Saturday, March 3, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

High school friends often don't keep in touch, but I've been blessed with 3 whom I do keep in touch.  We try to get together once a month for a girls dinner out or a playdate with the 6 little ones.  Whenever I have them to my place, I seem to always make cupcakes for dessert and now I feel the need to figure out a new one each time they come over.  I had made these cupcakes for my husband's staff about a year ago and had forgotten about them until one of them requested that I make them again.  After a quick refresher on which ones he meant, I decided to make them again and make extra for the playdate lunch.

What goes together than peanut butter and chocolate?  Nothing.

I had a busy week, so I did simplify by using a Devil's Food Cake box mix, but I've made this with a homemade chocolate cake recipe too.  I bought a bag of no-name chocolate peanut butter cups.  They need to be the mini ones in order to work really well.  I filled the lined muffin tins as I regularly would with a scoop and pressed the peanut butter cups into the batter so that the candy was flat with the batter, but the batter didn't cover the top of it.

I baked the cupcakes as per the instructions on the box (or the recipe).  What I love about this is that you get a filled cupcake without all the work of filling the cupcake.  Once you pull them out of the oven, all that's left is to frost them and you're good to go!

The peanut butter frosting was different this time around, and far more delicious than my first attempt.  It's so simple too

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners (icing) sugar
3 tbsp milk or as needed to desired consistency

Cream butter and peanut butter until fluffy, add sugar a little at a time.  Add milk a small about at a time, stirring between additions.  Don't eat it all with a spoon before frosting your cupcakes!

I shaved some good quality chocolate over the top once done, but that is totally optional.  They are delicious without chocolate shavings too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day and I have a love/hate relationship.  You're probably wondering, "Why the hate on a day that's about love?".  Well, I'm not loving the commerical side that pressures men into being nice and spending too much money once a year, if that's all that they do for their wives.  However, as a day to say I love you and for kids to get creative and hand out valentine's, I love it.

This being June's first Valentine's Day, I was excited to plan out what we (or I) would make for all of her little friends.  I wanted something with a vintage feel.  I love the valentine cards that remind me of the ones my grandmas would give me when I was little.  I did a little searching and found this one, which I printed on cardstock.

Then I thought it would be nice to add a little treat along with the card.  Smarties have holiday-themed colours at different times of the year, so I picked up some pink and red ones.  I air-popped about 1.5 to 2 cups of popcorn kernels, which made around 10 cups of popcorn.  I then melted some belgian white chocolate in a double boiler and poured it over the popcorn.  I used approximately 2 cups of white chocolate, but this could definitely changed based on how sweet you like it.  Make sure if you go to a bulk food store, you buy good white chocolate, not just white melting wafers.  Melting wafers tend to taste fake and plastic-y.  I then mixed in the smarties and spread everything out on parchment-lined baking sheets.

I think next time I would spread out the chocolate popcorn and then sprinkle the smarties on top.  After stirring, the smarties tended to get clumped together.  Leave it to dry overnight.  I used a heart stamp to stamp some small brown paper bags.

I then hole punched the top, added the valentine and tied it with red and white bakers twine.  Since most of June's friends are in the 18-month and under crowd, this was mainly enjoyed by their parents.

And, just because I'm a mom, here is our attempt at getting a valentine photo for the grandparents as we headed out for supper and a Jets game.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

June Adelaide, Cutie Patootie

June is getting quite good at pulling herself up slightly and sitting on her own.  She was very proud of herself sitting in the chair and with the beautiful light coming through the window in her nursery, I couldn't help but snap a few photos.  Wait, she's up from her nap, be back in a minute...

Ok, back.  Let me share a few photos with you: