Category: pretzel

Hey there, (peanut butter chocolate with a pretzel on top) cupcake.

It’s been a long time since I made anything with peanut butter. Yeah, I’ve made peanut butter chocolate fudge about a year ago, and some peanut butter ice cream, but I haven’t actually baked with it since April of 2010! And I had some really yummy Trader Joe’s peanut butter hangin’ around. So of course, I started thinking about what I could bake with it. Ahhh… cupcakes! I hadn’t made ‘em in a while. Not with frosting, anyway. And the last time I made peanut butter cupcakes, they were Fluffernutter cupcakes. Kid stuff. So how about a fancier, more grown-up peanut butter cupcake, made with organic sea salt peanut butter? Mmm hmm. Maybe some pretty peanut butter frosting? Maybe chocolate chips, or a chocolate sauce?

And… what about throwin’ a pretzel on top? Just because. Just because I can, really.

I haven’t broken Lola out for a baking task in quite some time. So, I thought we’d bond a little over some frosting. That’s Lola *points to the photo to the right* Pretty, pretty Lola. Lola is one of the loves of my life that doesn’t have a heartbeat, but a motor. Seriously, getting her changed my baking life 100%. I didn’t know how deficient I was until she entered my world. Or rather, until my man gifted me with her. If you don’t have a stand mixer, and you bake a lot, you need one. Yes, hand mixers are great, and I love mine tons. But stand mixers are a different animal. Once you get one you’ll never want to use anything else and you’ll even try to stuff your pillow and blanket in the bowl to sleep in it. Or maybe not. I don’t really know anybody that crazy. Hah. Anyway. If you do not have one, and you’d like a chance at winning one (in a beautiful bright blue called ‘Crystal Blue’) then head on over to She’s Becoming DoughMessTic and enter to win it. You can’t really live without one, if you love to bake. And if you’re sitting there thinking, “It’s just a mixer” then you really have no freakin’ idea, buddy.

Okay, what was I saying? Oh. Cupcakes. Yah. Anyway… I wanted to get some baking done before the weather got crazy hot. Things have been so bizarre weather-wise; snow in October, practically no winter, then 80˚ degree temps in March, then almost two weeks of pouring rain straight. I can’t predict how the summer will be but just in case it’s hot as balls, I wanted to bake up some pretty cupcakes.

PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

Makes from 12-18 cupcakes, depending on the size of your pans & how much you fill them

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ degrees F.
  2. Combine milk and vanilla in small bowl. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in another small bowl. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugars in mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and blend until smooth. Slowly mix in peanut butter, then oil, until combined. Add half the flour mixture and blend slowly.
  4. When fully incorporated, add milk mixture. Continue to blend slowly. Add remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Scoop into 12 lined baking cups and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I could’ve left it at this… but no…

….

PEANUT BUTTER BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk.
  2. Mix well, adding more milk as needed to make a fluffy spreadable frosting.

For the cupcakes, just be sure to fill the liners more than halfway so you get a nice rise. I could’ve filled mine more, clearly. You can use whatever kind of peanut butter you want. I obviously used an organic, natural one with a bit of grit. You can use super thick, smooth, crunchy, whatever. The frosting is a bit different. If you use crunchy peanut butter, you can’t really pipe it nicely, so you’ll want to use something smoother unless you want to slap it in a food processor. This frosting is so extremely creamy and soft, and perfectly peanut-ty. Some of the best ever. It pipes into big ol’ swirls of soft-serve-ice-cream looking frosting. Oh, how delicious it is. But no, I didn’t leave it at that, although I could have. And you can too. No. I went further.

So clearly, I made both of these recipes, then when the cupcakes were cooled, I frosted them with a large star tip. Then… then… then, I added the ganache. Yes, ganache. And then topped ‘em with a little pretzel stick. And that was when they were done. My “ganache” is basically 2 tablespoons shortening with ½ cup -1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted until smooth (either in a microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between… or in a double boiler, or just very carefully in a saucepan, and I stress carefully because it will scorch). Ta-da! After being used, the ganache or sauce will harden into a firm, but not too hard layer of chocolate-y goodness. You could also frost on top of it once it’s firmed up, if you prefer. You can use this sauce hardened or in liquid form, it’s very versatile. If you let it harden, it will become the consistency of a soft truffle, almost. You can roll it into balls and dust it with cocoa powder and use it that way. However, it does melt easily in high humidity or heat. It’s the perfect chocolate sauce for topping a creamy peanut butter cupcake.

And you could top them with roasted peanuts if you want, but honestly, pretzels just go so well with peanut butter and chocolate.

While I’m on my way out: congratulations to Tim & Jana who got married yesterday, and a belated happy birthday to my “sister-in-law” Jen (also yesterday!). Cupcakes all around!

Creepy chocolate stout cupcakes with white chocolate “funny bones.”

I wanted to say before I started this… Vic Mizzy, the writer of the Addams Family theme, passed away earlier this month on October 17th at the age of 93. So R.I.P., Vic! Your music will live on forever. “So get your witches shawl on, a broomstick you can crawl on, we’re gonna make a call on, the Addams Family… *snap snap*”


This year for Halloween (a.k.a. thebestholidayevar), I decided to actually make two batches of different cupcakes for the big day, mainly because my dad’s birthday is tomorrow, the 29th, so I needed more than just Halloween cupcakes. I had this chocolate stout cake recipe for a long time (thanks to Bon Appétit), and I’d been wondering what to do with it, I mean, I knew I’d probably convert it to cupcakes but I wasn’t sure what or when I’d make it for. It seemed perfect for my dad’s birthday because it has beer in it so it’s a manly cupcake (sorta), but yet  I needed to think about my Halloween cakery plans. So I thought maybe I could incorporate the remainder of the cakes in with my Halloween treats. It was when I was trying to figure out how to make them spooky that my mother showed me a recipe she found online for “Funny Bones.” Funny bones are basically mini-marshmallows stuck on the ends of pretzel sticks, then dunked in melted white chocolate to create little bones. Genius!

(By the way, if you haven’t seen my first batch, it was these ghost cupcakes)


So I made the cupcakes, and while they were cooling I made the bones. When I was making the bones I realized if I didn’t let the white chocolate get too liquidy, I could just mold the chocolate by hand instead of coating the pretzels and marshmallows, so that’s what I did. I’m gonna give the recipe for the funny bones here but I didn’t use it for mine. So I made those, popped them in the freezer to harden, and then put the little candy bones on half the cupcakes, along with my skeleton toppers that came with the liners. This way, I can use the other half as Birthday Beer Cupcakes for my dad (I just stuck some chocolate chips on top of those). This cake is made with stout, specifically chocolate stout, but I used cream stout. I used Samuel Adams Cream Stout, which is my new favorite (yes, more so than Guinness now). According to the website:

Samuel Adams® Cream Stout is a true cream stout, balancing body and sweetness with the natural spiciness of grain and hand selected English hops. Our Brewers use generous portions of roasted chocolate and caramel malts as well as unroasted barley to impart a fullness of body, a roasty malt character and rich, creamy head. Its dark mahogany color make it almost as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate.

It really is delicious.

So this cake recipe makes way more than two dozen cupcakes. I halved it, and half the recipe made 18 (I used 2 eggs).  I’m going to give the full recipe here. It’s absolutely delicious, but I seriously recommend buying the Samuel Adams Cream Stout to use for this, or another chocolate or cream stout. Guinness would totally work, as would any stout, but the cream/chocolate sweetness of the Sam Adams really makes the cake. Having a glass of the stout while eating the cake is amazing too. It’s great how they work together. Although I do really enjoy a few other stouts me & Jay have tried, like Rogue chocolate stout & Samuel Smith Imperial Stout, I just was able to get my hands on the Sam Adams stout. Otherwise, you can also use Sierra Nevada Porter or Sam Adams Honey Porter in this, and Brooklyn Brewery‘s Black Chocolate Stout would probably also be amazing.

It’d be really cute to drizzle some red food coloring on the tops, like blood. I didn’t have any left or else I would have. I used plain old chocolate buttercream, but vanilla would work well too. Especially a vanilla bean buttercream. Or, if you really wanna go all out with the stout theme, make a chocolate stout buttercream: instead of milk, add stout.

CHOCOLATE STOUT CAKE/CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped*
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup chocolate stout
  • 2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with liners and set aside.
  2. Placed chopped chocolate in a medium metal or heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and set aside.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1 ¼ cups sugar until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate, then stout and coffee. Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture in two additions, just until incorporated.
  5. Using clean and dry beaters and a new clean bowl, beat egg whites and 3 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in two additions.
  6. Divide batter between prepared muffin tins, filling each up about halfway. If making a cake, fill two buttered and floured 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 ½-inch-high sides with about 3 cups each, then smooth tops.
  7. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean and tops spring back. Bake cakes for 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean.

FUNNY BONES

Ingredients:

  • 36 pretzel sticks
  • 1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate chips
  • 72 mini marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Place the chips in a double boiler over just simmering water and melt, stirring frequently. As soon as the chips are just melted (there may even be a few solid ones left), remove the pan from the heat and remove the top section of the double  boiler so the chocolate’s temperature doesn’t keep rising.
  3. Stick marshmallows onto both ends of the pretzels, with the marshmallow’s flat sides parallel to the pretzel.
  4. Dip each pretzel in the chocolate and lift out with a fork, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Lay the bones on the baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature.

* I’d recommend using dark chocolate. I didn’t, but sorta wish I did. They’d have been more dramatic and Halloween-y looking.

For the half I used as my dad’s birthday cupcakes, I just put some chocolate chips on top.

Happy birthday, dad :)

..

I highly recommend this recipe, it’s phenomenal. And make sure you crack open a stout to drink with them, like I said it’s awesome. The liners and skull toppers are Wilton for Target.

If you’re looking for some other Halloween cupcake or treat inspiration, check out my Halloween archives here.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!