March 18, 2012

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

Peanut butter and jelly conjures images of childhood for me and many others. It seems, though, that I enjoy my PB&J in a less traditional manner. I make my PB&J by pre-mixing the peanut butter and jelly before I slather the gooey goodness liberally onto my bread. It tastes better that way.

I didn't have any homemade bread on hand, so I grabbed the only loaf of storebought bread from our freezer. (It's quite rare that we have any at all.) As I made a PB&J for my husband's lunch, I decided to make myself one. And that's when I remembered how much I love PB&J and decided to create Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes.

Now, I realize many others have made PB&J cupcakes, but I chose to make my version somewhat original, using a cupcake base I've used in the past.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
2 1/3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup raspberry jam
Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used approximately 1/3 cup crunchy because I ran out of creamy)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. milk (or as needed)
Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line pans with 24 cupcake liners. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, beat butter 30 seconds on medium speed. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating until well blended. Beat an additional 2 minutes after all sugar is added. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla and peanut butter.

Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk on low, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. You can add a dollop of raspberry jam to each cupcake and swirl to mix prior to baking. Or, you can bake the cupcakes, then cut out a hole in the center and add the dollop of raspberry jam after baking. I tried both methods, and my flavor preference was the pre-swirled version, but my husband preferred the other version. My recommendation is to do half each way to find your favorite. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes in the pans and then completely on wire racks.

To make the peanut butter frosting, beat butter and peanut butter together until well mixed. Gradually add powdered sugar. When mixture gets thick, slowly incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time as needed to keep frosting spreadable. Beat at least three minutes to make frosting fluffy.

To make the raspberry buttercream, beat butter and jam together until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, adding more sugar and/or jam to reach desired consistency and flavor. Beat until fluffy.

Fill a piping bag first with several spoonfuls of peanut butter frosting on one side of the bag, and then add several spoonfuls of raspberry buttercream on the opposite side. Use a large tip to pipe frosting onto the cupcakes, and you should end up with a mixture of peanut butter and raspberry frosting swirled together. Makes 24 cupcakes that will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike!

I won't judge how you use the leftover frosting. Graham cracker PB & J sandwiches, anyone?

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