Monday, October 31, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter, jelly, peanut butter, jelly, peanut butter, jelly... Family Guy anyone? Or at least I think that's from Family Guy. It's ok, I don't watch it either, but I've heard that somewhere before. First, let me start with the photos. A lovely friend of mine recently purchased for me a portable photo studio as an early birthday gift and these cupcakes were my first guinea pig in trying it out. I think they came out pretty well, especially since it came with no instructions. Practice will surely make perfect, right?

I should also apologize for being a day late with my post. You may or may not be aware of the massive snow storm that came through Connecticut this weekend. We were one of the fortunate ones to not lose power and to not have any significant damage to our home. However, some of our friends lost power and still don't have it back, so we've been taking people in so they have a warm place to sleep and hot water to shower. Needless to say things have been a little busy around the house and my office has been monopolized by house guests. Right now the house is currently empty, except for Rollins who's sleeping on the couch (gotta love a full day of doggy daycare) so I'm trying to make the most of my free time tonight before everyone comes back.

So, moving on to what's featured in my pictures... peanut butter and jelly cupcakes. These cupcakes are the last in the first section of the cookbook so I was excited to make them for many reasons. One, because I feel like I've reached a milestone in my project in the fact that I've completed the first section. Two, Bobby's favorite thing in the whole world is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, he may be 30 years old, but he could eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (or pizza) everyday and be completely happy with that. So, I was excited to see how my peanut butter and jelly sandwich expert would like peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.

Before I started baking I remembered to leave out everything that had to be at room temperature before I started working. I also read through the entire recipe. My first order of business was chopping the peanuts, which is rather difficult considering that peanuts are pretty small (I also ended up using honey roasted because I can't read. But I will swear that when I put them in my shopping cart, the package said dry roasted). But, I did manage to successfully chop the peanuts without successfully chopping off any of my fingers. Hooray. After chopping the peanuts all the hard work was pretty much done.

Similar to these applesauce-spice cupcakes, the batter for these cupcakes was also quite thick so I wasn't able to use my pour-by-Pyrex method for the second week in a row. Very depressing. Again I used a tablespoon and spooned about 1 1/2 tablespoons into each cupcake liner. All the cupcakes came out pretty perfectly and I only yielded 2 less cupcakes than the recipe said I would. Both batches of cupcakes were baked for 22 minutes with a turn halfway through the baking time. They came out perfectly with this amount of baking time. Golden brown, and just the right size.

Time for the frosting, and a new one to make at that! Double win! These cupcakes called for creamy peanut butter frosting, doesn't that sound delicious and fattening? This frosting wasn't too difficult to make (and I got to use my stand mixer) but I did have a moment of panic when I was afraid the heavy cream wasn't going to turn into medium-firm peaks. It took a little longer than normal and I nervously stared at it every few minutes wondering if it was ever going to firm up, and what my back-up plan would be if it didn't. Luckily, my whisk and mixer started doing their thing and I had peaks! I folded the whipped cream into the peanut butter-cream cheese mixture to finish everything off. The frosting wasn't as thick as I thought it would be and it was actually quite spreadable. For the finishing touch each cupcake got a little dollop of strawberry preserves. I went with preserves instead of jelly because I like that preserves have little chunks of strawberry in them.

To be honest, from the start I didn't think I would like these cupcakes. Not because I'm not a fan of peanut butter and jelly, because I am, but because I had a feeling these would be pretty dense and pretty peanut buttery cupcakes... I was right. I think I would have liked them more if the frosting was a little sweeter. I kept tasting it as I was adding each ingredient while making it, waiting for the sweetness to emerge and I got nothing. I didn't try a completed cupcake until I took the pictures and I still had the same issue. I needed more sweetness. I had one bite and didn't eat any more. I hate to say I didn't like a cupcake, because it feels wrong. But, I didn't like these. Luckily for me and my taste buds, there are roughly 50 more cupcakes to make... yes, I counted.