Buckeye Cupcakes

buckeyecupcakesA while ago I made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, which were inspired by the chocolate-covered peanut. They were delicious, but I always thought they needed more peanut butter filling and a few tweaks to meet my desired chocolate/peanut butter balance. After a bit of thinking, I came up with this: the buckeye cupcake.

These treats use a basic chocolate cupcake recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens baking book, then get hollowed out and stuffed with peanut butter filling and topped with a cocoa frosting. In the future, I might use a chocolate buttercream instead – while they are delicious, they’re still not exactly what I’m after. And this, friends, is the beauty of baking…you can keep adjusting your recipe until you get exactly what you want!

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • About 6 tablespoons milk

Cocoa Frosting

  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • About 6 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

For the cupcakes, allow butter and eggs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners; this recipe makes 3 dozen cupcakes, so you’ll need to re-use one tin for your last batch.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, scraping the bowl often. Once all sugar is added, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat well.

Add flour mixture and milk alternatively in three batches, beating until just combine between each. Once all ingredients are incorporated, beat on medium speed for 20-30 seconds.

Fill cupcake wells half full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 1 minute, then remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.

Make your filling: in a mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter together until smooth.

Add powdered sugar slowly, beating well after each addition.

Add vanilla, then add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time beating until well-combined.

Make your frosting: combine melted butter and cocoa powder, whisking very well until smooth. Place mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed for about 1 minute, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat on low speed, then add about half of the milk, continuing to beat on low speed, until combined. Follow with another cup powdered sugar and remainder of milk, beating on low until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, then vanilla, beating until frosting is creamy and spreadable.

To assemble your cupcakes: core each cupcake and reserve scraps for another use.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop peanut butter filling into each hole and gently press down with an offset spatula. You’ll have about 1/3 cup of filling left over that you can reserve for another use.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop drops of frosting onto each cupcake and spread with an offset spatula.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Buckeye Brownies

buckeye browniesAs a woman who firmly believes in slathering peanut butter on brownies, I was delighted to learn about the buckeye brownie from one of the gals in my office. She’d had one last weekend and described it as the best dessert she’d ever eaten. How can you go wrong with a fudge brownie, topped with a peanut butter layer akin to the center of a buckeye and a layer of chocolate over that? You simply can’t.

Most buckeye brownie recipes I found online called for (gasp) boxed brownie mix. I couldn’t bring myself to use a boxed mix, so I sought a recipe that used vegetable oil, not butter, for the brownie layer. As with cupcakes, vegetable oil yields a moister texture in brownies, and because that’s what is typically called for in boxed mixes anyway, I set out to create my masterpiece.

The recipe below is a hybrid of several scratch-made buckeye brownie recipes, and was very easy to make. I took these into work today for the farewell lunch of another one of the office gals, and they were definitely a big hit. Bear in mind, they are very rich, so small portions are all you need.

Ingredients

For the brownie layer

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the peanut butter layer

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

For the chocolate layer

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.

In another bowl, combine vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla; beat lightly to combine, then pour into the dry mixture. Stir well to combine, but be careful not to over-mix. You want all of your dry ingredients to be absorbed, but your batter doesn’t need to be completely smooth; it will thicken and become shiny when it’s ready.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before preparing the peanut butter and chocolate layers as follows. Note: I made the brownie layer the night before the peanut butter and chocolate layers.

In a mixing bowl, combine butter and peanut butter and beat on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar and beat until totally incorporated.

Spread peanut butter filling onto cooled brownies, smoothing out with a small offset spatula to create an even layer.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter and chocolate chips. Melt slowly over low heat, stirring to combine; mixture will thicken as it melts.

When chocolate is completely smooth, immediately pour over peanut butter layer and spread with a small offset spatula to create an even layer.

Allow chocolate layer to harden before serving.

Buckeyes

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite commercial candy, and this recipe reminds me of a slightly sweeter version of the classic cup. If you search the internet, you’ll find dozens of recipes for buckeyes, all different, from the ingredients to the process to the preference for dipping partway or dipping completely. Whichever one you choose, you can’t go wrong. My recipe is very simple, using three ingredients for the filling and Baker’s dipping chocolate, which you can find in the baking aisle at the supermarket, for the coating. Someday, I plan to make buckeyes that are coated in chocolate mixed with paraffin wax, like my brave friend Mysty, but I’m not quite there yet.

Full disclosure: I made these buckeyes as a Christmas gift for myself. And no, I am not sharing.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 7-ounce cup Baker’s dipping chocolate candy coating

Preparation

In a medium bowl, stir together butter and peanut butter until very well blended.

Add powdered sugar a quarter-cup at a time, mixing until very well combined. I use my hands to make sure the ingredients are completely incorporated and smooth.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop out peanut butter filling and roll into balls. Let stand on a parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet until dry, about 30 minutes.

Melt candy coating according to the package directions. Dip peanut butter balls into candy coating and return to baking sheet, then let stand until coating has hardened. I place my baking sheet in the fridge to help the coating set, then store the finished buckeyes in the fridge.