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Peanut Butter Blossom Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

December 19, 2011

All year long I focus on cooking with all natural ingredients, local fruits and vegetables, and relatively healthy fare. Then dessert rolls around and my scruples seem to go flying out the window. The fact of the matter is that I am a sucker for baking. I was in the kitchen baking cookies and brownies way before I learned how to actually cook, and there is just something about whipping up a sweet treat that makes me so happy. So while it may seem like my dessert addiction and healthy cooking approach are incongruous, the fact is they are both part of who I am. The good news? The more healthy your dinners, the less guilty you will feel when you have a little dessert…or at least that’s what I tell myself!

Some of you loyal blog readers may remember my 12 days of Christmas cookies from last year. I think I can still hear my husband cursing me for baking 3o dozen cookies. Well as tempted as I was to give it another try this year, I decided I would mix things up a little bit.

For some reason, 2011 has been the year of the cupcake for me. I’m not sure if it is because I baked so many varieties or because I ate so many varieties. Either way, I was feeling so inspired by cupcakes that I thought it would be fun to take a few traditional Christmas cookie recipes and create cupcake equivalents. Over the past few weeks I have been busy testing various recipes, concocting new varieties, and basically eating cupcakes until my heart’s content. And now, I am so excited to share the winners with all of you!

I couldn’t resist starting with my favorite Christmas cookie: the Peanut Butter Blossom. It is no secret that I am a sucker for all things chocolate and peanut butter, so it should come as no surprise that this traditional cookie is my favorite. I wanted to be sure that the cupcake variety paid proper homage to this tasty cookie, so I put a lot of thought into how I wanted to recreate it. There were a few main components I wanted to incorporate: the rich peanut butter flavor, the sweet sugar texture, and the delight of biting into a tasty Hershey Kiss. I think I can say I accomplished all three:

Peanut Butter Blossom Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
Yields: 18 cupcakes

— Cupcakes —
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
6 tablespoons Unsalted butter (softened)
3/4 cup Smooth peanut butter
1 cup Brown sugar (packed)
1 Egg (at room temperature)
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Whole milk
18 Hershey Kisses
4 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
— Frosting —
1/2 cup Heavy cream
8 ounces Semisweet chocolate chipss

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sprinkle turbinado sugar in bottom of each liner.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cream butter, peanut butter and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, beating until combined.
3. Reduce speed to low. Mix together vanilla extract and milk in a small measuring cup. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk/vanilla and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl.
4. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Insert Hershey Kiss into each cupcake until immersed. Sprinkle each cupcake with turbinado sugar.


5. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins for 5 minutes and then remove to wire racks.
6. For the ganache, cook the heavy cream and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Spoon over each cupcake and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 2-3 days.

Kate’s Thoughts

I chose to use turbinado (sugar in the raw) to coat the cupcake liners and cupcake liners and as a sprinkling on top to mimic the sugar coating of the traditional cookie. I found it added great texture, but is not a necessary step if you prefer to omit it. Also, in the testing process I tried using mini chocolate chips in the batter rather than the Hershey Kiss. I found that using the full Hershey Kiss was much truer to the original, but chips are definitely a viable option.

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