I've had a rough few weeks. As I'd mentioned, the devil passed through me or something a little while back and left me bedridden for a solid couple of days. What I didn't mention was that I had to say farewell to someone special to me around that time too. That might have been rougher than being laid up for 48 hours. Well, it was definitely rougher. It's always pretty terrible to have to let go of a good friend, not knowing if it'll be a forever thing or a temporary thing. Hopefully it's a temporary thing. That's all I'm going to say about that. Oh, I also messed up my back again shoveling a sludge-y mess of snow off of my front steps. I feel like I'm going to have to have some sort of epiphany wherein I conclude that in order to permanently cure me of my lower-back ailments, I'll have to train to become a kickboxing champion, and finally face my fear of another total beat-down. There will be a movie montage. Mark Ruffalo will play my trainer because I love him. And I will win and I will be cured. The end. Cue random empowering Kanye track (yes, those do exist). One of the things that's helped me from turning into a total bawling mess of a baby (maybe not baby, because babies are cute and this hasn't been cute) has been the pretty amazing search terms that have led unsuspecting individuals to this blog. A perk of running this blog is being able to see how people actually land here, and that is quite an entertaining perk when you're feeling low.
Now, I did not make any of the following up. I'm not that creative. Of note is the fact that very few of these terms actually have anything to do with baking:
"Classy wolf" This brings to mind the Coo--ooookie Crisp Wolf, which is awesome, because although I've never mentioned it, that has always been my favorite cereal. Does God read my blog?
"Sumo Cookies" Two cookies encased in a doughnut. First cookie to slip outside of the doughnut ring gets eaten. That was lame. I have no idea what sumo cookies are.
"How to get a girl to forgive you" There is no way there is anything on this site that will help you with that, dude. Well, until now. You're welcome.
"Johnny Walker cake" Not something I've made before, but certainly something I'll keep in mind. Thanks, lushes.
"You're welcome monster" It's either a Google image search that led to a recent picture I posted, or a brand new nickname for me. Polite ogre? I guess I'll take it.
"Sybil Bakes" Creepers
"Shibow syndrome" Whatever it is, you know you want it.
"Twinkie Pants" Only in America do these probably really exist. I bet they never go bad, either.
"Hug forever" I would not advise doing this. You'll need your arms free to fight off robbers and provide me with more hilarious search terms.
"Whave canned" What's that? Did you mean canned whale? How did canned whale get you here? There's such thing as canned whale? Wait...
As you can tell, I've been needing and trying to distract myself with silliness. I also figured that baking something that would involve a lot of time and effort would probably take my mind off the madness, too. It doesn't hurt that this particular something includes a classic combination that I cannot live without: it's peanut butter jelly time, people.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes. With Jelly IN the Cupcakes. This Excites Me To No End. (makes 12 cupcakes)
For the Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat or all-purpose flour (I prefer whole wheat, and so does the woman who invented this recipe, which makes us best friends)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (I would increase this to 1 teaspoon if the peanut butter you use contains any sweeteners)
3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter (Do not use all-natural PB. It pains me to say that, but that stuff does not bake well. As a compromise, you can use Skippy Natural No-Stir, which contains some sugar, but no hydrogenated oils)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup of milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of grape jelly
For the Frosting
8 ounces of cream cheese or neufchatel
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar
1 cup of creamy peanut butter (Same deal as above, fight the urge to go all-natural. I'm looking at you, hippies.)
Yes, that really is what I have decided to title this recipe. Don't hate. Anyway, line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners and preheat your oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Meanwhile, in a larger bowl, use a hand mixer at medium speed to beat together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated, then stir in vanilla.
With mixer on low, alternate between pouring in the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined (Meaning don't go nuts or fall asleep with the mixer going. That's just dangerous anyway.), then distribute the batter evenly into cups of muffin tin. I've found that an ice cream scoop comes in really handy for this. It only took me, like, nine years to figure that one out.
Bake these for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even baking, and remove when a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean. Cool these in their tins for a good ten minutes, then take them out and let them cool completely either on a rack or in the refrigerator, which should take around an hour.
Use this time to make some frosting. In a small bowl, with mixer on medium speed whip together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add in salt and vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add in the confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, scraping the sugary sides down every now and then to make sure everything's incorporated. Finally, add in the peanut butter just until combined with cream cheese.
Before frosting, let's fill these babies. Fill either an icing decorator or an empty squeeze bottle with your jelly or preserves. Gently push into each cupcake and move the squeezer (I really don't know what other term to use. Kids, look away, I guess.) around a bit to make room for the jelly. Squeeze while slowly pulling the bottle out so that there's a tiny bit of jelly popping out of the tops of each cupcake.
Then frost using either a rubber spatula or your fancy icing decorator if you've got the patience to rinse the jelly out of it (I do not.) You can add a dollop of jelly on top like I did, if you're into being super obvious, like I am.
You really can't go wrong with such a classic combo. What I'm trying to say is that these were killer. I spent about half of a Saturday on them, so I think I succeeded in my mission of creating something time-consuming and distracting. In order to further busy myself, I'll be packing for a midweek trip to San Diego, to visit/harass my best friend. I miss her like crazy and am really looking forward to kicking back in beautiful snow-free weather. So, basically, the plan is to bake, eat, hide and repeat. I'm nothing if not well-adjusted.