Cupcake Series: Almond Butter + Jelly Cupcakes

abnjcupcake_coverFall is here, which means grape season is also here! Which is wonderful, because who doesn’t love grapes? Nobody. 

So considering the ubiquitous love of grapes in the world, you’d expect there to be a plethora of pastries, cakes, and such that feature grape-y goodness. But apparently, as I learned while scouring the Internet for this week’s extra special treat, not so much.

But that’s okay, because you know what we do do with grapes in September? Make PB+J.

Being the East Coast university student that I am, back-to-school kind of feels like forever and a half ago. But because it’s still September, it’s still the month of shiny red apples and chalkboards with sums and all other things that harken to the beginning of the elementary school (which is basically still the way I think of back-to-school in my head). And back-to-school means the classic combination of good old peanut butter and jelly.

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(Ok so technically, I don’t think I ever actually had a PB + grape jelly sandwich at any point in my life – I blame the peanut allergic little bro and a personal proclivity for strawberry jam. And after my upbringing in a peanut-free household, eating peanut butter just feels wrong, hence the almond butter in this recipe. But you know what? Close enough.)

So to honor the American tradition that is the humble PB+J, this month we’re baking almond butter cupcakes with almond butter frosting and a grape jelly filling (although of course, just like in the real deal, feel free use whatever kind of nut butter + fruit preserve combination makes you happy.) And if you’re ever craving the very best parts of a PB+J, minus the inconvenience of cutting off the crusts (in a way that’s way cuter and less vaguely disturbing than these guys, which apparently have their own Wikipedia page), whip up a delicious batch of AB+J cupcakes. Hope you enjoy!

Happy belated back-to-school,
Anne

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Almond Butter + Jelly Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Almond Butter Cupcakes:
200 g (a little less than 2 cups) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup smooth almond butter
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Almond Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup almond butter
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

To Serve:
About 2 tbs almond butter
About 3/4 cup grape jelly (or any type of seedless fruit preserve)
Candied almonds (totally optional, but pairs really well!)

Directions:

Almond Butter Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, then set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat together the almond butter, butter, and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
  5. Dump in the flour mixture all at once and whisk until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the bottom of the cupcake springs back when squeezed slightly.
    Tip: The batter will be slightly thicker than normal – don’t worry, this is totally expected!
  7. Set aside to cool!

Almond Butter Frosting:

  1. Beat together the almond butter, mascarpone, and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Gradually beat in the heavy cream until the mixture is smooth and has thickened slightly after the addition of the cream. Set aside for frosting!

Assembly:

  1. Using a large piping tip, scoop out the center of each cupcake as described here.
  2. Using a small spoon, add a small amount of almond butter to the center of each cored cupcake, covering the bottom of the core.
  3. Gently warm the grape jelly in the microwave in 15 second intervals until liquid and smooth, then spoon in the jelly to fill the center of each cupcake.
  4. Using a large piping tip of any shape (I used the Wilton 2A tip!) and a piping bag, load the piping bag with almond butter frosting and pipe a swirl of frosting from the outside inward on top of each cupcake.
  5. Reheat the grape jelly as needed to recreate liquid consistency, then drizzle on top of each cupcake. Enjoy!
    Tip: For easy drizzling, load the liquid jelly into a small sandwich bag, snip off a tiny bit of the corner, and use as a miniature piping bag!

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