Jul 012012
 

I had planned to write this post this past Thursday night in time for Friday morning, but besides being ill with a fever and chills, I fell into the “too many tasks to do with so little time” hole. Lately I have been in a flurry of work and am enjoying it all. In my former career, I would go stir crazy when I did the same exact task repeatedly on a daily basis. Yes a schedule is good, but I love the variety of working with multiple jobs the best. As I promised on Facebook, I am writing up the “Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Centers” recipe from “The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book” by my friends Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough who have adventures on their “Bruce and Mark” website.

Admittedly, when I try baked recipes for the first time, I do my best not to tweak them to ensure that I understand the ingredients’ chemistry relationships. Unlike cooking on a stovetop, baking with an oven is more scientific due to the reactions the ingredients have with each other. For example, granular sugar is not just a sweetener, but its crystaline structure helps keep a cookie or pastry’s form in place. Canola and other similar oils let cakes keep their moisture longer. I could go on and on, but the details would probably bore you. If what I said has not yet, get on Google Plus to “Hang out” with me on Tuesday afternoons. Some friends and I will be discussing food, fibery yarn, and whatever comes to mind. In this post, my notes will be within brackets. Now, on with the recipe!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Centers

Recipe at The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book from Bruce and Mark dot com. You can follow @BruceWeinstein and @MarkScarbrough on Twitter too!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Centers
“If you like chocolate peanut butter candies, you may have found your grail: moist, delicate cupcakes with a dense peanut butter center.”

MAKES 12 CUPCAKES

12 paper full-sized muffin cups
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, preferably natural cocoa powder {I used Hershey’s because that is what was on hand}
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt {I used table salt}
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar {I used Raw Natural Sugar}
6 tablespoons cool unsalted butter, cut into chunks {I pulled a stick out of the freezer and cut it when I came to the step requiring for the butter to be added}
2 large eggs, at room temperature {Do not use cold eggs from the fridge, trust me}
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (regular, low-fat, or nonfat) {I used heavy whipping cream because that is what was on hand}
1/2 cup creamy standard peanut butter {I used JIF}

    1. Position the rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-indentation or two 6-indentation cupcake or muffin tins with 12 paper liners; set aside. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until uniformly colored; set aside.
    2. Beat 3/4 cup sugar and the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes {I used a hand mixer}. Beat in 1 whole egg, then 1 egg yolk (reserve the second white for later in the recipe), and the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat in 1/4 cup milk until smooth. Beat in about half the flour mixture at a very low speed, then beat in the remainder of the milk, followed by the remainder of the flour mixture. Do not beat more than 20 seconds or so after you add this last bit of flour or the cupcakes may turn tough. Fill the prepared indentations halfway full with the batter; set the remainder of the batter aside. {I used my mini 1-tablespoon cookie dough spring scoop; 3 scoops of batter = one cupcake}
    3. Clean and dry the beaters, then beat the peanut butter, the remaining egg white, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl until creamy and light. Roll rounded tablespoons of this mixture in loose but nonetheless cohesive balls and press each into the batter in the tin {Again I used my miniature “ice cream” cookie dough spring scoop}. Don’t press down until the ball touches the tin’s bottom; rather, make sure the ball is about two-thirds covered with the batter. Use the remaining batter to cover the balls and fill the tins {I let my centers be seen}, spreading it as necessary with a rubber spatula.
    4. Bake until puffed and dry if still soft to the touch, about 25 minutes {Mine baked in 20}. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently rock the cupcakes back and forth to loosen them from the indentations and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen in an airtight container or a large zip-closed bag for up to 3 months; let them come back to room temperature on a wire rack.

Customize it!

  • Stir in 1/2 cup cocoa nibs, chopped pecans, chopped roasted unsalted peanuts, or chopped walnuts with the flour.
  • Substitute 1 teaspoon maple or run extract for the vanilla.

I hope you enjoy making and eating these cupcakes like we did! =:8