By Daniella De Windt
Fellow dessert lovers, unite! Calling everyone with a sweet tooth to this final DIY edition of our island-wide hunt for St. Maarten’s best dessert!
This week’s Sugar and Spice celebrates the beginning of the end of the virus measures with this final DIY dessert recipe before we go back to reviewing restaurants’ sweet treats. Phase two of the progressive de-escalation plan is underway and we are finally back at the beach, ordering takeout, and enjoying free movement five days a week. Who would have ever thought we would celebrate being able to go to the supermarket?!
Not only has this chaotic time taught us to appreciate the small things in life, but many of us have also used the extra time for newly found hobbies, such as cooking, DIY crafts, gardening and reading. For this dessert-lover, the closure of restaurants meant baking my own sweet treats – desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
Of course, the last DIY dessert had to go out with a bang. So why not combine some of those new skills and some of our favourite ingredients into a sweet yet salty; and soft yet crunchy dessert creation fit for a special occasion?! Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cupcakes!
Some days you just need a decadent chocolate treat. And some days, you might want something a little more special, be it for a loved one’s birthday, a holiday, or just because you are feeling a lil extra. In this case, the birthday boy really loves Ritz, peanut butter, and chocolate, so why not combine all three into a special birthday treat? The moist and soft chocolate cupcake is stuffed with a Ritz peanut butter sandwich, providing a crunchy, sweet and salty surprise in the dessert’s centre. The smooth and creamy peanut-butter buttercream frosting adds a bit of “oomph” to this creation (and the leftovers may or may not have been devoured by the spoonful within two days).
Of course, the Out ‘n About is aware that the current measures may affect your access to certain ingredients. Please know that the ingredients are pantry staples in our house, but we understand you might not be able to recreate recipes at home. But if circumstances permit and you happen to have the ingredients or are willing to get a little creative with whatever you might have on hand, these cupcakes will be sure to brighten up your day.
In my opinion, that is the best part of baking or cooking – you can take a recipe as inspiration and experiment with it.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cupcakes
¾ cup flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs (room temperature)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil or melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk (or make you own by adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to ½ cup of milk)
28-32 Ritz crackers
1 cup peanut butter
Optional: 1 tablespoon coffee
Frosting (enough to generously cover 16 cupcakes, but the leftovers are delicious by the spoonful!)
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt (if butter is unsalted)
2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Optional: if you do not have buttermilk, sour your own milk by adding one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon/lime juice to ½ cup of milk. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes while milk begins to curdle.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside. Whisk all the wet ingredients together except the (butter)milk in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently whisk, and then add the (butter)milk. Stir until just combined. Note: the batter might not be as thick as you expect.
- Make peanut butter Ritz sandwiches by spreading some peanut butter in between two Ritz crackers.
- Pour a small amount of batter to each cupcake liner – just enough to cover the bottom. Place a Ritz sandwich in the centre, and then cover with batter until just over halfway.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
For the frosting:
- combine butter and peanut butter in a bowl and beat with electric hand mixer until well-combined.
- Gradually add powdered sugar (about ½ cup at a time) and mix on low speed until fully combined.
- Add vanilla extract, milk (and salt) and beat until completely combined.
- Spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. [Tip: cut a tiny hole into a clean Ziploc bag to create your own piping bag.] Enjoy!
Stay safe and sweet out there!