Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

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I am still looking for different ways to use the leftover ground almonds I have (remember my marmalade loaf cake?)  I will probably end up adding it to my muesli mix in the end, but I did manage to use up some of it in these cupcakes.

I found this recipe for chocolate and almond cupcakes on the Sainsbury’s recipes website.  What’s not to love about a chocolate cupcake, eh!!  I wanted to do something slightly different for the frosting though, and peanut butter came to mind.  Chocolate and peanut butter?  Win-win.

Ground almonds in a cake batter always gives a different texture to a standard sponge mixture.  It works very well in a lot of cases.

The recipe itself is the ‘standard cream the butter and sugar, add eggs and then add dry ingredients’ format. Although the recipe didn’t call for it, I added a teaspoon of vanilla paste to the cake batter, because after all, what’s life without a bit of deviation!!

I really do need a holiday.  My focus is not strong and I found myself thinking what the hell and being just a bit too casual about the whole process.  I have made cupcakes plenty of times, and more than enough times to know things can and do go wrong.

This recipe claims to make 12 cupcakes, but I only managed to eke out 10 from the mixture.  You know when you read the ingredients and think….surely not, there’s not enough here….and then you find it really only stretched to 10 cupcakes after all.  I shouldn’t complain because the cupcake recipes I most often use claim to make 12 cupcakes and I get 18 out of them (smug face).

I looked up different recipes for peanut butter frosting but they all had ingredients I didn’t want to use.  In the end I decided to wing it.  I was so convinced the cakes would be a disaster that I didn’t measure what I did.  Dear reader, I put some softened butter in a bowl, threw in some icing sugar, some vanilla essence and whisked it until it was light and fluffy.  Dust cloud alert:  mix well with a spoon before applying the electric whisk! Then I threw in a large quantity of peanut butter and whisked again.  Quantities?  I don’t know.  But it worked.  You can’t go far wrong with a frosting.

The end result:  the cupcake is light and fluffy.  I personally would have preferred a slightly more deep chocolatey flavour, but it’s fine as it is.  I don’t know if that would have been the difference between using cocoa powder versus melted chocolate in the batter.  The frosting is delicious (of course I licked the bowl) it has a good peanut butter flavour, but not overpowering and is not over-sweet.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

 

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Peanut Butter & Salted Caramel Cheesecake

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I’ve been hankering after cheesecake for a while now, but specifically wanted to do a no-bake recipe. I haven’t made a peanut butter cheesecake for ages, so this was my mission.  I searched recipes…….and eventually one caught my eye. Peanut Butter. Caramel. Cheesecake. No-bake.  Yes! I didn’t even have to think twice. The cheesecake I ended up making was (slightly) adapted (okay, okay, I meddled, I admit it) from Something Swanky’s delicious recipe for No Bake Peanut Butter & Caramel Cheesecake.

Reader, I was going to follow this recipe to a T, honestly I was…..I hit a very small stumbling block.  The recipe calls for Cool Whip.  I don’t know exactly what this is, other than I am unable to get it in this corner of the UK.  So…I opted for a similar volume of double cream, which I whipped before adding to the other ingredients.  You may have noticed the use of the word “similar”……well, it all started when I made the base for this cheesecake.

For me, personally there is a very fine line between pudding bases being just right, and being like set concrete.  I therefore always err on the side of less butter and more biscuit.  Or, in this case, pretzels, because that is the base biscuit for this cheesecake.  It is an inspired, one, because the lovely salty bits from the pretzels work so well with the pudding.

However, today, my base didn’t even stick together.  When I removed it from the oven and saw there was no hope of it sticking, I thought maybe I’d throw it away and start again…but no, because I then thought I’d melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it over the base to help hold it together.  So I did.  Yes, I know, I shouldn’t have.

Then, on re-reading the recipe, I realised I hadn’t added sugar to the base ingredients. Too late for that now.

By then I was losing the will to live (I don’t have much strength in reserve!) and whilst I started with good intentions measuring everything carefully, I threw caution to the winds and became free and easy in my interpretations of measurements.

It all mixed together well and looked (and tasted) promising.  One of the ingredients is Marshmallow cream, and again, this does indeed work very well in the mixture. I spooned the mixture on top of my crumbly base and then thought why don’t I drizzle salted caramel over the top now……long story short, I clumped solid dollops of salted caramel on the top of the cheesecake mixture and carefully tried to mix it in.  It was a marbled effect, I told myself!

The end result?  Part of the base is glued together solidly with the chocolate (we KNEW that would happen, didn’t we!) and the rest is a mass of pretzel crumbs.  The cheesecake mixture is lovely though, and so, my meddling aside, this recipe is delicious.  I know what to do better next time!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Double Chocolate Chunk & Peanut Cookies

I am a lazy baker, I admit this.  I tend to go back time and again to recipes I love, and that I know won’t fail.  After all, why not just keep making the bakes that you enjoy?!  But I am making an effort. Really, I am!  And so today’s bake was a recipe I have not tried before.  Who doesn’t love a crunchy & chewy chocolate chip cookie? And when salted peanuts and peanut butter are added – how could I resist?  And of course, I do have a thing for that sweet-and-salty mix.

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When I try a recipe for the first time, it can be nerve-wracking, sometimes it works really well, and sometimes I get that uneasy feeling – is this how it is supposed to look? Surely that shouldn’t have happened? That looks wrong, how do I rescue it?  But I ploughed on regardless……and lost my concentration, and forgot to take photos….

I wasn’t convinced, I kept checking and re-checking the recipe……I had added all the ingredients…..it said it would make 12 cookies but there didn’t look nearly enough mixture to manage that….P1000796

The recipe said it would be a soft batter which would just drop off the spoon….it wasn’t and it didn’t….. But, you know, sometimes you think sod it, I’ve got so far, I’m going to finish this off. And I did.

I ended up with 14 large cookies!  They smell divine! They just need to cool off a little bit before they can be eaten.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂