One of the things that troubles the BG is that every dish on America's Test Kitchen is a success; they never show you what didn't work. Well Chopped is the remedy for that. 4 chefs prepare, in turn, an appetizer, entree and dessert, within a short time limit, using a number of carefully chosen mystery ingredients. Here's your basket--apple pie, fried chicken, artichokes, american cheese. You've got 30 minutes to make a delicious appetizer. Go! At first it was a little intense for the OG, who does not like to watch people fail (the judges mince no words), but she's come around.
The other show uses a similar format, but seems to focus exclusively on cupcakes, which appear to be the pesto of the new millenium. There is a fancy cupcake store on Franklin Street; a bus that visited Raleigh last summer; and the BG and I talked at length the other day with a woman running a cart at the local mall. Moreover, the BG has been, er, devouring, the Cupcake Diaries this summer, a series of stories featuring a set of friends who have adventures and bake.
So we decided to try our hand at it today. The BG had found this recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes on her own (from the good people at Jif--the choice of discerning parents in my day (mine preferred the sludge from the local food co-op). We used blueberry jam, instead of the recommended strawberry, and chose to top ours with Reese's Pieces, coconut and sprinkles. I would have skipped the coconut, but it's hard for a ten year-old to resist one more topping. We also layered the peanut butter and frosting, as our icing was in an aerosol can of sorts.Still the results were pretty tasty, and the trip to the supermarket, along with the baking, occupied a good portion of the morning and afternoon today.
- 1 package White Premium Cake Mix
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 (12 oz.) jar Strawberry Jam, divided
- 1 container Vanilla Flavored Frosting
- 1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts, for garnish
- HEAT oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper baking cups.
- BEAT cake mix, water, oil and eggs in large bowl. Blend with electric mixer until moistened. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill baking cups 1/3 full. Place 1/2 cup jam into corner of resealable plastic bag. Cut small corner off bag. Make a swirl of jam over batter. Cover with remaining batter filling cups 2/3 full.
- BAKE 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
- COMBINE frosting and peanut butter. Place frosting in decorator bag fitted with a decorator tip (4B), if desired, or frost cupcake, leaving center area for jam. Starting at outside edge, work towards center of cupcake leaving a well in the center for jam. Place remaining 1/2 cup jam into corner of resealable plastic bag. Cut small corner off bag. Fill center of cupcake with jam and garnish with sprinkle of chopped peanuts.