Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

pbj cupcakes

Whenever I bake with peanut butter, I am always sure to use virgin peanut butter. What is virgin peanut butter, you ask? Virgin peanut butter is peanut butter that has not yet been exposed to the snacking habits of Jimmy Hoffman. It is the first serving of peanut butter from a newly opened jar, after having just removed the inner aluminum seal. You see, Jim’s most common after-work snack is [enter any food item here] dipped in Jif. However, while most people would spoon out a Tbsp or two of it onto a small plate before dipping, he insists on dipping his snacks directly into the peanut butter jar. This leaves behind a filthy residue that results in cross-contamination of the jar as a whole. Put it this way, if you were to make a peanut butter sandwich in my house, it would not taste like peanut butter and bread, it would taste like peanut butter, bread, cheeze-its, salt and vinegar chips, hint of lime tortillas, grape jelly, croutons, pizza flavored goldfish amongst other unidentifiable flavors. We give Tide a little smear of peanut butter inside a bone or kong as a treat sometimes, and I actually went to the extent of buying the dog his own seperate supply of peanut butter, as I was in fear for his safety at one point. I kid you not, during the first couple weeks of us living together I had opened a jar of peanut butter, looked inside, and had a debate in my mind over weather the peanut butter was of creamy or chunky variety. I resorted to reading the label for classification, saw that it was in fact creamy peanut butter, and vowed to myself that from that point on I would only use virgin peanut butter, weather it be for cooking, baking, my own personal consumption, or baiting mouse traps. Seriously, it’s inhumane enough to snap a mouse to death with a spring-loaded metal device, but to lure it there by feeding it the contents of Jimmy’s jar of Jif- now that’s just plain cruelty.

1 yellow cake mix prepared to pkg directions
3/4 c. grape or strawberry jelly
1 c. shortening
1 t. vanilla
1 T. water
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

Prepare cake mix according to pkg directions, baking 24 cupcakes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Fill a piping bag with a metal tip with the jelly. Press the tip about 1 inch down into the top center of each cupcake and squeeze to fill center with jelly. For the icing, use an electric mixer to cream together shortening, peanut butter, water, and vanilla. Gradually add confectioners sugar and continue mixing until icing is smooth and creamy. Spread icing onto cupcakes. Drag a fork across the top of each to create the peanut butter cookie look.

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