Friday, January 8, 2010

A redo, and a lost girl. (Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cupcakes)

We are heading into the great white north of Connecticut today! We are looking at a few (okay, one, because no one got back to us) wedding venues today, visiting some friends in Rhode Island tonight, having Christmas with my sisters and their families tomorrow, and going to a friend's daughter's birthday party on Sunday! Phew.

I am bringing dessert to Sister Christmas, and after bringing Peppermint Patty Brownie Cupcakes to my sister's house on Christmas Day, I decided to try the recipe with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups instead of Peppermint Patties, at the request of my brother-in-law. Unfortunately, I left my cocoa powder at my mother's house when I made the cupcakes over the holiday, so I had to pick up some more. When E and I went to our grocery store, they were out, so I sent him home to watch the college football championship game while I went on an epic quest for cocoa powder.

CVS didn't have it, nor did Rite Aid. I went into every little ethnic grocery and bodega in a 5 block radius, and most people just looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for cocoa powder. I always thought cocoa powder was a pretty normal ingredient to keep in the cupboards. Finally, I found a canister of carob powder in an organic market near us, and remembered something I'd read about substituting carob powder for cocoa powder. After purchasing it, I headed home, where I had to buzz up to our apartment because I hadn't taken my keys when we'd left the first time.

I buzzed. And buzzed. And buzzed again. I was outside for about 8ish minutes before I decided to buzz our neighbor (who we have never met by the way) and ask them to buzz me into the building. Just as I started to go in, E comes around the corner. Apparently, I'd been gone long enough, without keys or cell phone, that he was convinced I'd been murdered and had torn through CVS and Rite Aid looking for me. So, while I was looking for the elusive cocoa powder, he was looking for the elusive me.

Anyway, I've made this recipe twice before, always substituting regular cocoa + a bit of baking powder for the Dutch Process Cocoa it calls for. Both times, the tops didn't set correctly, though they were still delicious. I don't know if it's the carob powder, or the new mixer (which kept me from overmixing) or what, but this time, they came out perfect. Seriously, perfect. I took them out of the oven and squealed with delight because they literally looked like brownies in cupcake form! I originally was going to make Nutella frosting to go on top, but they look so pretty (and the daisy trivet my sister made me for Christmas does, too!)  I'm having a hard time justifying the frosting!

I made the recipe exactly as described, putting in the snack-pack size peanut butter cups instead of peppermint patties. And, of course, using the carob powder instead of the Dutch cocoa. You literally just use the same amount (see this chart). Supposedly carob powder is better for you, too, but I don't know. The peanut butter is a great compliment to the dense, brownie style cupcake, and I love to warm them in the microwave before devouring them, Cookie Monster style.

As I said, we're off this weekend, so I'll be back next week, when E starts classes again and leaves me a lonely, bored gal hanging out on the internet all week! Personally, I'm anticipating a visit from my friend over at Wind on My Back, during which we will try on wedding dresses and drink, though not necessarily in that order. Until then, have a spectacular weekend!

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