Friday, February 20, 2009

Scratching an Itch: Baking in a Pinch

I was jonesing for some baking today. I really felt the need to be in the kitchen churning out something sweet for the hubby and son, as well as his brother butchers. But I really didn't have time…. But chocolate sounded good…. There is that column to write…. Reese's peanut butter cups.…

You get the gist. Angel on one shoulder, devil on the other. I took over and compromised, so I wouldn't waste any more time stewing about it. I decided on something reminiscent of the peanut butter cup, but it would have to be only semi-homemade to save some time. I scrounged around in the pantry trying to figure out how to accomplish this and found a fudgy brownie mix I had bought for emergency use (mental meltdown, happy fix, sudden guests). I followed the directions for the cake-style brownies, added in ¾ cup of chunky peanut butter and used my ice cream scoop to fill up 20 cupcake liners. I wasn't making full cupcakes, so I only used one overflowing scoop per liner, which filled them about halfway. Less than 5 minutes from pantry to oven.

Because there were no time directions for this type of brownie, I set the timer for 15 minutes and waited. They ended up cooking for a total of 23 minutes at 350 degrees.

Once they were cool, I wanted to frost them with peanut butter. Of course, you can't use straight peanut butter, so I found a recipe that I thought would work well (see recipe below). I had everything on hand, and it was simple to make with my hand beater. Another 3 minutes.

Rather than spread the frosting with a knife and covering the whole top, I decided to pipe a thick swirl in the center and sprinkle with some additional peanuts. I like this look better, and it is a more polished presentation, for very little extra time. And I didn't use any fancy pastry bag or tips (although I do own both, thanks to Brilliant Daughter). I just scooped the frosting into a large Ziploc, twisted, cut off the corner, and went to swirlin. The frosting is nice and light and the old-fashioned way of knife spreading works just fine. I sprinkled on a few peanuts for added flourish, though this is strictly not necessary. Another 3 minutes.

So, for about 10 minutes of active kitchen time, I had 20 luscious choco-peanut butter cups. I'm pleased with the visual results. Flavor-wise, everyone raved. A dense chocolate base with just a hint of peanut butter, with a creamy topping and hint of crunch. Definitely filled my need for baking and for my own sweet tooth.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
¾ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in a small high-sided bowl. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream gradually and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

1 comment:

Tea said...

Oh yum. Can you send one of those my way?