Sweet and Salty Cupcakes

Happy Monday, foodies! I must warn you, I am a nail-biter. I accidentally ripped a little skin while participating in my nervous habit. It was skin on the thumb. Typing {and cooking} is painful.

Reason for telling you all this: there may be typos that I just don’t catch.

I’ve already done it on Facebook twice this morning.

Oy.

This weekend was one for the books. One of our friends has been staying with us for a couple of days & it’s so good to have somebody around; especially GP. He’s hilarious, full of witty sarcasm and stories you would think are imagined. Nick and GP go way back and to hear their war stories, weird situations and memories is fun. I like being around the two of them – they are like two peas in a pod. I was slightly worried that I would not be able to entertain consistent conversation with him on Friday night, because Nick was still out of town and everything GP seems to know is classified and then wrapped up in more top secret ultra-red tape. However, everything went well. He talked. I talked. It's like we're old buddies. He's exactly like Nick in that respect - when I first started dating Nick, we always had something to talk about.

Being in a relationship with people like these guys is fun, yet annoying. They protect this country every day. I want to know. I’m smart. I want to know things. I am always questioning everything. I analyze the crap out of everything, but with them all I get is ‘I can neither confirm nor deny that.' I guess that's the price I pay for wandering among men with jobs like theirs.

Don't really understand what I'm saying, huh? 

You see, I ask questions. I ask lots of questions.

Nick has told me a hundred times that I ask the right questions, too.

You know what sucks – I still cannot get any answers to my brilliant questions.

::sigh::

I must move on.

It’s good to have GP around. The end.

On top of good conversation, this weekend was a good weekend for food, especially yesterday. I whipped up a bunch of appetizers for yesterday for the boys. It’s good to have another mouth to feed; it helps me justify making more food. When it is just Nick and I there is a feeling that I should not go overboard. I have a couple of new appetizers to bring you this week, but today I have something from my friend Jess. You remember Jess, she creates the wonderful bake goods and share them with me. Well, she recently passed along a recipe for Sweet & Salty Cupcakes. You’re going to DIE and go to heaven. I think it would be wonderful if you dyed the cupcake batter red and made these for Valentine’s Day. But that is just my suggestion.

Let’s get down to business. Here is what you need:

  • Chocolate cake mix or whatever you need for your recipe
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream (at room temp)
  • 2 sticks plus 3 tbsp salted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Pretzels

Directions:

  • Start with chocolate cupcakes. Make and bake according to the box or your favorite recipe.
  • For the filling, I made a simple salted caramel filling.  I have never made this before and it was super easy.  You need: the granulated sugar, 3 tbsp salted butter, and the heavy cream.  
  • Place the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan, cook over medium heat, whisking as it melts.
  • When it turns a deep amber color, add the butter and stir until it is melted. It took a long time for the sugar to get to this color, but stay patient, because you don't want the sugar to burn! 
  • At this point, it was not smooth and was kind of chunky.  I don't know if this is typical, but it worked! When I put the butter in, it melted very quickly and almost bubbled over; just a warning. 
  • Add the heavy cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool. 
  • While the caramel is cooling, cut a small section out of the top of each cupcake. 

  • Then make the buttercream icing.  Cream the peanut butter and the rest of the butter until smooth.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until combined.  I added some more powdered sugar to get the icing a little stiffer to make them prettier.  This recipe is actually Martha Stewart's recipe.  It is so simple I love it!!
  • Now to start building these.  Take your cupcake and pour a spoonful of caramel in the middle of the cupcake. Put the "lid" back on the cupcake.  Don't worry if it's ugly, you'll be covering it anyway!
  • I put the icing in a pastry bag and used a decorating tip to make the pretty swirl, but feel free to decorate as you see fit! At this point my 17 year old brother stole one and said they were "ridiculous.”
  • When asked if that was good or bad, he said they were a 10.  You can totally serve them like this, but I had 1 more touch!  Get a bag of pretzels and crush them up. 
  • Sprinkle some on top for some added crunch and a touch more salt! 

 

Baker’s Note: You should put the pretzels on just before serving so they don't get stale.  And keep these cold because the icing may melt! 

I made these in anticipate of a VERY bad day at work.  My co-worker provided us with caramel lattes from Starbucks and it was awesome.  These were a hit and while time consuming, not incredibly difficult.  I will definitely be making these again!! 

These are AMAZING looking!! I hope you all give them a try!! Jess is phenomenal! Thanks so much for sharing with all of us!! Xoxo

Until Next Time,

Happy Cupcake Makin’

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