Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

I haven't posted in a long time. Well, at least it feels like a long time.  In the grand scheme of things it really hasn't been that long.  Not long in the way of the Earth (name that movie!) or anything, that's for sure.  Here's what happened though, I moved.  Normally, this raises people's stress levels and is cause for much wailing, the rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth.  Not for me though. I've been looking forward to moving for 11 of the 12 months I lived in my previous place. Remember, I talked about the tiny kitchen and the homicidal oven?  Those things are no more!  This new kitchen has SPACE, and lots of it.  I can't really express how excited I am about this.  Really.  The only downside was that it's taken me a while to get around to writing about the two things I baked last week.  Yes, I baked TWICE in the week I was moving.  I'm a sucker for a challenge.  And birthdays.

It was Bartender/Quiz Master Devin's birthday two weeks ago, and he managed to not tell me in time to bring something for his actual birthday.  What a little jerk, right?  Devin loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I decided to make peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.  The recipe can easily be adapted to use whatever kind of jelly you have on hand and I've made them before, so I knew I'd be able to make these on Thursday night after work/before quiz.  Here's a picture of me and Devin a million years ago; before I lived off-campus and discovered my love of baking and definitely before he became everyone's favorite Quiz Master at Murphy's.

The cupcake recipe is called Vanilla-Strawberry Cupcakes and comes from my Baking Bible, but I generally reduce the amount of jelly in the cupcakes because of an unfortunate incident the first time I made them.  Something about jelly being all over the muffin tin, oven, and stove made me think a reduction was in order.  There was also a request to not stir the jelly into the batter next time, just drop the jelly in the batter and let it sit there for more of a "punch" of jelly flavor.  I'll take it under advisement though that does make it a bit more like a jelly donut, no?

Jelly Cupcakes

2 Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 Cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 egg whites
1/2 Cup strawberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; mix well and set aside.  Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with electric mixer for one minute.  Add milk and vanilla, beat for 30 seconds.  Gradually beat in flour mixture, beat for two minutes.  Add egg whites, beat for one minute. 

Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling half full.  Drop 1/2 teaspoon preserves on top of batter; swirl in to batter with toothpick.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpicks inserted into centers come out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans to wire racks, cool completely.

This frosting is not from the Baking Bible, I actually discovered it when I was researching Guinness cupcakes for another friend's birthday last April (beer and peanuts, get it?).  After finally locating the piece of paper with the recipe on it, I've figured out it came from How to Eat a Cupcake.  Anyway, since it's debut last April this recipe has gotten heavy use.  Everyone loves it!  The texture is really nice and the peanut butter flavor takes center stage.  I won't lie, I'd knock down a small child for it, including Shelby.  It's that delicious and Aunt Courtney needs her frosting.  Just don't tell my sister.   Luckily for all involved this recipe makes plenty, so there's no need to harm anyone.

Peanut Butter Frosting

2 Cups powdered sugar
1/2 Cup butter, room temperature
Pinch of salt (can be omitted depending on how salty your peanut butter is)
1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons milk

Beat sugar, butter, and salt until creamy.  Add peanut butter, beat until combined.  Add milk, beat until smooth and creamy. 

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