Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Inspired by “Company”

Company

One of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular musicals, “Company” tells the story of Bobby, a 35 year-old single man living in New York City as he navigates life and love with the help of his married friends and his various girlfriends. It’s told in a non-linear format, and considered one of the first “concept” musicals, where theme is more important to the story-telling than a traditional plot.

Prior to the shutdown of Broadway due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Company” was being revived on Broadway in a production that transferred from the West End (England’s equivalent to Broadway) that featured Bobby as a woman for the first time. I’ve heard great things about this revival, and have wanted to see it, and still hope to once Broadway reopens.

The Inspiration

“Company” is my dear friend Mary’s favorite show. Her phone cover is the lyrics to “Getting Married Today.” Need I say more. Though Mary will always fancy herself and Amy (one of Bobby’s married friends, who almost doesn’t go through with her wedding – a great number, by the way), I’ve always thought of her as the Joanne (“The Ladies Who Lunch” singer – Mary always has the wine, and pretty solid advice) to my Bobby. Can you imagine how excited I was when I learned there was a revival with female Bobby?!?! During my single years, Mary was also my romantic guide in many ways – she knew months before I even started thinking about dating my fiance that I was going to marry him (#emboldened). She’ll even be officiating our wedding next year. So this treat is extra special in many ways.

Anyway, when I told her I was starting this blog, she of course went straight to “Company” and suggested something that was a play on “Sorry, Grateful.” Early in act 1, Bobby asks, “You ever sorry you got married?” The reply he gets is a beautiful number that begins with the lines “You’re always sorry. You’re always grateful.” The song tells of the good and the bad of marriage in an honest way that is both straightforward and confusing at the same time. I’m guessing my married readers are thinking to themselves “accurate.”

To turn “Sorry, Grateful” into a dessert, I decided I wanted to make something super decadent and highly caloric, but that was soooooo good that you just didn’t care. You’re sorry when you see the calorie count (over 400 per serving), but you’re tastebuds are grateful because it was perfection in a dessert. And I think my chocolate peanut butter cupcakes have hit the mark.

The Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 dozen cupcake tins with liners of your choice (I chose rose gold because “Company” talks a lot about marriage, and my engagement ring is rose gold – you choose whatever you want), and spray with cooking spray for baking.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

3. Mix together the sugar and vegetable oil. Once combined, add the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract.

4. Add in the dry ingredients and the milk alternating, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

5. Fill the cupcake tins 1/3 – 1/2 full with the batter.

6. Melt the peanut butter in the microwave in 20 second intervals. Spoon the melted peanut butter into the cupcake tins to make a thin layer.

7. Fill the cupcake tins to 2/3 – 3/4 of the way to the top of the wrapper with the remaining batter.

8. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until toothpick tester comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack while making the frosting.

9. Combine the confectioners sugar and butter for the peanut butter frosting. Add vanilla extract and peanut butter. Add in milk 1 Tbs at a time until desired consistency is reached. Set aside.

10. Melt cocoa for chocolate frosting on a double boiler.

11. Combine the confectioners sugar and butter for the chocolate frosting. Add vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Add in milk 1 Tbs at a time until desired consistency is reached. Set aside.

12. Once cupcakes are cooled, top each one with about a teaspoon or so of Nutella, or your favorite chocolate hazelnut spread.

13. Place frostings in small plastic sandwich bags (each frosting flavor in it’s own bag). Cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners of each bag. Simultaneously pipe the frostings into your main piping bag fitted with a star tip. Try to evenly incorporate both flavors so you get a nice swirl when piping onto the cupcakes.

14. Before piping onto the cupcakes, pipe onto a small plate or scrap parchment paper to make sure the frosting is coming out with both flavors. Once you reach a point where the two flavors are coming out together, start piping on the cupcakes (I prefer to start from the outside and work may way in and up so it looks like a swirled soft ice cream cone).

Yields 24 cupcakes. 424 calories per cupcake.

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