Chocolate cupcakes with Salted peanut caramel.

I came upon a recipe for some peanut butter cookies topped with a salted peanut caramel and I could not get it out of my head. But as usual, I had to find a way to put this in a cupcake, since I had to bring some to a housewarming party. Not too difficult of a task but the caramel did prove a bit fussy, although when the instructions say to pay attention at a certain stage, one should not be off helping their two year old pick a movie to watch. I also read to pull the caramel off the heat a bit lighter than the amber color it suggested and that worked very well. The sauce calls for peanuts which I did use for the cupcake filling but I didn’t want peanuts in my frosting so I put aside a cup of the caramel before adding the peanuts.

I made my simple doctored up box chocolate cupcakes because I had very little time but any chocolate recipe would work here. I filled the cupcakes with the caramel using the cone method. I then topped them with a caramel cream cheese frosting and a tiny drizzle of caramel for effect. These are good, very good. Next time I would double the batch of caramel, and I have reflected that in the directions. Keep in mind, you need to use a big enough pot to make the caramel (even Dutch oven size), especially if you are going to double as I suggest. When you add the warm cream it will froth up and if you do not have a large enough pot it could be a scary disaster, so error on the side of bigger.

Chocolate cupcakes with salted peanut caramel.
24 chocolate cupcakes

Salted peanut caramel
Adapted from: Dave Lebovitz

(Recipe is doubled)

1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 TBSP light corn syrup
¼ TSP coarse salt (I used sea salt)
2 cups heavy cream
1 TBSP vanilla extract
¾ cup finely chopped roasted salted peanuts (if you want peanuts in your frosting double that amount)

First put your cream in a microwave safe dish or saucepan and warm it up, then set aside. Put the water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a large sauce pan on med-high heat. Stir the mixture until all the sugar dissolves, at that point stop stirring and allow to boil. (At this point don’t abandon your sugar, keep a close eye on it, although it does take around 7-10 minutes). Swirl the pan every so often to ensure it heats evenly, especially once you start to see some color. Now once you start to see color, it happens fast so be ready with your warm cream. Once the color turns a LIGHT brown (I found it was easiest to see the true color with the pan tilted slightly), pull it off the heat and slowly add the cream while whisking the caramel. It will froth and foam up but it will receded quickly, keep stirring until it settles down, then add the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool.

Once the caramel has cooled enough to pour safely, measure out a cup (this will be for the frosting) and set aside, I suggest putting this in the fridge for a while because you want it to be cold when you add it to your frosting). Then add the peanuts to the remaining caramel in the pan. Let it sit until it has thickened (30 min) or put it in the fridge to speed it up. Once it has thickened and cooled put a tablespoon or more into each cupcake. And try not to eat it all while you are doing it! If this process make you nervous or you just want more pictures and information, check out the links provided below. If you want to drizzle some caramel over the cupcakes set aside another 2 tbsp or so, put it in a plastic zip lock and snip off the courner to drizzle over the finished cupcake. If you want the peanuts on top simply use a spoon to drizzle and be sure to set aside the caramel with the peanuts already mixed in.

Salted Caramel frosting:
Adapted from: Chockylit

2 sticks of butter at room temperature
8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
5-6 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup salted caramel

Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. Sift in 3 cups of the powder sugar and beat till combined. Add the cup of salted caramel sauce and beat till combined. Sift in the rest of the powder sugar 1 cup at a time until it is the consistency you like. I used 6 cups total and then cooled it in the fridge for 10 minutes before piping it on the cupcakes. This makes enough frosting to generously frost 24 cupcakes.

Halloween cookies (better late than never)

I made these for a pumpkin carving party a few weekends ago (ya I know more than a few). Please excuse the bad photos, I was late getting out the door and my two year old was not helping. So they basically got thrown on the counter and I took a few shots with my phone. One day I will get a real camera.

I actually had a lot of fun with the cookies this time. I learned a lot from my attempt last time and with some more research the process went very smoothly. Now, no matter how organized you are its just a very time consuming project. I do believe it took me longer to make and get the frosting ready and assembled than to actually decorate the cookies!

I used a new technique for rolling out the dough that I read about, it made the process go beautifully. I rolled it out right out of the mixing bowl between two sheets of wax paper (it suggested parchment but I was out and that stuff can get pricey) then popped the flat disks into the freezer. It made for some wonderful sharp edged cookies! I always have a problem getting them to the cookie sheet looking good and this made it simple. When I got enough scraps to make a new ball I just rolled it out again and popped it in the freezer while I cut out or baked the rest. It went incredibly fast, which made me happy because it’s my least favorite part of making these cookies.

The decorating goes very fast if you have it all prepped. Flood colors where in squeeze bottles and the piping colors in their bags with tips on. My piping ability has greatly improved over the last few months and it really helped them look cleaner. My daughter just loved the witches (she has a thing for the bad witch) but my favorite were the pumpkins, they are classic.

Witches outlined.

Lemon and Vanilla Bean White Sugar Cookies
Adapted from: Anne’s Eats
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or I use Vanilla bean paste about 1 TBS)
Zest of half a lemon
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean or paste, and lemon zest until blended. Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated. Form the dough into a ball and press between two sheets of parchment or wax paper, roll to desired thickness and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes. (You could make this ahead and totally freeze the dough, just let it defrost until pliable, I actually used the dough when it was quite frozen and it worked wonderfully.
After rolling, preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpads. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until fully cooked but not at all browned. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Royal Icing
Adapted from Anne’s Eats
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).
To find everything you could ever need to know about cookie decorating check out this website and link:


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