September 13, 2015

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate and Peanut Butter.  What flavor combination could be more All-American than those two?  Little did I know that it's popularity extended beyond the borders of the red, white and blue.   

Case in point: Before heading to a work conference in Basel this past summer I had asked my co-workers if they wanted anything from the US.  How surprised was I when they requested Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?   Really....Reese's?   Ironic since they live in a country that produces some of the best chocolate in the world.    

So I dedicate these Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes to my friends and colleagues in the CH.  The cupcakes are super easy to make (no mixer required) and the addition of sour cream in the batter makes the crumb really tender.  For an extra treat I put a miniature Reese's peanut butter cup in the center before baking.   As for the frosting, I could have gone the cynical route and made Swiss meringue, but instead I opted for fuss free American style buttercream.   
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes (recipes from Cook's Illustrated)
Makes 12 cupcakes
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (1 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt 
12 miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups candy, (optional)
 Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. 
Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.
Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. If using,press one Reese's candy in the center of each cup.  Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. 
Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
To frost: Mound about 2 tablespoons icing on center of each cupcake. Using small icing spatula or butter knife, spread icing to edge of cupcake, leaving slight mound in center.  [TREATS NOTE: I find it's easier to pipe the frosting on using a decorating bag and large plain tip.]
Peanut Butter Buttercream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (don't use old-fashioned or natural brand)
3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
Pinch table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners' sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. 


  1. OMG, I love reeses, defo trying out this recipe!

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