Death By Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Death By Peanut Butter Chocolate CupcakesAttention peanut butter lovers.

Attention Reese’s lovers.

Attention cupcake lovers of the world.

Oh, and attention those who wish to die from stuffing their face with the most ridiculously peanut butter packed chocolate cupcake in the universe.

Notice I said the universe. Not just the world. That’s how badass these cupcakes are.

If you think about it, it’s really not a bad way to go, is it? Death by peanut butter chocolate food coma. I’m in. I mean, it could always be worse, like death by jelly filled donuts. Ick. Don’t get me started on that.

Or, death by chocolate covered raisin poison. Blech. Raisins on their own are the worst, but then to cover them in chocolate is just plain cruel. Why? Because certain people, I’m not going to mention names or anything, could mistake a heavily coated chocolate raisin for a delicious chocolate covered almond, and then, accidentally choke when they realize their mistake.

I now eat chocolate coated things with hesitation.

Oooh or, possibly even worse, death by frosting overdose. Yeah, so here’s the thing, I’m not entirely a fan of frosting. I eat it, mainly because there never seems to be a way to scoop it off without it getting awkward, but to be completely honest, I could live with out it. I really could.

Anyways, lets get back to happy things. Like these cupcakes.

Death By Peanut Butter Chocolate CupcakeThis week I wanted to make something that wasn’t so time consuming or detail oriented. I’ve spent the last two weeks making things like Seahawk Sugar Cookies—which required a ton of time and attention to detail—and Toasted Coconut XOXO Shortbread Cookies—which also took up some time because of the X’s and O’s. So, I decided easy, but equally tasty, was the name of the game this week.

One thing kept popping up in my mind. Box cake mix. I mean think about it. It’s super easy, relatively tasty, and I’m pretty sure at some point, we have all thrown a box cake mix together. We know box cake mix. We understand that by mixing four things together we can have quality cupcakes in less than 30 minutes. And, that’s a good thing. It’s a very good thing. But, I couldn’t just make a box cake mix and call it a day. That wasn’t going to cut it. Not for the blog. Not for me. And, certainly not for your sweet tooth.

What was a girl to do?

Enter peanut butter chocolate cupcakes that come from, drum roll please, a fancied up box mix. Gasp.

Death By Peanut Butter Chocolate CupcakeHow could I? But, really, how could I not? These cupcakes are for the days when you want a top-notch cupcake, but you don’t want to spend a ton of time making them. They are for the lazy days, the days that seem to go on forever, the days that you want something simple, and the days that you need a dessert induced food coma.

Let me tell you about these cupcakes.

These cupcakes require one bowl and you don’t even need a stand mixer—realistically, you could simply mix it with a spoon if you wanted to. I will warn you, however, that the batter gets really thick, so if you choose the spoon route, prepare to work those muscles. Also, if you aren’t weird about eating batter, please do yourself, and me, the favor of eating some. It tastes amazingggg. I dare you not to lick the bowl, spatula, and spoon clean. The baked cupcakes come out super moist, almost airy and fluffy, and have that Devil’s food cake taste with a subtly peanut butter undertone.

Feel free to eat the cupcakes without the ganache or topping if you don’t want to be in the kitchen anymore. I completely understand. But, if you are willing to wait a few more minutes for complete heaven, make the ganache, which tastes like melted peanut butter, and cut up the peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Together, as a whole, the cupcake packs a mean peanut butter flavor that will knock your socks off. Seriously, sit down while you eat these bad boys. But, before you do, pour yourself a large glass of cold milk, grab a napkin, and take two cupcakes. Trust me, one will not be enough.

But, then again, when is one serving ever enough?

Death By Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields: about 23 cupcakes

Ingredients:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
1 (16.5 oz.) box Devil’s Food Cake (I used Duncan Hines)
1 (3.9 oz.) box chocolate instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Peanut Butter Ganache
1 cup peanut butter chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

Toppings
1/2 cup peanut butter chips, roughly chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped
1 (12 oz.) bag miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into cubes

Directions:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin with liners. Set aside.
Using a stand or hand held electric mixer beat together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, milk, butter, and peanut butter until well combined (about 2-3 minutes).
Scoop batter into the cupcake liners, about 3 tablespoons for each cupcake.
Bake for 18-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean when inserted into the middle of the cupcake.
Let cupcakes cool completely on a cooling rack.

Peanut Butter Ganache
Once the cupcakes are cooled, begin making the ganache. In a small saucepan combine peanut butter chips and heavy cream over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Once the mixture is smooth and of drizzling consistency, remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature (about 10 minutes).

Assembling Cupcakes
In a medium bowl mix together chopped peanut butter chips, chopped chocolate chips, and cubed Reese’s.
Grab a cupcake and dip the top into the peanut butter ganache–make sure to hold it upside down for a bit to allow extra ganache to drip off. Sprinkle the top of the cupcake with the Reese’s and chip mixture.
Repeat the above steps until all the cupcakes have ganache and topping.
Place in the fridge for 7-8 minutes or until ganache has firmed up. Drizzle each cupcake evenly with the left over peanut butter ganache. Place back in the fridge for 5 or so minutes until the drizzle firms up.

 

Death By Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake

Pumpkin Ice Cream Cupcakes

Pumpkin Ice Cream CupcakesI spent the last week in Seattle.

And, I’m fairly certain I fell in love.

I want to live there someday. It’s absolutely beautiful.

I’d never been to Seattle before, but it had always been a place I wanted to visit. Partly because I Love (yes, with a capital L) the rain. I’m a huge fan of cloudy days, cold weather, and jumping around in rain puddles (with rain boots on, of course). The other part, which you may have already guessed, is that Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks. And, we all know, how much I love my coffee.

I spent most of my time walking the streets in downtown Seattle. Window shopping with my mom. Drinking excessive amounts of coffee. Site seeing with my family. Jumping around in the fall leaves (don’t judge me…we don’t quite get all, or really any, of the fall changes in California. In fact, it’s still in the eighties where I live.). Watching the Seahawks’ fans proudly wear bright green and blue. And, eating more than my fair share of desserts.

There was one bakery, in particular, that I would gladly live in. It’s called Cupcake Royale, and it may just be the cutest little bakery I’ve ever seen. They have coffee, homemade ice cream, and adorably decorated cupcakes. Can you see why I want to live there?

They had Pumpkin Cardamom ice cream, which I obviously had to try, and I can’t even begin to explain how good it was. It had chunks of soft pumpkin bread swirled with a cardamom cream cheese ice cream that was literally like eating pumpkin pie in ice cream form. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. That ice cream was the inspiration for these Pumpkin Ice Cream Cupcakes. And can I just say, these little bad boys taste pretty darn good.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Cupcakes

These Pumpkin Ice Cream Cupcakes require a little bit more time and work than your normal cupcake, but trust me when I say, it’s soooo worth it. The cupcake portion, itself, is a graham cracker cupcake that is ridiculously moist and maintains that spicy graham cracker flavor that we all love. On top of the cupcake, is a thick layer of pumpkin ice cream, which is then covered in a cream cheese glaze. Finally, the cupcake is sprinkled generously with toasted pumpkin spice graham cracker crumbs. These cupcakes are a little messier than most (blame the delicious pumpkin ice cream), but I don’t think you’ll mind the sticky fingers after your first bite!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is
Yields: About 22 cupcakes

Ingredients:
Graham Cracker Cupcakes
½ cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups (about 13 graham cracker sheets) of graham cracker crumbs (I used honey graham crackers and a food processor to make my crumbs)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Ice Cream Layer
1 quart pumpkin cream (I used Trader’s Joe Pumpkin Ice Cream)

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
7 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Toasted Pumpkin Spice Graham Cracker Crumbs
5 sheets of graham crackers, crumbled
1-1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice

NOTE: I had extra crumb topping at the end, so maybe try using 3 sheets of graham crackers instead of 5 and add pumpkin spice based off of taste.

Directions:
Graham Cracker Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin with liners. Set aside.
Cream butter in stand mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the graham cracker crumbs.
Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Scoop 2 tablespoons of batter into each cupcake tin. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool completely or put them in the freezer to speed up the process.

Ice Cream Layer
If you removed the cupcakes from the cupcake pan for cooling, return cupcakes to the pan once completely cooled.
Carefully and quickly spread a spoonful of pumpkin ice cream on top of the cupcakes—make sure to cover the whole cupcake and leave a little mound on the top of the cupcake so they aren’t flat.
If the ice cream becomes too soft to work with, return cupcakes and ice cream to the freezer until you can work again.
Freeze cupcakes for about 1-2 hours or until ice cream layer is frozen enough (I let mine sit over night).

Toasted Pumpkin Spice Graham Cracker Crumbs
Before making your cream cheese glaze, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and set aside.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and pumpkin spice. Mix until well-combined.
Pour crumbs onto foiled cookie sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown—watch the crumbs carefully because they can quickly become burnt.

Cream Cheese Glaze
Once the ice cream layer has been set and the crumbs have been toasted make your glaze.
In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.
Add milk and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Assembly
Remove cupcakes from freezer and pour a heaping spoonful of cream cheese glaze over each cupcake—make sure to cover the whole thing.
Once the cupcakes have been glazed, sprinkle the toasted crumbs over the cupcake.
Place cupcakes back in the freezer for another 30 minutes, and then finalllllly you can eat them :)

 

Pumpkin Ice Cream Cupcakes

Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Mini Pecan Pie CupcakesIf I could live anywhere in the world, I would live in—well actually, there are a few places I would want to live, but right now, there is one place at the top of my list—the South.

Whether it’s Georgia, the Carolina’s, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, or any of the other states, I don’t care. I just want to be able to live, breath, and proudly announce that I’m from the South. Don’t get me wrong. I love my home. How could I not? Most of the time we have beautiful weather, beaches are about 15 minutes away, and in terms of leisure activities there is quite a lot to do. But, California does lack in a few areas that the South makes up for.

Which areas you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Country Music Love. Anyone who loves country music is part of the minority here, and since I’m going through a hard-core country phase this is slightly disappointing.

Cowboy Boot Love. I own a pair of red, very cute, if I do say so myself, cowboy boots. How often do I wear them? Not as much as I would like. Why? Because they attract stares, as in, ‘why are you wearing those ridiculous boots, you weirdo ‘ stares. When you’re around country lovers, however, you get compliments on your boots because everyone, girls and boys alike, are rocking their cowboy boots proudly.

Southern Gentleman. You had to know this would make the list. Come on. Boys that speak in an adorable drawl, hold the door open, and wear those nice fitting jeans with a t-shirt and cowboy boots . What’s not to love? Have you seen an episode of Hart of Dixie (which, by the way I just started watching and am completely hooked on) or a picture of Luke Bryan or Blake Shelton?

And, let’s not forget the Food. Specifically dessert. Peach Cobbler anyone? Sweet Potato Pie? Or, how about a heavenly slice of Pecan Pie? I’m guessing you can see where my inspiration for this recipe came from. These cupcakes are probably the closest I’m getting to the South for a while. But, I’m not too upset, because they are pretty darn delicious.

Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes

These Mini Pecan Pie cupcakes are essentially a bite size version of pecan pie. The cake itself is a shortcake that is extremely moist with a subtle buttery flavor—I think if pie crust could be an actual cake, then it would definitely taste like this shortcake. The mini cupcake is filled to the top with pecan pie filling that is sweet, gooey, and packed with crunchy pecans. Together the pie filling and the shortcake make a perfect pair that will have all your pecan pie cravings filled in no time!

Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Yields: about 27 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cupcakes
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
½ cup milk, at room temperature

Pecan Pie Filling
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease each well of a mini cupcake pan and set aside.
Whip together sugar, eggs, and vanilla until mixture is fluffy, pale, and slightly thickened (about 3 minutes).
Add vegetable oil and melted butter. Mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.
Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool completely.

Pecan Pie Filling
While the cake is baking, make your pecan pie filling.
Mix sugars and cornstarch until combined. Pour into a small saucepan.
Stir in melted butter, corn syrup, salt, and eggs.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil.
Remove from heat (if you see small pieces of cooked egg, it means the eggs weren’t beaten enough—pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl before adding the vanilla and pecans).
Stir in vanilla and pecans.
Let sit for about 10 minutes and then refrigerate for about an hour or until the filling has set.

Assembling Cupcakes
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, take a knife and cut out a small to medium circle in the middle of the cupcake. Remove the cut out circle from the cupcake.
Using a ¼ teaspoon, dig out the middle part of the cupcake—make sure not to break the bottom of the cupcake.
Once all the cupcakes have been hollowed out and the pecan pie filling has set, use a ¼ teaspoon to scoop the filling into the cupcake.
Scoop enough filling so that the top of the cupcake is brimming with pecans and some of the gooey goodness is drizzling down the side.

 
Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes