Death to Cupcakes: A New Era Begins (Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes)

Last year, I called it. Just saying.

Its official Crumbs, one of the nation’s largest cupcakes chains, has closed its doors. It seems Americans are tired of this once trend. We no longer feel the need to have a portion sized, personal cake with frosting decorated to wow us. We no longer want art on a platter, we no longer feel the need to pay $3.00 for a cupcake. Americans are tired of your shit cupcakes, you’re out.

628x471

So that leaves me wondering, what’s the next trend? Cheesecake on a stick would be awesome! But then we would have to find portable ways to keep it cool. Gourmet Brownies, that’s something I can get on board with. What about good ol’ fashion cookies? Nah, too… ordinary.

What do you think the next food trend will be? Well if you figure it out let me know… in the meantime…

Chocolate and peanut butter go together like Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise, Tom and Jerry and Beyoncé and Jay-z. It just works, the salty and sweet, sweet and salty, throw a little sea salt on top and you have an edible euphoria unlike any other.

According to The thechocolatestore.com Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, which is approximately 11.6 pounds per person.  On the other hand according to the National Peanut Board (yes this exists), Americans spend $800 million a year on peanut butter, that’s a lot of jars! Obviously this paring is not going out of style any time soon!

Courtney’s coworker requested chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for his birthday and I am always more than happy to deliver. I made a rich chocolate cupcake using both dark chocolate coco powder, and regular coco power. I also decided that this needed a peanut butter filling, so a mock Reese’s filling was pumped into the middle of these suckers, topped off with a peanut butter butter cream.

IMG_1633

Chocolate Peanut butter cupcakes:

If you are allergic to peanuts, these will surely kill you. But if you are a chocolate peanut butter fanatic, these are sure to melt your heart!

Makes 24 cupcakes

The cake was adapted from: Hersey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” chocolate cake recipe

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup Hersey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa powder

1/2 cup Hersey’s cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

 

Filling taken from a Wilton recipe:

1 1/2 Tablespoons warm melted butter

1/2 cup peanut butter room temp

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

 

Peanut-Butter, Butter Cream adapted from the wonderful Martha Stewart:

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 stick of butter, softened

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons whipping cream

 

 

 

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. Mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
  3. Pour into cupcake liners or greased cupcake tins, fill 3/4 full.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle come out clean

Filling:

  1. Core the cupcakes using either a knife or a cupcake corer if you have one
  2. Melt the butter and mix into the peanut butter and confectioner sugar till combined
  3. Resist the urge to eat all of it
  4. Using a spoon, or a bag fill the cored cupcake with this mixture.

Frosting

  1. Mix butter and peanut butter together, add in confectioners’ sugar, and add in whipping cream.
  2. Whip till desired consistency
  3. Again resist the urge to eat it all
  4. Either pipe, or spread on cupcakes.

 

 

 

 

Granola Bars 101: A Lesson in Summer Weather Snacks

 

Personally I love summer weather. I love going for long runs in the heat of the day, to be drenched in sweat upon my return. I love lying on the grass with friends all around me, playing guitar and singing nonsense songs. I love summer nights with camp fires and s’mores, and the wandering smell of wood burning. The weather we are currently having (mid-80’s in April) is a little early for the season, but watching lobsters crawl to class never gets old.

quad

As spring temperatures creep from freezing to mid-80’s, everything on a college campus changes: classes move outside, clothes are shed, and our meals become a little more health conscious in preparation for summer. 

Never in my life have I made any type of granola bars. I have made breakfast granola to put in yogurt and in fruit parfaits, but never in the form of bars, so today with desire to learn (and with hungry friends on the go asking for snacks), I’ve decided to try.

Dry ingredients ready to be mixed!

Dry ingredients ready to be mixed!

Granola Bar Lovin’:

Depending on how big you cut the bars, makes around 12 bars.

Ingredients:

2 Cups rolled oats

3/4 Cup packed brown sugar

1/2 Cup wheat germ*

3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 Cups mini chocolate chips (or raisins for those who are super healthy)

3/4 Teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup honey

1 Egg, beaten

1/2 Cup vegetable oil

2 Teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and generously grease a 9×13 baking pan
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, chocolate chips, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mixture will be still, mixing using your hands is easiest.
  3. Pat mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bars begin to golden. Cool for 5 minut4es, then cut when still warm or else they will be hard to cut.

*Wheat germ, I could not find it anywhere for the longest time, If your food store has specialty four or a gluten free section you may find it there.

 IMG_1321

Red.

2 cupcakes

I hate it. I hate how teachers circle wrong answers in red. I hate how red grabs attention. I hate how it is the color of the store I used to work at. I hate how it was the color of my high school’s mascot. I hate how it is the color of the one cupcake that haunts my dreams. Red velvet, everything about the name is so suggestive. It just screams love, lust and desire, but to me it taunts me with an F marked in red pen.

Red velvet cupcakes and I have a past. They are my one culinary failure, the one cupcake I could not serve, the one thing I have ever been ashamed of. The first time I attempted them nothing worked out right, the red was wrong, the batter was too soupy and the cupcake wrappers were wrong. Yes, I have a thing about cupcake wrappers, and the only ones I had left at the time did not match the cupcakes, it drove me crazy.IMG_1216

I was sitting at work on Monday and was thinking it was time for redemption. A girl I work with is obsessed with red velvet cake, and I asked her what she liked about it so much. “The color, duh.” I asked a girl who wants to be a kindergarten teacher, I should have known better.  The one thing I can’t stand, is the one thing she likes the most.  She went on to explain it was the icing that made it, the perfect contrast of a light chocolate cake and super sweet cream cheese.red batter

I went for it, took an idea and dove in. I took the recipe I had and threw it out the window (quite literally in fact). I started from scratch with a wonderful cream cheese frosting recipe my mom had and went from there. The results shocked and surprised me. After I made the batter I tasted it, my friend once said that a good tasting batter leads to a good tasting product, it also gives her an excuse to eat my unbaked goods, but the batter was good. I knew these cupcakes were going to be the best red velvet anything I ever made.IMG_1308

And they were, everyone agrees.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

2 ¼ Cups of flour

1/2 Cup unsweetened coco powder

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Cups sugar

4 Eggs

1 Cup sour cream

1/2 Cup milk

1 Bottle (1 ounce) red food color

2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

For vanilla cream cheese frosting           

1 Package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temp.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Tablespoons sour cream

2 Teaspoons vanilla extract

16 ounces (3 ¼ cups) confectioners sugar

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat Butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low, until blended
  3. Spoon batter into cupcake liners, about 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tablespoon, sour cream and 2 tablespoons vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 16 ounces confectioner sugar.