I rarely eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anymore, but when I do, I most definitely feel like a kid again.
It's never quite the same, though, because I haven't purchased good ol' Iron Kids bread since...well, ever. The bread I eat now is a lot sturdier and has a little more going on, and while I'm still a loyal Jif® fan, my jelly choices have changed too. Regular grape and strawberry still taste good to me, but I also appreciate more complex and less common flavors like wine or pepper jelly or jam made from chokecherries or peaches.
I feel like these cupcakes deliver the same familiar and comforting taste that comes from a childhood PB&J sandwich. That hint of strawberry jelly in the frosting really comes through, but the predominant flavor is definitely peanut butter. My favorite part of the entire situation might just be the roasted peanuts contained within the cupcakes--that crunch is a nice surprise, and it's reminiscent of the crunchy peanut butter I began to prefer to the smooth stuff as I got older. The mousse in the center is just a special bonus, creamy and delightful.
Some say that one can live off of PB&J sandwiches, and I think I'll start the same rumor concerning these cupcakes.
Kid Again Cupcakes
Peanut butter cupcakes:
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 ounces butter, softened
- 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup salted roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
To make the cupcakes, first whisk dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
Bake the cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.
To prepare the mousse, using an electric mixer, beat peanut butter, brown sugar, and coarse salt in medium bowl to blend. With mixer running, gradually beat in 1/4 cup cream. Add another 1/4 cup cream and beat just to blend. Beat remaining 1/2 cup cream, sugar, and vanilla in another medium bowl until peaks form; fold into peanut butter mixture in 3 additions. Chill until ready to use.
To make the frosting, with an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. Add vanilla and jam, and beat until frosting is smooth.
To assemble, carve a cone-shaped piece out of the center of each cupcake and fill with the mousse. Fill a pastry bag with the frosting and apply as desired.