I'm purely, utterly, hopelessly, totally, deeply in love with peanut butter. It's one of the best foods out there.... slather it on heavily buttered toast-and drizzle it with honey, dip animal crackers in it, spread it on oreos, mix it in brownies, put it with ice cream, eat it with chocolate...... It just makes everything more amazing (though let me clarify- I only really like peanut butter in sweet things. This divine condiment to all things should not be put in savory dishes.... the one time I had it in my soup I gagged- never going to want that again). Oh, and it should never, EVER be paired with peppermint. Just saying (but that's another story....).
So that's where this cupcake comes in. The base was easy- the only chocolate cupcake recipe I use is Cook's Illustrated Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake. It's moist and flavorful, very chocolatey, and a very easy and quick to make.
Then for the frosting.......I'd been on the lookout for a really good peanut butter frosting- not just any frosting, but one that would compliment and enhance it to the utmost. And then one day I came across this one- I found it on another cooking blog. I tried it as soon as the frosting was finished (what good cook doesn't sample as they go?) and I knew that I had finally found it!! It was very peanut buttery, rich, fluffy, and not overly sweet- exactly what I wanted. Originally, it was for a peanut butter cake, but then I figured since it was so good in a cake, why not just pile it on cupcakes instead? Then you end up with a ton more frosting (the frosting is so yummy, we've been known to just eat it by the spoon-the leftovers, of course ;D). Then, a dark chocolate ganache, and then top it all off with a mini Reese's peanut butter cup, and there you go! A perfectly amazing cupcake. :)
Hot cupcakes.... :)
Just look at that frosting..... *sigh* Soooo yummy. :)
A big bowl of this frosting would be a wonderful gift to yourself... just think! A whole bowl allll to yourself!!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
from Cook's Illustrated
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (the higher quality chocolate, the higer quality cupcake: I like to use Callebaut chocolate)
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
from here: http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com/2011/06/16/chocolate-cake-with-fluffy-peanut-butter-frosting/
1 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
8 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 c. powdered sugar
Place the peanut butter, butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-low speed, just until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining ingredients and combine again. Then turn the speed up to high and beat for 2 to 3 more minutes, until frosting is light, airy, and fluffy. Frost cupcakes with your favorite frosting tip.
1/4 c. milk
3 T. unsalted butter
1 c. good quality semisweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard!)
Heat all ingredients in a bowl for about 1 minute- whisk until smooth, then drizzle over cupcakes.
To top it all off:
Place a Mini Reese's cup on top of each cupcake. Refrigerate leftovers.