23 October 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

My dear friend Sarah over at Chomping the Big Apple is having a blogging event, and while I've been missing from most of those things lately, I had to give it a shot.

So what's this Cooking with Love thing even all about? We are to tell a love-related baking story, and blog the recipe on our site. Well, here you go, Sarah! Settle in with a big cup of coffee and a nice cupcake, I tend to write novels...

Everyone in life is blessed with some kind of good fortune. Maybe it's well-to-do parents. Maybe it's a dazzling voice. Maybe it's that perfect body where said person rarely goes to the gym and eats nonstop and still wears a perfect pert size 0 (hello Tinnie dear, I am referring to you here). In my life, my good fortune is my husband.

My husband has beautiful green eyes and a smart-ass smile. He twirls his wedding band around his finger when he's deep in thought. He has an obsession with all televised sports: when his teams are playing he will cheer yell and carry on like I've never seen before. And while he'd never admit to it, he has the most wicked sweet tooth I've ever seen. He bellows at me if I stir the pan while he's cooking, and he rubs his face whenever he grows tired, and he gives the best back scratches in the world.

My husband is smart, with the accurate answer whether it's a TV quiz show or questions about sports stats or where the stocks are going. He is our household's official bug executioner. He has a remarkable knack for fixing electronics, and he likes to tease me about my shoe collection. When we do the grocery shopping, he always sneaks away at some point and buys me flowers from the floral department. My husband is so good with my family. Often he is quite the goofball, the person who always makes me laugh and brings out my own sarcastic sense of humor. He also has a way of giving me a squeeze when he walks by me and a quick smile that makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the Midwest.

On one of our early dates he took me to one of his fraternity formals, and I remember afterwards sitting in a shady diner in KC at 3am, he in a nice suit and me barefoot in a slinky ice-blue number, laughing and digging into pancakes (and enjoying ourselves much more than we did at the stuffy formal). Even today, when I hear the doorknob turn in the evenings, my stomach does flip-flops and I make sure to quickly run my fingers through my hair.

My husband is tender and patient and kind. Always the level-headed one between us, he never gets overly excited or anxious. He never raises his voice. When everything else is chaos, he's like a deep breath of fresh air. Always calm and quiet yet earnest, my husband. That's just who he is.

I could go on and on and on, but people have other places to be. So let me just say that I'll always consider to be lucky because of him. And I pretty much don't deserve him, at all. He's the thing I'm blessed with in life, no doubt about it.

Now, to get back on topic: I mentioned his sweet tooth. Oh, but that man has quite the raging sweet tooth! Chocolate is a favorite, but if you want to really bring him to his knees: do a chocolate and peanut butter combo. That will get him every time, and so from early on in our relationship I have been making this flavor combination in every imaginable confection I can possibly bake.

In honor of that darling Husband-man: I made his absolute favorite, a peanut butter and chocolate dream. These suckers come from Ina Garten (a cookbook that Hubs, incidentally, bought me for my last birthday). The cupcake itself is deep, richly cocoa with a soft crumb, and the creamy peanut butter frosting tastes just like the inside of a Reeses Peanut Butter cup. 'Perfection', as my husband would refer to them.

Happy (late) anniversary, Sarah!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
(from Barefoot Contessa at Home, 2006)

12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. brewed coffee
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, 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. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:

1 c. confectioners' sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp.pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 c. heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.


Cate said...

They look perfect! I loved the chopped peanuts as decoration.

Snooky doodle said...

wow these are the yummiest cupcakes I ve ever seen . chocolate and peanut butter are the yummiest combo :) Glad you have such a nice husband :)

Sarah said...

Thank you! These cupcakes look sweet and delicious and your story is the same! I love hearing when people truly love their significant other--too often I feel that people complain and don't appreciate them enough.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Aren't you so sweet, Nemmie! What a beautiful post - so full of love!
The cupcakes look yummy - I completely understand why they are a favorite!

Carole said...

I think that you and Scott are fortunate to have each other. He is wonderful, and of course I am biased about you, sis! It is a match made in heaven.

Owd Müller said...

Thanks dudes! Cheated a bit on this one, kinda adapted from a post on my private blog :)

And try the cupcakes - the frosting tastes like the filling in peanut butter cups, mmmmmmm.

Nemmie said...

Um, please note - the comment above (Owd Muller) was actually me, I made it from my Hub's computer and didn't realize I was logged in as him. Oopie!

maerlinseph said...

Hum I will sure try these!!

And about this amazing post about your husband.

You say that you don't deserve him but seeing how much you care about him, how you see and love each of his qualities, i think he couldn't find a better wife! Congratulations to you two!