Peanut Blossom…Cupcakes?!?!

Oh yes, I have taken that fabulous little cookie-shaped piece of heaven and turned it into a cupcake-shaped piece of heaven. I first came up with this idea three years ago when I was beginning to really fall in love with baking, and it took me a few tries to transform a (perfect) cookie recipe into a cupcake recipe. I am especially proud of this recipe because it’s the first one I’ve created from scratch. Unfortunately, when I first developed the recipe, I was using Reese’s Peanut Butter as one of the main ingredients, but when I went to the local grocery store to find it, I was disheartened. Apparently, Reese’s doesn’t make peanut butter anymore 😦 😦 😦 I had to use something a little different to get that chocolatey-peanut-buttery taste so I chose my absolute favorite “healthy” indulgence (I say “healthy” because it’s vegan-friendly dark chocolate peanut butter that has fewer calories per tablespoon than regular peanut butter), Peanut Butter & Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams.

It’s absolutely vital that you use the right peanut butter for both the frosting and the cupcake because of the range of peanut butters there are out there. Some are too salty, some aren’t salty enough, some are too sweet, some aren’t creamy enough…I felt like the Goldilocks of peanut butters when I was selecting my ingredients. I knew I wanted the chocolatey taste in the cupcake so the selection of the Dark Chocolate Dreams was easy enough, but I wanted something a little more natural and just slightly salty for the frosting. I selected Smart Balance Creamy peanut butter because it had the right taste, and the texture was creamy and smooth and didn’t have to be stirred like some other natural peanut butters.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. I’ll include tips on decorating at the end of the recipe.

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the Cupcake

  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sweet, chocolatey peanut butter like Dark Chocolate Dreams
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 18 Hershey’s chocolate kisses, unwrapped
  • 2 muffin/cupcake pans

For the Frosting

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy, natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pastry bag with a star tip

For the Chocolate Topping

  • 10 Hershey’s kisses, unwrapped
  • Pastry bag with a small round tip

How to Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line your pan with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and chocolatey peanut butter together on low speed until whipped and smooth, about 3 minutes. You can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or use an electric hand mixer.
  4. Add the sugars to the peanut butter mixture, and cream together at medium speed until fluffy, or about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, and continue to mix until ingredients are fully blended. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients in 3 steps, and scrape the sides of the bowl between each addition.
  7. When the ingredients are just blended, stop mixing, and scoop the batter into the cupcake liners until they are no more than 2/3 full. Gently push a Hershey’s kiss into the center of each cupcake. As the cupcakes bakes, it will bake around the chocolate so there is no need to push it to the bottom of the liner.
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes spring back when gently pressed.
  9. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and cool slightly in the pan. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the peanut butter buttercream frosting by whipping together the butter and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, and continue to whip. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, and pause to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl.
  11. Melt the Hershey’s kisses to drizzle over the frosted cupcakes.

Tip: Use a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip to frost the cupcakes. Both the buttercream and the cupcake are fairly rich so you don’t need much frosting. Fancy it up more by melting Hershey’s kisses and putting them into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Drizzle each cupcake with a little chocolate.

Lighten it Up! Use Earth Balance vegan buttery spread (it comes in sticks too) to replace the butter in the recipe. It’s closer to cruelty-free, healthier, and, I promise, no one will know the difference 😉

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