Yesterday was Jay’s 30th birthday. I can’t really believe it, ’cause I remember meeting him shortly after his 19th birthday, and it doesn’t seem that long ago. But it is! Now we’re boring & old; me with my baking and him with his death metal band touring all over the U.S. Hey- wait a second. That makes only one of us sound boring! Damn it. Anyway… this is the 9th birthday of his I’ll be celebrating with him, and I wanted to make it special-er than normal. Like I said, it is his 30th!
I decided to make a few different things for him, this being a pretty big birthday. And since he loves anything involving chocolate & peanut butter, I made this awesomely easy chocolate peanut butter fudge from the Food Network magazine. He isn’t a fudge fan by any means, but I knew I couldn’t go wrong with a PB/chocolate combo. I also made him some cupcakes (of course). I asked him about 4 times what kind he wanted, and each time I got a different answer. He said chocolate stout cupcakes, then he said chocolate cheesecake cupcakes, then he said a Guinness/chocolate stout cupcake again, and the fourth time he got overwhelmed and said he didn’t know. Pfft. In all fairness, I did ask about a month in advance. Well I asked a fifth time and this time I got an answer: Maple Irish Whiskey-frosted white velvet butter cupcakes, topped with crumbled bacon. Oh yes.
These aren’t a new concept for me. I’ve actually made them two other times in the past 2 months; both for St. Patrick’s Day & then later on that month for our friend Melanie’s 30th birthday. However neither of those times were they topped with bacon, and I didn’t use a white velvet cupcake recipe for ’em, just plain vanilla. But in all honesty, this frosting is so amazing that it’s worth repeating & making over & over again. Add bacon it just takes it over the top. Jameson & bacon, together with maple in a cupcake? Insanity. And very manly, now that I think about it. Jameson & bacon could practically be a men’s cologne. And Jay loves his Jameson. Jack too, but really, Jameson is way better.
The funny thing is, that in past years I’ve ordered supplies, namely toppers, with plenty of time to spare & yet still didn’t get them in time. So I had these toppers waiting here for almost 2 years, begging to be used. I thought it’d be funny to get some camouflage liners and combine ’em with the fish toppers for his cupcakes. Jay loves fishing, and there’s a sort of ongoing joke about his camo BDU’s he used to wear a lot, so the two things together make almost a perfect “Jay cupcake.” If you add some mini-death metal CD’s & mini-handcuffs, it’d be really perfect. I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought the toppers, but I will say that the Etsy shop littlemonsterhugs (which is awesome!) saved my ass by being the only shop to have the camo liners in stock as of a week & a half ago, and then on top of that, getting them to me in plenty of time when I ordered them late! Thank cupcakes for littlemonsterhugs! I’ll definitely be a returning customer. And the best part is they didn’t lose their color after baking- they stayed just as bright. LOVE THEM.
Alright, so those are pretty fucking awesome. I smelled like bacon & whiskey for a half hour after making them, I finally just had to shower again, haha. The recipes for the cupcakes and frosting are linked to up there in that paragraph. And here are some photos of the delicious fudge. That recipe to follow.
CHOCOLATE-PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE
- Unsalted butter, softened, for brushing
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 pinches salt
- 2 cups peanut butter chips
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, pressing it into the corners and up the sides; leave an overhang on 2 sides. Brush the foil with butter.
- Combine 3/4 cup condensed milk, the chocolate chips, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Combine the remaining condensed milk, the peanut butter chips, and the last pinch salt in a separate saucepan. Put both pans over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chips are melted & smooth.
- Spoon the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan, leaving spaces in between the spoonfuls. Spoon the peanut mixture in between the gaps. Brush an 8-inch square parchment paper with butter and lay it directly on top of the fudge; press to flatten evenly & fill-in the gaps. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Lift the foil to remove the fudge from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Store up to 1-week in an airtight container.
You may notice that my fudge isn’t necessarily “two-tone.” That’s because the supermarket I went to didn’t have peanut butter chips (*gasp* I know!), they only had these two mixes from Nestle.
So I figured, it’s technically the same thing. It made it easier because I just made it all in one saucepan as opposed to two. But it didn’t have a two-tone or swirled effect. *shrugs* It was to die for, and tasted like chocolate-peanut butter, so there! Basically, in all honesty, it was the same. It comes out fantastic this way, so if you don’t have peanut butter chips on hand either, these will work.
So my best friend turned 30. I really can’t believe it; I remember his silly ass at 19 calling me ‘whitehead’ because of my white bandanna & how I wanted to kick his ass. But he turned out to be the best thing to ever cross my path. We’ve been through a lot, both together & separately, over these past 11 years, and most especially during the almost 8 that we’ve been “a couple.” When I say he’s my best friend, I’m not exaggerating by any means. In him I have a confidante, a fellow “foodie” (that is a terrible word), someone who can help me fix almost anything- computers, plumbing, construction, ANYTHING… and most importantly someone whose personality fits so perfectly with mine it’s like we were made for one another. I love you, Jay, happy birthday. Now finish eating the cupcakes & fudge so we can go back to Angelo’s for dinner & Chip Shop for dessert.