Ok, I know I’m a journalism major and all but, can I just say that writing is hard. Like, really hard. Coming up with something great and witty and inspiring? One of the most painstaking experiences ever. Not to mention the editing and rewriting and editing and rewriting. And making it coherent? Word putting together be hard stuff.
And, because I’m neurotic and can never make things easy on myself, I am also very particular about where I write. I can’t write just anywhere, oh no, that is SO not going to fly. Like my room? Nope, not going to happen. Too cramped, too stuffy. The place where I set up my laptop has got to be perfect if I am going to attempt to write.
Wherever I end up can’t be too noisy, but it can’t be too quiet either. If someone’s sitting in my normal spot, I will go somewhere else. And don’t even get me started on the hipster-to-normal people ratio playing into my decision. So, more often than not, I end up spending a lot of time wandering from place to place looking for a place to sit down and work. Then, when it finally does happen, I am so in the zone nothing is going to stop me (except maybe getting a refill on my cappuccino). My muse has struck, I must write!
Clearly, from all of this
complaining explanation it
is a huge surprise when I am able to come up with something outside of my usual
haunts. But, that’s what happened the other day in history class. There I am,
sitting and daydreaming taking copious notes when I get an idea, a
vision really! Peanut butter cupcakes filled with white chocolate…and…and…pretzels!
Somehow I managed to stay in my desk for the rest of class before bolting out to get ingredients for these beauties. And I waited another whole day until I actually made them! This whole college thing is really getting in the way of my baking.
Peanut Butter, White Chocolate and Pretzel Cupcakes (makes 16 cupcakes)
1 recipe White Chocolate Mousse, recipe follows
1 ¾ cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
6 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
½ cup milk
1 recipe White Chocolate Frosting, recipe follows
First things first, let’s make some mousse.
White Chocolate Mousse (adapted from Claire Robinson)
4 ounces white chocolate (almond bark, squares, or white chocolate chips)
1 egg yolk
1 TBSP sugar
¼ cup heavy cream, plus ½ cup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pretzels
Place white chocolate in medium mixing bowl, set aside.
Whisk together egg yolk and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan heat ¼ cup heavy cream and vanilla until it has thickened. Keep a close eye on it and stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Slowly pour half of the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking to combine. This will temper the egg yolk to make sure it doesn’t scramble. Pour in the remaining cream and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over the white chocolate. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
In an extremely clean mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment whip the remaining 1/2 cup of cream on medium-high until peaks form, about 3 – 4 minutes. Do not whip too much or cream with separate and turn into butter.
Fold half of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate, stirring gently. Using gentle motions, fold in the remaining whipped cream.
Refrigerate mousse 1 – 2 hours until set.
Peanut Butter Cupcakes (adapted from All Recipes)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper cups, set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
Cream butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Add sugar and mix until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Slowly mix half the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Stir in milk until combined. Add in remaining flour and mix until combined. Scrape down bowl as necessary.
Using a ¼ cup measure or large cookie scoop fill prepared muffin tins ¾ of the way full and bake in preheated oven 17 – 20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when the tops spring back after being lightly touched.
Remove to rack to cool.
While cupcakes cool, prepare the white chocolate frosting.
White Chocolate Frosting
7 oz (1 cup) white chocolate, pieces or chips
¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
3 – 4 TBSP milk or heavy cream
In a microwave safe bowl, heat white chocolate 30 – 45 seconds. Stir until smooth. If not fully melted, heat at 10 second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is fully melted. Allow to cool slightly.
Cream butter and add powdered sugar, vanilla, and melted chocolate. Mixture will be relatively thick. Add milk to frosting until desired consistency is reached.
Assembling the cupcakes
I’ve made stuffed cupcakes before and am kind of terrible at explaining how to do it, but Baking Bites has a wonderful tutorial on how to do it.
Using a small paring knife, cut a small cone out of the top of the cupcakes to create a small cone of cake to take out of the center. Cut off pointy tip of the cone and save cap to replace on cupcakes.
Stir 1 cup of crushed pretzels into prepared mousse and fill each cupcakes with spoonful of mousse. Put cap back on cupcakes to cover hole. *save any remaining mousse to eat with a spoon.
Frost cupcakes with white chocolate frosting and garnish with crushed pretzels.
Cupcakes are best eaten on the same day, but can be stored in the fridge for an additional day.
My muse really likes peanut butter.