I love happy reunions. (Not those awkward, Holiday-induced family reunions -- the kind that force us to sit with people who don't share our political viewpoints whilst they look at
Today, after almost 10 sweltering days, my oven and I met over dessert.
Boy, did we have a lot to catch up on!
The oven promised to temper down all the "hotspots," as long as I promised to never ignore it for such a long time again. Ever.
That's a fair deal, right?
We collaborated for a few minutes on what to make before finally deciding on cupcakes. (It only took a few seconds to decide, actually.) Because nothing says "Welcome back, my sugar-loving cohort," like a decadent, messy chocolate cupcake.
Due to the fact that 90 F. feels like an icy breeze compared to the 100 F. chili soup I've been living in for the past several weeks, I forgot that the weather is still quite hot and bothered. Oops.
The wonderful frosting melted into an equally wonderful mess as I was snapping photos. But I think you get the basic idea of what's going on; Rich chocolate cupcakes, adorned with a Nutella and peanut butter frosting. It looks like a hot mess, but it's quite tasty. Promise.
If you've been avoiding the oven, this is the perfect recipe to rekindle the baker's flame. And yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder. Quite fonder!
Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella-Peanut Butter Frosting
makes 14 cupcakes
for the cupcakes
12 Tablespoons (that's 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups packed, light brown sugar
2 room temperature eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken and at room temperature
1/2 cup room temp. sour cream
2 Tablespoons strong, brewed coffee [Note: I used dark rum instead. :) ]
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
for the frosting
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter [Note: Do Not use low fat.]
1/2 cup Nutella
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream [Note: I used half & half cream.]
Preheat the oven to 350 F., Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. (This will make about 14 cupcakes.)
In a stand-mixer bowl, fitted with the paddle attachment (or any large, mixing bowl if you're using a hand-held), beat together the butter and both sugars on med-high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract; Set aside.
In a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee (or rum, if using. :). Set aside.
In another separate large bowl, sift together the flour, baking Soda, and salt.
On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Try not to over-mix. Use a large rubber spatula to gently fold in any remaining bits of flour that the paddle may have missed.
Divide the batter evenly among the lined muffin tins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into a center cupcake comes out clean. Remove the tins from the oven and allow the cupcakes to rest for about 10 minutes before removing them from the tins. Cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (a hand-held will work too), beat together the butter, peanut butter, and Nutella, unitl smooth and creamy (about 3-5 minutes on medium speed). Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, salt, and cream. [Note: Don't add the sugar all at once or it'll end up all over your kitchen.] Continue beating, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture is light and smooth.
Use a small off-set spatula to frost the cupcakes to your heart's content!
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten