Monday, June 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes

I don't think I really need to do much to sell these cupcakes now that you've read the title of the post. I mean, how can you resist a chocolate cupcake lined at the bottom with an Oreo cookie, stuffed with a mini Reese's cup, and topped with peanut butter Oreo frosting? Need I say more?

I wish this were my brainchild but, alas, I cannot claim credit for this display of just how crazily indulgent and over-the-top one cupcake can be. The credit belongs to Melanie at The Sweet Life. I humbly bow at her feet.

 My motivation for making these cupcakes was to reward the gals in my book club with something extra sweet. This month's book club read was a little... dark. Surprise cannibalism, anyone? Not at all what I expected when I started to read Jamrach's Menagerie so I'm sure the gory, descriptive passages of dismembering and chowing down on former friends came as a surprise to everyone else as well. After reading our way through that gruesome of a story I figured we deserve some sort of recompense. I'm sure you too can come up with a convincing excuse in your life to make a batch of these for yourself. You certainly won't regret it, but then you don't need me to tell you that. The title says it all.

Peanut Butter Oreo Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from The Sweet Life

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
20 Oreos (or any chocolate sandwich cookies)
20 mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped

1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Line cupcake pans with 20 paper liners. Place one Oreo in the bottom of each liner.
3) Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.
4) In the bowl of stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the buttermilk and allow to incorporate for 30 seconds.
5) Pour in the flour mixture and beat on medium until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.  Divide the batter evenly among the paper liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
6) Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from oven and press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cupcake.  Bake for 10 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake near the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the muffin tin to cool completely on a wire rack.  

Peanut Butter Oreo Frosting
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/4 cup peanut butter
2-3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons Oreo cookie crumbs

1) Separate approximately 4 Oreo cookies and discard the cream filling. In a food processor or plastic bag, crush the cookies into fine crumbs.
2) In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening on high until fully combined. Beat in peanut butter.
3) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add 2 cups of the confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. Start the mixer on low, then eventually crank it up to high and beat for 2 minutes. 
4) Add more confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
5) Add the cookie crumbs and beat on high for 2 minutes.
6) Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and store in a sealed container at room temperature.