Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are my all-time favorite candy. Whenever I see them in their bright orange wrapper, it's like I instantly have X-Ray vision. I can see the dense, chocolate-y cup, barely sunken in the middle where the peanut butter softens. I can feel the ridges on my fingertips, melting slightly if I wait too long to take that first bite. Of course I never wait too long as these are truly coveted candies. Especially around Halloween.
When I was little, I would trade my entire night's stash of gummies, hard candies and other treats just to have a stockpile of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Cross-legged, I'd sit on our living room carpet, dressed as a Gypsie, Princess Leia or a 1920's Flapper. But underneath the costume I was a vicious candy dealer, bargaining with Transformers, Draculas and Smurfs to get what I desired most: Reese's Peanut Butter cups. And not the mini cups, either. I'm talking about the big ones. Those are the best.
Photo courtesy of EdTechVision.org
Sadly, my tastes have changed as I've gotten older. My craving for candy has been replaced with a hankering for gourmet cheeses, but this recipe for the Reese's Peanut Butter cupcakes really caught my eye. They're mini, they're peanut butter and chocolate, and I'm guessing a tiny sprinkling of sea salt on the chocolate glaze would make them out-of-this-world. Just like the Mint Patty Cakes, the recipe for these tiny lovelies are the work of Food Network Magazine. Check it out below.
Photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com
For the Cupcakes:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 10-ounce bag peanut butter chips
For the Glaze:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
Make the cupcakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F using the convection setting, if available. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners. Combine the butter, cocoa powder and 1/4 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine, then whisk in the brown sugar.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the warm cocoa mixture. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla; stir into the batter until just combined but don't over mix.
Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each three-quarters of the way. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Make the topping: Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over the peanut butter chips in a bowl and let stand until the chips melt, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until the topping is set, about 10 minutes, then beat with a mixer until fluffy. Transfer to a pastry bag with a 1-inch round tip and pipe peaks onto each cupcake. Place in the freezer while you make the glaze.
Make the glaze: Put the butter, chocolate and 3 tablespoons hot water in a small, deep microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on 50 percent power until the chocolate melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Dip the frozen peaks of each cupcake into the glaze, letting the excess drip off. Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes.