A week ago I competed in a race named “Mudathalon”. A three mile race with 40 obstacles through the mud. Me, my hubby, Jacob and a handful of friends all enjoyed getting thoroughly and disgustingly muddy! I know it doesn’t sound fun, but it was. Imagine rappelling ropes draped over ridges into muddy streams, a 50′ mud ditch you have to somehow run the length of hoping not to fall flat on your face, in the mud, and finishing up with a 80′ tall mud slide into a mud pool. Oh yea, good times. I washed my hair three times and spent at least 45 minutes scrubbing myself clean in the shower when we got home. As you can see the picture with me and Jacob, nice and clean and then the picture of me and Jim, not so clean. The picture of me and Jim was taken after we rinsed off.
Our friends Janet and Joe hosted a Mud to Martini party later that night, so we could all celebrate our victories. I took these little dirty devils as my contribution to the party! They were a hit for obvious reasons…. chocolate and peanut butter. YUM! Reward for all our hard work.
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Peanut Butter Buttercream:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Coating:
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Crushed Chocolate wafers, or cookie part of oreos
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line mini muffin pan with cupcake cups. In medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt until combined; set aside.
Whisk in dry mixture until smooth. Spoon batter into cupcake cups, dividing evenly. Bake until center is just set, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely.
Set bowl over pan of simmering water and gently whisk until mixture registers 160 degrees F on instant read thermometer. Immediately transfer to mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until mixture resembles shaving cream and is just cool.
On medium speed, whip in butter, one piece at a time, until combined and creamy. Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Transfer buttercream to pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip
Pipe about frosting onto each cupcake. Chill cupcakes in fridge until buttercream is completely firm, about 1 hour.
When cupcakes have chilled, make the chocolate coating. Place chocolate and oil in a medium bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Gently whisk until chocolate has just melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large mug.
Holding cupcake by the bottom, carefully dip in chocolate to submerge all of the frosting. Pull up and let excess chocolate drop off for a few seconds before turning cupcake right side up. Transfer to cooling rack and repeat with remaining cupcakes. Immediately sprinkle cookie crumbs on top of cupcakes. I made half with cookie crumbs half without, just to add contrast when displayed.
Let cupcakes rest a few minutes to allow chocolate to set and buttercream to soften before serving. If not serving right away, keep in refrigerator.
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