Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cupcakes, Cookies, and Coworkers, Oh My!

I started a new job a couple of weeks ago. Have you started a new job recently? Gone to a new school? Moved somewhere?? If you have, you would know how difficult it can be to "fit in." Of course, when you have gorgeous red hair, a body for days, and an abundance of pink desk accessories, fitting in isn't necessarily an option. Nevertheless, I decided to do what any self-respecting person would do their first week on the job to make new friends: bribe them.

Not only would I bribe them, but I would also lay the groundwork for a major sugar rush, ensuring that not only would they now feel obligated to befriend me, but they would do so with the kind of uninhibited vigor matched only by the onset of a Pixie-stick-induced-diabetic shock of a Toddler in a Tiara.

So, I made cupcakes (Chocolate with Peanut Butter Buttercream) and the more inferior baked good, chocolate chip cookies. They were both a big hit. More importantly, I'm now the most popular girl in the office!*

{Delicious Batter}

{The finished product. Recipe below}

{Chocolate Chip Cookies}

{To make, buy a bag of milk chocolate Ghiradelli chocolate chips,
read the recipe on the back, do that, and don't f**k it up!}

*Actually, I'm still working on making office friends, but let's face it: I'm generally the most popular person when I enter a room anyway. Give it time, my friends. Give it time.

Melissa's Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream
Yields 2 large-ish dozen cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups of light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two cupcake tins. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light in color and fluffy (about 4 minutes).
3. Sift remaining dry ingredients with a fork in a large bowl (i.e., get the lumps out). Set aside. Mix milk and vanilla extract in separate bowl. Set aside.
4. After butter and sugar mixture is whipped, add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next.
5. In alternating steps, add 1/3 of flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add 1/2 of milk and vanilla mixture. You will begin and end with flour, if you've done it correctly.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill liners 3/4 full. Put in oven and immediately drop temperature to 350 F (this is my trick for getting a pretty dome on top). Cook for about 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool, then top with generous amounts of buttercream.

Peanut Butter Buttercream
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 jar of peanut butter (I used a smooth Honey Nut one, but use whatever you like)
  • 5-6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
1. Cream butter in a mixer until smooth and fluffy (a couple minutes on high in your mixer)
2. In 1/2 cup increments, add powdered sugar.
3. Once you've achieved the desired amount of sweetness, add peanut butter. I used the whole jar because I wanted it really peanut butter-y. Feel free to use less.
4. Finally, add the vanilla and salt. Continue to whip until very light and fluffy.
5. Top cooled cupcakes with your delicious buttercream!

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