Chocolate and Peanut Butter are an automatic match made in Heaven for me. I mean what more can you ask for – these two delectables go hand in hand like Jack and Jill or Ben and Jerry – no questions asked. The only thing that makes the combination even better is Dark Chocolate and Natural Peanut Butter!
Now I am training for a 7 mile run at the end of July. Having run a 1/2 marathon back in April I knew I could do the distance – but paired with hills (and I mean serious hills) and the hot hot heat of July the race is quite a difficult one. Bix 7 is notoriously known throughout Western Illinois/Eastern Iowa attracting runners from around the globe. I have watched it in summers past, but have never run it do to summer injuries, so knew that I had to run it this summer. Anywho, the reason for that long tangent is that on Thursdays they close down all the roads so that people can go out and run the race route – Bix at 6 (Thursday Nights at 6pm). This past Thursday my friend and I went (our second one – tomorrow is our third one) and while running a genius idea crossed my mind – go home and bake mini Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting – heaven – may have even inspired me to crank out all 7.5 miles (the practice route is longer than the race).
Going home I knew I had to stop at the store to pick up Reese’s Pieces – the perfect garnish for this little guys (yes – I am a baker who likes to personify her creations).
My Go To (Dark) Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
(If you are not a huge dark chocolate fan, then just use regular and not dark cocoa powder and use semi-sweet instead of bitter-sweet chocolate).
Yield: 12 cupcakes (or 50 mini cupcakes)
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 18-20 minutes
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use Ghiradelli chocolate – maybe that’s why these are soooo sinful, but Chocolate chips (mini) work too)
½ cup (1.5 ounces) Dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup (4 ounces) sour cream (I substitute in plain yogurt (vanilla works too) to cut on fat and because we usually always have yogurt in the house and not sour cream).
Before getting baked
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. (If you are using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.) Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.
Microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream/yogurt until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.
Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes (or 8-10 minutes for mini cupcakes).
Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting.
Flawless Peanut Butter Buttercream
3/8 c. Peanut Butter (if you like a more pb. taste go up to a 1/2 c. (4/8)
1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 c. milk (I use vanilla soy milk)
1/2 Tbst. Vanilla
1/4 c. whipping cream
Cream the peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until the powdered sugar is completely combined and there are no lumps. Add the milk little by little. Mix in vanilla. Then add the cream (You can just add milk until the desired texture is reached if you prefer to not use cream, or if you don’t have any on hand, but the cream gives it more rich and cohesive consistency). Mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sifted powdered sugar to thicken the frosting or add more milk to thin.
Now GO and BAKE!