That's right, we're in full Christmas swing in our house.
Unfortunately, my camera has taken this as it's opportunity to pack it in, and will now only take fugly, out of focus pictures about 80% of the time. Maybe I'll ask Santa for a new one... Too bad Santa and I had agreed not to do gifts this year due to our Mexican Extravaganza Vacation we will be leaving on 4 days after Christmas! Woo hoo!
Last weekend I had the girls come over and help me decorate our beautiful brand new tree that I bought in August when we were at our Family Reunion, and have been DYING to put up ever since!
Not that you can tell from the crappy picture up top, but it's beautiful! And Growly Bear is being unbelievably good about not un-decorating the bottom 3 feet. She's mostly just fascinated by the gifts underneath. She's been "helping" me wrap gifts, and then watching me put them under the tree. She promptly goes over, and picks up whatever I just placed under, and brings it back to me. The entire thing is very strange for her, but she's doing her best to help me in her own little way. It's pretty adorable.
Anywho, I mostly just popped in to share my, (well it's actually Barefoot Contessa's) delicious recipe for Chocolate Cup-Cakes with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting. I made them for our tree decorating party, and I must say, they go perfectly with copious quantities of wine and girl talk.
I'll leave you with a couple photos of our decorations, and the delicious recipe.
Love and Hugs!
Chocolate "Cake-Cups" with Creamy Peanut Butter Icing
- 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup good cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the milk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans, filling about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Peanut Butter Icing:
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.