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Welcome to my Sweets Blog!

Welcome to my Sweets Blog!
I've been looking for a way to share my sweet creations with everyone, and I think I have found it--here is my sweets blog! As I experiment with delicious desserts & sweet treats, I will post pictures, recipes, and how-to tips & tricks. Hope you enjoy reading about my sweets as much I enjoy eating them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cupcakes

I know I'm not the only one super excited about this cupcake craze going on in the dessert world right now. 

Catch the Cupcake Wars
on the Food Network.
This show definitely sparks
my baking creativity!
There are so many cupcake shops opening up all over, and food-television is giving loads of attention to the trend with shows like one of my favorites, Cupcake Wars. (Catch the show sometime, it's awesome--if the contestants make it to the final challenge of the episode, they have to make 1,000 cupcakes in two hours!! Get more info on the show here on Food Network's website.)

I had to jump on this delicious bandwagon and learn how to make some fancy cupcakes. I have perfected a vanilla cupcake with buttercream. A simple recipe, sweet enough to satisfy any dessert craving, and they look party-ready when topped with rainbow sprinkles. For my dad's birthday, I tried to fill vanilla cupcakes with raspberry preserves. The raspberry filling tasted great--it was sweet and tangy, and made with real raspberries. The filling process, on the other hand, could have gone better. I tried to pipe the filling into the cupcakes, but while doing so I couldn't get a feel for how much filling was ending up in each cupcake. Luckily, my family members are all good sports when I ask them to taste-test for me...some cupcakes had a mouthful of raspberry, and others had a tiny speck! I'm definitely not finished exploring this cupcake-filling technique. But for my next attempt, I decided to try adding extra layers of flavor by filling the cupcakes in a different way--with candy! 

I came across a recipe for Brownie cupcakes on the Wilton website. So I thought, brownies, Reese's, & buttercream. What can possibly taste better than that? And so the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cupcakes came to life.




*Before I share my recipe, I should also admit that I have been trying to find ways to reduce my intake of refined carbs. It is no easy task for an avid baker! I find that I am able to make ingredient substitutions a lot when I believe it won't compromise the taste or texture of the original recipe. Some of the substitutions may seem negligible, but cutting a little bit here and there has to be better than not at all, right?

The Recipes

The Reese's Brownie Cupcake recipe is dense and fudgy: 
 
Reese's Brownie Cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 squares unsweetened chocolate 
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/8 cups Splenda Sugar Blend for baking
4 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
20 Reese's Miniature peanut butter cups

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line standard muffin tin with baking cups. Unwrap peanut butter cups.
2. In medium bowl, combine both flours and salt. Set aside.
3. Chop unsweetened chocolate squares with a sharp knife. Cut sticks of butter into small pieces. In large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate at medium power for about 2 minutes, stirring after each minute. If needed, continue melting in microwave in 10 second increments. 
4. Add the sugar and Splenda Sugar Blend to the chocolate mixture; mix well.
5. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl. Whisk eggs and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. 
6. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; mix until blended.
7. Distribute brownie batter evenly into 20 baking cups. 
8. Add one unwrapped peanut butter cup to the batter in each baking cup, pressing down about halfway. Spread brownie batter to cover the top layer of the candy.
9. Bake 18-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.
Makes 20 cupcakes.

Tips & Tricks:
  • The chocolate and butter can also be melted in a small saucepan on the stove. I prefer using a large microwavable glass bowl that the rest of the ingredients can be added to in later steps. (I hate doing dishes!) 
  • Splenda Blend is half Splenda, half sugar. For that reason, I probably could have used all Splenda Blend and no granulated sugar. Next time I will definitely try it that way. The total measurement would be 3/4 cup Splenda Blend. (Its instructions specify to use half the amount of regular sugar that the recipe calls for.)
  • If you want to use all granulated sugar, and no Splenda Blend, the total measurement would be 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. (But try the Splenda Blend--it tastes the same!! And for me to admit that is huge.) 
  • This batter makes enough for 20 cupcakes. I fill the baking cups with an ice cream scoop, and then if there is extra batter, I even them out by adding a little to each one using a spoon.  
  • Technically you can use the toothpick test to check for doneness (insert clean toothpick or knife into cupcake, and if it come out clean, it's done). But remember that there is a Reese's cup in the middle, so when the toothpick comes out, you will see melted peanut butter and chocolate. You could test the side of the cupcake, but that probably won't give useful information since the sides cook more quickly than the center. Keep in mind that undercooked brownies taste way better than overcooked brownies anyway.
  • Since this is brownie batter, it won't rise like standard cake batter. So don't worry if the cupcakes seem 'harder' than normal once they are cooked. Think of them as brownies!
  • Other candies would be great in this batter too! Miniature Snickers, Almond Joys, or Oreos? Yum. Can't wait to try those soon.

These cupcakes are topped with a fluffy Peanut Butter Buttercream:

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner's sugar
4-6 tbsp milk
10 Reese's Miniature peanut butter cups

1. Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. 
2. Add peanut butter and vanilla and mix until well blended.
3. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl between each addition. At this point the icing will appear very dry.
4. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, whipping at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  
5. Crumble the peanut butter cups into very small crumbs. Set aside about 1/4 of the crumbs for topping. Fold in about 3/4 of the crumbs into the buttercream.
   
Tips & Tricks:
  • The butter should be at room temperature. This will dramatically affect the smoothness of the consistency in your end result. The same goes for the peanut butter (for anyone who refrigerates their PB!)
  • If you are using a standing electric mixer, start with the paddle attachment for the first few steps. Then when adding the milk in step 4, switch to the wire whisk attachment for an extra light and fluffy consistency.
  • When the buttercream is not in use, keep the bowl covered with a damp paper towel or cloth towel. This will prevent a slight 'crust' from forming on the top layer of the icing.
  • I tried a few different ways to crumble the candies, and I ended up using my hands to get the best results. The mallet mostly just flattened them out. The chopper broke them into smaller pieces. But ultimately I had to crumble them by hand to get the small crumbs I wanted. I also separated the larger pieces from the smaller ones using a colander, and I saved the larger pieces for topping the cupcakes.
Reese's Miniature Peanut Butter Cup Crumbs


Tools & Equipment

To make the cupcakes, you will need:

  • a few mixing bowls
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • spatula/scraper 
  • wire whisk
  • ice cream scoop
  • 2 standard muffin tins (or enough to make 20 cupcakes)
  • baking cups (also known as cupcake or muffin liners)
  • wire cooling racks

To make the buttercream & top with Reese's crumbles, all you will need besides the tools and equipment listed above is:

  • an electric mixer
  • mallet
  • colander

Optional for topping the cupcakes with the buttercream:
Piping the 1M Swirl with Buttercream creates
a beautiful, professional looking effect!
  • piping bag
  • 1M decorating tip

The Wilton website has a helpful how-to on piping the buttercream onto the cupcake using a piping bag and the 1M decorating tip. Read about it here!

Of course, you can ice the cupcakes by spreading the buttercream on with a knife. Just make sure to pile it on high! 
 
Sprinkle the candy crumbles on top as you frost each cupcake (don't wait too long or the buttercream will set, and the crumbs won't stick).


More Pictures!
The finished product!

My favorite part, as always, is 
tasting my creation! Yum!

2 comments:

  1. They taste as good as they look!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this! I really need to start making cupcakes. Check out my baking blog too. :)

    http://jerseygirleats.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

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