Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing

These cupcakes will not be in the New England cookbook, but they are so wonderful I wanted to share. My two favorite flavors are chocolate and peanut butter, brought together in a perfect union in this recipe. I took these into the office to celebrate a colleague’s promotion and they were quickly devoured. The recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated, May 2010.

Servings: 12

2 eggs
3/4 cup coffee, hot
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, extract for shaving decorations
1/3 cup chocolate cocoa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 cup Confectioner’s sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1-3/4 tsp. vanilla extract, divided

Mix chocolate and chill
Roughly chop chocolate into small pieces, approximately 1/4-inch square, and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add cocoa. Add hot chocolate and stir with a whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Refrigerate until mixture is cool, about 20 minutes.

Make batter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees-F. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and baking soda. Stir to combine and set aside. When chocolate mixture is cool, add eggs, oil, vinegar, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and stir with a whisk until well combined.

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Use an ice cream scoop to fill each cup evenly until all batter is used, cups will be very full. Bake for 18 minutes or until cupcakes are firm but still moist. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to cooling rack and let cool completely before icing.

Make icing
While cupcakes cool, dissolve Confectioner’s sugar in heavy cream in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or whisk until soft peaks form. Add peanut butter, remaining 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract, remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, and butter. Beat on low until icing is light and fluffy. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Once chilled, stir icing and fill a pastry bag with a fluted tip.

Generously top cupcakes with icing. Use a micro-planer to dust cupcakes with chocolate shavings.

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