much liquid and therefore had to run to the store mid-mixing to get more sugar.  Then I added too much sugar and had to add more liquid.  I went back and forth like this for a bit until I had as much as a needed at the correct consistency!  It ended up a nice light beige color.

I wanted to crush root beer barrels and sprinkle those on top–at this point little I did I know how much trouble I would have (a) finding root beer barrels and (b) crushing them.  After running around to several stores I finally found them at CVS.  They are quite a bit harder than I expected and crushing them with a meat tenderizer in a plastic bag was not an easy task.  The barrels were the consitency of marbles and when smashed, the sharp pieces poked holes in the bag allowing root beer dust to pour out and create a lovely sticky mess! I eventually did end up with enough crushed barrels to sprinkle on the top of the cake.  I then lined the edge of the cake with piped plain vanilla frosting, just to finish it off.  I also topped it off with some really cute gummy cola bottles. As I said, in the end it worked out well and this cake was a huge hit!

Icing/frosting recipe adapted from Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella.