May 20, 2012

Dark Chocolate Dreams Cupcakes

You guys! My friend had a baby. A teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, little baby. And you know the best part? It's a little girl. As much as I adore my cousins' kids, they are all boys. I'll see such cute cupcake stuff in the baby stores, and it will be pink or purple or ruffly or have polka dots, and I'll be all, "Grr, why do I not have any little girls to buy this stuff for?" And now I do.

Anyway, the baby shower was yesterday. I know what you're thinking: "Didn't she just say her friend had the baby? Aren't baby showers meant for before the baby comes?" Well, my little M&M decided she had to be contrary, just like her Auntie Kimmy (that would be me, in case you were wondering). First of all she went, "haha, I've already been in here a month longer than you thought I was," so her due date was a lot earlier than originally anticipated. Then she decided she wanted to be here in time for mother's day, so she came out 2 weeks early.
You can't really tell, but she's wearing a cupcake onesie. XD
So spent the day chilling with M&M and her mommy yesterday. And since this is a friend that I've known forever- and when I say forever, that is not a metaphor or hyperbole. We've known each other since preschool, which was 20 years ago. And we're only twenty-mumblemumble years old- we needed to celebrate. So I made cupcakes. And since I'm a crazy person, I made two kinds of cupcakes. I was not asked to make cupcakes, this is something I decided to do on my lonesome. Because I'm the crazy cupcake lady.
My friend asked for homemade Funfetti cupcakes, so I made my birthday cake cupcakes and added some rainbow sprinkles to the batter, and colored the frosting purple. But that was not enough work for me. I had to make more. Chocolate and peanut butter have been a combination we've both always loved, so I was going to make my peanut butter cupcakes and fill them with chocolate. But then I remembered, I had a jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams from Peanut Butter & Co. in the pantry. I tweaked the recipe a bit, used the Dark Chocolate Dreams in place of the peanut butter, and added some mini M&Ms to the batter (she's my M&M; I had to), frosted them with my very favorite chocolate buttercream from Hershey's Homemade, and topped them with some leftover Valentine's Day M&Ms I had in the pantry. And it was good.
I have to admit, they do look more like Valentine's Day cupcakes than baby shower cupcakes, but I'm okay with that. Because to make them look more baby shower-y, I would have had to use a pastel-colored frosting. Which wouldn't be chocolate. Which would be bad. The other cupcakes were pastels. These were made of Dark Chocolate Dreams.

And you know what else happened while I was snuggling a baby girl yesterday? I got an award! I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by Choc Chip Uru from Go Bake Yourself and from CJ at Food Stories. If you've never heard of these two lovely ladies, consider yourself deprived. CJ's blog is like an encyclopedia for food bloggers. She has a calendar of all foodie holidays and she shares food-related news stories, along with posting yummy recipes and gorgeous photos every day. Plus, she has her Food Story Photos every week, which is such a cute and original idea that I adore. Thanks for making me feel like a slacker, CJ. ^_^
As for Choc Chip Uru, not only does she post super yummy recipes, not only are her posts really funny, not only is she a really talented baker and an awesome story-teller, but she's still in high school! You guys, when I was in high school (which wasn't really that long ago- holy smokes, it was that long ago?) I was messing up box mixes. True story. CCU has got a crazy amount of talent, and she is only going to get better.
Now it's time for my favorite part: telling you seven things about myself.
  1. I have a cat named Jake.
  2. I very rarely call Jake "Jake."
  3. I can't wait for Camp NaNoWriMo in June.
  4. I have no plot for my Camp NaNoWriMo novel.
  5. I think writing 50k words in 30 days is fun.
  6. I like mangoes.
  7. I like to tie-dye.
Now onto our 15 nominees:
  1. Kayle from The Cooking Actress
  2. Cravings of a Lunatic
  3. Gourmantine's Blog
  4. Brianne from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
  5. Viviane from Chocolate Chilli Mango
  6. Jen from LoveFoodCookFood
  7. Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
  8. Warm Vanilla Sugar
  9. Halley from Blunder Construction
  10. Anna from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
  11. Jen from Juanita's Cocina
  12. Maggie from Kitchie Coo
  13. Krista from The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
  14. Yummy Inspirations
  15. Stellina from My Yogurt Addiction
Thanks again to CJ and Choc Chip Uru for this fantabulous award!

Dark Chocolate Dreams Cupcakes {Printable Version}
 Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup Dark Chocolate Dreams®(chocolate peanut butter)*
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 cup mini M&Ms® (optional)

For the frosting:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325°. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, peanut butter,
and sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each
addition. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add about half of the flour mixture to
the butter mixture and beat on low until just incorporated. Beat in the milk and vinegar, and then beat
in the remaining flour. Mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the M&Ms, if using. Fill a muffin tin about 2/3
of the way with batter. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed. Cool

For the frosting: In a small mixing bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a
different bowl using electric beaters, beat the butter on low speed. Add the vanilla. Gradually add in the
sugar and cocoa, alternating with the milk. Beat on high speed until smooth.

*Or use creamy peanut butter and replace 1-2 tbsps. of flour with cocoa powder

Cupcake recipe by Kim. Frosting recipe adapted from Hershey’s Homemade