joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

caramel corn.

My dad makes really delicious treats for us. Most notably Chex Mix, coffee cake, and caramel corn. I have fond memories of my dad getting out the giant paper bags, popping a whole bunch of popcorn and whipping up some caramel corn. It was a good time in our house those days. This recipe is not my dad’s but it is just as delicious. Okay, maybe a tiny bit less delicious; dad knows best.


This recipe came from the pastor’s wife of the church I attended in Illinois during the last few years I was there during and after college. (Thanks, Cathy!!) Whenever I go back to visit, Cathy, my best friend Bethany, and I make caramel corn and talk until way past our bedtimes. Which is what Bethany and I did when she was here visiting last weekend. It’s kind of our thing. That and watching Parks and Rec nonstop.


Summer is almost over but I’m hanging on as much as I can. Caramel corn makes me think of stress-free days and breaks from classes. I hope it brings you good memories too!


Happy cooking, friends!

Caramel Corn
makes about 5 cups

5 cups popped popcorn
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Spread about 12 inches of wax paper out onto the counter. Spray lightly with non-stick spray.
Pour the popped popcorn into a large bowl.
In a small saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Stirring constantly bring to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Immediately pour onto the popcorn and fold the popcorn until all of it is covered in caramel. Spread into a somewhat even layer onto the wax paper. Eat immediately or wait until cool.
Store in plastic zip top bags once cool.

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baked double chocolate donuts.

Every Saturday morning for the last few months I make my husband some donuts. It started as the biscuits in a can donuts that you fry up and cover in sugar. Then I turned into baked donuts after I found a recipe for apple cider donuts and had to buy a donut pan. We haven’t looked back since.

For a long time with donuts I would find a recipe somewhere and make that, decided whether or not Zack liked it and then do a different recipe the next Saturday until I found one he liked. That got a little tedious so I eventually settled one what texture was good and what icing was good. My dear husband doesn’t love frositing because they are usually way too sweet. This glaze is perfect. (To be honest, I didn’t really even measure.) And I just got conformation that these are the best donuts I have ever made. He’s so nice to me.


Someday I’m going to have to get another donut pan. Six spots just isn’t enough sometimes. Especially when you’ve got a donut loving husband.

This batter is pretty much a cake batter that you make into donuts. Which makes the donuts really moist and dense. I like a dense donut. It comes together like a muffin batter; you mix the dry together, you mix the wet together, you mix the wet into the dry. Easy as donuts.


Happy cooking, friends!

Baked Double Chocolate Donuts
recipe from use real butter
makes about 14 donuts

for the donuts:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk*
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the glaze:
1 and 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4-5 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the donuts:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray donut pans with non-stick spray and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Dump the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until well combined and most of the clumps are gone. Try not to stir too long or the donuts will be too gummy and tough. Pour the batter into a large gallon sized plastic bag and cut the tip off. Pipe the batter into the prepared donut pan about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the tops of the donuts spring back when poked. Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then move to a cooling rack with wax paper underneath.

To make the glaze:
In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla extract. Add the milk and whisk until the glaze is loose. Dip the donuts into the glaze and place back on the the cooling rack. Add sprinkles immediately after glazing or they’ll just bounce off the hardened glaze. (Don’t be like me. I did that.)

You can either leave the glaze to set or eat right away.
Store leftover donuts in an airtight container and they’ll keep for about two days.

*If you don’t have any buttermilk, fear not! Add one tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal one cup and stir gently. Let sit for 5 minutes to let the milk curdle slightly.

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root beer float fudge.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I hope your three day weekend (or regular two day for some of us) has gotten off to a fantastic start! I thought I’d give you all a little recipe perfect for a party or barbecue this weekend. This fudge recipe is pretty easy and is very similar to the birthday cake fudge I made many moons ago. Also, it’s VERY sweet! You’ve been warned.

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This week was the last week for a couple guys at work so we had a food day and everyone could bring in different foods to share with everyone else. I use this opportunity to stuff everyone with sugar. And I mean really. Once I brought cupcakes, the next time brownies, and this time fudge. Crazy good, wonderfully sugary, super tasty fudge.

The key to this fudge is the root beer concentrate. Everyone at work flipped out about and said it tasted exactly like a root beer float. You can almost taste the carbonation. I had many people come up to me and ask for the recipe or say the fudge tasted like a root beer float. It’s safe to say my ego grew a little bit. But it’s all thanks to this fudge. So please have a great weekend celebrating our great country.

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Happy cooking, friends!

Root Beer Float Fudge
makes approximately 40 pieces
recipe from taste of home

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
5 ounce can evaporated milk
12 ounce bag white chocolate chips
7 ounce jar marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons root beer float concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a 9×9 square pan with aluminum foil and spray generously with non-stick spray.
In a medium sized pot combine the sugar, butter, and evaporated milk. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, gently stirring constantly. This will take about 5-6 minutes. Once the mixture comes to a boil, stir constantly for four minutes. After the four minutes are up remove the pan from the heat and stir in the white chocolate and marshmallow fluff. After this point you need to work really quickly because the fudge will set up pretty quickly. Pour a generous 1/3 of the mixture into a small bowl. Stir the vanilla extract into the smaller portion and stir the root beer float concentrate into the larger portion. Pour the root beer fudge into the prepared pan and spread into a flat layer. Pour the vanilla fudge on top of the root beer fudge and spread over the top.
Store in the fridge until fudge is set. Cut into 1 inch pieces and serve.
Fudge can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature, well wrapped both places.

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hello again with rhubarb bars

Oh, hey there, Internet friends. It’s been awhile huh?
So lots of things have happened lately and I mostly forgot that I had a blog…that’s cool right? My last post was about being engaged and trying to plan a wedding but that wedding has come and gone…about a year ago. So let’s recap.

I moved back to Iowa from Illinois. I left my jobs, packed up my stuff, and headed outta there. Leaving many a great friend behind. Thankfully there’s Skype!

I got married! I went from Joy Matthews to Joy Byard and it was a extremely wonderful day. I felt so full of love and so loved, not just by Zack, but by everyone there. I wish we could time travel there now. It was perfect.
Here’s some highlights:

Zack+Joy-56  Zack+Joy-252   Zack+Joy-162  

(MANY MANY thanks to our spectacular photographer Cymone Wilder!!)
Then. My brother got married! A mere 20 days after Zack and I! (Mom cried a lot last June) I got to be a bridesmaid and that was also a really great day. We partied in a barn after they got married and it was cool. Stephanie looked beautiful and Ian looked okay too. (Also, today is their anniversary! Happy anniversary you crazy kids!)

Next. I was unemployed for awhile in Des Moines while Zack had time off from school. So I did a lot of knitting, reading, Netflix watching, and general laying around. Seriously, I read Gone Girl in one day. We also moved to a new apartment in July and then I had to leave for a week to go play in a musical in Illinois. Gotta love Les Mis.

Finally. I got a job though a temp agency and now am full time! I am so thankful for that. It’s been a pretty sweet gig so far. Our department is fairly small and we have food days sometimes, so I still get to flex my baking muscle for people there. I’ve made banana bread so often for everyone. And cupcakes and brownies. I like to think I’m pretty liked there for my food skills.

And now here we are. That’s really the highlights of the past long while. Married life is hard, but really worth it. I really enjoy having someone to make food for that really appreciates it. And that’s where the rhubarb bars come in!
Zack loves rhubarb. Me? No thank you. So I literally cannot tell you how these taste. I’ve tried so many times to like rhubarb but I can’t. Zack however said they were delicious and ate two and then said I was the ‘bestest bestest best.’ So I think they’re pretty good.

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They’re also really easy. You mix up the crust with a pastry cutter (is that what’s that thing is called??) and bake that and then make the topping. It’s pretty easy and turns out really well. They look really good too which is always a bonus.

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Happy cooking, friends!

Rhubarb Bars
recipe from garnish with lemon
makes 9 bars

crust ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered/confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of very cold butter cut into small cubes

topping ingredients:
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups roughly chopped rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: combine the flour and powdered sugar in a medium sized bowl. With a pastry cutter, cut in the butter to the flour and sugar until the mixture is crumbly and looks similar to sand. Spread into a greased or parchment papered 8×8 square pan and press down with the backs of your fingers. Bake for 15 minutes.
For the topping: lightly beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and stir until well combined. Fold in the chopped rhubarb until all the rhubarb is covered in the egg mixture. Pour the rhubarb over the crust as soon as the 15 minutes are up and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the topping mixture doesn’t move when you shake the pan. (Mine was a little jiggly still, but my taster said it was delicious anyway.)
Cool the bars completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.
Store cut bars in an airtight container at room temperature.

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two bite cookie dough pretzels.

Well. Hello there. It’s been awhile huh. Allow me to re-introduce myself.
My name is Joy. I like food and music and knitting and cats. And I used to write on this blog. And now I’m back! With exciting news and a recipe. Because I owe you that much.

Let’s start with what has happened since the last post in July. (Again…sorry it’s been so long.)
I spent a lot of the last couple months working my two jobs. One at the grocery store and one with the marching band at my alma mater. They both took up quite a bit of time, but they are both great. I love that I have a both of them.
I GOT ENGAGED! Pretty exciting stuff. My fiance, Zack, is really awesome. He’s in medical school right now so we’re doing the long distance thing. I thought a long distance relationship was hard but long distance wedding planning is even worse. We’re getting married on June 7 so I’ll try to keep you updated with everything that happens.

One of our wonderful engagement pictures.

One of our wonderful engagement pictures.

Well. That’s really all the exciting things that happened. I’ve been pretty boring recently, but also trying not to spend a lot of money so recipe making isn’t going so well. But I am going to do my best to blog more. Because I miss all of you. So here we go!

Last night I decided I was going to make something. So of course I went to Pinterest and picked one of the things on my food board to make, bought the ingredients after work, and created these. Chocolate chip cookie dough bites sandwiched between two pretzels and dipped in chocolate. A pretty spectacular salty and sweet combination.

I’ve been wanting to make these for awhile. I love cookie dough (obviously) and salty and sweet is one of my favorite combinations. The cookie dough is egg-less so it’s safe to eat, but when did that stop us really? These are really simple to make and were pretty stinking delicious. I enjoyed these in the company of one of my good friends while playing Mario Kart on the N64. It’s not required, but it’s suggested.

It’s been really cold here recently. You know it’s cold when 20 degrees feels like a heat wave. So while being stuck inside for the last couple weeks I’ve been brainstorming about new recipes to make. So stay tuned. I’ll also give you some news about my wedding, whenever I get around to planning everything. (It’s pretty overwhelming, guys.)

Make some cookie dough. Call your best friends. Make someone smile.

Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites
recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes about 20 bites

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups flour
dash of salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
40-50 pretzels
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate for melting

Line a small cookie sheet with a layer of wax paper. Beat the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer. When the butter and sugars are light and creamy add the milk and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix until just combined. The dough will be similar to wet sand and slightly clumpy. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Form dough into balls, a little less than 2 Tablespoons per ball. I used my cookie scoop and just rounded them out from there. Sandwich balls between two pretzels being careful not to squish the pretzels and smash them. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a small bowl according to the directions on the package. If you desire you can add a teaspoon of shortening to the chocolate to thin it out a little bit.
When the chocolate is melted dip the bites halfway into the chocolate and place back on the cookie sheet. Refrigerate until set. Eat joyfully.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

(engagement pictures taken by my good friend Cymone of Simon and Moose Creative)

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blueberry coffee cake.

When I was growing up my dad made the best coffee cake. Sometimes the person to do all the baking in the family is the mom. But in my family both my parents like creating things in the kitchen. It’s been one of the highlights of my upbringing. In addition to coffee cake my dad makes super awesome caramel corn, Chex mix, no bake cookies, blueberry crisp, and he can pretty much grill anything you ask him to. There is no shortage of delicious food in my parent’s house. And I am so blessed by it.

My mom also supplies me with delicious ingredients for things. For example: she bought a 5-pound box of blueberries last weekend for my brother and I to share. Brother gave me the whole box, so now I have blueberries forever until he comes to claim some (which I’m hoping is never). It’s hard to figure out what to do with a large box of blueberries though, so don’t be surprised if you see lots of posts about blueberries over the next couple months. Although, half of them are going in the freezer to save for the cold winter months when I just want blueberry muffins.

This recipe turned out way better than expected. I found it online and tweaked it a little bit to change the flavors up, and it was spectacular. This is one of those foods that you can eat for breakfast or dessert or a snack in the middle of the afternoon. Which makes it even better. This also gave me an excuse to make homemade whipped cream…so bonus. The original recipe didn’t have any vanilla extract in it so I added a teaspoon of that as well as half a teaspoon of almond extract because those two flavors together really bring out the complexities of the other. I also added a little cinnamon and nutmeg to the cake part to bump up the flavor. Then I added an extra quarter cup of milk making the cake really moist. And finally I added an extra tablespoon of butter to the topping which melted in the oven and settled into the cake increasing the moist-ness even more. Worth it.

I ate my first piece of this with 3 large dollops of whipped cream while watching the sun set. It was glorious.

IMG_1182Make some coffee cake. Eat some whipped cream. Watch the sunset. Be friendly.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
adapted from allrecpies.com
makes 1 9×9 pan

1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon almond extract
3/4  cup milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
2 heaping cups fresh blueberries

For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 Tablespoons butter, cubed

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter and flour a 9 inch baking pan and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to incorporate them.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts and beat for another minute. Add flour and milk alternately starting and ending with flour. Gently fold in blueberries and pour into prepared pan.
In a small bowl combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and pecans. Using your fingers, mix in the butter cubes until a sand-type consistency is reached. Spread over the top of the coffee cake.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and have it come out clean. Cool slightly. Serve warm topped with homemade whipped cream or ice cream.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

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double cookie dough ice cream.

I’ve made homemade ice cream exactly one time. And it wasn’t great. It was pretty mediocre, so I haven’t been super excited about making ice cream again. It’s also kinda stressful and time consuming, so it’s not always on the top of my list of things to do. This place is often reserved for things like showering, eating food, or something that should just be automatic for normal people. But I found this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and decided that I would treat myself to making it. Also, my boyfriend was visiting and he loves ice cream with cookie dough in it. So I figured why not.

The thing about this ice cream is that it isn’t just vanilla ice cream with cookie dough chunks in it. It’s freaking cookie dough flavored ice cream with cookie dough chunks in it. MIND. BLOWN. I didn’t quite believe that it was possible until I tested it while it was churning. Guys. It’s possible. It’s even delicious without the cookie dough chunks. (At this point I’m seeing how many times I can use ‘chunk’ in one paragraph.)

I also listened to Alton Brown’s podcast this morning (find it on iTunes because it’s awesome) and being almost a week behind it was all about ice cream which was fantastic. Alton Brown is one of my favorite food personalities, so his podcast is one of my favorites right now. So much food nerdy-ness. So awesome.

The really important thing in this recipe is the browned butter which adds the nutty cookie dough flavor to the ice cream. There’s also two kinds of milk fats which makes the ice cream ice cream. And there’s egg yolks which makes this ice cream almost like a custard. In my opinion, that’s better than just milk based ice cream. The thing with egg yolks is making sure you don’t actually cook them. When it’s time to add the hot butter and cream to the egg yolks and brown sugar you have to temper it. That means adding a little bit at a time to gradually bring the egg yolks up to temperature. That will ensure that the egg yolks won’t cook. It’s easy, don’t worry.

Make some ice cream. Share with dear friends. Be a nerd. Enjoy your summer.

Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream
recipe from beantownbaker
makes about 1 quart

for the cookie dough:
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine the melted butter, salt, and brown sugar in a bowl with a spatula until creamy. Stir in the flour until a dough forms. Add vanilla. Add chocolate chips and combine. Turn onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a rectangle. Store in the refrigerator.

for the ice cream:
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups whole milk

In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. After the butter melts it will begin to bubble and crack. The butter will start to brown and begin smelling nutty. Keep an eye on it because it can burn really quickly. When the butter is browned add the cream and whisk well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
In a medium sized bowl combine the brown sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Whisk together to combine. When the cream and butter mixture is at a simmer, add a couple tablespoons to the egg mixture and whisk constantly. Keep whisking and slowly add more cream to the egg mixture. Eventually you’ll add a little under half the cream. Add the egg mixture back into the saucepan and put over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. This took me about 10-15 minutes. Be patient.
Strain the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and stir in the whole milk and vanilla. Place in the fridge until chilled (for best results chill overnight).
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chop the cookie dough into small pieces. Transfer chilled ice cream into air-tight container for freezer storage and mix in cookie dough pieces. Freeze until firm.
Ice cream will keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.

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peanut butter fudge.

This is a little bit about my life right now. I graduated college two weeks ago. I’ve been applying to jobs like a crazy person. Sometimes I forget to leave my apartment. I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. Yesterday I watched 4 episodes of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares and 6 episodes of Good Eats. I have a problem.
But I now feel like I know exactly what not to do while running a restaurant. So that’s good, right? Maybe that’ll come in handy someday. Yeah, probably not.

Anyway, this recipe is from Alton Brown. I haven’t had much luck making candies before; I just can’t get peanut brittle right. But this fudge recipe was actually pretty foolproof. And you all know that I love peanut butter (luckily, so does my boyfriend). Plus I’m driving to Michigan to spend the weekend with my boyfriend’s family and fudge is a great ice-breaker. At least, I hope so.

This fudge is really easy to make. There’s no stove involved, just a microwave. Which isn’t actually the best way to make fudge, but if Alton can do it we can do it too. This is also a sharing recipe. Don’t eat it all yourself. I mean, you can if you want, but I suggest sharing. You’ll make friends that way.

Make some fudge. Download the new She and Him album. Dance around your kitchen. It’s allowed.

Peanut Butter Fudge
recipe by Alton Brown
makes 1 8×8 pan of fudge

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound (about 3 and 1/2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted

Butter an 8×8 pan. Cover the pan with parchment paper or wax paper and set aside.
Place butter and peanut butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cut slits in the plastic wrap to let the steam escape. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir gently. Place back in the microwave and heat for 2 more minutes on high.
When the 2 minutes are up, remove the plastic wrap and stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar with a wooden spoon. The fudge will get really thick so you may need to switch to a potato masher to combine everything. When the powdered sugar disappears, scoop into the prepared pan and smooth out with a non-stick spatula. Cover the top of the fudge with more wax paper or parchment and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
When the fudge is firm, cut it into 1-inch pieces. Store in the refrigerator.

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oreo balls. and lasts.

This week has been full of lasts. Last week of classes. Last two presentations. Last rehearsals. Last day of work. Last class party (Jazz Theory, of course). Last oboe lesson with my teacher. Last homework assignments turned in.

Two days ago I pick up my cap and gown.

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I’m still partially in denial about this happening. But it is.

We had a party in my Jazz Theory class to celebrate the fact that we all passed. And because we could. And it was awesome. All we did was eat food, watch jazz videos, and talk about our lives. That’s how to spend a last class period.

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I made Oreo Balls. They were delicious. Want to know how to make friends? Feed them Oreo Balls. Done. A stranger becomes your best friend. (but only until the snacks are gone. that’s the catch.)

These are just crushed up Oreo cookies and cream cheese covered in chocolate. That’s all. You barely need a recipe. You don’t even have to turn on an oven. Glorious.

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Make some Oreo balls. Share them with new people. Share them with old friends. Stop and enjoy what’s happening around you. Be thankful.

Oreo Balls
from Kraft Recipes
makes approximately 48 balls

1 package Oreo cookies
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature4-6 squares semi-sweet Baker’s chocolate, melted OR 1 package milk chocolate chips, melted

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place all the cookies in a gallon sized plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, finely crush the cookies. This could also be done in a food processor. In a large bowl mix the crushed cookies and the cream cheese with a spatula until the cream cheese is mixed well into the cookies. Form into 1 to 2-inch balls and place on the cookie sheet. Freeze for about 10 minutes or until set. Dip the balls in the melted chocolate using a fork to get a somewhat even layer and place back on the cookie sheet. Place in the refrigerator until set.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge until the disappear. Give them about 10 minutes.

(Note: I’m pretty sure Oreo is copyrighted or trademarked or something by Nabisco. Just so you know. That’s not mine.)

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peanut butter cupcakes

Woah guys! This is my 50th blog post!! That is crazy to me. A lot of things have happened in the last 50 posts. I (in no particular order) started my senior year of college, made some new friends, turned 22, got discouraged, was encouraged, watched a lot of movies, got a boyfriend, did a lot of homework,signed a lease on an apartment, and had a senior recital. I mean, that’s only a few things of the hundreds of things that have happened. I’m really thankful for everything that’s happened this year because it’s been a really great learning experience.

In honor of this 50th post I’m going back to the beginning; peanut butter and chocolate. The first recipe I shared with you guys so many months ago was Batter Up Brownies. Peanut butter brownies with chocolate chips. Still one of my favorite recipes in the world. But really anything with peanut butter and chocolate is good. Therefore: cupcakes!

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I have more cupcake liners than any one person should have. But that’s okay. I’m always ready to make cupcakes. These cupcakes have been in the making for a long time. Plus, I haven’t really baked a lot recently and I think it’s affecting my homework. I don’t know for sure if there’s a correlation there, but I’m just gonna go with it.

These cupcakes are really delicious. The inside is really moist but the cake is really dense. That pairs really well with the chocolate buttercream frosting. I could have done with a little stronger peanut butter flavor, but it was still pretty freaking good. And I won’t judge you if you throw some chocolate chips into some of the batter. In fact, I would encourage it. It obviously can’t hurt them!

Make some cupcakes, share cupcakes with someone you really like, watch some Doctor Who, enjoy the weather (no matter what it may be).

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
makes 18 cupcakes
adapted slightly from Taste of Home

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 and 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line one cupcake pan plus half of another pan with paper liners and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugar until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and whisk together. Add half of the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Beat well. Add half of the milk to the butter mixture and beat. Add the rest of the dry mixture and beat until combined. Add the rest of the milk and beat until the batter is smooth. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
Frost with desired frosting and eat.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
frosts 24 cupcakes

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat butter until smooth. In a separate bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add to the butter and mix on low until combined. Add vanilla and milk and beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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