I have some delicious cupcakes for you today that really don’t fall under the “less is more” way of thinking, Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes. Well, to be even more specific, these are actually Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffle Cupcakes, but *that* might be a bit of a lengthy title, so we’ll just round down. That’s a whole lot of good stuff in a cupcake.
I blame these cupcakes on Trader Joe’s. I always go into Trader Joe’s with the best intentions and as much willpower as any over tired, under caffeinated mom can muster. And most of the time I do pretty well. But darn you Trader Joe’s and your oh so brilliant placement of candies, chocolates and cookies directly over things like frozen peas. Yep, just trying to buy some boneless skinless chicken breasts and a few bags of veggies, and staring right at me is candy. Like these.
Well played Trader Joe’s. It’s impossible to not have something catch your eye, call your name and be almost magnetically pulled into your basket. Those evil geniuses not only cover anything and everything in chocolate, but they know a thing or two about strategic product placement. I’ve learned to avoid that whole check out lane temptation thing, but somehow I don’t fare so well when they stock all this good stuff right over the frozen salmon. While I may be able to resist for a few trips, eventually I give in, and things like this wind up in my cart. Of course you could simply eat them straight out of the box
while driving home from the store at 8:23am, I thought it would fun to make cupcakes with them.
I know a lot of you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, and that’s okay. Any chocolate and peanut butter or chocolate and caramel candy can go on top of these. Dove Chocolate Promises, Ghirardelli Squares, Hershey’s Bliss, even peanut butter cups or Rolos – work with what you have.
Yeah. Now that is a cupcake. These are actually fairly simple to make. The base is a nice dark chocolate cupcake, not overly sweet, with a touch of sea salt added to the top before baking, to help balance out all of the excess sweetness you are about to load on top. The frosting is a buttercream with both peanut butter and caramel added to it, with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt on top for good measure, and of course the tasty truffle. I told you, we are not in less is more territory here.
Let’s get baking and cupcake making, shall we?
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder I prefer dark cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk regular milk will work, though buttermilk preferred
- Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup butter softened (do not use margarine)
- 1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter the natural varieties that need to be kept in the fridge do not do well, so stick with a kind that does not need to be refrigerated for the best results
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce the kind you use for ice cream sundaes
- 2-4 tablespoons of whipping cream you can use milk or half and half
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Toppings - all optional
- Caramel Sauce for drizzling
- Sea Salt for sprinkling
- Trader Joe's Truffles or any other chocolate and caramel or chocolate and peanut butter candies you prefer
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla, mixing well to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add half a dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well to combine, followed by half of buttermilk, mixing well to combine beating well after each addition. Add remaining dry ingredients, mix well, and finish with remaining buttermilk, mixing well to combine.
- Line muffin pans with liners, and fill with batter, about 2/3 of the way full. If desired, top each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt prior to baking. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and/or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
- Cream together butter and peanut butter until well blended and creamy. Add in caramel sauce and mix well. Add in powdered sugar, beating well, slowly adding in whipping cream until your desired consistency is reached. Beat for approximately two minutes. Add to cupcakes by piping or spreading. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt, a drizzle of caramel and truffles, if desired.
You might want a glass of milk and some elastic pants to go with these. Just sayin.
If peanut butter, chocolate and caramel are your thing, check out some of these recipes…