Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate and Peanut Butter. It's kind of a thing these days. Have you heard?

These cupcakes are kind of a thing, too. They're right in that sweet spot between a mini Reese's Cup and a slice of gloppy peanut butter "mousse" pie from a chain restaurant. You'll be satisfied, but not nauseated. (Also, what if someone you knew walked in when you were finishing your PB Pie at Chili's? You'd have to move away and change your name.)

To me, these cupcakes are funfood - ideal for a bakesale, but not something to spend a lot of time or money on. In that vein, I use the classic Hershey's chocolate cake recipe printed on the back of their cocoa canister. It's fast, uncomplicated, and always works. Use whatever recipe you love (or a mix, I won't judge).

The only fiddly step is that you need to freeze or chill the cupcakes after frosting them with peanut butter. Dipping a warm cupcake in warm glaze will make a gloppy mess, ruining your day and making your bakesale significantly less profitable. I am compulsive skipper of steps, but not this one.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
24 chocolate cupcakes, preferably refrigerated
Peanut Butter Frosting
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (165g)
9 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (115g)
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar (240g)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (15g)
3 tablespoons milk (30g)
Chocolate Glaze
(adapted from Alton Brown, via Foodnetwork)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (110g)
1/4 cup milk (55g)
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon corn syrup (20g)
2/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (4oz, 115g)
2 cups powdered sugar (225g)

Using the paddle attachment, beat together softened butter and creamy peanut butter. Add vanilla, then sugar 3/4 cup at a time. Thin out with milk to achieve a smooth, spreadable consistency. Frost cupcakes to a smooth dome, and chill for at least half an hour.

Melt butter in a shallow saucepan, then stir in the milk, salt and corn syrup. Take care not to let the milk solids scorch on the sides of the pan. Add in the vanilla and chocolate, then remove from the heat and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time. At first, the chocolate will be a lumpy, runny mess. Don't freak out - just keep whisking vigorously until it smooths out.

Take a cooled cupcake, dunk it in the chocolate, and turn your wrist to catch the drips. You'll get the hang of it - just try not to touch the frosted cupcake to the bottom of the hot pan. If your chocolate glaze starts to seize up, heat it briefly on the burner to correct the consistency.

Chill the cupcakes in the fridge for an hour to set the glaze. If you feel like it, garnish with peanuts. Or, don't. You're the boss!


  1. These are magic. Do you think a hand mixer would work as well as a standing mixer?
    You are so right that cooling any cupcake completely is a must for frosting to do right but being patient for a cupcake to cool all the way is such a struggle.
    Speaking of frosting is the strawberry frosting recipe up here somewhere? That's another stunner.

  2. Why, thank you! Hand mixer is fine. I made some quick and dirty strawberry frosting with pink Nesquik this weekend for the bakesale - it was not terrible.