Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day with Brownie Peanut Butter Cupcakes

The weird cupcakes in the middle were my feeble attempt to make a powdered sugar heart. Seemed easy enough, but they didn't come out quite right!
There's nothing quite like saying 'I love you' with some good old fashioned desserts. I didn't want to make anything too fancy since I knew we'd be stuffed after our Italian feast. I modified the original Brownie Cupcake recipe (Bon App├ętit) by adding a handful of chocolate & peanut butter chips directly to the batter instead of nuts. Lastly, when making the frosting, ensure that your butter is room temperature, otherwise you'll have a hard time getting the creamy consistency you want. These are tasty!
Brownie Cupcakes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/4 cups chocolate and peanut butter chips (I buy the bags that have a mixture of both)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons (about) whipping cream
Chocolate shavings or chocolate sprinkles (I was lazy and used pb chips)

For cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 10 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Combine butter, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Whisk both sugars into chocolate mixture, then whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Whisk in vanilla, then flour, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (about 1/4 cup for each). Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and cool completely.

For frosting: Put powdered sugar and next 3 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth, adding whipping cream by teaspoonfuls if frosting is too thick to spread. Spread frosting in swirls over top of cupcakes. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or chocolate sprinkles. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature.)

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