This week is the “Week of the Dragoon” for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment here in Vilseck, Germany and tomorrow is Family Day. (Basically, my husbands unit is having a giant birthday party for itself before they go on pre-deployment leave.) I decided to donate cupcakes to the event to be sold at the 2/2 CR Cougar Foundation table. The Cougar Foundation is the non profit organization that supports the 2nd Squadron in 2 CR… an organization that I’m a member of.
I decided to make a cupcake that I knew everyone would love… chocolate peanut butter. But hmm… I’ve made that cupcake or cake a bazillion times. Uhmp…. I need to kick it up a notch and add some flair! So, I’ve put a pretzel crust on the bottom of the cupcake and topped it with a chocolate dipped pretzel and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Om nom nom nom The perfect combination of sweet and salty – chocolatey and peanut buttery. YUM!
- 3 cups salted pretzel sticks
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
- 1 Tbsp espresso powder
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
Peanut Butter Buttercream
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter (I use JIF)
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 150g 50% cocao Lindt chocolate (any semi-sweet baking chocolate would work)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
Chocolate Covered Pretzel (for garnish)
- 1 bag large thin pretzels
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
- Using a food processor, pulse the pretzels until they are in small chunks.
- Add the melted butter and brown sugar and process on high until combined and the pretzels are in small crumbs.
- Press 1 tablespoon of pretzel crust into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the coffee, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk and the eggs. SLOWLY add a few tablespoons of the chocolate mixture to the sour cream mixture. Whisk to combine. In a slow stream, whisk in the remaining chocolate mixture until combined completely.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in wet. Using a whisk, stir until no more lumps remain.
- Scoop batter over the pretzel crust until 3/4 full.
- Bake 17-19 minutes.
- Allow to cool in pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix on medium until combined.
- Add the salt and heavy cream, mix until smooth.
- Beat on high for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy and the color has lightened.
- Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place into a glass bowl.
- On medium high heat, bring heavy cream to a simmer.
- Immediately pour cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Stir gently until all the chocolate has melted.
- Add the butter and vanilla and stir until combined.
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
- Dip half of the pretzel into the melted chocolate. Set on wax paper to harden.
- Using a large round star tip, pipe swirls of buttercream onto each cupcake.
- Drizzle 1 Tbsp chocolate ganache over the buttercream.
- Gently press a chocolate covered pretzel into the buttercream.
- Add a small dollop of buttercream at the base of the pretzel to help hold it in place.