Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Peanut butter cupcakes

[imagine opening your lunchbox to find one of these... swoon]

This recipe for peanut butter cupcakes has been in my "to try" folder for probably a year, and after tasting them, I'm kicking myself for waiting such a long time to bake these.  One of my favorite (and few) cupcakes that I like from a local bakery boasts a peanut butter frosting, but I have yet to encounter a peanut butter cupcake anywhere.  I've always been a fan of peanut butter paired with something sweet -- chocolate (hello, Reese's cups), bananas, and apples.  But no peanut butter cupcakes?  I think I have more bakery experiences than the average Jane, and I have yet to see a peanut butter cupcake.  What gives, people?

So you can imagine how glad my stomach was that I stopped thinking (my brain sometimes tries to force fruits and vegetables into this unwilling body of mine) and started baking.  Very basic ingredients, especially since I halved the recipe, and quick prep.  Also, I originally planned to top these with chocolate frosting but, when it came time to dress them, all I wanted was a spoonful of grape jam.  And that is what I did, my friends.  Dee-lih-shuss.  The mild sweetness and touch of salty in the moist cupcake with peanut butter's very own soulmate, grape jam, was a perfect pre-Glee snack.  Next time I make these, I plan to fold in some chopped peanuts for a little crunch in the cake itself.  Whoever said peanut butter and jelly is for kids only clearly never bit into one of these beauties!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
-makes 20

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky will do)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup roughly chopped unsalted or lightly roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, and salt; set aside.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add peanut butter and mix.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

With mixer speed on low, add half of the flour mixture, all of the sour cream and vanilla extract, and the rest of the flour mixture, beating until incorporated after each, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Fold in chopped peanuts, if using.  Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into the centers come out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  Let cool in tins on wire racks for 10 minutes, remove cupcakes from pans and let cool completely.

Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.  Top with favorite jam or jelly just before serving and enjoy!

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