Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

This was a baking project born out of necessity. I’ve had leftover dulce de leche sitting in my fridge for a while and figured if I didn’t use it soon I would wind up having to throw it away. And since I’ve really been trying to cut back on how much food we waste, I wasn’t eager to do that. Side note, since I’ve started meal planning, I’m amazed by how little of our food winds up in the garbage as compared to when I was just shopping without much of a plan. Seems like common sense, I guess, but it’s all the motivation I need to keep up the meal planning, even if it isn’t always my favorite task every week :)

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

So anyway, I’ve discovered that searching my cookbook collection for recipes that use dulce de leche is fairly useless. It’s just not an ingredient that’s found its way into cookbooks (at least the ones I own). There are only a handful of recipes, and I’ve made quite a few of them, so I wound up on Google to see what I could turn up. Enter these peanut butter dulce de leche cupcakes. The minute I saw them I knew I had to make them happen. It’s been a while since I made anything this indulgent, but oh man, these were worth every single bite.

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

The base is a devil’s food cupcake, which was a new recipe for me, and one I will definitely turn to again in the future. The cupcakes were moist and fluffy with lots of chocolate flavor, and they baked up with the most perfect little domes. The magic really starts to happen with the filling. It’s just three ingredients – peanut butter, dulce de leche, and a little heavy cream to thin the consistency, but it’s so good! Its thick consistency works so well as a filling, and it was perfection paired with the devil’s food cupcake and the peanut butter icing. The icing is not a new recipe to me, but it’s a favorite. Hands down the best peanut butter frosting I’ve tried. As a whole, this cupcake combo ranks up in my top 3 among things I’ve made, and so far I’ve done well to only eat one of them. These need to find a new home, and soon! Any takers? :)

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
from Smells Like Home

Devil’s Food Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart (via Smells Like Home)

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Whisk the cocoa powder and water together in a small bowl then set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt together.

Add the butter and sugar to a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Pour the buter/sugar mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, then the cocoa mixture and beat to incorporate. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients (in 2 additions) with the sour cream (in 1), beating until just combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3-3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes before removing them to the racks to cool completely.

Makes about 28 cupcakes

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Filling
from Smells Like Home, who adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

{Note: This recipe will make enough filling for about 2 dozen cupcakes.}

1 cup dulce de leche
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 – 1/3 cup heavy cream (depending on how thick you want your filling)

Combine the dulce de leche, peanut butter and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a small saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and warm, whisking frequently, until the ingredients are combined and the filling is smooth. If the filling is too thick, add additional cream to the pan and whisk to incorporate. The filling will thicken as it cools so keep that in mind.

Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the peanut butter dulce de leche, then replace the top portion of the cone (you’ll need to slice off the tip).

Peanut Butter Icing
from Ina Garten (via FoodNetwork.com)

{Note: this recipe makes enough frosting for 12-14 cupcakes, so double it if you’re making the full cupcake recipe above.}

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Add the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the heavy cream and beat the icing on high speed until it is light and fluffy.

Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake then garnish with chopped peanut butter cups, if desired.