Cosmic Brownie Points

A few months ago, I made Twinkies for my moms birthday. When I posted that, Nick challenged me to make cosmic brownies.

I do love a good baking challenge. I also love learning how to make snack cakes. Because really, what’s better than eating a food that basically sums up your childhood? When Josh asked what I was making, I explained what cosmic brownies were and showed him a picture of the final product. He didn’t think he had ever tried a cosmic brownie before. He asked me what the candy crunch pieces tasted like. So, apparently cosmic brownies don’t sum up his childhood… I guess you were raised in a snack cake family or you weren’t.

I found the recipe I was using on Pinterest. Where all food lovers can lose themselves for hours. Phase one of the recipe was making the brownies. The recipe gave the time and said “they are done. Don’t keep them in or they will be dry”. Weirdly, when I pulled them out after my timer went off, they 100% did not look done. But I pulled out a toothpick and popped it in a few places, and it came out clean every time. So they were right, just trust that they are done.

Next was the ganache. That was just 2 kinds of chocolate chips and heavy cream. What more could a person want? Not going to lie, this is now my phone home screen backround..no shame.

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Melt that all up, and spread it over the top of the cooled brownies. These offset spatulas are one of my favorite baking tools. It makes frosting things such a breeze.

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I found the little candy pieces somewhere…I truly don’t remember where. Gosh, that’s sad. It wasn’t even very long ago. I’m almost thinking Ace Hardware of all places. The Ace in my town has a nice baking section. Weird, I know. But they are Wilton brand, so you could probably find them wherever you can find Wilton stuff (JoAnn’s, online, etc). As much as I covered the brownies, I barely used an eighth of the sprinkle bottle. So these babies should last awhile.

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I then covered them and let them sit overnight. Because I wanted to let the ganache set a bit and for the candies to get pretty stuck into it. The next day, I cut them, individually wrapped them, and tried one. There was of course a difference. I would say my brownie was softer. But, I’m not going to complain about soft brownies. These bad boys were also super rich. Like, could’ve been cut into bite size pieces rich. I would say I got brownie points for this one.


Homemade Cosmic Brownies

¾ c (1.5 sticks) butter, melted

1 c sugar

2/3 c brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 ¼ c all purpose flour

¾ c cocoa powder

½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cornstarch

Pinch of salt

3 tbsp milk

1 c semi sweet chocolate chips

½ c milk chocolate chips

½ c heavy cream

Candy crunch chips to top (or mini M&M’s would work)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9×13 pan with foil and lightly spray with baking spray, set aside.
  2. In bowl, beat (stand mixer or hand mixer) melted butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt.
  4. Mixing on low, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk. Mix until combined. Batter will be thick! (Even Josh noticed how think it was :D). Pour batter into prepared pan in an even layer.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (I baked mine for 21 minutes, and they were done. They did not look done, but do the toothpick check). Allow to cool in the pan.
  6. To make the ganache, use a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Combining chocolate chips and cream in measuring cup. You can use half power on the microwave to microwave or just do short period on full power (start with 45 seconds). Take out and stir. Continue warming and stirring until all the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache is smooth. When smooth, pour over the top of brownies and spread evenly. Top with candy chips.

Recipe I used: http://lifemadesimplebakes.com/2014/03/homemade-cosmic-brownies/

 

A Full Drawer–Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes

The baking drawer in my kitchen now has 3 different kinds of scoops. One for ice cream, one for cupcakes, and one for mini cupcakes/cookies. All I’m saying is that both the drawer and myself are better because of it. And Josh appears to be fine with it because A) the designated ice cream scoop is the biggest and B) the other 2 scoops just happen to have yellow and purple handles…which are Viking colors..so that makes it ok. Of course he has been given instructions that I should never see him holding the purple or yellow scoops unless I also see him making me cookies. I love getting fun packages like scoops in the mail. Don’t listen to what anyone says about the frequency of my Amazon orders.

Scoops

So, when I ordered these scoops, I also ordered a book. I was flipping through it and there was this recipe and I just so happened to have some ripe bananas on my counter and all the other ingredients needed. The recipe uses a cake mix. I typically make completely homemade, but I’m ok with the cake mixes. The cake mix is really your “cake base”. Instead of having to measure out all the flour, sugar, and baking soda, it’s all there already. It definitely saves space on the counter.

CHOCOLATE BANANA PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

Piped Cupcake

Isn’t that just the best name? This batter is pretty much liquid gold.

Liquid chocolate gold

This industrial scoop is so great. It’s the perfect size for cupcakes. You fill it all the way up and that’s the perfect amount to fill 3/4 of the liner. And it makes the best noise when you click the lever. Something about it just feels official.

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The chocolate and banana is incorporated into the cupcakes and the peanut butter is the frosting. This frosting turned out fabulous! It was a little thick, but it worked to pipe. My frosting didn’t get very high and stacked on the cupcake, but I really think it’s because the frosting was so think and wasn’t super fluffy. I was just so excited it was coming out of the piping tip, I didn’t even care that it was so much work that I almost started to sweat squeezing the frosting out. Either way, turned out fine. A step in the right direction. Plus when it comes down to it, I don’t like a whole lot of frosting, so it was good enough for me.

Cupcakes in a row

Success. And it covered all my food groups- fruit, chocolate, and peanut butter.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter

A wider version of the picture. Sadly, I didn’t even set this. Sometimes life is a little messy. :) Life is a little messy

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Adapted from “Your Cup of Cake”

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

1 box devil’s food cake mix

3/4 cup bananas, mashed (I used about 1 cup)

1/2 tsp lemon juice

3 eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 T. oil

1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (I used milk)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 cups powdered sugar

1-2 T milk

1) Preheat oven to 350 and line pans with cupcake liners

2) In small bowl, mash bananas and lemon juice together; set aside

3) In large bowl, combine eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.

4) Add cake mix and mashed bananas; stir to combine well.

5) Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes. (I baked mine for 18 minutes)

6) Peanut Butter Buttercream: Beat butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla extract. Add 1 T. milk and slowly add powdered sugar until buttercream reaches desired consistency. If buttercream becomes too thick, add an additional 1 T milk.

7) Frost and eat!

I Can Can!

There is nothing quite like the joy of having your boyfriend walking behind you through Walmart carrying canning jars chanting “I can’t believe you’re actually doing this.” Even better, is running…OK, skipping…through the house because you successfully did it! That’s correct, attempt 1 of apple butter is complete! I made 2 jars..because I was afraid it might not work, and at that point, I didn’t want to be stuck eating 8 jars of apple butter in the next couple weeks. Does it taste exactly like my grandma’s, no. Though it is definitely apple butter and pretty tasty at that. But before I made apple butter, I made cupcakes.

The cupcakes are red velvet with marshmallow buttercream. This frosting was not my friend this time. I’ve made it time and time again, and it always turned out better than this. Or maybe I always just thought it was better than this because I never had a piping bag prepped and ready to go. I was pretty close to either A) hoping in my car and driving to the store to buy frosting; or B) tossing my frosting across the kitchen. But I maintained my self control, barely. I made a decision once and for all that I am going to buy myself a KitchenAid stand mixer. I really want to be able to put frosting in the mixer and walk away and have it turn out perfect. I’m not really sure where I’m going to store it, but I will definitely find space. Even if I do have to rearrange the kitchen.

This 24 cup pan is one of the best things I ever drove store to store to find and buy. I’m in love.

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And this, well, this was a cheap impulse buy. In my defense, I will save money on toothpicks.. :)

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Now, the apple butter. I can’t really share a recipe because I don’t really have a recipe. When I asked my grandma, she said “Put some apples on the stove to soften them. When they are soft, grind them up. Add as much sugar and cinnamon as you want. Then just put it in the oven.” Thanks grandma. So, I then asked my sister what she does. I got the same recipe, except with the variation of putting it in the juicer at the beginning and keeping it on the stove at the end. I learned pretty quick that it’s pretty adaptable. I started my grandma’s old school way (because I don’t have a fancy juicer or kids to drink the apple juice, like my sister) but ended it my sisters way (because I don’t have a giant roaster pan to put in the oven, like my grandma). Even though I don’t have a juicer or a roaster, I do have this awesome apple coring/peeler/slicer. It makes apples look like this in about 20 seconds. It’s fabulous.

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Obviously, I underestimated how much I should fill one of the jars. It looked good, then I tipped it upside down and watched it slide down the jar. Needless to say, that’s the one that’s currently in my fridge being spread on toast. But the other will be stored..like canned foods can.

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Really though, it worked out. I successfully canned 1 jar (which would’ve been 2 if I wasn’t so nervous). Shocker of all shocks is that both the jars sealed and it actually tastes good. I can tell you that I’m opening the closet where I put the jar more frequently now. And every time I open the closet and see my little can, I squeal just a little bit.

Stress Baking and Sugar– Vanilla Cupcakes

So…I’m a bit of a stress baker. This past week has been a bit overwhelming. And it takes a lot for me to get to the point of overwhelmed. Usually I’m pretty good at handling stress. It’s been little things and it’s been big things all piled up. My emotional breakdown came last night…it was about time though. I had been waiting. :) I’ve got some good advice and have been told numerous times that I need to relax and not think about anything for awhile. But in reality, I don’t really know what it means to relax, but I needed to step back. So I baked. I’m a stress baker. Sue me.

Stress Baking- Vanilla Cupcakes

This is probably going to be written a little bit differently. I made a batch of vanilla cupcakes because I needed a recipe where I had everything at my house already. It also occured to me that I had never made vanilla cupcakes before. I didn’t take pictures the whole time, because it was simple and I wanted to just turn on my music and make some cupcakes.

I apologize that some of this pictures are bad quality. My camera wasn’t having a good day. And I was over it.

So I had a dream earlier this week. I never remember my dreams, but this one I did. In a nutshell, I was on a plane (the only people I remember being there was one of my uncles and one of my cousins, but it was full plane). The pilot came over the loudspeaker and said that he wanted to take a nap and asked who wanted to fly the plane. No one said anything so I said I would. I woke up when I was walking to the front of the plane. Now, I work in the psychology department at school. It just so happened that this is the week one of the professors is doing dream analysis in her class. She told me that my dream tells her 2 things about me. 1) Things keep piling up on my plate. -TRUE- 2) I have a hard time saying no and don’t like to disappoint people. -ALSO TRUE- Weird what dreams can tell you… :)

I decided to get fancy. I needed to pretend I was creative. And start practicing for when I have my own bakery in 20 years and appearance/presentation is important. :D

Well, they were a little dense. That could’ve just been all my pent up anger though. :) But next time I make vanilla cupcakes, I’ll be trying a different recipe.

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup cold milk

Yield: 12 cupcakes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture; stir in milk.

Bake 18-24 minutes.

Halloween! This is Bria…we’re friends. :)

With a Hint of Peppermint–Peppermint Cupcakes

Home! After a crazy first week and a half of school, being able to bum with my family was quite wonderful. My baby brother aka the only younger brother I have who is 17 was confirmed this past weekend…actually now 2 weekends ago….yes, my life is seriously this hectic right now I haven’t had a good amount of time to sit down and write. Yay school! But anyways, being the supportive sister I am- I went home. On the phone the night before to my mom she asked if I would want to make cupcakes. She mentioned that she was thinking about just buying some but she figured she would ask me. Of course, I had to make them for my lil buddy whose only instructions were “I want chocolate”. Happy to oblige…of course on my terms.

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CUPCAKES

The first things to combine were the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla. I really don’t like sour cream. I can live without it. But apparently it’s sometimes used in baking because it helps make the cakes moist. Either way, I think it’s disgusting. (In case you haven’t realized, I’m a bit of picky eater…oh well. :D).

It looked super tasty…not really. It was runny and slimy. I hate when things look like this and I have to try and visualize them as cupcakes.

Time to dump in the Devil’s Food Cake mix. I honestly don’t know what the difference between all the kinds of chocolate cake are…they are all just chocolate to me. But I was excited to dump this in so it didn’t look as slimy.

Look, it actually looks like chocolate cake! It actually tasted right too. This is when I let out a sigh of relief.

Scoop, scoop, scoop. I would like to take this moment to say my scooping is getting pretty awesome. They come out much more uniform then they did when I first started making cupcakes last summer. AND I scooped these pans in about 2 minutes flat. Bam.

After all the scooping, they went into the oven.  Then I did my own dishes because my mom wasn’t home and my brother didn’t want to help. :(

Then I went to bed. Like seriously. I got home from school and started baking right away. By the time they were out of the oven, it was probably 11pm and I was over it. So I figured I would finish in the morning….Let’s imagine its morning now.  The first thing I did upon waking up was make the ganache. And yes, I did bake in pajamas. Step one was melting the cream and chocolate chips.

Finally the peppermint extract made an appearance! I added some of that to my ganache…ganache is a really fun word to say.

Since my cupcakes had cooled overnight, they were ready for ganache. So theoretically, you should be able to be classy and just dunk the cupcake tops into the ganache and have it work out wonderfully. Now that would be too easy. It wasn’t really working out for me, so I decided to just use a spatula.

It worked fantastically. I was working like a well-oiled machine.

Then it was time for the frosting. First was mixing together the cream cheese and butter…yum…

This is followed by the powdered sugar and peppermint. Story time! Before I added the peppermint, the mixture was simply butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar. Well, I got some on my finger. So my first reaction was to lick it off. I did just that. I almost vomited. I would not recommend that to anyone. Ever.

The point of the food coloring was to make it look mint. Otherwise, it looks like vanilla. I also showed food coloring skill. If you compare the color my frosting got to an Andes mint, the green are pretty close in color. Skill right there.

Frosting! The frosting tasted really good actually. To frost, I put a giant blob in the center of the cupcake and kind of spread it around. Each cupcake got a generous amount of frosting and it didn’t look bad visually either.

Soon enough, they were all frosted.

I then sprinkled them with Andes mint piece. I found these pieces in the baking aisle. The recipe says to cut an Andes mint in half to garish. Based on my experience with the Reese Peanut Cups to garish, I figured it would be easier to do the crumbles because then you could eat it all at the same time. You wouldn’t have to take off the mint and eat it separately. It would be cohesive.

Just as they were all frosted, they all got some mint topping.

OK, not going to lie. These cupcakes were kind of awesome. I was impressed. Considering the base was chocolate, I enjoyed them. They actually did taste like mint. I would make these again for sure.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake:

Devil’s Food Cake mix

3 eggs

½ cup oil

¾ cup buttermilk

1 cup sour cream

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Chocolate Peppermint Ganache:

2/3 cup chocolate chips

2 tablespoons heavy cream

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Peppermint Buttercream:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened

3-4 cups powdered sugar

1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract

green food coloring

Peppermint candies to decorate

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract.

3. Add cake mix, for easing mixing I recommend sifting your cake mix in.

4. Stir until combined and fill cupcake liners 3.4 full and bake for 16-23 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Ganache

5. Melt chocolate chips and cream together in the microwave or using a double boiler. Stir constantly until smooth. Add peppermint extract and stir again.

6. Dip cooled cupcakes into ganache, if they are still hot, the ganache will run off.

Buttercream

7. Beat cream cheese and butter for 4 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add peppermint extract and green food coloring.

8. Wait until the ganache is set and pipe buttercream onto cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles and peppermint candies.

Copyright © YourCupofCake

My brother loves me. Even if sometimes he doesn’t show it. :)

They All Become Blueberries–Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

As the end of another summer nears, I feel like this summer has simply been a turning point in my life. You know, one of those things I’ll look back on in 30 years and not really think it’s a big deal, but right now, it’s huge. I’ve worked my summer away- I guess you could say this is my first adult summer. I’ve had to say goodbye to friends who are continuing onto the next adventure in their life, but I’ve also made some new friends. I’ve realized that what I thought I wanted to do for the rest of my life actually isn’t the right path for me. I realized that being slapped by a crying 2 year old really does make for a good story. But most importantly, I’ve realized I need to start living for myself. I need to do what I want and follow my heart. I need to pick the path that’s calling me and I need to stop allowing myself to get less than I deserve. This could be the year I actually live for me. It’s getting real. :)

SUMMER 2012- Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

There are a few reasons I decided to make these cupcakes. Number 1: I really just wanted to make cupcakes. Number 2: The lady I work for and I got in the discussion of not sweet desserts. She started talking about how she had recently had a lemon blueberry muffin that wasn’t sweet at all. So I also did this as a way to prove that cupcakes are superior to muffins- though I will never pass on a muffin. Though I did experience opening a moldy muffin recently…but that’s another story. And number 3: I really just wanted to make cupcakes. :) The first step for this was grating lemons. I grated mine while watching a couple Seinfeld episodes. The public library has all of the seasons…and I have no cable… I’m on season 7…

After all the grating was done, I mixed together the dry ingredients. The same process as usual.

In a different bowl, it was time to combine the other ingredients; starting with the butter, sugar, and eggs.

Followed by vanilla and the lemon peel. (Random note: As I sit here writing this, all I can hear is a bass outside. I can tell that more people are coming back to town…I really hope other people listen to better music).

Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk.

Mix, mix, mix. And then there is batter!! :) (Look, my pictures are getting artsy :D)

In the bowl I had the flour mixture in, I added another tablespoon of flour as well as the BLUEBERRIES. I felt really fancy at this time. I put my blueberries in, sprinkled flour over the top and flipped the bowl up. That sent the blueberries nicely flying around inside the bowl, and gave me a chance to pretend I was a fancy chef. It was a win-win.

Time to scoop!!

Once they were all scooped, I added the blueberries. Most of them got about 3 blueberries.  I used to not really be a big blueberry fan, but they’ve grown on me. Of course, they aren’t my go to fruit or anything, but they aren’t my least favorite either.

Eventually, they all had blueberries. And my fingers had batter on them. It was a nice trade off.

Pop them into the oven at the usual temperature of 350°. Then wait…and stare at the dishes piled in the sink. After about 20 minutes, they were done.

When I’m baking cupcakes, all I can think about is the show Cupcake Wars. They have such crazy time limits on that show- doable of course. I can’t help but wonder if I would even come close to making that time though. I drag out the process. It’s about the journey, not the destination. :)

Once I moved them to the wire racks to cool, I started the frosting. Powdered sugar, butter and lemon peel to start.

That was followed by adding vanilla, a little salt and some milk. The consistency of the frosting came out a little funky. I think it had something to do with my butter. I feel like I’ve read somewhere that if the butter isn’t the right temperature, the whole thing can be off. I think that’s what happened. The butter had been sitting on the counter for awhile but I didn’t stick in the microwave to soften if a little more. I probably should’ve…So yeah, the texture was a little strange. But it was definitely still edible, and quite tasty for that matter.

Because of the weird consistency, I just spread this frosting with a knife. I really hate this picture because you can see the ugliness of the frosting…look, I’m a cupcake snob. :)

And then they were all frosted. I must admit, I do like piping a lot better now.

The blueberries then made a reappearance. All the cupcakes were topped with blueberries. Again, I think I put about 3 on each of them.

Soon enough, they were all covered with blueberries. I do think if my frosting would’ve worked a little better and I piped the cupcakes with a nice frosting, I think these cupcakes would actually be rather visually appealing. Sorry, but I have to start thinking about appearances for when I hit my mid-life crisis and open a bakery.

I took a bite. I would say these are the best of this summer. They were very light and summer-y. Rather tasty. I liked them and would make these ones again. Hopefully, I would have a better frosting. But the frosting still tasted good. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Bridesmaids, but when I took a bite of the cupcakes, all I could think about was that movie. I went through that whole process just to have this single gratifying bite, just like in that movie. Only in the movie, she just made a single cupcake. I took the bite of mine and then looked around at the other 23 cupcakes I had on the table. The new question has become what to do with all the cupcakes. I really need to find more people to pawn these off on…or start selling them on the side of the street. Like a lemonade stand.

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

2 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Frosting

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon milk

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular size muffin cups.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and milk about ½ at a time, beating just until blended.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filing each about ½ full.
  5. Toss 1 cup blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour. Sprinkle berries over batter in each cup.
  6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes then place on cooling racks.
  7. In medium bowl, beat frosting ingredient with electric mixer on high speed about 4 minutes or until smooth, adding more milk 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed.
  8. Frost cupcakes. Garnish with blueberries.

“There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s”– Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I’ve hit a milestone. My birthday was yesterday (technically my birthday week started like last Thursday :D). I’m now 20. But no, that’s not the milestone. The milestone is the fact that I know I’m officially getting older. I say this because I’m at that point in my life when it’s MY birthday, and yet I’M the one expected to make something to celebrate. The years of my parents coming home with a cake or asking what kind of ice cream I want are pretty much over. From here on out, I’m responsible for providing my baked good. And not only that, but it’s not worth telling anyone about unless I bring some to share. I’m here celebrating my entrance into this world and all and yet I’m the one expected to show up somewhere with a baked something for other people to enjoy, simply because I was born. As long as I get to enjoy it too I guess… :)

SUMMER 2012- Reese Peanut Butter Cupcakes

You really shouldn’t be surprised that these are the cupcakes I’m making for my birthday. The only surprise should be that it’s a chocolate cake- which I have expressed that I’m not a huge fan of. But I am a bigger fan of peanut butter. In my book, anything with peanut butter is good, so this should be no different. And I like Reese Peanut Butter cups, so I figured this would be ok. The first step is mixing up the cake mix. You could use a chocolate cake from scratch, but I decided I have permission to slack on my birthday. I used the Betty Crocker’s Milk Chocolate mix.

I figured milk chocolate would be the most like a peanut butter cup. So the mix, water, oil and eggs go into a bowl (as per the instructions on the box)…

Mix the batter, and bam, you have chocolate cake batter. Simple stuff right. Though I did feel a little strange not using my flour at all during this process. I’m so used to making my own batters. Oh well, I got over it.

Now for the peanut butter filling. It’s pretty simple, just some peanut butter and powdered sugar.

Not going to lie, it tasted like the inside of a peanut butter cup. Yum. I was literally eating the leftovers with a spoon.

And so begins the assembly. First you fill the liners about half way full.

Then you drop in a little peanut butter ball.

Look how fun it looks. Man I love peanut butter.

Followed by a little more batter so it is closer to 2/3-3/4 full.

And bam boom bang, you have cupcakes ready for the oven.

Pop them in for 18 minutes and then pull them out. You can’t even tell the peanut butter is inside. The tops of some got a little pointy though- but I don’t know if that’s because of the peanut butter or not. Either way, it looks like chocolate cake.

Which my family was rather confused as to why I was making something that consisted of a chocolate cake for my birthday. My birthday is usually the very exciting vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. I was a pretty boring child. Though flashback to last year, I made chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes for my birthday. So I’m clearly getting older and evolving. Anyways, can you spot the mistake with this cupcake:

It has 2 liners. Oops. :) After they had sat in the pan, I transferred them to a wire cooling rack. LOOK, I HAVE COOLING RACKS. I always get a little more shop happy around my birthday. I feel purchases are more justified because I deserve to get myself things. I’ve bought some CDs and these wire racks this year. These wire racks can stand too because they can stack on top of each other. I imagine that would work well for cookies or something. Take up less counter space. Makes me feel pretty official.

Frosting time! I have my own peanut frosting recipe that I love, but I figured I would use this one that came with the recipe. It starts with peanut butter, butter, and a pinch of salt.

After some powdered sugar and a little bit of milk, the end result was still peanut butter frosting.

So I piped these cupcakes. I probably could’ve mixed the frosting a little more and made a little smoother. If I ever sold these or entered them in a contest or something, I probably would. But I was amused because it looked like the consistency of the inside of a Reese’s, and I figured since it was my birthday, I really only had to please myself.

All piped and ready for the next part of decorating.

The next decorating step was melting ¼ cup peanut butter. I realize this shows it isn’t exact, but I was close.

I used a squirt bottle to do the zig-zag on top. I only did it on half the cupcakes…partly because I was having issues with air in my squirt bottle. My air to peanut butter ratio was clearly off.

Then I pressed a mini Reese on top. I couldn’t find the smallest unwrapped kind, so I just went with the minis that are wrapped separately. It’s the times when I’m standing there opening 20 mini PB cups (each with 2 wrappers mind you- the outer one and then that black one on the inside) that I wish I had an assistant or a little brother around or something.

Eventually, they were all done. YAY! They actually looked pretty cute. Points for presentation for sure.

They weren’t as good as I thought they would be. I can’t figure out why. They will still good and I will still eat them, but I was thinking they would be better. I think I put too much pressure on them to be awesome. They also were kind of heavy. Like the peanut butter sank to the bottom of the cupcake and the cake itself felt heavy. The good thing is that they look nice, and that counts for something.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcake:

*Any boxed cake mix, made as directed on the box.

Peanut Butter Filling:

*3/4 cup Peanut Butter (creamy)

*1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar

Sweet Peanut Butter Frosting:

*1 stick Butter (at room temp)

*1 cup Peanut Butter (creamy)

*1 pinch Salt

*2 cups Confectioners Sugar

*1/3 cup Milk

Toppings:

*1/4 Cup Peanut Butter

*Mini Reese’s Cups or Chopped Reese’s

1)      Make the cake batter according to the instructions on the box. Grease a muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Fill each cup half-way with cake batter.

2)      Mix together the peanut butter filling. Combine both ingredients in a bowl. Then drop a small ball of the filling into your cups.

3)      Cover the peanut butter with more batter. Bake them for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

4)      To make the frosting, beat together the butter, salt, and peanut butter.

5)      Add powdered sugar, beating the mixture continuously. Add milk as needed until your frosting gets the desired consistency.

6)      Microwave ¼ cup of peanut butter in a glass measuring cup for approx. 30 seconds and then pour into a squeeze bottle.

7)      Drip the melted peanut butter on top of your frosted cupcakes.

8)      Top each cupcake with a mini Reese’s or chopped Reese’s cups.

Cue sentimental moment because I know my mom reads these. She’s proud of me I guess. :D

Mom, thanks for putting up with me for 20 years. I know I have my moments when I’m not the easiest person to deal with…but then again I didn’t ask to be born. :) Here’s to many more talks, laughs, fights and tears…and more advice that I don’t ask for… ;) And probably more than enough cupcakes… you always could’ve put me in a sport. :) And thanks for always cleaning up my messes, both in the kitchen and out. You’ve done a pretty good job these first 20 years. Love you momzie. :)