During my 5th grade year, my class took a field trip to a small village outside of the suburbs to visit a “make believe town” so that we could experience the working world. Some of my peers campaigned and worked tirelessly to be nominated mayor, work as radio announcers, or join the police force. We had committee gatherings and voting for the most sought places in our community. My best friends were all nominated prominent positions that gained governance of our little city and played important roles in key decision making. And then, there was me. I refused the offices I was nominated for. I fled from occupation to occupation checking each one off the list…I crossed off officer, then politician, then store owner, then clerical work, and so on and so forth until I finally found the perfect place for me. I applied to become the town cook.
My imagination immediately danced with sugared cakes, spiced tarts, and delicate appetizers. I envisioned a tiny french bakery in which I whisked around to greet my customers, wearing my little blue apron, a full plate of desserts in one hand and my signature wooden spoon in the other. I didn’t even read the job description. All I knew is I wanted to be inside a kitchen, happily cooking away, putting smiles onto customers faces. I wanted to be a part of the one place where people would feel relaxed after all the work in the town was done.
One of my teachers set me aside to try and explain to me that it was the only position in the entire town that was not salaried. I would have the smallest break, since the restaurant always had to be open. I would get paid the least since it was just a service job. And I would have to man the tables as a waitress…and hopefully make some extra spending money on tips. They said I could change my mind, I had other nominations. But, I shook my head and said I didn’t care about the money or the hours…I just wanted to be the cook. I was the only one who actually showed up to work in the entire restaurant (without my prior knowledge), but it didn’t matter…I was where I wanted to be. I cooked, I cleaned, I served, I hostessed, and I was able to see a lot of smiles. Which of course, was my favorite part.
Sometimes having an unexpected treat is exactly what I need. Inspiration for these cupcakes came in 2 forms. One was the memory of that field trip where a job was fun and the work was the reward & the other inspiration was my husband whom I love to surprise with a yummy dessert and see his smile. As for specifics…I LOVE chocolate and peanut butter. We actually had a peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting as one of the tiers on our wedding cake (and yes, it totally rocked!). This version of cupcakes actually has melted peanut butter cups as the frosting, which is the best surprise of all.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 12 oz bag of Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 2 cups sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Combine the water and 3/4 cup of butter in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter and vegetable oil until well blended.
- In a mixer slowly stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and then stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.
- Pour the batter into prepared cupcake tin, filling each cupcake liner until about halfway full. Should yield 22-24 cupcakes.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool.
- Unwrap 1/2 the bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups and place in a double boiler. Heat on low and stir until Reese’s candy are completely melted and well mixed. Let cool until room temperature and spread onto the tops of the cupcakes.
- Unwrap the other 1/2 of the Reese’s peanut butter cups and chop until you have small crumbled pieces. Sprinkle crumbles onto the tops of the cupcakes and frosting and let set for at least 20 minutes then serve! (Can be stored in an air tight container for later consumption).