I love Butterfingers. I can close my eyes and remember exactly what that first bite tastes like...
Photo courtesy of ep.yimg.com
First you hit the thin layer of wonderful milk chocolate, a barely-there protective sheath hiding flaky layers of butterscotch candy. If you haven't had a Butterfinger for a while, your teeth might be fooled into thinking, if only for a second, that the butterscotch layers are too dense to bite through. But just a tiny increase in jaw pressure and the Butterfinger gives up its goods: layer upon layer of flaky, rich, butterscotchy goodness. Start chewing and the flakes meld together into a beautiful block of butterscotch, allowing you more time to savor that first bite. Swallow and repeat.
Now the Butterfinger comes in a new form: a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting and homemade butterscotch brittle, courtesy of Food Network Magazine. Just try to resist making these, especially after checking out the photo. I dare you.
Photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com
Here's how you make them:
For the Cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Brittle:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
For the Frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
2 10-ounce bags peanut butter chips
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 two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Put the butter, cocoa powder and 3/4 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, beat the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; stir into the batter until just combined but don't overmix.
Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each three-quarters of the way. Bake until the cupcakes are slightly domed and spring back when lightly pressed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Make the brittle: Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Place the granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until it turns amber. Remove from the heat; stir in the peanut butter and butterscotch chips until smooth. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, smooth into a thin layer with a spatula and let cool. Break the brittle into pieces, place in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
Make the frosting: Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the peanut butter chips and let stand about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Place the pan over a bowl of ice, stirring occasionally, until the frosting is spreadable, about 10 minutes. Spread on the cupcakes or transfer to a pastry bag with a large round tip and pipe on top; sprinkle with the brittle.