February 5, 2013

Sometimes I Cheat

The more "grown-up" I get, the more I find my true love for baking. In the kitchen you can find me practicing frosting cupcakes or trying putting my own spin on popular desserts--sometimes resulting in a flat out failure.
But as much as I love measuring and dumping each little ingredient by hand, sometimes cheating is necessary.
That's right--you heard me! This teacher just said it's okay to cheat! Well, in my little world of desserts of course. I'll let you in on my secret! 
When I'm short on time and have to provide a dessert quickly, I pull a Sandra Lee and go semi-homemade on my cupcakes. 
Anybody else watch her show, Semi-Homemade, on the Food Network? I wasn't a fan, but I must say now that her technique is effective. If just like Sandra you find yourself in need of a quick dessert but are still wanting to leave guests wowed then keep scrolling cause I have just the recipe for you!
Here is my cheat version of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes.
For the cupcakes you will need:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 c. water
  • ⅓ c. oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz Reese Cups (~16 snack size reeses)
Preheat oven to 350༠. Mix cake mix, water, oil, and eggs until combined. With a knife chop Reese cups into bite sized chunks. Fold the candy into your cake batter. 
Bake according to directions on the cake box. 

Easy right?! That was the semi part. Now comes the homemade. I stopped buying frosting in a can because making your own is so easy and tastes 1000x better! This chocolate peanut butter frosting tastes like buttercream, but there's no butter in sight!

For the frosting you will need:
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • ⅓ c. almond milk (you can use regular milk)
  • ½ c. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter (Peanut Butter & Co.)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 bag of milk chocolate chips (For drizzle)
I love Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter and this dark chocolate flavor does not disappoint. I found it at Walmart so it should be easy to get your hands on.
In a mixer on low, mix powdered sugar and dark chocolate peanut butter. Slowly add milk until desired consistency. (You may not use it all or you may need to add a splash more) Add in vanilla and mix until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. That's it!
I made my cupcakes for a superbowl luncheon so I used melted chocolate for the drizzle and the footballs. Here's how:
Melt chocolate for 30 sec intervals in microwave, stirring in between. Spoon melted chocolate into a small ziploc bag and snip a tiny hole in the corner. Drizzle over frosted cupcakes. 
Like I said, I made these for a superbowl luncheon, but if you want to make our own chocolate topper (hearts for upcoming valentine's day?!) line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use the leftover melted chocolate in your drizzle bag and draw whatever design you fancy onto the parchment paper.

Allow the chocolate to cool and harden then peel your design away from the paper and plop it on top of your cupcakes.
 Easy right?!
What kind of shortcuts do you use in the kitchen to help yourself out?

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