PB & J Cupcakes

PB&J. Was there ever a more classic combination? My weird, picky childhood self was never fond of the flavor of jelly and I’ve yet to grow into it. However, these were a big hit with the mister and my coworkers! A fluffy, crumbly peanut butter cake gets a jelly filling, then topped with airy whipped peanut butter frosting and another dollop of jelly in the middle. Are you drooling yet? These bad boys are RICH so make sure you’ve got a tall, cold glass of milk to go with one of these treats. 😊

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

For the filling and topping:

  • Grape and/or strawberry jam

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream

Directions:

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lining cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. In the bowl of your stand  mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Blend in the peanut butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition, then add the sour cream or yogurt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk and then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until no dry streaks remain.  

 Divide the batter between the prepared liners filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  

 
While your cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a clean stand mixer bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and salt. Reduce speed and add vanilla  and heavy cream just until combined, then whip on high speed for 3-4 minutes.  

 To fill the cupcakes, use a cupcake corer or small paring knife to cut a small cone from each cupcake. Reserve a disc from each core to cover the filling. Fill each cupcake with a small glob of grape or strawberry jam (I found it easier to use a pastry bag with a small, round tip to fill mine, but do what suits you). Replace the cake discs over the filling.  

 Finally, let’s finish these beauties! Transfer frosting to a pastry bag with a large open top. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Use the tip of a small offset spatula or a small spoon to scoop an indentation out of the center of the frosting (I used a small measuring teaspoon).  

 Fill the indentation with a small scoop of jam. Voila!  
 
Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Ahi Tuna Steaks

Ah, summertime. It’s pretty much synonymous with grilling, right? If you’re looking for something light, citrusy, tasty, and fast- look no further. The most prep you need is to remember to thaw the fish and then marinate for 30 minutes before throwing it on the grill. So simple! We love this with some couscous and veggies, so it’s a healthy option too. Can’t get much better than that!

Ingredients:

  • 4 (4) oz ahi tuna steaks 
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

In a medium-large dish, combine all ingredients but tuna steaks and whisk lightly to blend. Add tuna steaks to marinade, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  

    
 
Once your 30 minutes is up, heat your grill to high heat and lightly oil the grates. Take your juicy marinated tuna out of its bath…  

 
Then slap ’em on the grill for 5-6 minutes. Turn over and baste with additional marinade, cooking for another 5 minutes or so.  

 
Remove to a plate to rest a minute or two before serving! That’s it! 😎 One of my favorite simple summer recipes, full of flavor to boot. Enjoy! 

Recipe from Allrecipes.com.

Toasted Marshmallow Cookie Bars

Warming: if you AT ALL dislike getting messy while cooking/baking, this is not the recipe for you. Marshmallows get toasted and chopped up and while the process is a sticky mess, the outcome is oh-so-amazing. Finger lickin good, you might say. 😉 Try these for your next summer/fall get together, or just because it’s Tuesday. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz regular or jumbo marshmallows 
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsps vanilla 

Directions:

Toast your marshmallows on all sides however you choose. I was pretty fancy- slid them on a skewer, then used my stovetop burner.  

 

Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment, and cool in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.   

Once your marshmallows have set, prepare the rest of the cookie dough! Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lining an 8×8 baking pan with parchment, leaving enough to hang over the sides. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugars, and seeds from the vanilla bean on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Turn mixer to low speed and add dry ingredients until just combined. 

Next, chop up your marshmallows as best you can. I quartered mine and that was more than enough chopping with something so sticky!  I did find dampening my knife every few chops did help. 

 
Add your chopped marshmallows to the cookie dough and mix until no large globs remain.  

 
Transfer the dough to your prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer.  

 
If you look closely, you can see the toasty bits and vanilla seeds. Mmmmm! 😋  

 
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Slice into bars and devour! 

Makes 16-20 bars

Recipe from Annie’s Eats