Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes


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Confession: I have never had a particularly fine eye for aesthetic detail.

This dates all the way back to my kindergarten days when I was the only kid who couldn’t colour within the lines. My teacher tried sitting me beside the neatest girl in class. Unfortunately, none of it rubbed off on me.

I’d like to think that I have since improved my crayon skills. But I still don’t have much time for fussy or finicky details, especially in the kitchen. That’s why I have a love-hate relationship with cupcakes. I love the idea of moist, mini cakes. But I hate the process of frosting them.

I always overload the piping bag. This leads to icing overflow, which ends up on my hands, shirt, counter top and floor. By the time I actually get to icing the cupcake, I’m too tired/annoyed to make perfect sugary spirals that end in a cute little peak.

I know what you must be thinking. If I hate icing so much, why would I choose to bake a cupcake that called for not one, but two types of frostings?

Simple. The recipe came from Bakerella, who would never steer me wrong. And more importantly, the two icings happened to be chocolate and peanut butter – a sugary marriage made in heaven.

Bakerella did not disappoint. These were by far the best cupcakes I have ever made. The cake was chocolately and moist. Using oil rather than butter makes all the difference. And best of all, I didn’t even need to fire up my mixer for the batter! In my oven the cupcakes needed an extra 5 minutes of baking time – for a total of 20 minutes.

As I expected, the double icing in one piping bag was a bit of a mess. But I did it! The icings were both delicious, but the peanut butter was the star. Next time I’m only going to make the PB flavor.

Bakerella’s original recipe included mini peanut butter cookies as cupcake toppers. But with a little baby waiting in the wings, I called it a day with the cupcakes themselves!

Also, you may be wondering why the photography in this post looks so much more professional than usual. This week I was lucky enough to have my sister, who is a professional photographer, join me in the kitchen! So thanks Diana!

Give this recipe a whirl, enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
(Recipe from Bakerella)
For the Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup hot water

For the Icings:

1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 Tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fill cupcake tray with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together with a wire whisk. Add eggs, oil, vanilla and milk and mix until combined. Add hot water and mix. It will be very liquid.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Pour into liner with a large spouted measuring cup for ease.

Bake for 15 minutes or until done. Cool and make the cookies.

For chocolate frosting, beat 1/2 cup butter until creamy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix. Slowly add 2 cups confectioner’s sugar and cocoa and mix until combined. Add 1 Tablespoon milk and mix until creamy and smooth.

For peanut butter frosting, beat 1/2 cup butter and 2/3 cup peanut butter until creamy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix. Slowly add 2 cups confectioners sugar and mix until combined. Add 1 Tablespoon milk and mix until creamy and smooth.

Fill a decorator bag fitted with a 1M tip with chocolate frosting on one half and peanut butter frosting on the other. Squeeze bag to force frosting into the tip and swirl frosting on cupcakes.

Oil is the magic ingredient to make your cupcakes super moist

Oil is the magic ingredient to make your cupcakes super moist

Adding the wet to the dry ingredients

Adding the wet to the dry ingredients

Beat it. Just beat it.

Beat it. Just beat it.

Pour the batter into the lined cupcake tray

Pour the batter into the lined cupcake tray

Straight from the oven. Fluffy and moist!

Straight from the oven. Fluffy and moist!

 

Next, start working on the frostings

Next, start working on the frostings

The beautiful finished product!

The beautiful finished product!

Yum!

Yum!

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Godiva ain’t got nothing over my truffles

 

The simplest things can often be the best.
And I’m glad my husband reminded me of this concept as it came time to select a dessert recipe for Easter dinner this weekend.

To be honest, I have a knack for overcomplicating things for myself in the kitchen. This tendency comes from a lethal combination of enthusiasm, the desire to please and a bit of culinary naiveté.

Case in point: On New Year’s Eve, we hosted our first big dinner party. The most I’ve ever cooked for previously was a grand total of four. Was my first instinct to select a basic menu that I had made before? Nope. Instead, I triumphantly decided to try my hand at a prime rib for all of our 14 guests.

Thankfully, my hubby reigned me in on that idea. Instead, we opted for something a little more manageable: his famous sausage and veggie pasta, and my breaded eggplant. Everyone seemed satisfied. And as an added bonus, I avoided the massacre of an expensive slab of meat.

With this in mind, I picked one of my tried, tested and true recipes for Easter: Super Simple Oreo Cheesecake Truffles. Don’t let the word “truffle” deceive you. These rich, chocolately morsels could not be easier with only THREE ingredients.

Oreo cookies. Cream cheese. Melted chocolate wafer. That’s it. Oh, and did I mention it’s no bake?

The raw ingredients

All you have to do is toss a box of Oreos into the food processor, and combine the crumbs with a block of cream cheese. Roll into bit-sized balls. Refrigerate, then dip into melted chocolate.

The truffles end up looking like something you could have picked up at Godiva. And they are absolutely delicious! Who doesn’t like Oreo cheesecake?

I think my new kitchen mantra will be: keep it simple. I’ll let you know how that goes. More blog posts to come!

Super Simple Oreo Cheesecake Truffles

(I saw this recipe a couple of years ago on the Chocolate Fool blog, but it originated from the great Bakerella)

Ingredients:
• 1 package Oreo cookies
• 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
• About 5 cups of white or dark chocolate melting wafers

Directions:
1. Break Oreo cookies in half and put them into your food processor. Pulse on high until they are ground into fine crumbs.
2. Place softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl. I cut the cream cheese brick into small chunks. Using a hand or stand mixer on medium speed, add in the Oreo crumbs until combined. Mixture doesn’t have to be smooth. Tiny flecks of cookie give the truffles texture.
3. Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
4. Start melting the chocolate over a double boiler. (I boil water in a sauce pan. Once boiling, I place a metal mixing bowl on top with about two cups of wafers. Turn heat down and stir until chocolate is completely smooth)
5. Dip each ball in chocolate, tap off the excess and place onto parchment paper to cool. I’ve tried a variety of different utensils for dipping. I like chopsticks the best. A plastic fork with the middle tines cut out also works. You have to work quickly because the chocolate hardens, and the cheesecake balls get mushy. Work with smaller batches of melted chocolate, it’s easier.
6. Drizzle some contrasting chocolate on top of truffles, if desired.
7. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

 

Into the food processor
Pre-chocolate dipped truffles. They look so naked…
Now that’s better!
Place them on to the baking sheet, then straight to the fridge!
Voila! A truffle is born!
Yum!