Monday, March 3, 2008

chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

This will be the last barefoot contessa I do for a while - I promise.  I'm feeling the need to branch out a bit.  I was also feeling the need to bake (as I mentioned in my last post.)  Not sure what it is about cooking/baking, but it takes away so much stress... even if I don't end up liking what I make.

... which was the case with these cupcakes.  I have no photos because I was a forgetful gal after our grown up slumber party at Jen's on Friday nightand left my camera there (after having taken NO photos, I might add - there was just too much fun to stop and grab that camera.)  If I could take a photo, I would show you the gritty nature of the frosting when I used real peanut butter instead of creamy from the store.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the peanut butter in the good old Orange Street Food Farm, and I left without it since all the register folks were really busy.  I had some Good Food Store peanut butter on hand - the kind that comes out of the machine with the big bowl of peanuts on the top.  I think there's something to be said for the really creamy processed stuff when you're trying to make icing out of peanut butter.

And, I have to admit, the strong sour cream nature of the cake was a little bit of a turn off, too.  BUT LET ME ADMIT, I have never made cupcakes before, and I was a little distracted by a handsome handyman who decided to come sit in the kitchen while I baked.  I was supposed to half one of the sticks of butter and admittedly forgot.  

So, how's that for a glowing endorsement!?!  If I make them again (which I admit, I'm still inclined to do), I will definitely watch that butter, put in a little less sour cream, and go for the least natural peanut butter on the shelf.  Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
From The Barefoot Contessa
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.



erin said...

Man, I love your blog. Every post is awesome! Makes me miss you and wish that we could hang out a bunch!

Heather said...

I love to bake, but hardly ever do because we (meaning Wes) don't eat sweets, and I would eat all of them if I baked them!! We are getting our garden ready for the year - I may have to consult you for some advice :-) btw, who doesn't get distracted w/ the handyman in the kitchen ;-)