Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting

I bake cupcakes on a pretty regular basis, and while I love them, I do get bored with the usual tuft of swirled frosting on top. I have two or three decorative piping tips I rotate through, but at the end of the day regardless of which one I use, the cupcakes all look pretty similar.

But these peanut butter cookie frosted cupcakes? They are anything but ordinary, and ever since I saw them for the first time, I’ve been completely in love with the idea. Seriously, have you ever seen a cuter cupcake?!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting

I finally got a chance to try the recipe for our Super Bowl party last night – I figure it’s usually a safe bet to go with the chocolate and peanut butter combo for dessert :) I scaled back quite a bit on the recipe so we wouldn’t have a ton of extras, but it also meant there weren’t enough for me to try one before serving them. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, and luckily it all worked out – they were very well received! The cupcake is moist and chocolatey, and the richness of the ganache works perfectly with the sweet peanut butter “cookie” on top.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about the “cookie” for a minute. It’s not at all difficult to make these little toppers – the frosting is easy to work with and very malleable. That said, I’m a crazy perfectionist and spent a ton of time trying to make them resemble perfect little peanut butter cookies. After some initial frustration, what I found worked best for me was to shape the disc on my work surface then transfer it to the top of the cupcake and only then use a fork to make the crisscross pattern. I absolutely loved the end result – delicious and cute, what more could you ask for?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting
adapted from Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah (via Annie’s Eats)

{Note: This recipe can be scaled back. I made 1/3 and wound up with 8 cupcakes.}

Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ganache
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line your cupcakes pans with paper liners.

Whisk the coffee and cocoa powder together in a large measuring cup until well combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate each before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions and the coffee mixture in 2, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating just until combined.

Divide the batter among the liners, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4-full. Bake the cupcakes for 19-20 minutes, or until they 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 a few minutes before removing them to the racks to cool completely.

To make the ganache: Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow the mixture to cool slightly so it will thicken (the ganache is easiest to work with when it has thickened slightly).

To make the frosting: Add the butter and peanut butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until well combined and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until the sugar is incorporated, then increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until thick and smooth.

Spread a layer of ganache on top of each cupcake (if the ganache cools and starts to set before you finish topping the cupcakes, you can reheat it briefly in the microwave). Working with about 1 tablespoon of the frosting mixture, shape it into a disc and use the tines of a fork to make a crisscross pattern on top. Place in the center of a cupcake on top of the ganache layer.

Makes 24-27 cupcakes