Well, the title of this is totally wasted if you never watched Star Trek, TNG. After I tasted one of these Peep cupcakes that I made for Easter, I felt totally powerless in their presence. Well, I didn't have the Peep. I hate Peeps. But, I figured the kids at Easter dinner would like them. And did they ever! I gravely underestimated their power and now understand that you should always triple the amount of cupcakes you bring to a party. And these cupcakes were so easy to make. I used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated that was as simple as using a bought cake mix, but tasted much better. I haven't made real cupcakes in........well, I can't really remember that far back. So, this was an event.
Let me say that these cupcakes must be shockingly high in calories, but this was a once a year thing. The recipe is a "dump" method, where you throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix for 30 seconds, then bake. The texture was the way I remember cupcakes tasting when I was a kid, tender but a bit coarse, without the fine texture of regular cake. About the butter. Altogether, counting the frosting, these cupcakes contained three sticks. But, this was a perfect opportunity to practice moderation. I had one of them and stopped, even though I wanted to eat the whole battalion.
Resistance is Futile Peep Cupcakes (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin using 2-ounce ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Use skewer or paring knife to lift cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Spread with frosting and top with a Peep. Eat one, just one.
This was basically my memory of how my mom made frosting.
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (more or less)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk
pinch of salt
Beat the butter with a mixer until very light and creamy, at least a minute. Add the sugar and beat it until it is very light--about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla, salt, and milk, beat until incorporated. You can add more of the ingredients to adjust consistency, if you wish. Tint the frosting if desired. This makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes.