Peanut Butter Devil’s Food Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakes I love church potlucks!

I love the massive variety of food from some wonderful cooks, the sweet time to fellowship with good friends, and – of course –  the chance to try out new recipes on unsuspecting eaters! 🙂

At our last church potluck, Dagmar decided to try out a recipe from her new Taste of Home Cookbook.

Her friend Grace was here the afternoon she baked – and between the giggles and picture taking  – I’m amazed they accomplished anything! 🙂

The highlight of making these tasty little treats was piping the peanut butter filling into the cupcakes. Since they had extra filling – they used it to pipe designs on the top instead of using the crushed peanuts the recipe called for.

When they still had filling to use – they piped it on their hands in different designs and licked it off! 🙂

The cupcakes were delicious, my kitchen evidently got clean, the girls weren’t a bit hungry for supper – but fun was had by all!

Peanut Butter Devil’s Food Cake
(From the Taste of Home Cookbook)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 -1/2 cup  sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cake flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

Filling

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cup powdered sugar

Ganache

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and coffee, just until combined.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in muffin tins, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

For filling, in a small bowl, beat peanut butter and butter until fluffy. gradually add powdered sugar, beat until smooth. Cut a small hole in a pastry bag or ziplock bag and insert a small tip. Add filling. Push the tip through the bottom of paper liner to fill each cupcake.

For the ganache, in a heavy sauce pan, melt the chocolate with the cream over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Place a heaping tablespoon of ganache on the top of each cupcake and spread to the edges. Sprinkle with peanuts (or decorate with left-over filling!)

Chill for 20 minutes or until set. Refrigerate left-overs.

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tuesday’s at the Table at All the Small Stuff, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

It’s Mommy’s Birthday! Time for the Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cheesecake PieAnother birthday at my house, this time it’s mine! I’ll admit that this birthday won’t go down in the history books as one of the best. The entire family has been down for the last week with one of the influenza bugs.

The kids all bounced back quickly, but I think I did too much too soon and just can’t get my energy back.

But there was no way I was going to miss out on my “once a year, very special, decadent Chocolate Cheesecake Birthday Pie”, even if I had to prop myself up by the counter to make it.

Which I did. I even licked the bowl, the beaters and all the spatulas by myself. It is now sitting in honor in the fridge waiting for my birthday supper tonight. (But don’t worry, I will share it then.)

I found this recipe years ago on a cooking show that Mrs. Field’s (of cookie fame) did on PBS. I taped the show and watched it five times to painstakingly copy it down. (That shows the lengths I will go for a great chocolate recipe!) I have made a few alterations over the years, but not many because the original is incredible!

It is sinfully rich and decadent, so I only allow myself to make it once a year, on my birthday. But I enjoy it immensely then!

Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

Crust: Mix together 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 3/4 cup toasted pecans. Cut in one stick of cold butter. Add 3-4 Tbsp. ice water. Press into a deep dish pie pan. Prick the bottom. Bake 375 degree for 18 minutes. Let cool.

Sprinkle crust with 3/4 cup of chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of chopped pecans, OR make a ganache of 4 oz. chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp. heavy cream and pour into crust. (OR sometimes I do both!)

Filling: Melt and cool 6 oz. chocolate chips. Set aside. Beat together 12 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature) and 1 cup sour cream. Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, the melted chocolate chips, and 1 Tbsp of vanilla. Fold in 6 oz. of chocolate chips. Spoon into crust, sprinkle with toffee bits or shaved chocolate if you wish and refrigerate before serving.

This year for a twist I used Hershey’s Premier Baking Pieces: Milk Chocolate filled with Caramel on the bottom of the crust with the chopped pecans. I also used them in place of the chocolate chips that are stirred into the chocolate cheese cake filling. They are wonderful! Like little bites of candy! Perfect to eat by the handful!

This recipe makes a large 10 inch pie that feeds a lot of people. It is very rich, so a small piece goes a long way!

The perfect way to celebrate the birthday of a confirmed chocoholic!

Valentine’s Day Tradition: Cream Puffs

Chocolate Filled Cream PuffsI love Valentine’s Day! All the love talk and chocolate, and hearts, and chocolate, and silly little valentine’s and chocolate. Oh by the way? Did I mention the chocolate?

The kids and I have been watching the Food Network’s chocolate specials every evening and I think I’ve gained 5 pounds just looking!

Of course I can’t let this holiday go by without some special desserts for the special Valentine’s in my life! Several years ago I started the tradition of making cream puffs for dessert for our special Valentine’s meal. I fill them with French Vanilla Custard and top them off with a rich chocolate ganache. They are a little more involved (as in more steps and take longer) than most of the recipes I share with you, but not very difficult.

Cream Puffs: Melt 1/2 cup of butter in 1 cup of boiling water. Add 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt all at once and stir vigorously. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixtures forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each one.

Drop by heaping tablespoons 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a very hot, 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the cream puffs from the oven and split them open. Turn the oven OFF and put the cream puffs in oven for 20 minutes to dry out. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

French Custard Filling: Mix together 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 Tablespoons flour, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gradually stir in 3 cups of milk. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and boils, cook and stir 2-3 minutes more. Stir a little of the hot mixture into 2 beaten egg yolks, then return to the hot milk, stirring constantly, bringing just to the boil. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Cool completely. Beat smooth with electric mixer. Whip up 1 cup of whipping cream and carefully fold in. (Or you can shortcut and use 8 ounces of Cool Whip)

Chocolate Ganache: Melt in microwave 2/3 cup of whipping cream and 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir till smooth.

To assemble: Open the cream puff and fill with French Vanilla Custard. Lay the top on carefully and drizzle (or dump, pour, drown) it with the chocolate ganache. Serve with a kiss and a smile and the Valentine in your life will thank you!

All of the components (cream puffs, French vanilla cream and the ganache) can be made ahead , then assembled the day you wish to serve them. I have on occasion used a box pudding mix instead of the custard. (I highly recommend the Jello White Chocolate Pudding!). I just mixed according to the recipe and then folded in Cool Whip.

Enjoy a delightful and chocolate-filled Valentine’s Day!