Monday, February 4, 2013

All American Treat



As part of a pre (day before)-Superbowl party, I offered to bring something sweet and all-American.  
Peanut Butter Cupcakes.  
 As I dirtied the kitchen, the smell of peanut butter was filling the house, and I started to think about the possibility that someone might have a peanut allergy.  These days it seems that everyone has an allergy to some food.  Brian told the sushi restaurant last week to leave the aioli off his tempura roll, since he doesn't like mayonnaise (neither do I).  They immediately assumed that he had an egg allergy (because who in their right mind would not like mayonnaise!?), and so they refused to serve him the roll because as the tempura,  has egg in it.  We left without any sushi... as it was just too difficult to explain that he just did... not... like... aioli. 


In addition to peanut butter being an American flavor, I have also recently noticed that there seems to be an age gap in the love of peanut butter.  Most older folks don't seem to care for it much, while it can be a cult following among the younger.  In that confusion, I decided just to give our friends a ring to double check on the peanut situation.  He replied that the coast was clear.  No known peanut aversions, nor allergies, (nor any known cupcake aversions nor allergies) among the guests.

  
Although it was a snowy day, and the 25 degree air was seeping through the window cracks keeping the apartment at a nice even chill, I decided to use my floral cupcake papers.  It is always nice to ignore the elephant in the room, whenever possible.


The cupcakes were simple and moist, and topped them with a peanut butter cream cheese icing, which was a big hit.  Also, I figure that when it comes to icing, cream cheese is a bit better for you than a pure butter icing.  Although, do not ever talk to a true pasty chef about which ingredients are better for you.  To a traditional pastry chef, butter is life...and it is delicious.   


I dusted the tops with a little powdered sugar and the cupcakes were very popular.  I heard that the few left at the end of the night were devoured for breakfast with coffee the next morning.  


Peanut Butter Cupcakes
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain whole fat yogurt

FOR THE FROSTING
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for decorating
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter

* Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Makes about 36 cupcakes

*Make the cupcakes: Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Mix in peanut butter. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Mix in yogurt.
*Spoon roughly 3 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup (this will look a little low). Bake until pale golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 13 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.

*Make the frosting: Put cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and butter into the clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the clean paddle attachment; mix on medium- high speed until pale and fluffy. Stir in peanut butter.
*Decorate as desired. Cupcakes can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 2 days.

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