Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Back to Childhood Month, books and PB and J cupcakes

          It is Back to Childhood Month here at Love From Scratch, this month we will be featuring recipes that bring us back to our happy childhood memories.  As I have written numerous times I had a pretty great childhood, I'll admit I was completely blessed, probably far more than I ever deserve.  Today happens to be International Children's Book Day, so I thought I would combine my love of books and childhood treats in this post.  As I have mentioned Grandma Love From Scratch is a nursing home these days, I go and visit her everyday, and even being now 32, every time I visit I feel like a kid again, I don't know if its because we always get nostalgic about past memories or what, but after each visit I have to remind myself that I am indeed a grown-up now and that my carefree childhood is behind me. 
     When I was younger I spent a lot of my time in the kitchen with my mother, and a lot of time devouring books in my bedroom, even now most nights I fall asleep reading with a book in bed with me.  I have learned so much books, and I have so many happy memories of reading curled up with a good book.  It is so hard to pick a favorite, I love so many, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and Lucy Maud Montgomery all spoke to me though their books and characters so many times through out my life, but in the spirit of it being children's books we are focusing on today, I'd have to choose Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House on the Prairie series.  I loved those books in grade school.  I remember how I read those books over and over and it was in those books I really learned the love of reading. 
     As a child my mother always made my lunch for school, one of my favorites was always peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, especially if it was with Mom's homemade jam, I still get hungry just thinking about those sandwiches.  It seems like "mom food" is always the best food.  I've learned how to cook so many things, but everything my Mom makes always seems to be the best, I can always taste that she made it for me with love.  As I got older and moved away from my parents I'll admit there were days when I got homesick and missed my family.  Several times in college when I particularly missed them, I'd curl up with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and take a study break from the textbooks, and begin re-reading one of my old favorites, sometimes Pride and Prejudice, or Emma, or Little Women, An Old-Fashioned Girl, or Anne of Green Gables.
     I have gotten a little older now, but I still love to curl up with a good book, the past few years I have been looking at a way to "grow-up" my love of peanut butter and jelly, so I came up with this recipe for peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, so make a batch and curl up with a good book!

Love From Scratch PB&J Cupcakes


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
1 cup jelly
Peanut Butter Frosting, recipe below


Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.  Cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer whichever you have available.  Beat in the eggs, egg yolk and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour in the milk and continue to mix until smooth  blend with the dry ingredients and continue to mix just until blended.

Spoon the batter evenly into the cupcake tin tin, filling the cups about three-quarters full. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back to the touch and are not too golden, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling, frosting or decorating.

Fill a squeeze bottle with the jelly and screw on the cap. Carefully insert the tip of
the squeeze bottle as into the tops of the cupcakes.  Squeeze about 1 or so tablespoons jelly inside of each cupcake.  Frost with the peanut butter frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk

Beat the peanut butter, butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until the frosting is smooth. Mix in the milk and continue to mix until it reaches a smooth spreadable consistency. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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