1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and maple sugar and mix well. Remove the mixture from the heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among the muffin cups.
3. Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted.
4. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture.
5. Top with chopped nuts.
6. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.
• 3 ⅓ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
• ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 ¼ cups sugar
• 3 large eggs, at room temperature
• 6 tablespoons red food coloring
• 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• 1 ½ cups buttermilk
• 1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• Frosting: 1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• 5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Makes 36 cupcakes.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease and lightly flour three muffin tins. Place cupcake papers in the tins.
3. To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
5. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overheat.
6. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
7. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake each tray for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
8. Frosting: In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes.
9. Add the vanilla and beat well.
10. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy.
11. Cover and refrigerate icing for 2 to 3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using.
12. When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting liberally on the cupcakes.
• 1/4 lb. fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
• 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
• 2 Tbs. sour cream
• 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, about 40, stem ends trimmed
• 2 Tbs. finely snipped fresh chives
1. Mix the filling
In a food processor, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese and sour cream. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.
2. Stuff the tomatoes
Using the small end of a melon baller, carefully scoop out the seeds and core from each tomato. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a cutting board. Using 2 small spoons, place about 1 tsp. of the goat cheese filling in each tomato, mounding it slightly.
3. Transfer the filled tomatoes to a platter, sprinkle with the chives and serve. Makes about 40 stuffed cherry tomatoes.