May 29, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Blair loves anything and everything that is chocolate and peanut butter.  Seriously, he's obsessed.  So for his birthday this year I decided to surprise him with these babies:
 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes  =  YUM

serves 10 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
 1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*I didn't have buttermilk, so I used a buttermilk substitute - Place 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup.  Add enough whole milk to bring the liquid to the the one-cup line.  Stir and let stand for five minutes.  Then use as much as your recipe calls for. :) 

Peanut Butter Buttercream: 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat oven to 350°F.
Line muffin pan with with 10 cupcake tins.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt until combined.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk sugar, buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla until combined and smooth.
Whisk in dry mixture a little at a time until smooth.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake tins, diving evenly.
Bake until the centers are just set...about 25 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream.  In a KitchenAid mixer bowl, whisk sugar, egg whites, and salt until combined.
Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and gently whisk until the mixture reaches about 160°F on an instant read thermometer.
Immediately transfer the bowl back to the mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment.
Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is just cool.
On medium speed, whip in the softened butter, one piece at a time until combined and creamy.
Add the peanut butter and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Transfer the peanut butter buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a plain circle tip (I used #8).
Pipe about 1/3 cup frosting onto each cupcake top.
Chill cupcakes in the fridge until the buttercream is completely firm...about 1 hour.

When the cupcakes have chilled, make the chocolate coating.  Place the semi-sweet chocolate and oil in a medium bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water.
Gently whisk until the chocolate has just melted and the mixture is smooth.
Transfer the chocolate into a large mug or bowl.
Holding the cupcake by the bottom, dip it into the chocolate to submerge all of the frosting.
Pull up the cupcake and let the excess chocolate drip off for a few seconds before turning the cupcake right side up.
Transfer them to the cooling rack and let them rest for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to set and the buttercream to soften.

Serve and enjoy.  Enjoy immensely!

This recipe is from Serious Eats

May 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Crumble Pie

Before my husband and I started dating, he invited me and my best friend over for dinner at his house.  He cooked and baked the whole meal himself.  (swoon)  It was amazing!

For dessert, he served this out-of-this-world Peanut Butter Crumble Pie.  Let me just say, it will surprise you.

I got a hankering for it yesterday, and my husband was kind enough to teach me the recipe.  I thought I'd document it and share it with you all too. :)

9 inch deep dish pie pan
pie crust
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup sugar (for meringue)
1.  Place pie shell into pie pan.  Fork it, so it will bake properly.  
2.  Bake empty pie shell according to directions.
3.  In a small bowl, place powdered sugar and peanut butter.  Cut the sugar into the peanut butter with a fork and knife until the mixture is crumbly.
4.  Place half of the mixture into the bottom of the baked pie shell.  Reserve the other half for later.
5.  In large saucepan, combine egg yolks, milk, 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla, salt, and cornstarch.  Stir well.
6.  Cook over medium to medium low heat until thick, stirring constantly.  Make sure to keep the temperature down so you don't scald the milk. *This will take a loooong time. The cooking will take a while because the cornstarch needs to mix in.  When it heats enough, the little pieces of cornstarch will burst open and spread starch throughout the mixture, thickening it to a custard form.*
7.  Pour the custard mixture over the peanut butter crumbles in pie crust.
8.  Beat the egg whites until foamy.
9.  Add sugar.
10.  Continue beating until soft peaks form.
11.  Spread over the top of the custard in the pie, being careful to seal all the edges.
12.  Sprinkle the remaining half of the peanut butter crumbles over the top of the pie.

13.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.
14.  Let cool completely.

Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
15.  Enjoy immensely.  It's AWESOME!

May 5, 2012

Cinco De Mayo Party - FREE Printables

I also designed FREE coordinating printables for you to download!!  Party Circles for food labels, cupcake tags, and decor tags; Water Bottle labels; and a Party Banner.

To download these FREE printables, click on the picture below and print on an 8.5" x 11" piece of heavy white cardstock.

Cinco De Mayo Party - DIY Chili Pepper Confetti

This afternoon/evening we are having a Cinco De Mayo Party!  I'm having a great time planning/prepping for it!  I wanted to share some of my fun least I think they are fun!

I went to Hobby Lobby to get a few ideas for decor, and came across some chili pepper confetti.  I'm a cheapskate; so I didn't want to spend $3 on it.  I know, I know.  But that just makes me creative.  :)  So, I decided to make my own. 

About 6 years ago, I hosted a bridal shower for my sister.  That shower had a Fall theme, so I had purchased some 'leaf confetti'.  I've been saving it this entire time.  (Saving everything with the idea of upcycling it in the future is another flaw of mine.....which actually relates to the cheapskate flaw of mine.  *sigh*)  Anyways, I decided to change the leaf confetti into chili pepper confetti!  And the best part is that one leaf created three chili peppers!  3-1 return on my investment?  Score!

Take your leaf, hand cut the chili peppers, and voila.  It's super simple.  While it takes a little bit of time, it's super simple, saves money, and turned out really cute!

 This is how I cut it so I could get three chili peppers from each leaf.

 Chili Pepper Confetti!