Ever since I started microchatting on Twitter, I can’t ignore National Food Days—celebrations of commerce and cuisine. By chance, I posted my Banana Bread recipe a few days before National Banana Bread Day. I took this as a sign that I should observe these holidays a little closer and join in the fun. I asked Josie @DaydreamerDsrts, when she posted for Pancake Week how she knew the date in advance. “Silly, there’s a list,” she tweeted and sent it to me. With my own copy, I could be one of the cool kids, too.
For my true debut food holiday, I chose National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, March 1. For someone who didn’t grow up in the states with the treat, I certainly now love it in desserts with its intriguing sweet and salty combination. Peanut butter with chocolate is still on my Top 10 List of favorite flavors.
Take a bite: an intensely dark Chocolate Cupcake with a surprise center and topped with creamy Peanut Butter Frosting. Ah, double dollops—the perfect way to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day.
Creamy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake
recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Peanut Butter Filling
3 ounces peanut butter
2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup (4-1/8 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting, recipe to follow
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1. Combine peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl. Mix well with rubber spatula, set aside.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon peanut butter filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 16 to 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
5. Pipe frosting on cupcakes or alternatively spread frosting with small off-set spatula. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1. In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until sugar is combined, about 1 minute.
2. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.